SALT LAKE CITY — President Thomas S. Monson, leader of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, will no longer come to the church offices to attend meetings on a regular basis "because of limitations incident to his age," LDS Church officials said Tuesday.
President Monson, 89, will remain at his home for the foreseeable future, officials added.
“He communicates and confers with his counselors on matters as needed,” church officials said in a statement. “President Monson is grateful that the work of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles continues without interruption. He appreciates the prayers and support of church members.”
In the event of President Monson’s absence, President Henry B. Eyring, first counselor in the First Presidency, and President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, second counselor in the First Presidency, will oversee the responsibilities of the church. However, the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles will come together in the event of any major issue.
President Monson was hospitalized for a few days in April following the conclusion of the 187th Annual General Conference. He was only able to attend four of the six sessions during the conference. Church spokesperson Eric Hawkins said at the time that President Monson was “feeling the effects of advancing age.”
Upon his release, President Monson continued with his various meetings and responsibilities.
The church has operated in this capacity before, most recently with former President Spencer W. Kimball in the 1980s and President Ezra Taft Benson in the 1990s. In both cases, members of the First Presidency fulfilled the roles of the president.
The church has “provisions for any such circumstance,” said President Gordon B. Hinckley, then a member of the church’s First Presidency, in April 1994.
“It is important,” he added, “that there be no doubts or concerns about the governance of the church and the exercise of the prophetic gifts, including the right to inspiration and revelation in administering the affairs and programs of the Church, when the president may be ill or is not able to function fully.”
President Monson was named the 16th president of the church on Feb. 3, 2008, following the death of former President Hinckley.