Elder Richard G. Scott died yesterday at the age of 86. As I did when Elder Perry and President Packer died, in this post, I’ll show how this changes the probabilities of becoming Church President for the remainder of the members of the Q15.
All the probabilities come from a simulation I did for a post back in April. It’s a straightforward simulation: it uses an actuarial table and each Q15 member’s age and seniority in the quorum as inputs, and it draws a series of random numbers to simulate different possible life expectancies for each member. The life expectancies are then compared to find in what fraction of the simulations each member outlives all other members senior to him to become President. For a more detailed description, see my April post.
Here are the changes with Elder Scott’s death:
Probabilities move a bit for Elders Hales and Holland, but hardly budge for anyone further down in seniority. This isn’t surprising, as everyone lower than Elder Scott in seniority is at least three years younger. They were therefore already seen by the mortality table as very likely to outlive him.
I can’t find the conversation, but in a discussion after President Packer died, I think someone asked me what it would take to really move probabilities dramatically. What would move probabilities a lot is if a Q15 member died who was senior to at least one man older than he is. Elder Oaks, for example, is senior to Elder Ballard even though Elder Ballard is older. Elder Ballard has a 26% chance of ever being Church President. If Elder Oaks died, Elder Ballard’s probability would go up dramatically, as he is already expected to outlive the other men senior to him (President Monson and President Nelson).
Really what will be interesting to see, of course, is who is called into the Q15 at Conference next week, even if only two of the three vacancies are filled. If someone fairly young is called (in his fifties), he could enter with a pretty high probability already of becoming Church President, given that the youngest current member is Elder Bednar at 63.