Freshening the Bench

In recent times, new apostles tend to be called from the Presidency of the Seventy. So I was intrigued to see a lot of movement in that body this past weekend. The future membership of the Presidency of the Seventy will be slightly younger and less Utahn. A majority of Presidents of the Seventy as of August 2018 will hail from outside the United States.

Those who will not be shifting until August are noted in italics.

Former Leaving Now Joining Future
Gong
(’53, CA)
Gong
(’53, CA)
 Gay
(’51, CA)
Gay
(’51, CA)
Gay
(’51, CA)
 Soares
(’58, Brazil)
Soares
(’58, Brazil)

 Cook
(’57, UT)

Cook
(’57, UT)
Cook
(’57, UT)
Clayton
(’50, UT)
 Clayton
(’50, UT)
Clayton
(’50, UT)
Kearon
(’61, UK)
 Kearon
(’61, UK)
 Kearon
(’61, UK)
Christensen
(’56, UT)
 Christensen
(’56, UT)
 Christensen
(’56, UT)
 Vinson
(’51, Australia)
  Vinson
(’51, Australia)
Robbins
(’52, UT)
 Robbins
(’52, UT) 
 Robbins
(’52, UT)
Teixeira
(’61, Portugal) 
 Teixeira
(’61, Portugal) 
 Uceda
(’53, Peru)
 Uceda
(’53, Peru) 
 Uceda
(’53, Peru)
 Godoy
(’61, Brazil)
Godoy
(’61, Brazil) 

Elder Gong (’53, California) and Elder Soares (’58, Brazil) left the Presidency of the Seventy to become Apostles. Elder Gong is the first LDS Apostle of Asian ancestry and is notable for being born outside of Utah. Elder Soares is the first LDS Apostle of South American origin.

In addition to country/state of birth, a fuller picture would look at the regions where these leaders have experience. In that sense, the Presidents of the Seventy have experience that spans the globe, as always. But their lens will no longer be dominantly a Utah lens, as has been the case in the past.

As mentioned during Conference, 40% of the General Authority Seventies now hail from outside the United States.

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About Meg Stout

Meg Stout has been an active member of the LDS church for decades. She lives in the DC area with her husband, Bryan, and several daughters. She is an engineer by vocation and a writer by avocation. Meg is the author of Reluctant Polygamist, laying out the possibility that Joseph taught the acceptability of plural marriage but may have privately defied the commandment for love of his wife, Emma.

16 thoughts on “Freshening the Bench

  1. I don’t know that he’s going anywhere specific, other than not being one of the Presidents of the Seventy.

    Past Presidents of the Seventy have gone on to “special ops” sorts of assignments, such as Elder Steven E. Snow’s assignment to the post of LDS Church Historian and Recorder, a calling that doesn’t sound exciting unless you know what’s been going on during the past few decades.

  2. The Presiding Bishopric has also been a source for apostles, ie. Elder Stevenson. I continue to be impressed by the levels and variety of expertise found in the presiding councils. It is one of the many strengths of relying on lay leadership. Bishop Causse, for instance, was the general manager of a French food distribution company when called to be a general authority. What an amazing background for someone who oversees the welfare program which is largely a matter of food and resource distribution, yet as General Conference this past weekend once again demonstrated, it is the spiritual quality of the leadership that blesses us.

  3. I am all for diversity… but when do you think we’ll finally see Antarctica represented?

    Seriously though, as an institutional hierarchy, Church leadership is far more diverse now than many care to admit.

  4. Aw man, Old Man beat me to the call for proper Antarctic representation. Diversity!

  5. Ya have to understand that Meg is an engineer. And Antarctica is a continent; so any list, chart, or break-down by continent must include it.

  6. You will note that I didn’t include a numerical designation for Antartica, like I did for Africa and Asia. The continent labels were on the template I used. I didn’t bother removing the label for Antartica, is all.

  7. Ah, but three of you were joking around… And as Bookslinger said, I is an engineer.

  8. I work in a building full of engineers. I understand and am sympathetic to your disability, Meg. 😉

  9. Elder Gong is as much a Utahn as I am. Lived there for 8 years and do happily claim to be from there as much as anywhere.

