8 Lesser-Known Facts About President Russell M. Nelson

Due to the recent death of President Boyd K. Packer, Russell M. Nelson has been set apart as President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and will be sustained as such at the upcoming General Conference.

President Nelson was called to the Quorum of the Twelve in April 1984. His 30+ years as a member of the group made him the longest-serving member of the Quorum and the sure choice as President Packer’s successor. While many are firmly aware that President Nelson is happily married (sorry ladies), served in the Korean War and is a world-renowned cardiothoracic surgeon, few are aware of these eight lesser-known facts:

1. The senior Apostle has a smile so warm it can light paper on fire from 30 feet away.

"Elder Nelson is great, we just try and keep him away from paper products."
“Elder Nelson is great, we just try and keep him away from paper products.”

2. The new President of the Quorum of the Twelve has a 3,000-page encyclopedia filed with inside jokes he has with every person he has ever met.

3. Nelson was the original author of the Star Wars trilogy. After realizing he was too busy saving lives, Nelson gave the rights to George Lucas in exchange for a pastrami burger.

4. Elder Nelson operated on his own heart just to show his buddies he could do it.

"I bet the guys a pastrami burger and I won."
“I bet the guys a pastrami burger and I won.”

5. Nelson helped Stephen Hawking write his PhD thesis. The two still maintain contact to this day.

6. “Russ,” as he was known to fellow band members, wrote Van Halen’s “Eruption” but never played it with the band because his fingers ached too much from playing Rachmaninoff’s Third Piano Concerto in front of a full house at Madison Square Garden six nights a week.

7. Elder Nelson successfully guessed the amount of jelly beans in the jar at the 1958 Salt Lake County Fair.

"396 jelly beans, I'll never forget it."
“396 jelly beans, I’ll never forget it.”

8. President Nelson declined to play on Team USA’s ‘Dream Team’ at the 1992 Summer Olympics because he and his wife had already made plans to watch “Batman Returns” in theaters.

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