Thomas S. Monson, president of the Mormon church, dies at 90

Published: Jan. 3, 2018 at 7:08 AM

Sara Shayanian

Jan. 3 (UPI) -- Thomas S. Monson, the 16th president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, died at the age of 90 in his home in Salt Lake City, Utah.

"With tender feelings we announce that Thomas S. Monson, president and prophet of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, died this evening at 10:01 pm in his home in Salt Lake City," Eric Hawkins, a church spokesman, wrote in an email Tuesday. "He was with family at the time of his passing."

Monson, who was president of the church for ten years beginning in 2008, began his career as a church bishop at the age of 22 and became the youngest ever church apostle in 1963 at the age of 36.

The church leader led the Mormon faith's involvement in the passage of the gay marriage ban in California in 2008 and lowered the minimum age for missionaries from 19 to 18 for men and from 21 to 19 for women.

The number of missionaries grew by 37 percent the following year after Monson altered the minimum age requirement.

In November 2015, Monson and other top Mormon authorities announced a new policy in which same-sex church couples would be referred to as "apostates" -- worthy of excommunication and forbidden from getting their children baptized.

Monson was also considered a "prophet, seer and revelator" by the nearly 16 million members of the church.

"He doesn't act as if he is an administrator who has to get through all of the issues," Neil L. Andersen, a Mormon apostle, said. "He acts more like a shepherd. That's who he is, someone whose impact on people is more important than are his calculations or strategies for the church."

The church leader 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.

Monson is expected to be succeeded by the longest-tenured member of the church's governing Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, Russell M. Nelson.

Remembering the life and legacy of President Thomas S. Monson (1927-2018).

- The LDS Church (@LDSchurch) January 3, 2018

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