Dieter F. Uchtdorf

Dieter Friedrich Uchtdorf (born 6 November 1940) is a German aviator, airline executive and religious leader. He is a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church). Called as an apostle in 2004, he served as Second Counselor to Thomas S. Monson in the church's First Presidency from 2008 until Monson's death on 2 January 2018.[3] Currently, Uchtdorf is the sixth most senior apostle in the ranks of the church.[4]

Dieter F. Uchtdorf
Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
2 January 2018 (2018-01-02)  present
Second Counselor in the First Presidency
3 February 2008 (2008-02-03)  2 January 2018 (2018-01-02)
Called byThomas S. Monson
PredecessorHenry B. Eyring
SuccessorHenry B. Eyring
End reasonDissolution of First Presidency on death of Thomas S. Monson[1]
Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
2 October 2004 (2004-10-02)  3 February 2008 (2008-02-03)
Called byGordon B. Hinckley
End reasonCalled as Second Counselor in the First Presidency
LDS Church Apostle
7 October 2004 (2004-10-07)
Called byGordon B. Hinckley
ReasonDeaths of David B. Haight and Neal A. Maxwell[2]
Presidency of the Seventy
15 August 2002 (2002-08-15)  2 October 2004 (2004-10-02)
Called byGordon B. Hinckley
End reasonCalled to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
First Quorum of the Seventy
7 April 1996 (1996-04-07)  2 October 2004 (2004-10-02)
Called byGordon B. Hinckley
End reasonCalled to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
Second Quorum of the Seventy
2 April 1994 (1994-04-02)  7 April 1996 (1996-04-07)
Called byEzra Taft Benson
End reasonTransferred to the First Quorum of the Seventy
Military career
Allegiance Germany
Service/branch Air Force
AwardsCommander's Trophy (USAF)
Personal details
BornDieter Friedrich Uchtdorf
(1940-11-06) 6 November 1940
Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia
(now Ostrava, Czech Republic)
Alma materInternational Institute for Management Development (MBA)
Spouse(s)Harriet Reich Uchtdorf

Early life and education

Uchtdorf was born to German parents 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).[5] His father was a customs officer, who was conscripted into the German Army toward the end of World War II and sent to the western front.[6] When a young child, Uchtdorf traveled with his mother and three siblings through areas being bombed in a move to Zwickau in eastern Germany.[7] He later said of this period: "We were refugees with an uncertain future... I played in bombed-out houses and grew up with the ever-present consequences of a lost war and the awareness that my own country had inflicted terrible pain on many nations during the horrific World War II."[8][9] As a result of his grandmother's encounter with a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in a soup line, Uchtdorf's family joined the LDS Church when he was still young.[10]

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.[11] 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 GDR 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, with an MBA.[12] He received an honorary doctorate in international leadership from Brigham Young University during the April 2009 graduation ceremony.[13]


When Uchtdorf was conscripted into the newly formed Bundeswehr in 1959, he volunteered for the air force, at age 19, to become a fighter pilot.[14] Due to an agreement between the West German and US governments, Uchtdorf trained as a fighter pilot in Big Spring, Texas,[15] where he excelled, earning the coveted Commander's Trophy (USAF) for being the best student pilot in his class.[10] After earning wings from both the German and US air forces, he served for six years as a 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 on the US, and in 1980 he was made head chief pilot of cockpit crews, followed by appointment to senior vice president of flight operations in 1982.[10] He left Lufthansa in 1996, two years after being called as an LDS Church general authority.[15]

LDS Church service

Uchtdorf visiting the Accra, Ghana LDS mission in 2007

Uchtdorf served twice as a stake president in the LDS Church,[14] presiding over the Frankfurt and the Mannheim stakes.

Uchtdorf was called as a general authority and member of the church's Second Quorum of the Seventy on 2 April 1994.[5] On 7 April 1996, he was transferred to the First Quorum of Seventy.[16] Uchtdorf became a member of the church's Presidency of the Seventy on 15 August 2002.[17]


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.[18] 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.[19] 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,[20] since the split with the Czech Republic, this dedication was specific for the new country.[21]

Counselor in the First Presidency

On 3 February 2008, Uchtdorf became the Second Counselor to Thomas S. Monson in the church's First Presidency.[5][17][22] He is the second non-English native speaker to have served in the First Presidency.[23] After joining the First Presidency, Uchtdorf became a naturalized US citizen;[24] he has remained a citizen of Germany.[25]

While serving in the First Presidency, Uchtdorf dedicated the Tegucigalpa Honduras,[26] Quetzaltenango Guatemala,[27] Manaus Brazil,[28] Fort Lauderdale Florida,[29] Cordoba Argentina,[30] Trujillo Peru,[31] Tijuana Mexico,[32] Fort Collins Colorado,[33] and Tucson Arizona[34] temples. Uchtdorf has also participated in the dedication of many other temples as a member of the Twelve and the First Presidency.

