Thomas Monson, head of Mormon church, dies aged 90

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Monson, the president and leader of the Mormon faith, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, has died aged 90 after 10 years presiding over the Utah-based church.

Presidents are considered prophets and serve as both religious and administrative head of the Mormon Church, which has about 16 million adherents worldwide. The last youngest, President Joseph Fielding Smith, was ordained at the age of 33 in 1910. The announcement of his death garnered an outpouring of reactions and remembrances from various Mormon politicians, according to Fox13. He was the 16th president of the Mormon Church.

In November 2015, Monson and other top Mormon authorities announced a new policy in which same-sex church couples would be referred to as "apostates" - worthy of excommunication and forbidden from getting their children baptized. Survivors include three children, Thomas Monson, Ann Dibb and Clark Monson; eight grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.

In addition, several AJC regional delegations visited with key LDS figures in Salt Lake City, and AJC has initiated LDS-Jewish dialogues in multiple cities across the United States. Instead of talking about his complete legacy, including how Monson helped ban gay marriage (at least temporarily), violating his own Church's pledge of political neutrality, the leadership is casting him as a hero who "followed Jesus".

Smith has known Monson almost all her life.

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Gov. Gary Herbert, governor of Utah, remarked in a statement on Facebook, "Jeanette and I join millions of people around the world in mourning the death of LDS Church President Thomas S. Monson".

Condolences also came in from Arizona Sen. "He died at age 90 from causes incident to age", read the news release posted on the Mormon Newsroom website. That means the two counselors, President Henry B. Eyring, and President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, revert back to their roles in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Orrin Hatch, who said of Monson, "Service was his motto and humility his hallmark". Monson did lower the age of missionaries from 21 to 19. The change triggered a historic influx of missionaries, and proved a milestone change for women by allowing many more to serve.

President Nelson is older than President Monson was, but observers say he is physically and mentally strong for a man of his years.

"Prophets see ahead - they see the harrowing dangers the adversary has placed, or will yet place, in our path", President Nelson said.

Following tradition, Russell M. Nelson, who is the senior apostle, would be next in line to become the 17th prophet. At the time, the church announced Monson was starting to feel the "effects of advancing age".

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