A British-Irish national has been appointed as the latest senior member of the Mormon Church.
Elder Patrick Kearon was ordained as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles on Thursday, the second highest ranking group governing the Utah-based Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, otherwise known as the Mormon Church.
The Cumbria-born 62-year-old will be one of 12 men who will serve until they die, tasked with travelling the globe to pass on Christian teachings and act as “special witnesses of the name of Christ throughout the world”.
Mr Kearon has lived and worked in a variety of industries across the UK, Saudi Arabia and the US, and he will now serve under the church president and his two top counsellors – all 15 church leaders are men, in accordance with its all-male priesthood.
He said: “This sacred call is so very daunting and humbling to me.
“I will need to place all my trust in the saviour as I seek to become what He needs me to be and share my witness of his love and light.
“The abundance and grace of Jesus Christ have brought immense joy into my life, as well as healing balm in times of trial.
“I love him. I will strive to serve him to the best of my ability.
“Of course, in so many ways we are all far from home.”
Mr Kearon was born in Carlisle, according to his church biography.
He was raised in the UK and Middle East and aged 10 moved to a boarding school in England while his parents remained in Saudi Arabia, including his father who worked in the defence industry.
A Mormon family introduced Mr Kearon to the church while he stayed with them in California, and he later met missionaries on the London streets before being baptised on Christmas Eve 1987.
He had been serving as the senior president of a lower-tier church leadership group called the Presidency of the Seventy, a position often held by people before they move to higher council.
Mr Kearon added: “The metaphor here with our eternal home is clear.
“Our eternal father has not let any of us leave home, leave his presence, without the opportunity to access his love and his guidance — every day of our lives.”
The president of the Mormon church, Russell M Nelson, was joined by other members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles to ordain Mr Kearon.
He takes up the mantle from M Russell Ballard who died aged 95 on November 12 this year.
The last two members of the Quorum were appointed in 2018.