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Key Mormon leader dies at 90

Associated Press

SALT LAKE CITY – Mormon leader Boyd Packer, president of the faith’s highest governing body, has died. He was 90.

Packer died Friday afternoon at his home in Salt Lake City from natural causes. He was next in line to become president of the Salt Lake City-based Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Packer was known for being a staunch advocate for a conservative form of Mormonism, making him an idol for like-minded, devout Latter-day Saints but also a target of frequent criticism from gay rights groups and more liberal Mormons.

He had been a member of the church’s Quorum of the Twelve Apostles since 1970. The group serves under the church president and his two counselors.

He is the second member of the quorum to die in recent months. L. Tom Perry died May 30 from cancer.

Quorum member Russell Nelson, 90, now becomes the leader who would take Mormon President Thomas Monson’s place because he is now the most tenured of the group. Monson is 87 years old, and church officials have said he’s feeling the effects of his age.

Replacements for Packer and Perry will be chosen sometime in the coming months by Monson, considered the religion’s prophet. Members of the faith believe those decisions are guided by inspiration from God. Some past quorum members have been moved up from another governing body, the Quorum of the Seventy, while others have come from leadership posts at church-run universities.

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