In an address to Mormon millennials in 2016, President Nelson defended a controversial church policy set down by President Monson that declared gay Mormon couples to be apostates, and barred their children from most religious rites until they turn 18.
The youngest person ever to be given such a high rank, Monson served for more than 50 years among the elite of LDS church officials, making him a well-known face and personality to numerous generations of practicing Mormons. He started serving the church at an early age as a bishop in his 20s, presiding over a mission in his early 30s and finally being called to serve in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles at age 36 in 1963.
Monson, who was born in Salt Lake City, on August 21, 1927, served as the 16th president since February 3, 2008.
As well as his life-long dedication to his faith, Monson had a "broad business background" and led a successful career in the publishing industry, the church said on its website. Orrin Hatch, who said of Monson, "Service was his motto and humility his hallmark". "He died at age 90 from causes incident to age".
Monson's wife of 65 years, the former Frances Johnson, died in 2013.
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Gov. Gary Herbert, governor of Utah, remarked in a statement on Facebook, "Jeanette and I join millions of people around the world in mourning the death of LDS Church President Thomas S. Monson". Monson took an integral role in supervising the church's humanitarian and development projects and the expansion of their welfare program. "I hope I work effectively, but I never feel I have exhausted what I should be doing" (Gerry Avant, Church News, Feb. 9, 2008). "Our thoughts and prayers are with his three children and the rest of the Monson family", he said. He lowered the qualifying age of missionaries for both men and women, sparking an increase in the number of missionary members.
Monson's death late Tuesday evening was announced by the church in an email from spokesman Eric Hawkins.
Funeral services for President Thomas S. Monson will be held in the Conference Center on Temple Square at Noon Friday, January 12.
Following the death of the president, the First Presidency is automatically dissolved and the two counselors in the First Presidency return to positions of seniority in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.
"Prophets see ahead - they see the harrowing dangers the adversary has placed, or will yet place, in our path", President Nelson said.