The April 2016 General Conference Starting Lineup

The April 2016 General Conference Starting Lineup


By: Jason Woodward // This post originally appeared in October 2013 and has been updated.

Over the next two days, Mormons all over the world will tune in via satellite, radio, cable TV, iPhone — and yes, even Android — to watch our semi-annual General Conference, where we’re privileged to hear from the great men and women who are called by God to lead this church.

At Normons, we couldn’t be more excited to receive their inspired thoughts and counsel.

In preparation, and in the spirit of fantasy sports season (and partly because Space Jam is on Netflix right now and has one of the greatest starting lineup scenes of all time) we thought we’d help you get in the mood with this handy General Conference Starting Lineup. It contains the speakers who are sure to grace the pulpit during the course of the conference, along with their key stats.

starting lineup

So if you’re tuning in for the first time, here’s a great intro to who you’ll be hearing from! And if you’re a long-timer like us, it’s always great to brush up on your apostolic knowledge. So without further ado:

The April 2016 General Conference Starting Lineup

First Presidency

President Thomas Spencer Monson
Prophet, President of the Church

President Thomas S. Monson

STATS
Wisdom: 10
Kindness: 10
Vertical: 0.5”
40-yard dash time: NA
Signature Move: Telling stories about visiting old ladies in the hospital
Surprise Attack: Wiggling his ears

NOTES
• Prophet and president of the church since 2008
• Holds the Priesthood keys for governing the entire church
• Served in the U.S. Navy, but didn’t serve a mission
• Loves quoting poetry

RECENT ADDRESSES
Be An Example and a Light (Oct 2015)
Blessings of the Temple (Apr 2015)
Ponder the Path of Thy Feet (Oct 2014)

 

President Henry Bennion Eyring
First Counselor in the First Presidency

President Henry B. Eyring

STATS
Spirituality: 10
Tender Eyes: 10
Hair: 3
Degrees From Harvard: 2 (MBA, DBA)
Signature Move: Tearing up when sharing a personal experience

NOTES
• Taught at Stanford business school and MIT
• Born in New Jersey
• Father was a renowned chemist who taught at the Princeton University

 RECENT ADDRESSES
The Holy Ghost as Your Companion (Oct 2015)
“Is This Not the Fast that I Have Chosen?” (Apr 2015)
Continuing Revelation (Oct 2014)

 

President Dieter Friedrich Uchtdorf
Second Counselor in the First Presidency

President Dieter F. Uchtdorf

STATS
Power: 10
Authority: 10
Smile: 11
Call Sign: Silver Fox
Signature Move: Making aviation analogies at every opportunity

NOTES
• German; only non-American apostle
• Most handsome apostle (arguably…but seriously)
• Former Lufthansa pilot and head of pilot training school
• Exotic accent

RECENT ADDRESSES
A Summer with Great-Aunt Rose (Oct 2015)
The Gift of Grace (Apr 2015)
Receiving a Testimony of Light and Truth (Oct 2014)

 

Quorum of Twelve

Elder Russell Marion Nelson

Elder Russell M. Nelson

STATS
Witness of Christ: 10
Medical Knowledge: 10
Children: 10
Daughters: 9
Languages Spoken: 5 (English, French, Spanish, Russian and Chinese)
Surprise Attack: Feasting on doughnuts

NOTES
• First apostle to visit Kazakhstan and dedicate it for the preaching of the gospel
• Internationally renowned cardiothoracic surgeon
• Worked with a team of doctors to create the first heart-lung machine
• Has 10 children, 56 grandchildren, and 14 great-grandchildren
• Big-time snow skier (one of his “greatest loves”)

RECENT ADDRESSES
A Plea to My Sisters (Oct 2015)
The Sabbath is a Delight (Apr 2015)
Sustaining The Prophets (Oct 2014)

 

Elder Dallin Harris Oaks

Elder Dallin H. Oaks

STATS
Boldness: 10
Means Business: 10
Fluency in Legalese: 10
Years as a justice on the Utah Supreme Court: 4
Hair: 1
Signature Move: Giving talks in the form of structured, logical arguments

NOTES
• Taught law at the University of Chicago
• Associate Justice of the Utah Supreme Court and was on President Reagan’s short list for the US Supreme Court (before being called as an Apostle)
• Prankster in high school and college
• Served as chairman of the Board of Directors for PBS (5 years) and the Polynesian Cultural Center (8 years)

