Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes
Carole Mikita reporting In every faith, when a leadership position becomes vacant, questions arise and there is speculation about who will fill it.
Carole Mikita reports on what is expected to happen now in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which has two vacancies in its leading council.
For the first time in 20 years, there are two vacant seats in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.
Less than a month ago, the Quorum consisted of these men of varied backgrounds and ages. Then within ten days of each other, Elders Neal A. Maxwell, 78, and David B. Haight, 97, died.
The last time two new apostles were called, it was the next two in seniority and that was April of 1984.
At the time, they were professionals, world-renowned heart surgeon, Dr. Russel M. Nelson and Dallin H. Oaks, then a supreme court justice and former BYU President. Many church members reacted with surprise.
Robert L. Millet, Ph.D./ Brigham Young University: "Surprise, but no one was surprised in terms of their capability. But it just indicates that they may be chosen from among the body of the Saints."
It's true that any married male, who is a priesthood holder with church leadership experience could be considered.
Who might be on a short list?
Certainly anyone from the First or Second Quorum of the Seventies and the Presiding Bishopric, which manages the church's affairs in the U.S. and in many nations.
Even more specific are men who serve in the Presidency of the Seventy. Elder John. H. Groberg's mission was highlighted in the film 'The Other Side of Heaven". Elder Merrill J. Bateman is a former BYU President. Elder Charles Didier is from Belgium and Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf is from Germany.
Robt. Millet: "It's inevitable, I suppose, as the church grows, we might eventually see an apostle called from a foreign country."
When will the announcement come? Probably during the church's General Conference in October, but it could be sooner.
There is precedent for that-- Jeffrey R. Holland, another former BYU President-- was called to the office in June of 1994.
The word apostle means one who is sent. Observers say, ultimately, those chosen will take on lifelong responsibilities, travel the world, perhaps live in another country for years, working as witnesses of their faith.
There is precedent for members of the Quorum of the Twleve to make recommendations. But the decision will be President Hinckley's, who has said before that he will rely on inspiration for the selections.