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– I have been reading many criticisms about the three new LDS Church apostles for being the “typical upper-middle class white guys born in Utah” with no racial or socioeconomic diversity. While I cannot personally comment on the background of the other two new apostles, I can comment a bit more on the background of my uncle, Dale G. Renlund, the now 12th member of the Quorum of the Twelve. Yes, Dale was born in Utah, but there is so much more to his story that I think people should know:
- Dale was born to full Scandinavian immigrants who spoke no English when they first came to the U.S. in 1948/1950. All four children, including Dale, spoke Swedish as their first language. Their father, my grandfather, was a construction worker, and they were very poor.
- The entire family moved back to Scandinavia when Dale was about 10 to 13ish, where they spent time in Helsinki, Finland and Gothenbirg, Sweden. They were fully immersed in Swedish culture there and went to Swedish speaking public schools. I have heard many stories about the meager resources they were living on there.
- When the family came back to Utah, the children spoke no English and had little to no understanding of U.S. culture. They went through a great deal of adjustment.
- In his late 20s, Dale was called to be the bishop of a newly-formed, inner-city, multi-cultural ward in Baltimore. (During this time he was also doing his medical residency and trying to support his wife who was in law school and going through chemotherapy for ovarian cancer).
To read the rest, including Elder Renlund’s years serving in Africa, at Mormon Observer.