RECENT ADDRESSES
Strengthened by the Atonement of Jesus Christ (Oct 2015)
The Parable of the Sower (Apr 2015)
Loving Others and Living with Differences (Oct 2015)

 

Elder Melvin Russell Ballard

Elder M. Russell Ballard

STATS
Inspiration: 10
Love for the Saints: 10
# of Months it took to convince his wife to marry him: 11
Personal reply letters he wrote to people after his talk in the 1980 General Conference: 600
Nickname in his college fraternity: “The Bishop”

NOTES
• Has been married for 62 years, with 7 kids and 43 grandkids
• Favorite meal: Steak and French fries
• Went to East High School before High School Musical was cool
• Called as first counselor in the presidency of the British Mission while still a 21 year-old missionary

RECENT ADDRESSES
God Is at the Helm (Oct 2015)
The Greatest Generation of Young Adults (Apr 2015)
Stay in the Boat and Hold On! (Oct 2014)

 

Elder Robert Dean Hales

Elder Robert D. Hales

STATS
Dedication to the Gospel: 10
Earnestness: 10
# of Heart Attacks Survived: 2
Threw A No-Hitter as a Pitcher in Long Island: Yes

NOTES
• Born in New York City and raised in Queens
• Had to travel 20 miles to and from each meeting as a young married man
• MBA from Harvard Business School
• Played baseball for the University of Utah; nickname: “Rapid Robert”
• Served as a fighter pilot in the U.S. Air Force
• Enjoys playing golf

RECENT ADDRESSES
Meeting the Challenges of Today’s World (Oct 2015)
Preserving Agency, Protecting Religions Freedom (Apr 2015)
Eternal Life — To Know Our Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ (Oct 2014)

 

Elder Jeffrey Roy Holland

Elder Jeffery R. Holland

STATS
Testimony of the Restoration: 10
Laying The Smack Down: 11
Degrees from Yale: 2 (MA, PhD)
Years spent as president of BYU: 9
Special Ability: Can actually pick up the hammer of Thor

NOTES
• Played college basketball before his mission
• Is generally accepted to be the most hardcore apostle
• Founded the BYU Jerusalem Center
• Currently responsible for LDS affairs in Africa

RECENT ADDRESSES
Behold Thy Mother (Oct 2015)
Where Justice, Love, and Mercy Meet (Apr 2015)
Are We Not All Beggars? (Oct 2014)

 

Elder David Allan Bednar

Elder David A. Bednar

STATS
Straight-Lacedness: 10
Letter-of-the-Lawness: 10
Ken Doll Hair: 9
Years as president of Ricks College: 7
Youngest current apostle: Yes (61)

NOTES
• Doctorate in organizational behavior from Purdue
• Played quarterback in high school
• Huge Arkansas Razorbacks fan, where he was also professor
• Served as president of Ricks College (now BYUI) and oversaw its transition to a four-year university

RECENT ADDRESSES
“Chosen to Bear Testimony of My Name” (Oct 2015)
Therefore They Hushed Their Fears (Apr 2015)
Come and See (Oct 2014)

 

Elder Quentin LaMar Cook

Elder Quentin L. Cook

STATS
Faith: 10
Selflessness: 10
Years as an apostle: 9
Writes blog posts for multi-faith websites: Yes
Related to Kendrick Lamar: No

NOTES
• Mission companions with Elder Holland in England
• Graduated from Stanford Law School
• Worked as a corporate attorney for 27 years

RECENT ADDRESSES:
Shipshape and in Bristol Fashion: Be Temple Worthy—in Good Times and Bad Times (Oct 2015)
The Lord is My Light (Apr 2015)
Choose Wisely (Oct 2014)

 

Elder David Todd Christofferson

Elder D. Todd Christofferson

STATS
Humility: 10
Compassion: 10
Hair: 8.5
Letters in his last name: 14
Reaction to being called as an apostle: “seemed impossible.”

