110 years ago today - Dec 8, 1911

James E. Talmage is ordained an apostle. Although Apostle Orson Pratt had self-taught interests in mathematics and astronomy, Talmage is the first apostle with university training in the sciences (geology). He is also the first general authority and first apostle with a Ph.D. degree (from Illinois Wesleyan University). However, as a non-resident, correspondence doctorate, his degree lacks full academic stature. Nevertheless, Talmage's appointment heralds a forty-year era when scientifically trained intellectuals serve in the Quorum of the Twelve. Succeeding appointments of Richard R. Lyman, John A. Widtsoe, Joseph F. Merrill, and (to a lesser extent) Sylvester Q. Cannon have a considerable impact on the LDS church administration. From 1921 until 1952 there are always two (and sometimes four) scientifically-trained intellectuals at the highest levels of decision-making. There are no scientific doctorates in the Twelve from 1952 until 1984, when Russell M. Nelson (physician with a Ph.D.) becomes an apostle. On nuclear engineering becomes church patriarch in 1947, and another becomes an apostle in 1988. Theodore M Burton (with a Ph.D. in chemistry from Purdue) serves as an Assitant to the Twelve (1960-76) and in the First Quorum of the Seventy (1976-89), George R. Hill III (with a Ph.D. in chemistry from Cornell) serves in the First Quroum of the Seventy (1987-92), and Alexander B. Marrison (with a Ph.D. in food sciences, Cornell) serves in the Seventy (1987-... some time after Quinn complied this list).

[The Mormon Hierarchy - Extensions of Power by D. Michael Quinn, [New Mormon History database (http://bit.ly/NMHdatabase)]]

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