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Carole Mikita reporting Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints mourned the loss of two of their Apostles this year and then months later, voted to sustain two new members of that quorum.
Our news staff voted that story number 9 for 2004.
Elder Neal A. Maxwell, April 2004: "There are clusters of embers embedded in each of your lives, and these can help us quote, 'Remember how merciful the Lord has been,' end quote. He certainly has been to me."
Described as an eloquent man of faith, Elder Neal A. Maxwell died just before midnight on July 21st, the 23rd anniversary of becoming a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. He had lost his eight-year battle with leukemia.
At his funeral, President Gordon B. Hinckley paid tribute to his friend, a former educator and adminstrator, saying he knows of no other man of whom so much good can be said.
President Gordon B. Hinckley: "Each talk was a masterpiece, each book a work of art, worthy of repeated reading. I think we shall not see one like him again."
Ten days later, the church lost another of its leaders. Elder David B. Haight passed away July 31st, one month shy of his 98th birthday. The former government and business leader was remembered as a man with a charming sense of humor who never hesitated to share his faith.
Elder David B. Haight/ October 2002: "I wish at this time to pay tribute and gratitude to my Heavenly Father for the blessings I've received all the years of my life."
Pres. Gordon B. Hinckley: "Elder Haight's passing has left me with a deep and somber feeling of loneliness. He was the eldest among us, and I felt I had an older brother."
Then, the first weekend in October brought an historic moment as two new apostles greeted each other and watched thousands in Salt Lake join millions around the world to vote their approval.
Dieter and Harriet Uchtdorf are natives of Germany. He is a former Lufthansa vice-president and pilot, and has served as a general authority.
Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf/ new member, Quorum of the Twelve Apostles: "My wife and I, our heart is joyous, to receive such a great responsibility."
David and Susan Bednar are from Rexburg, Idaho, where he was president of BYU-Idaho, overseeing its transition from the largest private junior college in America to a four-year university.
Elder David A. Bednar/ new member, Quorum of the Twelve Apostles: "As the names were presented today and I listened to Hinckley and Monson and Faust and Packer and Perry, those all seemed to fit together, until they got to Bednar. That to me seems like the one not like the others."
In accepting the life-long position, each couple pledged to share their faith and serve with charity and compassion wherever in the world they are sent.