NOTES
• Mission president was Richard G. Scott
• Graduated from Duke law school
• Assisted Judge John. J. Sirica during the Watergate hearings
• Participated in the Hill Cumorah Pageant for two summers as a teenager
• Only member of the church in his high school class

RECENT ADDRESSES
Why The Church (Oct 2015)
Why Marriage, Why Family (Apr 2015)
Free Forever, To Act For Themselves (Oct 2014)

 

Elder Neil Linden Andersen

Elder Neil L. Andersen

STATS
Integrity: 10
Soft-Spokenness: 10
Combover: 7
# of times his family has moved for a church assignment in the past 20 years: 8
# of talks given about butterflies: 1

NOTES
• MBA from Harvard Business School
• Lived on a farm in Idaho where he raised rabbits and rode horses
• Regularly played basketball with his kids after coming home from work
• Oversaw the development of the movie The Testaments

RECENT ADDRESSES
Faith is not by Chance, but by Choice (Oct 2015)
Thy Kingdom Come (Apr 2015)
Joseph Smith (Oct 2014)

 

Elder Ronald Anderson Rasband

STATS
Genuineness: 10
Power Tie game: Moderate to Strong
# of months as an apostle: 6
Total # of times he’s spoken in conference: 7
Profiles about him written in the New York Times: 1

NOTES
• President and chief operating officer of Huntsman Chemical before getting called as a general authority
• Dedicated the first chapel the church built in the Czech Republic
• Had missionaries serve as volunteers at Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty while he was president of the NY, NY North Mission
• When he asked out his future wife they were both dating other people, but he suggested that they go out because they were such good friends, and the rest is history

RECENT ADDRESSES
I Stand All Amazed (Oct 2015)
The Joyful Burden of Discipleship (Apr 2014)
Special Lessons (Apr 2012)

 

Elder Gary Evan Stevenson

STATS
Desire to Serve: 10
Cache Valley accent: 8
Ute or Cougar: Ute
How he described the call to become an apostle: “a knee-buckling moment”
# of widows in his childhood ward that he and his dad (who was bishop) ministered to: 30

NOTES
• Co-founded a company in college that sold imported Asian kitchenware, then switched to wood-burning stoves, then switched to trampolines, then switched to fitness equipment and later became Icon Health & Fitness
• Speaks fluent Japanese; served as a full-time missionary and mission president there

RECENT ADDRESSES
Plain and Precious Truths (Oct 2015)
Your Four Minutes (Apr 2014)
Be Valiant in Courage, Strength and Activity (Oct 2012)

 

Elder Dale Gunnar Renlund
STATS

Witness of the living reality of christ: 10
Age: 63
Related to Gunnar Stahl: man I hope so, that guy was awesome
First language: Swedish
Previous profession: cardiologist
Is his wife a total baller? Yes

NOTES
• Most junior apostle
• Born in Utah to full Scandanavian immigrants who came to to Salt Lake City to be sealed in the temple
• Served in the Africa Southeast Area Church presidency, traveling extensively to countries such as Angola, Ethiopia and Congo
• When he asked out his future wife they were both dating other people, but he suggested that they go out because they were such good friends, and rest is history

RECENT ADDRESSES
Through God’s Eyes (Oct 2015)
Latter-day Saints Keep on Trying (Apr 2015)
Preserving the Heart’s Mighty Change (Oct 2009)

 


General Auxiliaries 

President Linda Kjar Burton
General Relief Society President

Sister Linda K Burton

Sister Linda K Burton

STATS
Charity: 10
Virtue: 10
Age when first called to be a Relief Society President: 19
Number of grandchildren: Also 19
Time spent as General Relief Society President: 18 months
Signature look: Square framed spectacles
Famous catch phrase: “First observe, then serve”

NOTES
• Graduated from the University of Utah
• Lived in New Zealand as a young girl while her father served as a mission president
• Served with her husband as President of the Korea Seoul West mission from 2007-2010

RECENT ADDRESSES
We’ll Ascend Together (Apr 2015)
Prepared in a Manner That Never Had Been Known (Oct 2014)
Wanted: Hands and Hearts to Hasten the Work (Apr 2014)

 

President Rosemary Mix Wixom
General Primary President

rosemary-m-wixom-

Sister Rosemary M Wixom

STATS
Enthusiasm: 10
Conviction: 10
Hair Level: Robyn
Time needed to transform Screaming Child into Praying Child: 3.8 seconds

NOTES
• Received her degree in Elementary Education from Utah State University, where she developed a passion for teaching children
• Has 6 children and 8 grand children
• Served with her husband in presiding over the D.C. South Mission from 2006-2009

RECENT ADDRESSES
Discovering the Divinity Within (Oct 2015)
Returning to Faith (Oct 2014)
Keeping Covenants Protects Us, Prepares Us, and Empowers Us (Apr 2014)

