Dieter F. Uchtdorf

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Dieter F. Uchtdorf
Dieter F. Uchtdorf3.jpg
Second Counselor in the First Presidency
February 3, 2008 (2008-02-03)
Called by Thomas S. Monson
Predecessor Henry B. Eyring
Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
October 2, 2004 (2004-10-02) – February 3, 2008 (2008-02-03)
Called by Gordon B. Hinckley
End reason Called as Second Counselor in the First Presidency
LDS Church Apostle
October 7, 2004 (2004-10-07)
Called by Gordon B. Hinckley
Reason Deaths of David B. Haight and Neal A. Maxwell[1]
Presidency of the Seventy
15 August 2002 (2002-08-15) – 2 October 2004 (2004-10-02)
Called by Gordon B. Hinckley
End reason Called to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
First Quorum of the Seventy
April 7, 1996 (1996-04-07) – October 2, 2004 (2004-10-02)
Called by Gordon B. Hinckley
End reason Called to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
Second Quorum of the Seventy
April 2, 1994 (1994-04-02) – April 7, 1996 (1996-04-07)
Called by Ezra Taft Benson
End reason Transferred to the First Quorum of the Seventy
Military career
Allegiance Germany Germany
Service/branch Bundeswehr Kreuz.svg Air Force
Awards Commander's Trophy (USAF)
Personal details
Born Dieter Friedrich Uchtdorf
(1940-11-06) 6 November 1940 (age 76)
Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia
(now Ostrava, Czech Republic)
Alma mater International Institute for Management Development (MBA)
Spouse(s) Harriet Reich Uchtdorf
Children 2

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 seventh most senior apostle in the ranks of the church.[2]

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 traveled through areas being bombed to move to Zwickau in eastern Germany while his father was away in the army,[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 eleven, his father's political beliefs, incongruent with Soviet rule, earned him the label of "dissenter", thus putting their lives in danger,[6] they fled East Germany and resettled in U.S.-occupied West Germany. His sisters accomplished this by jumping from a moving train that happened to pass through West Germany, while Dieter and his mother climbed a mountain to avoid Russian guard checkpoints.

Uchtdorf started studying mechanical engineering at age 18 but later continued in business administration in Cologne and graduated from Institut pour l'Etude des Methodes de Direction de l'Entreprise (today the International Institute for Management Development) in Lausanne, Switzerland, with an MBA.[7] He received an honorary doctorate in international leadership from Brigham Young University during the April 2009 graduation ceremony.[8]


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.[9] Due to an agreement between the West German and US governments, Uchtdorf trained as a fighter pilot in Big Spring, Texas,[10] 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 forces, he served for six years as fighter pilot in West Germany, leaving in 1965 to join Lufthansa. By 1970, at 29 years of age, 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 to senior vice president of flight operations in 1982.[5] He left Lufthansa in 1996, two years after being called as an LDS Church general authority.[10]

LDS Church service[edit]

Uchtdorf visiting the Accra, Ghana LDS mission in 2007

Uchtdorf served twice as a stake president in the LDS Church,[9] 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 Seventy on 2 April 1994,[3] on 7 April 1996, he was transferred to the First Quorum of Seventy.[11] Uchtdorf became a member of the church's Presidency of the Seventy on 15 August 2002.[12]


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.[13] Uchtdorf was the first church apostle ordained in the 21st century, as an apostle, Uchtdorf is accepted by the church as a prophet, seer, and revelator.

Uchtdorf is the eleventh apostle of the LDS Church to be born outside the United States,[14] he 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,[15] since the split with the Czech Republic, this dedication was specific for the new country.[16]

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][12][17] He is the second member of the First Presidency who is not a native English speaker,[18] after joining the First Presidency, Uchtdorf became a naturalized US citizen;[19] he has remained a citizen of Germany.[20]

While serving in the First Presidency, Uchtdorf has dedicated the Tegucigalpa Honduras,[21] Quetzaltenango Guatemala,[22] Manaus Brazil,[23] Fort Lauderdale Florida,[24] Cordoba Argentina,[25] Trujillo Peru,[26] Tijuana Mexico,[27] and Tucson Arizona[28] temples. Uchtdorf has also participated in the dedication of many other temples as a member of the Twelve and First Presidency.

