Dale Renlund becomes the second Latter-day Saint apostle to get COVID-19

Former cardiologist has ‘mild symptoms’ while his wife is asymptomatic; Gerrit Gong previously tested positive.

(Photo courtesy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) Apostle Dale G. Renlund and his wife, Ruth Lybbert Renlund.

Dale G. Renlund, a former cardiologist, has become the second apostle for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to be diagnosed with the coronavirus.

Renlund and his wife, Ruth L. Renlund, “have tested positive for COVID-19, despite carefully following recommended public health practices,” church spokesman Eric Hawkins announced Saturday in a news release. “Their condition is being carefully monitored.”

Hawkins said Renlund, who turned 68 on Nov. 13, has “mild symptoms” at this time and that his wife is asymptomatic.

“Other church leaders are being tested,” he added, “and taking precautions because of this potential exposure.”

Renlund was named an apostle in October 2015. The retired cardiologist had specialized in heart transplants and had been serving as a general authority in the First Quorum of the Seventy since 2009.

(Chris Detrick | Tribune file photo) Elder Dale G. Renlund speaks during a news conference at the Church Office Building in October 2015 soon after being named an apostle for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

In early October of this year, fellow apostle Gerrit W. Gong and his wife, Susan Lindsay Gong, contracted COVID-19. They, too, experienced mild symptoms and completed their quarantine later that month.

Gong, the faith’s first Asian American apostle, resumed his church duties and, on Halloween, he presided with his wife at the groundbreaking for the faith’s Taylorsville Temple.

When Gong was diagnosed, other top Latter-day Saint leaders, including 96-year-old church President Russell M. Nelson, were tested “out of an abundance of caution.”

Elder Gerrit W. Gong of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and his wife, Susan, participate in the groundbreaking of the Taylorsville Utah Temple on Saturday, October 31, 2020.

“All members of the [governing] First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles were tested,” Hawkins said Oct. 8, “and all tests were negative.”

Now, top church leaders will be tested again.

“The church is following all appropriate health protocols for contact tracing and will continue to follow health guidelines for this virus to protect church leaders and the community,” Hawkins said Saturday. “We continue to encourage all to take steps to protect themselves and one another during this pandemic, including wearing masks, frequently washing hands and social distancing.”