 

Sister Cheryl A. Esplin
1st Counselor in the Primary (Spoke in 2016 Women’s Conference)

Sister Cheryl Esplin

Sister Cheryl Esplin

STATS
Grandchildren: 10
Grade taught before church service: 5th
Grew up in a town that’s 1.1 Square miles: Yes
Signature topic: feeling Heavenly Father’s love

Would choose BYU over Utah: 100% of the time

NOTES
• Learned the value of hard work growing up on a farm
• Presided over Raleigh, NC mission with husband from 1997-2000
• Loves spending time with her grandchildren — they cook pancakes, play dress-up, go on hikes, and read stories together
• Hopefully accepting applications for pseudo-grandkids (see criteria above)

RECENT ADDRESSES
He Asks Us to Be His Hands (April 2016)
The Sacrament – A Renewal for the Soul (Oct 2014)
Filling Our Homes with Light and Truth (Apr 2015)

President Bonnie Lee Green Oscarson

General Young Women’s President

bonnie-oscarson-young-women-general-president

Sister Bonnie L Oscarson

STATS
Faith: 10
Temperance: 10
Children: 7
Pinterest Followers: 12.8K

NOTES
• Fluent in Swedish
• Claims not to regret any of the sleep she missed while teaching seminary for 9 years
• Returned to school after a 35-year hiatus and graduated with a degree in literature

RECENT ADDRESSES
Defenders of the Family Proclamation (Apr 2015)
Sisterhood: Oh, How We Need Each Other (Apr 2014)
Be Ye Converted (Oct 2013)

 

Sister Neill F. Marriott
2nd Counselor in the Young Women (Spoke in 2016 Women’s Conference)

neill-marriott-md-1190464

Sister Neill F. Marriott

STATS
Charm: 10
Children: 11
Conversion rate: 100%
Degree earned at Southern Methodist University: English Literature
Superpower: Southern Drawl

NOTES
• Was introduced and converted to the LDS Church by her now-husband David Marriott
• Presided over Brasil, Sao Paolo Mission with her husband from 2002-2005
• Enjoys riding her grandson’s hoverboard
• Recently spoke at a UN Panel on the role of women

RECENT ADDRESSES
What Shall We Do? (April 2016)
Yielding Our Hearts to God (October 2015)
Share Your Light (Oct 2014)

39 Comments

Add yours
  1. 2
    Carah

    This was so thorough and accurate!

    Too many favorite parts but Elder Scott’s soul piercing whisper and “Signature Move: looking directly into the camera and saying the words “I plead with you” until it punches you in the heart” had my crying tears of laughter.

    GENUIS.

  2. 3
    Susan Groesbeck

    I love this entry! What fun trivia. Can you believe how impressive that stats / credentials are? No wonder God called them to lead his team!

    THanks for all your work

  3. 5
    Ashley N.

    Elder Holland spoke to the missionaries in Chile and pounded the pulpit so hard he broke it. My husband served there and that is legendary among missionaries there 🙂 Thanks for this entry – fun and uplifting too!

    • 6
      Jared

      I served in the Birmingham England mission a number of years after Elder Holland had been called to the twelve and where he had also previously served as the area authority. Legend has it that he once chastised our mission during a zone conference and the imprint of his ring was left in the podium. Legends…

  4. 7
    Nathan

    Lots of good stuff in there. Thanks for the smile.

    I did want to mention something about one of President Monson’s frequent themes that was mentioned above. People joke about it, but there’s a very special reason he spoke so often about “when he visited old ladies in the hospital.” In his stories about them, he’s clarified that they were the widows for whom he had stewardship when he was a bishop. Here’s the piece most don’t put together when poking even good natured fun at the stories. President Monson was called as bishop at the age of TWENTY-TWO, and served in that capacity from 1950 to 1955. The thing is, the stories about the hospital visits to these elderly women weren’t from 50 years ago. The last of “his widows” passed away within the last few years. Most of them were approximately his age.
    So why would there be such a large group of widowed women in their 20’s during the 1950s? Why did President Monson care so much about their well-being throughout their lives? He was demonstrating some of the most touching patriotism I could ever imagine. These women gave up more for their country than I ever could, and laid a TREMENDOUS sacrifice on the Altar of Freedom, surpassed only by their fallen husbands. They, and President Hinckley, deserve better than to have jokes made about his admiration for them. They are heroes, in my opinion just as much as the husbands they commended to God, while waiting patiently for their eternal reunion.

