ST. GEORGE — Jeffrey R. Holland has been called to serve as Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

According to an official statement from the church, the official appointment was made by church President Russell M. Nelson on Nov. 15. Holland succeeds the late Acting President M. Russell Ballard, who died on Nov. 12.

Holland had been hospitalized in August  “for observation and treatment of ongoing health complications,” according to a statement from the church. He was released in September.

Patricia Holland, Elder Holland’s wife, died at the age of 81 in July following a brief hospital stay. The couple had previously been excused from church assignments in April due to health issues related to contracted COVID-19.

Utah First Lady Abby Cox shares a laugh with Elder Jeffrey R. Holland during “One Utah Summit,” Cedar City, Utah, Oct. 5, 2021 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

Holland hails from St. George and became a member of the LDS church’s Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in 1994. Prior to that, he served as a member of the church’s First Quorum of the Seventy.

As an apostle in the church, Holland is one of 15 men — the quorum and three-member First Presidency combined — who make up the top leaders of the church. Prior to becoming one of the church’s leading General Authorities, Holland was a professional educator.

Holland is also beloved among members of the church for the sermons he gives during the faith’s biannual general conferences.

He will succeed Ballard, who was second-in-line to become church president based on being the second-longest tenured member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, which he said he was called to join in 1985. The leadership body sits below the first presidency, and helps set church policy and oversees the faith’s business interests.

The Quorum of the Twelve Apostles is the second-highest presiding body in the government of the church. In addition to their primary responsibility to be special witnesses of the name of Christ throughout the world, these Apostles have significant administrative responsibilities in overseeing the operation and development of a global church. They serve under the direction of the First Presidency, which includes the church President and two counselors.

It is the church’s practice that the senior member by date of assignment to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles becomes quorum president. President Holland, like President Ballard before him, is designated “Acting President” because President Dallin H. Oaks, who is senior in apostolic service, currently serves as First Counselor in the First Presidency.