A look back on President Nelson’s five years as Church president

Jan 11, 2023, 7:30 PM | Updated: 9:39 pm

President Nelson Christmas video general conference...

President Russell M. Nelson, president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, delivers the closing address during the Sunday afternoon session of the 191st Semiannual General Conference in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on Sunday, Oct. 3, 2021. Saturday will mark five years since President Nelson was ordained and set apart as Church President. (Photo credit: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints)

(Photo credit: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints)

SALT LAKE CITY — Saturday will mark five years since President Russell M. Nelson was set apart and ordained as President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

To mark the occasion, Sarah Jane Weaver, editor of The Church News, joined Inside Sources with Boyd Matheson on Tuesday to look back on the past five years. 

Both Matheson and Weaver mention media outlets mentioning the successor to former church President Thomas S. Monson wouldn’t alter the course of the Church. They make mention of the media outlets saying President Nelson’s time as prophet would be uneventful.

“And I will say that they missed that by a country mile,” Matheson says. “Maybe a little bit further.”

Just in the first few years, President Nelson has done so much, Weaver says. He changed the way members minister to one other, retiring both home teaching and visiting teaching. Additionally, President Nelson reduced the three-hour meeting block down to two hours. 

Recently, he changed tithing settlement to tithing declaration.

Perhaps most importantly, he asked members to use the correct name of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Matheson points out that President Nelson hit the ground running, in a fast and furious kind of way. 

“It was extraordinary for anyone at any age,” Matheson said. “But for someone who started this journey at 93 and is 98 years old today.”

Church President and temples

Matheson and Weaver point out that President Nelson has been a temple-building president. 

In October, President Nelson announced that the church has 168 operating temples, 53 others that are under renovation and additional 54 that are in the preconstruction phase.

Weaver says if you add those all up it’s nearly 300 temples. She says that as worldwide religious leader, he could have touted that number, but he didn’t.

“I think he has said repeatedly that it’s not about the numbers,” Weaver said. “It’s about putting the temples closer to the people and giving them access to something that will bless their lives.”

How he leads

Matheson asks Weaver, “What’s one of the things personally that stands out in terms of President Nelson and how he leads?”

“Well, President Nelson has so many, many leadership qualities,” Weaver said. “But the one that the brethren that served with him talk most about is how definitive he is. He seems to make a decision and go forward.”

Weaver adds, “He just seems to look forward. He’s such a forward-thinking leader.”

Matheson shares another leadership quality of President Nelson that he heard from another church leader.

“I remember one of the members of the Quorum of the Twelve saying that you know he’s almost always the smartest person in the room,” he said. “But they have never heard him say ‘I knew that’ or ‘I already knew that.'” 

President Nelson was born on Sept. 9, 1924. He is the 17th president in church history.


Inside Sources with Boyd Matheson can be heard on weekdays from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Bonneville International Corporation, the company that owns KSL NewsRadio, is a subsidiary of Deseret Management Corporation, which is owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

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A look back on President Nelson’s five years as Church president