Since the True Church was Restored to Earth in 1830 - there have been 17 Modern Prophets of God to lead the righteous to establish Zion in the last days.

#17: Russell M. Nelson


On Sunday, January 14, 2018, in the upper room of the Salt Lake Temple, Russell M. Nelson was sustained and set apart as the 17th president and prophet of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

An internationally renowned surgeon and medical researcher, Dr. Nelson received his B.A. and M.D. degrees from the University of Utah (1945, 47). Honorary scholastic societies include Phi Beta Kappa and Alpha Omega Alpha. He served his residency in surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston and at the University of Minnesota, where he was awarded his Ph.D. Degree in 1954. He also received honorary degrees of Doctor of Science from Brigham Young University in 1970, Doctor of Medical Science from Utah State University in 1989, and Doctor of Humane Letters from Snow College in 1994.

President Nelson has held numerous positions of responsibility in the Church. He served as stake president of the Salt Lake Bonneville Stake from 1964 to June, 1971, when he was called as general president of the Sunday School. [1]

#16: Thomas S. Monson


President Thomas S. Monson, who served as 16th President of The Church beginning in February 2008, as a counselor in the First Presidency from 1985 to 2008, and as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles from 1963 to 1985, passed away on January 2, 2018.

Thomas S. Monson was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, on August 21, 1927. He served in the United States Navy near the close of World War II. In 1950, at age 22, he was called as bishop of the 67th Ward in Salt Lake City. Five years later he was called as a counselor in the presidency of the Salt Lake Temple View Stake. From 1959 to 1962, he served as president of the Church’s Canadian Mission, headquartered in Toronto, Ontario. Shortly after his return from Canada, at the age of 36, he was sustained to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles on October 4, 1963. He served as a counselor in the First Presidency from 1985 to 2008, serving with President Ezra Taft Benson, President Howard W. Hunter, and President Gordon B. Hinckley. [2]

#15: Gordon B. Hinckley


An American religious leader and author who served as the 15th President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) from March 1995 until his death in January 2008 at age 97. Considered a prophet, seer, and revelator by church members, Gordon B. Hinckley was the oldest person to preside over the church in its history.[3]

Gordon B. Hinckley was divinely prepared to be a prophet. Raised in the Salt Lake City area, he was baptized by his father, Bryant Hinckley, on April 28, 1919. After graduating from the University of Utah, he was called to serve a mission to Great Britain. After he returned, he altered his former plans to study journalism, and began a lifetime of service to the church. He worked extensively in public affairs, and was employed as the executive secretary of the Church Radio, Publicity, and Literature committee. His call to serve as an Apostle came in 1961. He served eventually, as well, as counselor to three other Church Presidents: President Spencer W. Kimball, President Ezra Taft Benson, and President Howard W. Hunter.

#14: Howard W. Hunter


An American lawyer and the 14th president from 1994 to 1995. His nine-month prophetic tenure is the shortest in the church's history. Howard W. Hunter was the first prophet of the LDS Church born in the 20th century and the last to die in it. He was sustained as an LDS apostle at the age of 51, and served as a general authority for over 35 years.

Prior to his call as an apostle, Hunter held several leadership positions in the LDS Church. He was the first president of the church's Pasadena California Stake, where he had also served as a bishop.[4]

Hunter became a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in 1959. He filled a vacancy in the Quorum created when apostle Henry D. Moyle was added to the First Presidency following the death of Stephen L Richards, a counselor in the First Presidency. As an apostle, Hunter led church negotiations to acquire land in Jerusalem to build the BYU Jerusalem Center, which he dedicated in 1989.

#13: Ezra Taft Benson


Ezra Taft Benson was an American farmer, government official, and religious leader who served as the 15th United States Secretary of Agriculture during both presidential terms of Dwight D. Eisenhower and as the 13th president of the Church from 1985 until his death in 1994.[5]

In 1948, Republican presidential nominee Thomas E. Dewey approached Benson before the election that year about becoming the United States Secretary of Agriculture. Although Benson had supported his distant cousin Robert A. Taft over Dwight D. Eisenhower for the 1952 Republican nomination and did not know Eisenhower, after his election Eisenhower nevertheless appointed Benson as Secretary of Agriculture

Benson was a lifelong supporter of Scouting. He started in 1918 as assistant Scoutmaster. On May 23, 1949, he was elected a member of the National Executive Board of the Boy Scouts of America. He received the three highest national awards in the Boy Scouts of America—the Silver Beaver, the Silver Antelope, and the Silver Buffalo—as well as world Scouting's international award, the Bronze Wolf.[6]

#12: Spencer W. Kimball


American business, civic, and religious leader, and 12th president of the Church, Spencer W. Kimball was the grandson of early Latter-day Saint apostle Heber C. Kimball, and was born in Salt Lake City, Utah Territory. He spent most of his early life in Thatcher, Arizona, where his father, Andrew Kimball], farmed and served as the area's stake president.