In May 2016, Uchtdorf traveled to the Czech Republic to create the first stake in that nation.[35]

At the time of Monson's death on 2 January 2018, with the dissolution of the First Presidency, Uchtdorf returned to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, along with Monson's First Counselor, Henry B. Eyring. When the First Presidency was subsequently reorganized under new church president Russell M. Nelson, Uchtdorf was not retained as a counselor in the First Presidency and continued his service in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

While not unprecedented in church history, the last time a new church president did not retain a counselor who served in the First Presidency under his predecessor was in 1985. Uchtdorf, who had taught as a member of the First Presidency that church members should neither seek or decline callings, that they should lift where they stand, and that at the end of each assignment, subsequent changes should be graciously accepted, posted his support for the new leaders, especially referencing his willingness to resume his ministry as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.[36]

Quorum of the Twelve

Following his return to the Quorum of the Twelve after the reorganization of the First Presidency, the church announced new assignments for Uchtdorf on January 22, 2018. These assignments had been noted by Nelson in the news conference where the new First Presidency was announced. The assignments include chairman of the church's Missionary Executive Council, chairman of the Correlation Executive Council, and being the primary contact for the church's Europe and Europe East areas.[37][38]

Political donations

In March 2021, public records showed 23 different donations which were made under Uchtdorf's name in 2020 and 2021. These donations were made to the Biden campaign, Democratic candidates in the Georgia Senate race, and other democratic political funds. If made solely by Uchtdorf, this would be contrary to the LDS Church's political neutrality policies. Uchtdorf issued a statement noting the donations were made from a shared online family account and that having the contributions show in his name was an oversight.[39]


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.[40]


  • Uchtdorf, Dieter F. (2012), Forget Me Not, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, ISBN 978-1-60907-119-6
  • (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

See also


  1. Succession in the Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Newsroom, last published 2 January 2018. Retrieved 2 August 2019.
  2. Uchtdorf and David A. Bednar were ordained on the same date to fill the vacancies created by the deaths of Haight and Maxwell.
  3. "President Thomas S. Monson Dies at Age 90", Newsroom, LDS Church, January 2, 2018
  4. Apostolic seniority is generally understood to include all ordained apostles (including the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. 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. 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..
  5. "The First Presidency". Church News. 19 August 2008. Retrieved 19 April 2021.
  6. Uchtdorf, Dieter F. (October 2008). "The Infinite Power of Hope". The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Retrieved 19 April 2021.
  7. Uchtdorf, Dieter F. (November 2007), "Have We Not Reason to Rejoice?", Ensign
  8. "Dieter F. Uchtdorf". Mormon History. Retrieved 19 April 2021.
  9. Uchtdorf, Dieter F. (November 2002). "The Global Church Blessed by the Voice of the Prophets". Ensign. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Retrieved 19 April 2021.
  10. Holland, Jeffrey R. (March 2005), "Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf: On to New Horizons", Ensign: 10–15
  11. Russell M. Nelson, "President Dieter F. Uchtdorf: A Family Man, a Man of Faith, a Man Foreordained", Ensign, July 2008.
  12. "Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf", Leadership, Newsroom, LDS Church, retrieved 2011-09-06
  13. Taylor, Scott (24 April 2009), "Pres. Uchtdorf receives honorary doctorate from BYU", Deseret News
  14. "German apostle embraces world", Church News, 16 October 2004
  15. Avant, Gerry (28 May 2009), "Erstwhile pilot at home among comrades", Church News
  16. Spörl, Gerhard (2007-07-04), "A Mormon Goes West: The German Apostle", Spiegel Online
  17. "Elder Uchtdorf, former pilot, named new counselor in First Presidency", Deseret Morning News, 4 February 2008
  18. Hinckley, Gordon B. (November 2004), "Condition of the Church", Ensign
  19. "LDS apostles born outside the United States", The Salt Lake Tribune, 3 October 2004. Retrieved on 30 March 2020.
  20. "Daunting task known as Slovakian miracle", Church News, 11 November 2006
  21. "Slovakia dedicated", Church News, 9 September 2006
  22. Weaver, Sarah Jane (9 February 2008), "A united pledge to serve, to support", Church News
  23. 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.
  24. Matt Canham, "Mormon leader: Obama's immigration plan matches LDS values", The Salt Lake Tribune, 9 March 2013.
  25. Tad Walsh, "LDS Church reaffirms stance on immigration", Deseret News, 15 April 2013.
  26. Meridian Magazine article on Tegucigalpa Temple dedication
  27. article on Quezaltenango Temple
  28. Mormon article on Manuas Temple
  29. "Church Dedicates Fort Lauderdale Florida Temple, 143rd in the World", Newsroom, LDS Church, 2014-05-04
  30. "Church Dedicates Córdoba Argentina Temple: The second temple in Argentina and 145th in the World", Newsroom, LDS Church, 2015-05-17
  31. "Church Dedicates Trujillo Peru Temple: The second temple in Peru and 147th in the world", Newsroom, LDS Church, 2015-06-21
  32. "149th Temple in the World Is Dedicated in Tijuana, Mexico: 13th Mormon temple in Mexico", Newsroom, LDS Church, 2015-12-13
  33. "Fort Collins Colorado Temple Is Dedicated: 153rd Mormon temple in the world, second in Colorado", Newsroom, LDS Church, October 16, 2016
  34. "Tucson Arizona Temple Is Dedicated: Marks the 6th Mormon temple in Arizona and 157th in the world", Newsroom, LDS Church, 2017-08-13
  35. Weaver, Sarah Jane (17 May 2016). "President Uchtdorf creates first stake in Czech Republic". Church News.
  36. Weaver, Sarah Jane (January 17, 2018), "Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf responds to questions, comments: 'I am just fine,' he writes", Deseret News
  37. "Assignments Announced for Elder Uchtdorf: Apostle oversees Europe, key Church departments", Newsroom, LDS Church, January 22, 2018
  38. Noyce, David. "So what is Mormon apostle doing now? For now he is overseeing global lds missionary efforts". Salt Lake Tribune. Retrieved 27 March 2019.
  39. "Family of Dieter Uchtdorf donated to Biden, other Democrats in LDS apostle's name". AP NEWS. 2021-03-12. Archived from the original on 2021-03-12. Retrieved 2021-03-23.
  40. "Mormonism in Pictures: President Dieter F. Uchtdorf visits Saints in Europe". Mormon Newsroom. LDS Church. 20 June 2014.


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