Area Authorities, Area Authority Seventies, and Area Seventies

In April 1995, Gordon Hinckley announced “the call of a new local officer to be known as an area authority. These will be high priests chosen from among past and present experienced Church leaders. They will continue with their current employment, reside in their own homes, and serve on a Church-service basis. The term of their call will be flexible, generally, for a period of approximately six years.”

Two years later, additional quorums of the Seventy were organized. It was proposed to the Church “that we sustain the 134 Area Authorities, who are present with us today, as Seventies of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to act in the office of Area Authority Seventies.” Then the names of all 134 men were read.

The last time the Church sustained Area Authority Seventies in General Conference was October 2004. In April 2005, Area Seventies were sustained in the General Conference of the Church. There was no announcement that I am aware of concerning the change in name of the office. The change appears to have been only a change in name and not office. The release of several Area Seventies was announced; the released Area Seventies had been sustained by the Church as Area Authority Seventies, but never as Area Seventies.

Announcements and sustainings in General Conference: April 1995, April 1997, October 2004, April 2005.

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About John Mansfield

Mansfield in the desertA third-generation southern Nevadan, I have lived in exile most of my life in such places as Los Alamos, Baltimore, Los Angeles, the western suburbs of Detroit, and currently the northern suburbs of Washington, D.C. I work as a fluid dynamics engineer. I was baptized at age twelve in the font of the Las Vegas Nevada Central Stake Center, and on my nineteenth birthday I received the endowment in the St. George Temple. I served as a missionary mostly in the Patagonia of Argentina from 1985 to 1987. My true calling in the Church seems to be working with Cub Scouts, whom I have served in different capacities in four states most years since 1992. (My oldest boy turned eight in 2004.) I also currently teach Sunday School to the thirteen-year-olds. I hold degrees from two universities named for men who died in the 1870s, the Brigham Young University and the Johns Hopkins University. My wife is Elizabeth Pack Mansfield, who comes from New Mexico's north central mountains and studied molecular biology at the same two schools I attended. We have four sons, whose care and admonition, along with care of my aged father, require much of Elizabeth's time. She currently serves the Church as Mia-Maid advisor, ward music chairman, and choir director, and plays violin whenever she can. One day, I would like to make shoes.

5 thoughts on “Area Authorities, Area Authority Seventies, and Area Seventies

  1. Just because the name of a calling changes doesn’t mean we re-sustain the persons in that calling. The reason we had to sustain upon the change from Area Authority to Area Authority Seventy was because they were being ordained to a different priesthood office, one which the church now feels requires common consent. Merely changing the name from Area Authority Seventy to Area Seventy is semantics, pure and simple, and requires no sustaining vote.

  2. Checking the sustainings of 1995 and 1996, I see that Area Authorities were never sustained in that calling.

  3. I hadn’t noticed the deletion of “Authority” in the title. Since the term “Area Authority Seventy” was meant to contrast with “General Authority Seventy,” I wonder if the members of the First and Second Quorums are now called “General Seventies?”

    I do remember about 1978 when the first general authorities were made emeritus. President Kimball emphasized that the brethren were not being released, but were excused from active service. I understood this to mean that they would not be given regular assignments, but still had authority to function if called upon. For years, their photographs were included in the conference Ensign GA centerfold. Then after about 10-12 years, the photographs disappeared, and they started referring to them as “former general authorities.” I couldn’t find any explanation of the change. They simply were no longer thought of as general authorities.

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