He served an LDS mission from 1914 to 1916, then worked for various banks in Arizona's Gila Valley as a clerk and bank teller. Kimball later co-founded a business, selling bonds and insurance that, after weathering the Great Depression, became highly successful. Kimball served as a stake president in his hometown Thatcher Arizona Stake from 1938 until 1943, when he was called to serve as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

#11: Harold B. Lee


Harold B. Lee was an American religious leader and educator who served as the 11th president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) from July 1972 until his death in December 1973.

In 1930, Lee was called as president of the LDS Church's Salt Lake Pioneer Stake in Salt Lake City. He became the youngest stake president in the church, at that time, when he was set apart. The 1929 Great Depression in the United States left more than half of its members without jobs. He established a welfare program to aid members in distress that became a model emulated by the entire LDS Church. As part of the program, he helped organize the Pioneer Stake bishop's storehouse in 1932. The storehouse provided members with basic food necessities. Bishop's storehouses remain part of the church's welfare program today. In 1936, Lee became managing director of the Church Welfare Program. Although he also pursued a political career, he began full-time church service when he was called to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in 1941.[7]

#10: Joseph Fielding Smith


Joseph Fielding Smith Jr. was an American religious leader and writer who served as the tenth president of The Church from 1970 until his death in 1972. He was the son of former church president Joseph F. Smith and the great-nephew of the prophet Joseph Smith.

Smith was named to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in 1910, when his father was the church's president. When Smith became president of the LDS Church, he was 93 years old; he began his presidential term at an older age than any other president in church history. Smith's tenure as President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles from 1951 to 1970 is the third-longest in church history;[8] he served in that capacity during the entire presidency of David O. McKay.

Smith spent some of his years among the Twelve Apostles as the Church Historian and Recorder. He was a religious scholar and a prolific writer. Many of his works are used as references for church members. [9]

#9: David O. McKay


David O. McKay was an American religious leader and educator who served as the ninth president of The Church from 1951 until his death in 1970. Ordained an apostle and member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in 1906, McKay was a general authority for nearly 64 years, longer than anyone else in LDS Church history.

In 1905, church apostles John W. Taylor and Matthias F. Cowley resigned from the Quorum of the Twelve due to disagreement over the manifesto forbidding polygamy, and apostle Marriner W. Merrill died in early 1906. With three vacancies, George F. Richards, Orson F. Whitney, and McKay were called as apostles in the LDS Church's April 1906 general conference. McKay was 32 at the time.[10]

#8: George Albert Smith


American religious leader who served as the eighth president of The Church, George Albert Smith was one of nineteen children of Latter Day Saint apostle John Henry Smith. His mother, Sarah Farr, was the first of John Henry Smith's two wives (who he had simultaneously for many years). His grandfather, for whom he was named, was also an LDS Church apostle as well as a cousin of church founder Joseph Smith. John Henry Smith and George Albert Smith are the only father and son pair to have been members of the Quorum of the Twelve at the same time, having served in the Quorum together between 1903 and 1910.

With the death of Heber J. Grant, Smith became president of the church on May 21, 1945. When World War II ended, Smith helped send supplies to Europe and was also known for his efforts to revitalize missionary work. Smith dedicated the Idaho Falls Idaho Temple on September 23, 1945. Over his lifetime, he traveled approximately a million miles fulfilling church assignments.

#7: Heber J. Grant


Heber J. Grant was an American religious leader who served as the seventh president of The Church. Grant worked as a bookkeeper and a cashier, then was called to be an LDS apostle on October 16, 1882, at age 25. After the death of Joseph F. Smith in late 1918, Grant served as LDS church president until his death.

Grant was made a block teacher (similar to the modern position of home teacher) when he was still a youth, which was rare at the time. He was ordained a seventy at 15, which was also rare at the time. In June 1875, when the first Young Men's Mutual Improvement Association (YMMIA) was organized in the Salt Lake 13th Ward, Grant, then 19, was called to serve as a counselor to Junius F. Wells in its presidency. At 26, he served a mission to the Native Americans from 1883 to 1884.

