Four New Auxiliary Leaders Sustained during General Conference

Contributed By Sarah Jane Weaver, Church News associate editor

  • 6 April 2015

Church members sustained four new general auxiliary leaders during the Saturday afternoon session of the Church's 185th Annual General Conference. Sister Mary R. Durham (far left) has been called as second counselor in the Primary general presidency, and new members of the Young Men general presidency are (center) Brother Stephen W. Owen, president; (left) Brother Douglas D. Holmes, first counselor; and (right) Brother M. Joseph Brough, second counselor.

Article Highlights

  • A new counselor in the Primary general presidency and a new Young Men general presidency were sustained during the April 2015 general conference.

Church members sustained four new general auxiliary leaders during the Saturday afternoon session of the Church’s 185th Annual General Conference—a new counselor in the Primary general presidency and a new Young Men general presidency.

The new counselor—Sister Mary R. Durham—was called to the Primary general presidency to replace Sister Jean A. Stevens, who will serve with her husband in the England London Mission. Sister Rosemary M. Wixom will continue to serve as president, Sister Cheryl A. Esplin—who previously served as second counselor—will serve as the first counselor, and Sister Durham has been called as second counselor.

Of her new call, Sister Durham said she is excited to support Sister Wixom in her message to help children find and stay on “the covenant path.”

“I know it is so important,” she said.

Sister Durham said she is also enthused by the recent emphasis given on children participating in family history work, for which she has a deep testimony. “[Family history work] is really about staying on the covenant path, receiving those ordinances for ourselves, and then gathering others onto the path.”

Called as members of the Young Men general presidency are Brother Stephen W. Owen, president; Brother Douglas D. Holmes, first counselor; and Brother M. Joseph Brough, second counselor.

Brother Owen said he has worked with young people his entire life in his business and in Church callings—which will help prepare him as he now takes the helm as Young Men general president.

“I feel young. I still feel like, in my heart, that I'm their age.”

His experience working with young men has helped him understand the special challenges they face in today’s world.

“I love them. I know this is a critical time that will set the pattern for the rest of their lives.”

He spoke of the importance of mentors who positively influence the lives of young men as teachers, coaches, mission presidents, bishops, and neighbors.

“We need to continue to be mentors and helpers to this younger generation.”

Brother Holmes said he is excited for the opportunity to serve Latter-day Saint young men. “We don’t know what it will hold and we don’t know much about it right now, but we’re excited about it.”

He hopes the young men across the globe will see “the power of the word” in their lives—“whether it’s the word of the prophets or the word of the scriptures or the whisperings of the Holy Ghost.”

Brother Brough said he wants Church members to know two things about him.

First, he is grateful for Heavenly Father’s plan.

Second, “I will always be obedient to my Church leaders and do whatever they ask and go wherever they ask.”

Now he hopes to help Latter-day Saint youth—whom he has worked with in one capacity or another for most of his adult life—to “depend on the Lord.”

Following are complete biographies of the new leaders.

Primary General Presidency

Sister Mary R. Durham, 61, was sustained as the second counselor in the Primary general presidency on April 4. Prior to her call, Sister Durham had served as a member of the Primary general board since 2010.

Sister Durham served with her husband as he presided over the Japan Tokyo North Mission and has served as a Primary counselor, Young Women president, stake Relief Society president, and Gospel Doctrine teacher. She is married to Mark P. Durham, and they are the parents of seven children.

Young Men General Presidency

Brother Stephen W. Owen, 57, was sustained as the Young Men general president on April 4. His previous Church service includes serving as a full-time missionary in the Texas San Antonio Mission, president of the California Arcadia Mission, stake president, counselor in a stake presidency, bishop, high councilor, Scoutmaster, ward Young Men president, and elders quorum president.

He received a bachelor of science degree in finance at the University of Utah and is a business owner in Provo, Utah. He is married to Jane Stringham, and they are the parents of five children.

Brother Douglas D. Holmes, 53, was serving as a counselor in a stake presidency when he was sustained as the first counselor in the Young Men general presidency on April 4. His Church service includes president of the Michigan Detroit Mission, bishop, ward Young Men president, stake Young Men president’s counselor, Gospel Doctrine teacher, ward mission leader, bishop’s counselor, and elders quorum president.

He received a bachelor of arts degree in family science and an MBA in finance, both from Brigham Young University. He is self-employed as an investor and developer. He is married to Erin Sue Toone, and they are the parents of six children.

Brother M. Joseph Brough, 51, was sustained as the second counselor in the Young Men general presidency on April 4. Previously, he has served as president of the Guatemala Guatemala City Central Mission, ward Young Men president, bishop, bishop’s counselor, and high councilor.

He received a bachelor of arts in finance and a master of business administration from the University of Utah. He is a business owner in Brigham City, Utah. He is married to Emily Jane Thompson Brough, and they are the parents of four children.