Called to Serve: Elder D. Todd Christofferson
June 2008

“Called to Serve: Elder D. Todd Christofferson,” New Era, June 2008, 10–11

Called to Serve

Elder D. Todd Christofferson

Elder D. Todd Christofferson

On April 5, 2008, Elder D. Todd Christofferson was sustained as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, filling the vacancy left by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, who was called to be the Second Counselor in the First Presidency. Elder Christofferson had served as a Seventy for 15 years, including 10 years in the Presidency of the Seventy.

Born in American Fork, Utah, on January 24, 1945, Elder Christofferson grew up in Pleasant Grove and Lindon, Utah, and gained a love for the scriptures early in his life.

“I’ve always been drawn to the scriptures,” he says, “largely because of my home environment. I could feel my parents’ love of the scriptures. When I was 12 or 13 years old, I asked for a Bible for Christmas. I still have that Bible, and it is a treasured possession. Soon after receiving it, I began reading Genesis. It took me a long time to read the Bible from cover to cover, but I really learned to love the Old Testament as well as the New Testament. It taught me a lot of things.”1

When he was 15, his family moved to New Jersey, where he had some of his most memorable testimony-building experiences. “It was during that time that my faith matured into a full-blown testimony,” he says. “I grew up with faith among family and friends and others who influenced my life; I don’t recall a time when I didn’t have that belief that the gospel was true. But in New Jersey I became conscious of knowing that it was true and that it mattered.”2

During that time, he and his brother Greg participated in the Hill Cumorah Pageant in New York for two summers. Once when he was about 16 years old, he was searching for a personal testimony of the gospel and thought that the pageant would be the perfect time to get it. He recalls:

“One night after the performance, I decided to go to the Sacred Grove alone. It was a beautiful, clear summer night. I thought, This is it—the place, the time. What more ideal setting could I have? I prayed for a long, long time—well over an hour. Nothing happened. I finally gave up and walked back to Palmyra, wondering, What did I do wrong or what didn’t I do right? What was missing?

“I’ve since thought a lot about that experience. One of the lessons I learned from it was that you shouldn’t try to dictate to God the timing or the content of revelation. It was later that summer—when I was home by myself in a little basement bedroom, reading the Book of Mormon—that a witness came very powerfully. It just overwhelmed me. I know from that experience the truth of what Joseph Smith witnessed and the truth of the Book of Mormon and the reality of the Savior. That hasn’t been my only witness, but it was a great strengthening of my testimony.

“I found that you don’t have to be in a special place to receive that witness. You will receive answers to your prayers if you are earnest and keep asking and searching. … Anywhere in the world, the Lord will speak to you.”3

With that testimony, he resolved to serve a mission and was later called to serve in Argentina. After returning from his mission, he earned a bachelor’s degree from Brigham Young University and a law degree from Duke University. He married Katherine Jacob in the Salt Lake Temple on May 28, 1968, and they have five children. He has lived with his family in the Washington, D.C. area; Nashville, Tennessee; Herndon, Virginia; and Charlotte, North Carolina. He worked as a lawyer and served in the Church as a regional representative, counselor in a stake presidency, stake president, bishop, and stake mission president.

After his call as a Seventy, he served in an Area Presidency in Mexico, as the Executive Director of the Family and Church History Department, and in the Presidency of the Seventy. Of this service he says, “The Seventy are key to the success of the work now and in the years ahead, and I feel honored beyond measure that my name was ever included among theirs.”4

As the newest Apostle, Elder Christofferson has been called as a special witness of the Savior, and he has frequently taught how important it is for each member to gain a personal testimony and become a witness of Christ. He has said, “As you feel the Holy Spirit’s testimony of Him, confirmed and reconfirmed to your spirit in many different experiences and settings, as you strive to hold up the light of His example in your own life day by day, and as you bear testimony to others and help them learn of and follow Him, you are a witness of Jesus Christ.”5


  1. “Friend to Friend,” Friend, Mar. 1995, 6.

  2. “Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Seventy,” Ensign, May 1993, 99.

  3. “Friend to Friend,” 7.

  4. “Born Again,” Ensign, May 2008, 77.

  5. “Becoming a Witness of Christ,” Ensign, Mar. 2008, 63.

As a young man, Elder Christofferson learned that “anywhere in the world, the Lord will speak to you.” He carried this testimony with him on his mission to Argentina (above).

He and his wife, Katherine, have also passed along this faith to their five children (left).