ST. GEORGE — A new apostle has been selected by the leadership of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to fill the vacancy created by the death of 95-year-old President M. Russell Ballard last month.

Elder Patrick Kearon was called to be the newest member of the Quorum of Twelve Apostle of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to replace M. Russell Ballard who died last month, Salt Lake City, Utah, date unspecified | Photo courtesy of Intellectual Reverse, St. George News

The church announced Friday that Elder Patrick Kearon, 62, was called to be the newest member of the faith’s Quorum of Twelve Apostles. Members of the quorum help oversee the business interests and global development of the church and also serve under the leadership of the church’s president and his two counselors. Those called to the office fill the position until death.

Latter-day Saints consider the apostles to be prophets in their own right under the direction of the prophet-president of the church.

That position is currently held by President Russell M. Nelson. In addition to directing the church, they are called to be “special witnesses of Jesus Christ” to the world at large.

“The call to the holy apostleship is one of witness to the world of the divinity of the Lord Jesus the Christ,” Nelson said at the time of his call to serve in that capacity in 1984, according to a church statement on Kearon’s appointment.

Prior to being called to fill the seat left by Ballard, Kearon served as a senior president of the Presidency of the Seventy since 2020 and served as a General Authority Seventy since April 3, 2010.

“This sacred call is so very daunting and humbling to me,” Kearon in Friday’s announcement. “I will need to place all my trust in the Savior as I seek to become what He needs me to be and share my witness of His love and light. The abundance and grace of Jesus Christ have brought immense joy into my life, as well as healing balm in times of trial. I love Him. I will strive to serve Him to the best of my ability.”

Kearon was born in the city of Carlisle in the Cumbria area of northwest England and was raised in the United Kingdom and the Middle East, according to his church biography. He would join the church in 1987 while living in California. Two years later he met Jenniffer Hulme, a Brigham Young University student visiting London as a part of a study aboard program. The two married in 1991 and lived in England for 19 years before relocating to Utah when Kearon was called as a General Authority Seventy.

FILE – M. Russell Ballard, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, speaks during the World Congress of Families event, Oct. 27, 2015, in Salt Lake City. Ballard, one of the highest ranking leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, died Nov. 12, 2023 | Photo by Rick Bowmer, The Associated Press, St. George News

Before joining church leadership, Kearon ran his own communications consultancy and served on the boards of charities, schools and an enterprise agency.

He fills the seat of M. Russell Ballard, who died last month at age 95. As the second-longest tenured member of the Quorum, Ballard was second-in-line to become church president. The longest-tenured Quorum member becomes the new president in a longstanding church tradition meant to ensure a smooth transfer of power within the faith.

Like other General Authorities of the church, Kearon has given sermons in the faith’s biannual general conference. During the April 2022 general conference, he condemned abuse of any sort inflicted upon others and how victims of the same may find solace and healing through their faith in Christ.

“Jesus has overcome the abuses of this world to give you power to not only survive but one day, through Him, to overcome and even conquer,” he said.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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