During his decade in the governing First Presidency, LDS apostle Dieter F. Uchtdorf emerged as Mormonism’s de facto goodwill ambassador to the world.
Now, he officially will lead the Utah-based faith’s global outreach as head of its missionary activities, according to a news release Monday.
Those proselytizing efforts include more than 70,000 full-time missionaries serving in more than 420 missions.
Besides that new duty, the popular German will be the LDS Church’s primary contact in Europe and oversee the Correlation Executive Council, which reviews and approves all of the faith’s materials.
In his debut news conference last week as the 17th president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Russell M. Nelson said that Uchtdorf, who was released from the First Presidency and returned to his place in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, “has already received major assignments for which he is uniquely qualified.”
Point person for Europe, which is still grappling with a refugee crisis, certainly fits that bill.
The 77-year-old Uchtdorf, an apostle since 2004 whose family converted to the LDS Church while living in Germany, was a refugee twice — once while leaving Czechoslovakia, where he was born, and again when fleeing then-East Germany to West Germany.