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Latest from Mormon Land: Who might be the next LDS apostles?

Also: an interview with Patrick Kearon; letting girls pass the sacrament; Community of Christ’s trailblazing new president; and how weaponizing forgiveness can silence abuse survivors.

(The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) Carl Cook, left. and Marcus Nash of the Presidency of the Seventy.

The Mormon Land newsletter is The Salt Lake Tribune’s weekly highlight reel of developments in and about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Support us on Patreon and get the full newsletter, podcast transcripts and exclusive access to all Tribune religion content.

Apostles-in-waiting?

The Presidency of the Seventy, which increasingly has become a proving ground of sorts for potential apostles, has a new senior leader and a new member.

Carl Cook, 66, has been named the new senior president of the seven-member body, the church announced, replacing Patrick Kearon, 62, who was named an apostle last month.

Meanwhile, Marcus Nash, also 66, has joined the Presidency of the Seventy.

Of the past eight apostles named to the Quorum of the Twelve, six have come from the Presidency of the Seventy: Kearon, Ulisses Soares, Gerrit Gong, Ronald Rasband, Neil Andersen and D. Todd Christofferson.

Here are the current members of that key presidency: Cook, born in Ogden, Utah; José Teixeira, 62, born in Vila Real, Portugal; Carlos Godoy, 62, born in Porto Alegre, Brazil; Brent Nielson, 69, born in Burley, Idaho; Paul Johnson, 69, born in Gainesville, Fla; S. Mark Palmer, 67, born in Te Puke, New Zealand; and Nash, born in Seattle.

When Latter-day Saint prophets die

(The Salt Lake Tribune) From left, former presidents of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints David O. McKay, Gordon B. Hinckley and Thomas S. Monson.

When will the next opening occur among the apostles? No one knows, of course, since a vacancy happens only when one of them dies. Kearon’s elevation came as the result of M. Russell Ballard’s death in November.

A slot also is created when church presidents pass. Historically, those deaths have been spread across every month of the calendar — save for February. Since the faith’s 1830 founding, though, more have succumbed in January than any other month. That 31-day, post-Yuletide stretch has seen the deaths of three Latter-day Saint prophet-presidents:

David O. McKay, the ninth president, died 54 years ago, on Jan 18, 1970, at age 96. He led the church for nearly 19 years.

Gordon B. Hinckley, the 15th president, died 16 years ago, on Jan. 27, 2008. He guided the faith for nearly 13 years

• His immediate successor, Thomas S. Monson, the 16th president, died six years ago, on Jan. 2, 2018. He helmed the church for almost a decade.

Three other months saw multiple deaths of presidents: May (Heber J. Grant and Ezra Taft Benson); July (John Taylor and Joseph Fielding Smith); November (Joseph F. Smith and Spencer W. Kimball).

The latest ‘Mormon Land’ podcast: They came to pass?

Why can’t girls pass the sacrament? Although Latter-day Saint scripture seems to require priesthood to bless the faith’s Communion, it says nothing about passing the bread and water. What other male-only callings could be opened up to girls and women through simple policy changes? By Common Consent blogger Sam Brunson shares his ideas.

Listen to the podcast.

From The Tribune

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Newly named Latter-day Saint apostle Patrick Kearon in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024.

• New apostle Patrick Kearon discusses singles, women and LGBTQ members in a face-to-face interview with The Tribune. He also tells The Associated Press the church must do more to protect sexual abuse victims and warns against “radicalization” and “nationalism.”

• The church’s new public relations boss is drawing criticism from conservative members. Latter-day Saint scholar Matthew Bowman, a Tribune guest columnist, explains why.

(Bethany Baker | The Salt Lake Tribune) Demonstrators with Making Waves for Great Salt Lake Artist Collaborative gather for a vigil for the Great Salt Lake at the Utah Capitol in Salt Lake City on Thursday, Jan. 18, 2024.

• Members of the grassroots Latter-day Saint Earth Stewardship are joining other environmental advocates in daily marches at the Utah Capitol during the 2024 legislative session to raise a warning voice about the shrinking Great Salt Lake.

• For the first time, the Community of Christ — which, like the much-larger Utah-based faith, traces its roots back to Joseph Smith — has appointed its first female prophet-president.

(Community of Christ) Stassi D. Cramm has been called to serve as the first president-prophet of Community of Christ, formerly known as the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

• Our senior religion reporter, Peggy Fletcher Stack, shares a tender story on the 30th anniversary of her twin daughter’s death.

(Michael Stack) Camille Stack in October 1993.

• Tribune columnist Gordon Monson says a final goodbye to the woman who taught him to swing a bat and voice a strong opinion: his mother. He also is looking forward to an eventual heavenly reunion with Kiu, his family’s dog.

• How the Christian tenet of forgiveness sometimes can be weaponized, silencing Latter-day Saint abuse victims and preventing justice.

(Illustration by Christopher Cherrington | The Salt Lake Tribune)

• A lawmaker wants Utah bishops to remember: They can report suspected child abuse — even if the information comes through a penitent’s confession.

• Apostle D. Todd Christofferson dedicates Utah’s Orem Temple.