The First Presidency of the Church was reorganized in early December following the death of President N. Eldon Tanner. On Thursday, 2 December 1982, President Spencer W. Kimball announced that he had selected President Marion G. Romney as his First Counselor and President Gordon B. Hinckley as his Second Counselor in the First Presidency.
The appointments were the second change that President Kimball has made in his administration. When ordained and set apart as President of the Church on 30 December 1973, President Kimball selected President Tanner as his First Counselor and President Romney as Second Counselor. Then, on 23 July 1981, President Kimball appointed Elder Gordon B. Hinckley of the Quorum of the Twelve as a Counselor in the First Presidency. President Hinckley has served in the First Presidency since that date.
In December, President Kimball will have completed nine years as President of the Church. Born 28 March 1895 in Salt Lake City, he grew up in Arizona and was ordained a member of the Quorum of the Twelve 7 October 1943. He is in his 88th year.
President Romney had served as Second Counselor in the First Presidency since 7 July 1972, when he was called to that capacity by President Harold B. Lee. He continued in the same position when President Kimball became President of the Church.
The new First Counselor has been deeply involved in guiding the Church’s welfare program almost since its beginning in 1936. He was named Assistant Managing Director of the program in June 1941 and was General Chairman of Welfare Services from 1959 until 1963.
President Romney was called as an Assistant to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles on 6 April 1941. Ten years later, in October 1951, he was called to be a member of the Quorum of the Twelve.
Marion G. Romney was born 19 September 1897 in Colonia Juarez, Mexico, to George S. and Artemesia Redd Romney. He graduated from Ricks Junior College, in Rexburg, Idaho, in 1920, and from the University of Utah with a bachelor’s degree in 1926. In 1932 he graduated with an LL.B. degree in law. He was admitted to the bar and practiced in Salt Lake City for eleven years, serving respectively as assistant county attorney, assistant district attorney, and assistant city attorney. He also served one term in the Utah State Legislature in 1935–36. He has served in the Church as a missionary to Australia, as a bishop, and as a stake president.
He married Ida Jensen on 12 September 1924. She passed away on 9 March 1979.
They have two sons.
President Gordon B. Hinckley, the new Second Counselor in the First Presidency, had been serving since 23 July 1981 as a Counselor in the First Presidency. Previous to that call, he had served nearly twenty years as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. He became a General Authority in April 1958 with his call as an Assistant to the Quorum of the Twelve.
President Hinckley has been involved in the Church for most of his life. As one of the pioneers in the Church’s communications efforts, he served twenty years as secretary of the Radio, Publicity and Literature Committee, forerunner of the present Public Communications Department.
He was born 23 June 1910 in Salt Lake City to Bryant Stringham and Ada Bitner Hinckley. He is a graduate of Salt Lake City schools and the University of Utah.
In 1937 he was called as a member of the Sunday School General Board, about two years after returning as a missionary to Great Britain. He was serving as president of the East Mill Creek Stake when called to be a General Authority. The author of five books, President Hinckley has edited several others and has written many Church study manuals, pamphlets, and radio and film scripts.
He and his wife, Marjorie Pay Hinckley, have five children.