    • 8
      Normons

      Thanks for the comment, Nathan. Although this is meant as a broadly accessible and light-hearted article, it in no way seeks to undermine the sacredness of these callings or the service that these men and women render.

      Glad you could provide some depth to the playful, cursory approach we decided to take with this post.

  5. 11
    MCS

    Very funny. But the 13 year old girls got lost somewhere between Sister Wixom and Sister Oscarson (who technically is in charge of YW ages 12-18, not 14-18). 🙂

    • 15
      Normons

      Hahaha no way! I’d never seen this until now, but you’re right, they’re basically the exact same concept. I even considered photoshopping them into cards but didn’t have the time/skills haha. Nuts.

      – Jason

  6. 16
    Jeremy

    Super cool. But you missed the(?) most prominent fact about Elder Oaks: after law school he served as a clerk for U.S. Supreme Justice Earl Warren. Clerks are handpicked to do most of the writing for the Justice. This is extremely rare, and Warren was one of the most prominent justices of all time, and Elder Oaks clerked for him during one of the most critical times in the Supreme Court.

  7. 20
    Chrissy Gavin

    This is so cute and clever! Loved the Thor joke with Elder Holland! and turning screaming children into praying children for Sister Wixom! This was fun, thanks.

  8. 21
    Jan

    You might also want to mention that Elder Oaks was president of BYU, since the others (Elder Holland and Elder Bednar) were noted as such. I loved this and hope my kids will read it when I send them the link! Just today as I looked at Elder Bednar’s hair, I tried to figure out exactly how to describe it. Ken-doll hair is PERFECT!

  9. 22
    megan kimball

    Thank you so much for this. It was not only funny but informative. I am using it tonight for FHE as we talk about conference and what we have learned.

  10. 23
    Joyce

    When I first glanced at Elder Oaks Stats I thought it said “Baldness 10”. Then I checked it quickly and realized I needed to change my glasses! But this is very clever and made me giggle many times.

  11. 26
    Yelida

    This is so funny i can’t just stop smiling and laughing. This so great.
    Nooo,one of my favorite Elder Bernard: Ken doll hair jajjaj that’s funny.
    ELder Uchtdorf have a exotic accent that is something new.

  12. 28
    William Kuka

    Such inspiring leaders of this great & wonderful church , the NORMONS , always wanted too know the middle names of our First Presidency & Apostles all the comments made me laugh so hard . May they continue to inspire & lead us gracefully . The women who also lead us in the teachings of our Young Woman , Primary , Relief Society what awe inspiring Leaders to lead the next generation of Leaders among us who knows it could be YOU .

  13. 29
    TysenBringhurst

    I would like to make a clarification that President Monson didn’t serve a traditional mission. However, he did serve as a mission president at the age of 29 for three years, so shouldn’t that qualify as serving a mission?

  14. 32
    Steven

    Something that isn’t always obvious about Elder Scott- he records his own talks in Spanish for the broadcast. So our brothers and sisters that only speak Spanish get to hear him in his own voice. I have always been impressed by his desire to share things in his own words, in multiple languages!

  15. 34
    S Deborah Fryer

    This was a crack-up..

    Elder Holland is undoubtedly my favorite apostle. He visited my son’s mission in Alaska in 2011 and told the missionaries that if they apostatized after they got home, they had better not cross his path or if they did there would be a scene and I quote “and I don’t care if your mother is standing there!” He’s a man after my own heart. I think we need to tell people how it really is. Sugar coating is not for true followers of Christ.

    He also said to an investigator fireside that when you join this Church “you get way more than you bargained for.” As a convert of 31 years he I am here to tell you that he is absolutely correct.

  16. 35
    Wendy Rojas

    I don’t know if you intended this reaction from your readers, but I actually teared up reading about the apostles and the sisters who serve in the general board presidencies of Young Women, Relief Society and Primary. They are wonderful, normal people, who have decided in their lives to be the best version of themselves, to serve others and serve the Lord. Thank you for creating this page.

  17. 39
    Madelyn

    My stepmom is Stephanie Zundel, she said you were friends and I thought it was funny that I sent this to her and she knew who you were. This was really funny ?

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