In May 2016, Uchtdorf returned to his native Czech Republic to create the first stake in that nation.[29]


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.[30]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Uchtdorf and David A. Bednar were ordained on the same date to fill the vacancies created by the deaths of Haight and Maxwell.
  2. ^ Apostolic seniority is generally understood to include all ordained apostles (including the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles; there is currently an apostolic vacancy due to the recent death of Robert D. Hales). Seniority is determined by date of ordination, not by age or other factors. If two apostles are ordained on the same day, the older of the two is typically ordained first, as was the case with Uchtdorf and David A. Bednar, who were ordained on the same day.

    See Succession to the presidency and Heath, Steven H. (Summer 1987). "Notes on Apostolic Succession" (PDF). Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought. 20 (2): 44–56. .
  3. ^ a b c "The First Presidency", Church News, 19 August 2008 
  4. ^ Uchtdorf, Dieter F. (November 2007), "Have We Not Reason to Rejoice?", Ensign 
  5. ^ a b c Holland, Jeffrey R. (March 2005), "Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf: On to New Horizons", Ensign: 10–15 
  6. ^ Russell M. Nelson, "President Dieter F. Uchtdorf: A Family Man, a Man of Faith, a Man Foreordained", Ensign, July 2008.
  7. ^ "Leader Biographies: Official Biographies for leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints", Newsroom, LDS Church, retrieved 2011-09-06  |contribution= ignored (help)
  8. ^ Taylor, Scott (24 April 2009), "Pres. Uchtdorf receives honorary doctorate from BYU", Deseret News 
  9. ^ a b "German apostle embraces world", Church News, 16 October 2004 
  10. ^ a b Avant, Gerry (28 May 2009), "Erstwhile pilot at home among comrades", Church News 
  11. ^ Spörl, Gerhard (2007-07-04), "A Mormon Goes West: The German Apostle", Spiegel Online 
  12. ^ a b "Elder Uchtdorf, former pilot, named new counselor in First Presidency", Deseret Morning News, 4 February 2008 
  13. ^ Hinckley, Gordon B. (November 2004), "Condition of the Church", Ensign 
  14. ^ "Apostles Born Outside the United States", Newsroom, LDS Church, archived from the original on 2006-04-10 
  15. ^ "Daunting task known as Slovakian miracle", Church News, 11 November 2006 
  16. ^ "Slovakia dedicated", Church News, 9 September 2006 
  17. ^ Weaver, Sarah Jane (9 February 2008), "A united pledge to serve, to support", Church News 
  18. ^ The other man who served in the First Presidency who did not have English as his native tongue was Anthon H. Lund, who was from Denmark. Marion G. Romney, although born in Mexico, had American parents and English was his native language.
  19. ^ Matt Canham, "Mormon leader: Obama's immigration plan matches LDS values", The Salt Lake Tribune, 9 March 2013.
  20. ^ Tad Walsh, "LDS Church reaffirms stance on immigration", Deseret News, 15 April 2013.
  21. ^ Meridian Magazine article on Tegucigalpa Temple dedication
  22. ^ LDS Church article on Quezaltenango Temple
  23. ^ Mormon article on Manuas Temple
  24. ^ "Church Dedicates Fort Lauderdale Florida Temple, 143rd in the World", Newsroom, LDS Church, 2014-05-04 
  25. ^ "Church Dedicates Córdoba Argentina Temple: The second temple in Argentina and 145th in the World", Newsroom, LDS Church, 2015-05-17 
  26. ^ "Church Dedicates Trujillo Peru Temple: The second temple in Peru and 147th in the world", Newsroom, LDS Church, 2015-06-21 
  27. ^ "149th Temple in the World Is Dedicated in Tijuana, Mexico: 13th Mormon temple in Mexico", Newsroom, LDS Church, 2015-12-13 
  28. ^ "Tucson Arizona Temple Is Dedicated: Marks the 6th Mormon temple in Arizona and 157th in the world", Newsroom, LDS Church, 2017-08-13 
  29. ^ Weaver, Sarah Jane (17 May 2016). "President Uchtdorf creates first stake in Czech Republic". Church News. 
  30. ^ "Mormonism in Pictures: President Dieter F. Uchtdorf visits Saints in Europe". Mormon Newsroom. LDS Church. 20 June 2014. 


External links[edit]

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints titles
Preceded by
Henry B. Eyring
Second Counselor in the First Presidency
February 3, 2008
Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
October 7, 2004 – February 3, 2008
Succeeded by
David A. Bednar