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January 5, 2018

‘Caring, Endearing, and Approachable’: Patrick Mason on a Mormon leader’s passing

Thomas Monson
Thomas Monson, who had led the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints since 2008, died January 2 of natural causes. Photo by Brian Tibbets under license by Creative Commons 2.0.

In its article on the recent death of Thomas Monson, who had led the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints since 2008, England’s Guardian newspaper turned to Patrick Mason for an assessment of Monson’s impact and legacy.

Mason, who holds the Howard W. Hunter Chair of Mormon Studies and serves as dean of the university’s School of Arts & Humanities, told the Guardian that Mormons considered Monson “a warm, caring, endearing and approachable leader.”

Mason, who has built a scholarly reputation on charting the church’s growth and evolution, especially in the 20th century, also talked to the Associated Press about Monson’s successor, heart surgeon Russell M. Nelson. Nelson is currently the longest-tenured member of the Church’s governing body, the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

Expect more “continuity than change,” Mason told the AP. “He has a generous impulse within him, but it coexists alongside a fierce commitment to orthodoxy.”

In the days after the announcement about Monson’s passing, radio host Doug Fabrizio of NPR affiliate RadioWest interviewed Mason and other scholars about Monson’s presidency. The interview is online; Mason is introduced around the 3:20 mark.

Other media outlets citing Mason on Monson include: ABC News and The Deseret News.

Currently Mason is leading an effort to build a major center at the university devoted to the study of global Mormonism.