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3 Jan 2018

90 year old President Died after 10 year Tenure in Service

The Salt Lake Tribune notes that, "During Monson's nearly 10-year tenure. Mormonism faced some of the most intense public scrutiny in its history — from a divisive vote over gay marriage to high-profile Mormon candidacies for president and a hotly debated policy for same-sex couples and their children.
Still, the private prophet stayed largely behind the scenes, showing up unexpectedly at funerals, comforting the bereaved, visiting the sick and, before her death, caring for his wife, Frances."

CBS Salt Lake City affiliate KUTV reports the church issued a statement saying Monson died "at 10:01 pm in his home in Salt Lake City. He was with family at the time of his passing. He died at age 90 from causes incident to age. President Monson ... leaves behind a legacy of service and good works. A successor is not expected to be formally chosen by the Church's Quorum of the Twelve Apostles until after President Monson's funeral."

Prominent Utah figures were quick to tweet tributes. Among them:

For more than 50 years, Monson served in top leadership councils for the church - making him a well-known face and personality to multiple generations of Mormons.

A church bishop at the age of 22, the Salt Lake City native became the youngest church apostle ever in 1963 at the age of 36. He served as a counselor for three church presidents before assuming the role of the top leader of the church in February 2008.

Monson's job is expected to go to next longest-tenured member of the church's governing Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, Russell M. Nelson, per church protocol.

Monson's presidency was marked by his noticeably low profile during a time of intense publicity for the church, including the 2008 and 2012 campaigns of Mormon Mitt Romney for U.S. president. Monson's most public acts were appearances at church conferences and devotionals as well as dedications of church temples.

Monson will also be remembered for his emphasis on humanitarian work; leading the faith's involvement in the passage of gay marriage ban in California in 2008; continuing the religion's push to be more transparent about its past; and lowering the minimum age for missionaries.

Mormons considered Monson a warm, caring, endearing and approachable leader, said Patrick Mason, associate professor of religion at Claremont Graduate University in California. He was known for dropping everything to make hospital visits to people in need. His speeches at the faith's twice-yearly conferences often focused on parables of human struggles resolved through faith.

He put an emphasis on the humanitarian ethic of Mormons, evidenced by his expansion of the church's disaster relief programs around the world, said Armand Mauss, a retired professor of sociology and religious studies at Washington State University.

Monson often credited his mother, Gladys Condie Monson, for fostering his compassion. He said that during his childhood in the Depression of the 1930s their house in Salt Lake City was known to hobos riding the railroads as a place to get a meal and a kind word.

"President Monson always seemed more interested in what we do with our religion rather than in what we believe," Mauss said.

A World War II veteran, Monson served in the Navy and spent a year overseas before returning to get a business degree at the University of Utah and a master's degree in business administration from the church-owned Brigham Young University.

Before being tabbed to join the faith's church's governing Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, Monson worked for the church's secular businesses, primarily in advertising, printing and publishing including the Deseret Morning News.

Monson married Frances Beverly Johnson in 1948. The couple had three children, eight grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren. Frances died in 2013 at the age of 85.

Throughout his life, Monson was an avid fisherman who also raised homing pigeons, specifically, roller pigeons who twirled as they flew. He was known for his love of show tunes, Boy Scouts and the Utah Jazz.

Monson's legacy will be tied to the religion's efforts to hold tight to its opposition of same-sex marriage while encouraging members to be more open and compassionate toward gays and lesbians as acceptance for LGBT people increased across the county.

At Monson's urging, Mormons were vigorous campaign donors and volunteers in support of a measure to ban gay marriage in California in 2008. That prompted a backlash against the church that included vandalism of church buildings, protest marches and demonstrations outside church temples nationwide.

In subsequent years, the church began utilizing a softer tone on the issue. In 2015, the church backed an anti-discrimination law in Utah that gave unprecedented protections for gay and transgender people while also protecting religious freedoms.

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