SALT LAKE CITY — The newest two apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints spoke to the media Thursday following their first three months of service in their new assignments.
Sustained as new members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles on March 31 during the faith’s April General Conference, Elder Gerrit W. Gong and Elder Ulisses Soares say they have been blessed with heartfelt support from Latter-day Saints wherever they go.
“I think our members have a very great love for those who have been called to the office that we are privileged now in which to serve. I have met members in many places who for the office have such great love and we are so grateful to be able to interact with them," said Elder Gong during an interview Thursday afternoon in the LDS Church’s Visitors’ Center on Temple Square.
“When you testify about the Savior and His divine mission, you bring hope into the hearts of our members, and they feel that and embrace that faith and desire to do better, so it is amazing to see the mantle of the Apostleship extending in our responsibilities,” said Elder Soares.
And now seeing firsthand the senior leaders of the church make decisions has strengthened their belief that the church is guided by revelation.
“To feel and sense the inspiration that comes through the Lord’s prophet, and through the First Presidency, and through the Brethren as we counsel together, has been very humbling to me and very real,” Elder Gong added.
Elder Soares, who is from Brazil, is the first apostle called from South America.
“It has been very special to me to be part of the discussions on the issues of the church among the members of the Twelve Apostles and First Presidency and add my little contribution as I bring some experience and background from different parts of the world,” Elder Soares said. “I served in Africa, I served in Brazil, I served part of my ministry in Europe, so all this experience has helped me to contribute in one way or another to help the Brethren who are in charge to make great decisions about the church.”
Both apostles say they have been welcomed to their new quorum with open arms, according to Elder Gong.
“The kindness, the authenticity, the great faith and testimony, that you see in private, that goes perhaps beyond what you see in public,” Elder Gong said.
They will each now have the responsibility to serve in the church for the rest of their lives.
“But our perspective in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles is to address the needs of the church, not just in these days, but also in the future,” added Elder Soares.
It’s a future that will include their leadership for decades to come.