Thomas S. Monson, president of the Church of Jesus Christ and the Latter Day Saints, died on Jan. 2 at the age of 90, the Church announced.
Testimonials poured in praising the “bear-hugging” Monson’s approachable and down-to-earth manner, which he retained even as he rose through the hierarchy of the 16-million-strong Church over the course of his 50 year career. Under Monson’s aegis, the Church’s threefold mission — proclaim the gospel, perfect the saints, and redeem the dead — was bolstered by a fourth, “outreach to the poor and less fortunate,” Stuart Reid, a former state legislator, told The Salt Lake Tribune.
“More than anything else during a lifetime of ministry, President Monson will be known for his charitable acts,” Reid said.
The Mormon Church, as the LDS is also known, also faced “some of the most intense public scrutiny in its history” under Monson’s decade-long tenure as the church’s senior figure, the Tribune wrote, including the rise of a Mormon president candidate — former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney — and a controversial decision on marriage equality that saw same-sex couples excommunicated from the Church.
President Monson was among the greatest men I have ever known. Service was his motto and humility his hallmark. Countless were the lives he touched as a prophet, father, and friend. Today, I join millions across the globe in mourning his passing. #LDSChurch #utpol— Senator Hatch Office (@senorrinhatch) January 3, 2018
My heart is filled with love for Pres. Monson. He touched countless lives, including my own, in a positive and sweet manner influencing good throughout the world. https://t.co/cXnZswmZP3— Jason Chaffetz (@jasoninthehouse) January 3, 2018
Remembering the life and legacy of President Thomas S. Monson (1927–2018). pic.twitter.com/j683yNQCDx— The LDS Church (@LDSchurch) January 3, 2018
Monson’s failing health saw him cut back on public obligations in recent years. He delivered two brief sermons at the Church’s twice-annual General Conference in April 2017, according to the Tribune, and skipped the October conference.
Mormon public figures paid tribute to Monson on Twitter, including former Congressman Jason Chaffetz and Sen. Orrin Hatch, who called Monson “among the greatest men I have ever known.”