In 1880, Grant became president of the Tooele Utah Stake, moving there with his wife, Lucy, and their children. In 1882, Grant was called as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve. Early in his service in the quorum, he made many trips to Arizona, earning the title "The Arizona Apostle." Grant twice served missions among the Yaqui in Mexico.[11]

#6: Joseph F. Smith


American religious leader who served as the sixth president of The Church, Joseph F. Smith was the nephew of Joseph Smith, the founder of the Latter Day Saint movement, and was the last president of the LDS Church to have known him personally.

Becoming an orphan at the age of 13, Smith reported that he was devastated by his mother's death, and relied upon the emotional support and help of Brigham Young and his stepfather, Heber C. Kimball. Even with the support of his older half-brother John Smith, Smith assumed primary responsibility for his young sister, Martha Ann, and subsequently left school in 1854.

At the age of fifteen, Smith was called to go on his first LDS mission to the Sandwich Islands under the direction of apostle Parley P. Pratt. After a difficult period of adjustment to the local culture, he successfully learned the Hawaiian language and reported great success in four years of missionary work on the islands.

#5: Lorenzo Snow


Lorenzo Snow was an American religious leader who served as the fifth president of The Church from 1898 until his death in 1901. Snow was the last president of the LDS Church in the nineteenth century and the first in the twentieth.

In 1831, Joseph Smith, founder of the Latter Day Saint movement, took up residence in Hiram, Ohio, four miles from the Snow farm. The Snow family was Baptist, but soon took a strong interest in the new religious movement. Snow recorded that he heard the Book of Mormon being read aloud in his home in Mantua and met Smith at Hiram in 1831.

Shortly after his call to the Twelve, Snow served a mission to Italy and French-speaking Switzerland.

#4: Wilford Woodruff


Wilford Woodruff was an American religious leader who served as the fourth president of The Church from 1889 until his death in 1898. He formally ended the practice of plural marriage among the members of the LDS Church in 1890.

Woodruff joined the Latter Day Saint church after studying Restorationism as a young adult. He met Joseph Smith in Kirtland, Ohio, before joining Zion's Camp in April 1834. He stayed in Missouri as a missionary, preaching in Arkansas and Tennessee before returning to Kirtland. He married his first wife, Phebe, that year and served a mission in New England. Joseph Smith called Woodruff to be a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in July 1838, and he was ordained in April 1839. Woodruff served a mission in England from 1839 until 1841, leading converts from England to Nauvoo.

After government disenfranchisement of polygamists and women in Utah Territory, and seizure of church properties which threatened to extend to temples, Woodruff ended the church's official support of new polygamous marriages in the 1890 Manifesto. Woodruff died in 1898 and his detailed diaries provide an important record of Latter Day Saint history. [12]

#3: John Taylor


John Taylor was an English religious leader who served as the third president of The Church from 1880 to 1887. He is the first and so far only president of the LDS Church to have been born outside the United States. He had formal schooling up to age fourteen, and then he served an initial apprenticeship to a cooper and later received training as a woodturner and cabinetmaker. He claimed that as a young man, he had a vision of "an angel in the heavens, holding a trumpet to his mouth, sounding a message to the nations" - the angel Moroni.

They then moved to Far West, Missouri, where Taylor was ordained an apostle on December 19, 1838. He assisted other church members as they fled frequent conflicts to Commerce, Illinois (soon after renamed Nauvoo). In 1839, Taylor and some of his fellow apostles served missions in Britain. While there, Taylor preached in Liverpool and was responsible for Mormon preaching in Ireland and the Isle of Man.

Taylor served as president of two missions of the LDS Church. In 1849, he began missionary work in France and was the first church mission president in the country. He also supervised missionary work in Germany, but did not himself go to any of the countries that would later form Germany. Taylor later served as president of the Eastern States Mission, based in New York City. In this capacity he published a newspaper that presented the position of the Latter-day Saints.

#2: Brigham Young


Brigham Young was an American religious leader, politician, and settler. He was the second president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) from 1847 until his death in 1877. He founded Salt Lake City and he served as the first governor of the Utah Territory. Young also led the foundings of the precursors to the University of Utah and Brigham Young University.

Young had many nicknames, among the most popular being "American Moses" because, like the biblical figure, Young led his followers, the Mormon pioneers, in an exodus through a desert, to what they saw as a promised land. Young was dubbed by his followers the "Lion of the Lord" for his bold personality and commonly was called "Brother Brigham" by Latter-day Saints. A polygamist, Young had 55 wives. He instituted a church ban against conferring the priesthood on men of black African descent, and also led the church during the Utah War against the United States.

