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.