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Dieter Friedrich Uchtdorf (born 6 November 1940) is a German aviator, airline executive and religious leader. He currently serves as the Second Counselor in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) and is the eleventh most senior apostle in the ranks of the church.

Early life and education Edit

Uchtdorf was born to ethnic Germans Karl Albert Uchtdorf and Hildegard Else Opelt in Moravská Ostrava (German: Mährisch-Ostrau), which at the time was in the Nazi-occupied Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia (now Ostrava, Czech Republic).[3] When he was a child, his family moved to Zwickau in eastern Germany while his father was away in the army, traveling through areas being bombed.[4] As a result of his grandmother's encounter with an LDS Church member in a soup line, Uchtdorf's family joined the LDS Church when he was still young.[5]

When Uchtdorf was about ten, his father's political beliefs, incongruent with Soviet rule, earned him the label of "dissenter", thus putting their lives in danger.[citation needed] They fled East Germany and resettled in U.S.-occupied West Germany.

He started studying mechanical engineering at age 18 but later continued Business Administration in Cologne and graduated fromInstitut pour l'Etude des Methodes de Direction de l'Entreprise (today the International Institute for Management Development) in Lausanne, Switzerland with an MBA.[6] He received an honorary doctorate in International Leadership from Brigham Young Universityduring the April 2009 graduation ceremony.[7]

Aviator Edit

Since Uchtdorf faced conscription into the newly formed Bundeswehr he chose instead to volunteer for the West German Air Force in 1959, at age 19, to become a fighter pilot.[8] Due to an agreement between the West German and US governments, Uchtdorf trained as a fighter pilot in Big Spring, Texas[9] where he excelled, earning the coveted Commander's Trophy (USAF) for being the best student pilot in his class.[5] After earning wings from both the German and US Air Force, he served for 6 years as fighter pilot in West Germany, leaving in 1965 to join Lufthansa Airlines. By 1970, at 29 years old, Uchtdorf had reached the rank of Captain with Lufthansa. He was appointed in 1975 as head of Lufthansa's new Arizona Training School and in 1980 he was made head chief pilot of cockpit crews, followed by appointment as senior vice president of flight operations in 1982.[5] He left Lufthansa in 1996, two years after being called as an LDS general authority.[9]

LDS Church service Edit

Uchtdorf served twice as a stake president in the LDS Church,[8] presiding over the Frankfurt Germany and the Mannheim Germany stakes.

Uchtdorf was called as a general authority and member of the church's Second Quorum of the Seventyon 2 April 1994.[3] On April 7, 1996 he was transferred to the First Quorum of Seventy.[10] Uchtdorf became a member of the church's Presidency of the Seventy on 15 August 2002.[11]

Apostle Edit

Uchtdorf was sustained a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles on 2 October 2004. He was ordained an apostle on 7 October 2004 by church president Gordon B. Hinckley. Uchtdorf and David A. Bednar were called to fill the vacancies created by the July 2004 deaths of quorum members David B. Haight and Neal A. Maxwell.[12]As an apostle, Uchtdorf is accepted by the church as a prophet, seer, and revelator.

He is the eleventh apostle to be born outside the United States.[13] Uchtdorf is the first German apostle in church history and was the first born outside of North America since the death of John A. Widtsoe in 1952.

While in Slovakia on 12 May 2006, Uchtdorf offered a prayer dedicating the land "for the preaching of the gospel" —an LDS Church leadership custom usually observed at the time missionaries arrive in a new country. Although missionaries had been in what is now Slovakia for over a century,[14] since the split with the Czech Republic, this was specific for the new country.[15]

Counselor in the First Presidency Edit

On 3 February 2008, Uchtdorf became the Second Counselor to Thomas S. Monson in the church's First Presidency.[3][11][16] He is the second member of the First Presidency who is not a native English speaker.[17]

While serving in the First Presidency, Uchtdorf has dedicated four LDS temples: the Tegucigalpa Honduras Temple,[18] the Quetzaltenango Guatemala Temple,[19] the Manaus Brazil Temple.[20] and the Fort Lauderdale Florida Temple.[21]

Family Edit

Uchtdorf and his wife, Harriet Reich Uchtdorf, were married on 14 December 1962 in the Swiss Temple. They are the parents of two children and have six grandchildren and one great-grandchild.[22]

Works Edit

  • Uchtdorf, Dieter F. (2011), Your happily ever after, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, ISBN 978-1-60641-652-5, OCLC 727126663
  • —— (2010), The remarkable soul of a woman, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, ISBN 978-1-60641-244-2, OCLC 502304343
  • —— (2005), Sister Eternal, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, ISBN 978-1-59038-535-7, OCLC 60931317

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