“Elder Ulisses Soares,” Ensign, May 2018
Living prophets, including President Russell M. Nelson, are a sign of God’s love for His children, Elder Ulisses Soares testified during his first general conference address as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.
“Isn’t it a blessing to have prophets, seers, and revelators on earth in these days in which we live, who seek to know the will of the Lord and follow it? It is comforting to know that we are not alone in the world, despite the challenges we face in life.”
Though he felt inadequate for his call as an Apostle, Elder Soares said, President Nelson’s “words and the tender look in his eyes as he extended this responsibility made me feel embraced by the Savior’s love.”
With his sustaining on March 31, 2018, Elder Soares became the Church’s first Apostle from Latin America. Prior to his call, he had been a member of the Presidency of the Seventy since January 6, 2013, and was serving in a special assignment for the Presiding Bishopric in Salt Lake City.
Elder Soares was called as a General Authority Seventy on April 2, 2005. In that capacity, he served as a counselor in the Africa Southeast and Brazil South Areas and as President of the Brazil Area.
Elder Soares has served in numerous other Church callings. He has been a full-time missionary in the Brazil Rio de Janeiro Mission, elders quorum president, counselor in a bishopric, high councilor, stake executive secretary, regional welfare agent, stake president, and president of the Portugal Porto Mission from 2000 to 2003.
One of his most important callings came at age 15, when his bishop asked him to temporarily teach a Sunday School class for youth. In preparation for a lesson on how to gain a testimony, young Ulisses decided to pray for a confirmation of the truthfulness of the gospel.
“When I knelt down and asked the Lord if the gospel is true,” he recalled, “there came to my heart a very sweet feeling, a small voice that confirmed to me that I should continue in it. It was so strong that I could never say that I didn’t know.”
In 1985 he received a bachelor of arts degree in accounting and economics from the School of Economic Science at São Paulo Pontifical Catholic University. After receiving a master of business administration degree, he worked as an accountant and auditor for multinational corporations in Brazil and as director for temporal affairs in the Church’s São Paulo area office.
Ulisses Soares was born in São Paulo, Brazil, on October 2, 1958. He married Rosana Fernandes in October 1982. In his general conference address, Elder Soares credited his wife for her love and support.
“She has been an example of goodness, love, and total devotion to the Lord and for me and my family,” including the couple’s three children and three grandchildren, he said in his conference talk. “I love her with every ounce of my heart, and I am grateful for the positive influence she has had on us.”