The Role of the Area Seventy
Contributed by Elder W. T. David Murray, Area Seventy
It is a privilege and blessing for me to communicate with the Saints of Canada through this new website. My calling as an Area Seventy provides the opportunity to serve in Ontario, Quebec and the Atlantic provinces. Three other brethren, Elder Terrence C. Smith, Elder Richard K. Melchin and Elder Paul D.M. Christensen, also serve as Area Seventies for the rest of Canada.
Section 107 of the Doctrine and Covenants explains the role of the Seventy: “The Seventy are to act in the name of the Lord, under the direction of the Twelve or the traveling high council, in building up the church and regulating all the affairs of the same in all nations, first unto the Gentiles and then to the Jews… It is the duty of the traveling high council to call upon the Seventy, when they need assistance, to fill the several calls for preaching and administering the gospel, instead of any others.” (D&C 107:34 & 38)
A Seventy is a priesthood office in the Melchizedek priesthood. All Seventies have equal scriptural authority and become officers of the Church with a call to a quorum. Members of the First and Second Quorums are designated General Authorities, meaning that they have authority to serve anywhere in the world. Members of the Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh and Eighth Quorums are designated as Area Seventies and their authority is limited to the area where they serve. Area Seventies are called to preach the gospel and to be an especial witnesses of Jesus Christ.
The role of the Area Seventy has developed significantly over the past five years to assist the Twelve in the building up and regulating the Church. Assignments come from the First Presidency, the Twelve Apostles and the Presidency of the Seventy to preside at stake conferences, train stake presidencies, create or reorganize stakes, set apart stake presidencies, chair multi-stake coordinating councils and complete other duties as assigned.
Since there are limited opportunities to come together in quorum meetings, the Presidency of the Seventy hold quarterly Area Councils with the Area Seventies, to instruct, receive reports, discuss the building up of Zion and watch over the Church and its members.
In Canada, the Area Seventy are assigned from coast to coast, within geographic areas as designated by the Church, such as North America Northeast where I am assigned, to coordinate the local affairs of the Church with the Stake and District Presidents, Mission Presidents and Temple Presidents. Some of these multi-stake responsibilities are to gather a sufficient number of Saints to assist with service projects that require greater numbers to fulfill responsibilities to our fellowman in times of distress. Other opportunities for gathering come with multi-stake Youth or Young Single Adult activities or conferences.
The call of the Area Seventy is consistent with revelation that allows the Church to continue its reach to the children of our Heavenly Father and gathering Israel through preaching the Gospel across the world according to the need.
I close with my witness that Jesus is the Christ, the risen Savior of the world, who died to redeem all mankind. He lives today and stands at the right hand of the Father, in the sacred and holy name of Jesus Christ.