The First Presidency has announced that six General Authorities will be assigned to reside and function in countries outside the United States and Canada.
The six Assistants to the Council of the Twelve will reside indefinitely in the countries to which they are assigned and supervise all stake and mission activities in those areas. The assignments are effective in midsummer.
The Assistants to the Twelve and their areas are:
Elder Bernard P. Brockbank, Great Britain, Western Europe, and South Africa.
Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin, Germany and Central Europe.
Elder J. Thomas Fyans, Mexico and Central America.
Elder James E. Faust, South America.
Elder Adney Y. Komatsu, Japan and Far East.
Elder Robert L. Simpson, Pacific and Polynesian Islands.
Elder W. Grant Bangerter, also an Assistant to the Council of the Twelve, will succeed Elder Brockbank as president of the International Mission of the Church, which serves about 1,400 members outside regular stakes and missions. This mission has headquarters in Salt Lake City and was organized to maintain better contact with members living in comparatively isolated parts of the world.
The First Presidency cited worldwide growth as part of the reason why these assignments are necessary. The Church has more than tripled in the past 25 years, with total membership approaching 3.5 million. Much of this growth is outside the United States, which necessitates leadership in these other areas. The resident Assistants to the Twelve will intensify training of local priesthood leadership so that member and missionary programs may be more effective.
This growth of the Church is reflected in the organization of 16 new stakes from the beginning of 1975 up to mid-April, at which time there were 691 stakes in the church: 580 in the United States; 13 in Canada; 28 in Australia, New Zealand and the Polynesian Islands; 21 in South America; 19 in Great Britain and South Africa; 16 in Mexico and Central America; 9 in Europe; and 5 in the Far East. In addition, 16 new missions will begin functioning this July, bringing the total number of missions to 129.
The Brethren who have received the new assignments all have extensive Church background and experience in the areas where they will be serving. Elder Brockbank has been president of the North British and Scottish-Irish Missions and also served a mission in Great Britain. He has been managing director of the Mormon Pavilions at several world fairs.
Elder Wirthlin, who was sustained as an Assistant during the April general conference of this year, served as a missionary in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, where he will now serve again.
Elder Fyans has been managing director of the Internal Communications Department of the Church. He was mission president in the Uruguay-Paraguay Mission and has returned to South America often as a Regional Representative. He has also been coordinator of area conferences.
Elder Faust has been managing director of the Melchizedek Priesthood Mutual Interest Association and served a mission to Brazil. He has been prominent in Utah civic and business activities.
Another of the new Assistants is Elder Adney Yoshio Komatsu. He was the first Oriental to be called as a General Authority and also the first to be called as a Regional Representative. He has also been president of the Northern Far East Mission.
Elder Simpson is now serving as president of the England London Mission. He has been president of the New Zealand Mission and has also served there as a missionary.