Mormons Look to Next Prophet
Hinckley's successor all but certain
By Sam Gale Rosen,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 29, 2008 12:55 PM CST
Mormon church president Gordon B. Hinckley looks at the empty chair where James Faust once sat, top, with first counselor Thomas S. Monson, left, during the 177th semiannual general conference of The...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – The death of longtime president-prophet Gordon Hinckley left the Mormon church with a void but not a leadership gap, Newsweek reports. The most senior leader and all-but-certain successor is Thomas Monson. The 80-year-old's selection, which must be unanimous, would all but guarantee a smooth transition for a thriving church undergoing some growing pains.

Monson's promotion will open up a vacancy in the Quorum of the Twelve, the church's governing body, for which he in turn will choose a new member. Despite the church's increasingly international flavor, the members of the quorum are all white; some hope Monson will choose a Hispanic or black successor.