    Unlike most other people that say, I’m from California but lived in Utah most recently (for the last decade…hah).

    He was the assistant to the President at BYU. Living in happy valley doesn’t get much more “from Utah” in my view.

    Recall those Mormon leaks videos, and he was present on several, which means he’s had an insider view with the apostles for a long time (from within Utah).

    But I guess he’s not mostly white so that makes our little Eichmann identity poltikers happy. (No accusations against present company)

  10. I suspected Elder Gong would be one of those called this Conference. Not only has he been a consultant to the leadership on international affairs, but his previous position in the Seventies made it possible. Although I was born in Utah of purely pioneer heritage, my children share ethnicity with Elder Gong. There is something sweet in seeing this particular calling. It is not a matter of caving to pressure. The makeup of the Seventy, particularly now, pretty much promises an ongoing ‘freshening’.

  11. Hi Rgb,

    Not sure what “Eichmann identity poltikers” are.

    I think I can discard “potlicker” as that makes no sense. Fardlicker would make sense, but your typo doesn’t seem like it could be fardlicker.

    Eichmann would appear to be talking about the Nazi. Your comment gave me a chance to look up a summary of Eichmann in Jerusalem and various rebuttals of the Eichmann presented in that book (a stupid follower who did evil because it was what he was told to do).

    I’m guessing that by “Eichman identity poltikers” you are trying to sneer at those you think are politically motivated by racial identity, adding “Eichmann” to ensure we see that you revile such folks. I’m inferring your racial identity is part of the group binned under the moniker “White” on racial surveys.

    I work for the federal government, which has respectfully requested that we don’t visit wikileaks. Almost as habit, I therefore don’t visit Mormonleaks.

    At any rate, I found the many changes to the Presidency of the Seventy to be unusual and therefore sought to see meaning in those changes.

  12. Meg, I’m hoping he’ll clarify, but perhaps he meant “politicker”, as in one who engages in or discusses politics. So “identity politickers” makes sense, and that’s how I read it.

    “Eichmann identity” has a historical meaning related to Adolph Eichmann living in Argentina under an assumed identity after WW II until captured/kidnapped by the Israelis and secreted to Israel. (He was one of the major organizers of the Holocaust. The first few paragraphs of his wiki entry are enough to get one up to speed.) The kidnapping and removal was a huge international incident. But Yahoo doesn’t have many hits on the phrase “Eichmann identity”. Therefore I’m unsure if Rgb’s portmanteau was intended to reference Eichmann’s post-war concealed identity (and thereby implying that identity politickers conceal who they really are underneath), or if the portmanteau was intended to mean that modern identity politics is somehow like the Holocaust, where people were persecuted based on their racial identity, or if the connection was intended to be more about Nazism than the Holocaust per se.

    Since modern day Antifa has used real mob tactics and severe physical violence, including bodily harm, (ie, what the Brown Shirts did ) against their _political_ opponents (real and perceived), the connection of identity politics to Nazism is not so far-fetched.

    One must be careful when parsing adjectives and try to figure out if they were meant as _restrictive_ or _descriptive_. Example: When someone uses the phrase “criminal immigrants” do they mean all immigrants are criminal (descriptive), or are they talking about a specific subset of immigrants who happen to be criminal (restrictive).

    If someone uses the phrase “criminal illegal immigrants”, do they mean that all illegal immigrants are criminal (merely for entering a country illegally) or do they mean illegal immigrants who go on to commit crimes after they have entered?

    Likewise, I don’t know if Rgb meant that all identity politickers are Nazi-like, or if he was merely referring to a Nazi-like subset of identity politickers.

    Anyhow, “Eichmann identity politickers” is a clever turn of phrase, and I suppose one must be a student of history, or of a sufficient age to recognize it as a portmanteau.

  13. I was wondering “did I mispell politicker?” And then I reviewed my comment and realized I hadn’t finished that part of my comment. It’s hard to follow “fardlicker.”

    “Eichmann identity politickers” is clever, but I don’t know what Rgb means by that clever portmanteau.

    Nephi would opine that we should be less clever and more clear, methinks.

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