News Release

Church Calls Three New Apostles

During the Saviour's ministry on earth, He organised His church among the people. He called twelve disciples who He taught and later ordained as Apostles. 

After the death of Judas Iscariot, which reduced the number of Apostles to eleven, it was imperative that a new Apostle was called to maintain the number as the Saviour had intended it. They thus met and chose Mathias to take the place of Judas (Acts 1:26).

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints today maintains the same number of Apostles. Over the course of this past year, three of the serving Apostles passed on due to causes incident to age. These were Elders Boyd K. Packer, L.Tom Perry and Richard G. Scott. They had all been valiant men of virtue who had a solid testimony of Jesus Christ.

In the 185th Semi-Annual Conference held in the beginning of October this year, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints announced three new Apostles, namely Elder Ronald A. Rasband, Elder Gary E. Stevenson and Elder Dale G. Renlund.


Elder Renlund, who in his professional career was a cardiologist, is a man very familiar with the African continent. He previously served as the Area President of the Church in the Africa Southeast Area, based in Johannesburg. He oversaw the operations of the Church in the areas stretching from the Democratic Republic of Congo, through East Africa, down to South Africa and the islands of the Indian Ocean.

Born in Salt Lake City Utah in 1952, he married Ruth Lybbert in 1977 and the two are parents of one daughter.

Elder Renlund, a great admirer of Nelson Mandela, is known for using his example in some of his  teachings. In a past conference, he noted,  "After 27 years of imprisonment for his role in the antiapartheid struggle, Mandela was the first democratically elected president of South Africa. His forgiveness of those who had imprisoned him was remarkable. He received widespread acclaim and praise. Mandela frequently deflected accolades by saying, “I’m no saint—that is, unless you think a saint is a sinner who keeps on trying.” Regarding this comment Elder Renlund said, "This statement—“a saint is a sinner who keeps on trying”—should reassure and encourage members of the Church. Although we are referred to as Latter-day Saints, we sometimes flinch at this reference. The term Saints is commonly used to designate those who have achieved an elevated state of holiness or even perfection. And we know perfectly well that we are not perfect." He has taught that being a Saint means to keep trying and further challenges members of the Church to do so while allowing others the same opportunity.

Born on August 6, 1955, to Evan N. and Vera Jean Stevenson, Elder Stevenson, also a newly called Apostle, grew up in Utah’s Cache Valley in a family that migrated to that area from the East Coast of the United States. While a young man, he accepted a call to serve a mission to Japan. That assignment instilled in him a dual love for Asia and for sharing the gospel that has lasted a lifetime.

He married Lesa Jean Higley in  April 1979 in the Idaho Falls Idaho Temple. The Stevensons have four sons. 

While at Utah State, Elder Stevenson obtained a degree in business administration. He later cofounded and served as president of an exercise equipment manufacturing company.

The third new Apostle, Elder Rasbund, was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, in 1951. He married Melanie Twitchell in 1973. They are the parents of five children and have twenty-two grandchildren.

He has vast experience as he has served in many different leadership positions in the Church both in Europe and in the United States. He has an honorary Doctorate of Business and Commerce in 1995 from Utah Valley University.

The Quorum of the Twelve Apostles is the second-highest governing body in the Church - the highest being The First Presidency which comprises the Prophet of the Church and his two counselors. 

Apostles are special witnesses of Jesus Christ, called to teach and testify of Him throughout the world. They travel frequently, addressing and encouraging large congregations of members and those of other faiths, as well as meeting with local leaders.

When they are not traveling, members of the Quorum of the Twelve meet in counsel together and with other general Church leaders on matters affecting the worldwide Church, such as missionary work, temple building, spiritual and temporal welfare, and much more.

Each of the newly called Apostles had the opportunity to speak during the recently concluded Semi-Annual General Conference of the Church. They each bore testimonies of the Saviour Jesus Christ and expressed humility for their new assignments.

They will each be a great vessel in the hands of the Lord to futher His purposes on the earth.

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