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President Nelson Is Now the Church’s Longest-Living Apostle

A month away from his 98th birthday, President Nelson surpasses Elder David B. Haight, who lived to be 97 years and 10 months

President Russell M. Nelson at his office in the Church Administration Building in Salt Lake City on April 13, 2022.
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By Scott Taylor, Church News

Four months after he became the oldest President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, President Russell M. Nelson now has become the Church’s longest-living Apostle in this latter-day dispensation.

As of August 8, 2022, President Nelson — who was born September 9, 1924, in Salt Lake City — has lived for 35,764 total days, or just a day shy of 97 years and 11 months if using calendar dates.

Previously, Elder David B. Haight, who served in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles from 1976 to 2004, was the Church’s longest-living Apostle. Born September 2, 1906, he had lived 35,763 days when he passed away on July 31, 2004. Online calculators credit that day total as 97 years, 10 months and 30 days; comparing calendar dates it is just several days short of 97 years and 11 months.

On April 14 of this year, President Nelson turned 97 years, seven months and six days old, and became the longest-living President of the Church, surpassing in age the late Church President Gordon B. Hinckley, who passed away in 2008 at 97 years, seven months and five days.

Next month, President Nelson will celebrate his 98th birthday, on September 9.

President M. Russell Ballard, the Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, is No. 8 in the longest-living latter-day Apostle in this dispensation. He is 93 years and 10 month old, with his 94th birthday in two months, on October 8.

Also, President Dallin H. Oaks, the First Counselor in the First Presidency, is the Church’s 19th Apostle to reach the age of 90. His birthday is August 12.

While seven of the 17 who have served as President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have lived to be 90 or older, the president is determined not by age but by seniority in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, or length of tenure in the quorum.

For example, President Hinckley was 94 years old at the October 2003 general conference, when he invited the 97-year-old Elder Haight to the Conference Center pulpit, acknowledging his presence after a recent illness.

“He is a grand old warrior — he is 97 years of age. He has lived longer than any other Apostle in the history of this dispensation,” said President Hinckley, then asking Elder Haight if he wanted to wave to the congregation.

“Yes, I must,” he promptly answered, waving his right arm and hand back and forth several times. “I’m waving. Thank you. Thank you. Nice to be with you.”

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President Gordon B. Hinckley smiles as Elder David B. Haight waves before leaving the Conference Center during the Saturday morning session of general conference on October 4, 2003. Photo by Ravell Call, courtesy of Church News. Copyright 2022 Deseret News Publishing Company.

The Church’s longest-living general authority since its restoration was Elder Eldred G. Smith, the last Patriarch of the Church. The great-great-grandson of Hyrum Smith was called in 1947 and given emeritus status in 1979; he passed away in 2013 at the age of 106.

Below is a list of the Church’s 10 longest-living latter-day Apostles. Additional leadership assignments are also noted.

1. President Russell M. Nelson

  • President of the Church (2018 to present)
  • Born: September 9, 1924
  • Age as of August 8, 2022: 97 years, 11 months, 1 day

2. Elder David B. Haight

  • Born: September 2, 1906
  • Died: July 31, 2004
  • Age at death: 97 years, 10 months, 30 days

3. President Gordon B. Hinckley

  • President of the Church (1995-2008)
  • Born: June 23, 1910
  • Died: January 27, 2008
  • Age at death: 97 years, 7 months, 5 days

4. Elder LeGrand Richards

  • Born: February 6, 1886
  • Died: January 11, 1983
  • Age at death: 96 years, 11 months, 6 days

5. President David O. McKay

  • President of the Church (1951-1970)
  • Born: September 8, 1873
  • Died: January 18, 1970
  • Age at death: 96 years, 4 months, 11 days

6. President Joseph Fielding Smith

  • President of the Church (1970-1972)
  • Born: July 19, 1876
  • Died: July 2, 1972
  • Age at death: 95 years, 11 months, 14 days

7. President Ezra Taft Benson

  • President of the Church (1985-1994)
  • Born: August 4, 1899
  • Died: May 30, 1994
  • Age at death: 94 years, 9 months, 27 days

8. President M. Russell Ballard

  • Currently Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve
  • Born: October 8, 1928
  • Age as of August 8, 2022: 93 years, 10 months, 1 day

9. President Charles W. Penrose

  • First Presidency counselor (1911-1925)
  • Born: Feb 4, 1832
  • Died: May 16, 1925
  • Age at death: 93 years, 3 months, 13 days

10. Elder L. Tom Perry

  • Born: Aug. 5, 1922
  • Died: May 30, 2015
  • Age at death: 92 years, 9 months, 26 days

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