Young was ordained a member of the original Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in May 1835. Later that month, Young left with the other members of the Quorum of the Twelve on a proselytizing mission to New York state and New England. Young became the quorum president in March 1839. Under his direction, the quorum served a mission to the United Kingdom and organized the exodus of Latter Day Saints from Missouri in 1838.

Young was ordained President of the Church in December 1847, three and a half years after Smith's death.

#1: Joseph Smith


Joseph Smith Jr. was an American religious leader and founder of Mormonism and the Latter Day Saint movement. When he was 24, Smith published the Book of Mormon. By the time of his death, 14 years later, he had attracted tens of thousands of followers and founded a religion that continues to the present with millions of global adherents.

Smith was born in Sharon, Vermont. By 1817, he had moved with his family to western New York, the site of intense religious revivalism during the Second Great Awakening. Smith said he experienced a series of visions, including one in 1820 during which he saw "two personages" God the Father and Jesus Christ, and another in 1823 in which an angel directed him to a buried book of golden plates inscribed with a Judeo-Christian history of an ancient American civilization. In 1830, Smith published what he said was an English translation of these plates called the Book of Mormon. The same year he organized the Church of Christ, calling it a restoration of the early Christian church. Members of the church were later called "Latter Day Saints" or "Mormons", and Smith announced a revelation in 1838 which renamed the church as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

In 1831, Smith and his followers moved west, planning to build a communalistic American Zion. They first gathered in Kirtland, Ohio, and established an outpost in Independence, Missouri, which was intended to be Zion's "center place". During the 1830s, Smith sent out missionaries, published revelations, and supervised construction of the Kirtland Temple. The collapse of the church-sponsored Kirtland Safety Society Anti-Banking Company and violent skirmishes with non-Mormon Missourians caused Smith and his followers to establish a new settlement at Nauvoo, Illinois, where he became a spiritual and political leader. In 1844, when the Nauvoo Expositor criticized Smith's power and practice of polygamy, Smith and the Nauvoo city council ordered the destruction of their printing press, inflaming anti-Mormon sentiment.[12] Fearing an invasion of Nauvoo, Smith rode to Carthage, Illinois, to stand trial, but was killed when a mob stormed the jailhouse.

Smith published many revelations and other texts that his followers regard as scripture. His teachings discuss the nature of God, cosmology, family structures, political organization, and religious collectivism. His followers regard him as a prophet comparable to Moses and Elijah, and several religious denominations consider themselves the continuation of the church that he organized, including The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Community of Christ.

What is a Prophet

Called by the Eternal God as his spokesman, the prophet has a duty to teach the church the commands, prophecies and revelations as they are given to him from God. He helps the world to under the true nature of God as given in (John 3:17) - "'And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou has sent'

Between 1834 and 1836, John and Leonora Taylor participated in a religious study group in Toronto. The group discussed problems and concerns with their Methodist faith, and quickly became known as the "Dissenters." Taylor and his wife first came in contact with the Church of the Latter Day Saints in 1836 after meeting Parley P. Pratt, an apostle in the church, in Toronto.


  1. Russell M. Nelson - Biography from
  2. Prophets of the Restoration
  3. LDS Leader ties longevity records - Deseret News 2006.
  4. Howard W. Hunter - Aug 1988 LDS Ensign Magazine]
  5. President Ezra Taft Benson: A Sure Voice of Faith LDS Ensign July 1994]
  6. President Benson]
  7. The Ministry of Harold B. Lee LDS Church Bio
  8. Orson Hyde's tenure was from 1847 to 1875 and Rudger Clawson's tenure was from 1921 to 1943.
  9. [Gibbons, Francis M. (1992), Joseph Fielding Smith: Gospel Scholar, Prophet of God, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, ISBN 0-87579-537-4.]
  10. [McKay, David Lawrence (1989). My Father, David O. McKay. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book. ISBN 0875792782.]
  11. [Johnson, Sherrie Mills (January 2004). "Heber J. Grant: A Prophet for Hard Times". Ensign: 57.]
  12. [Baugh, Alexander L.; Black, Susan, eds. (2010). Banner of the Gospel: Wilford Woodruff. Provo, Utah: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University. ISBN 978-0-8425-2776-7. OCLC 658200536.]

See Also