03206_000_040President Ezra Taft Benson announced during October general conference that stake seventies quorums are to be discontinued in the Church. A week after that announcement, on 10 October 1986, the First Presidency sent a letter to priesthood leaders detailing the change. The text of that letter follows:
Pursuant to the announcement made by President Ezra Taft Benson at the conclusion of the general priesthood meeting of October conference, we outline the following to provide a renewed impetus in missionary work throughout the stakes of the Church:
Stake Seventies Quorums to Be Discontinued
In harmony with the needs of the growth of the Church across the world, the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve Apostles have given prayerful consideration to the role of stake seventies quorums in the Church and have determined that the seventies quorums in the stakes of the Church are to be discontinued. The brethren serving as seventies in these quorums will now be members of the elders quorum in their ward. Stake presidents, in an orderly fashion, will determine who among such brethren may be ordained to the office of high priest.
Stake Missionary Work
The members of the stake presidency coordinate missionary work in the stake. They are assisted in this responsibility by a high council adviser to the stake mission.
A missionary-minded Melchizedek Priesthood holder should promptly be called as the stake mission president. His two counselors should likewise be missionary oriented. The members of the stake mission presidency train the stake missionaries and assist in the coordination of missionary work in the stake.
Bishops of wards will recommend to the stake presidency those individuals who might be extended calls to serve as stake missionaries. Stake missionaries are called by the stake president and are set apart under his direction. Generally, at least two stake missionaries should be called from each ward. These missionaries may or may not be asked to serve in their own ward, depending on the needs of the stake mission and the number and distribution of nonmembers.
The primary responsibility for teaching the gospel rests with the full-time missionaries. However, stake missionaries may assist as needed to extend the teaching force of the full-time mission by serving in a team-teaching capacity as temporary companions with the full-time missionaries. It would be advisable for stake missionaries to be trained in teaching the discussions to ensure that their effectiveness is not impaired when full-time missionaries are not available.
Under the direction of the stake mission presidency, the stake missionaries cooperate with the full-time proselyting missionaries in finding, friendshipping, fellowshipping, and fostering member participation in all missionary activities.
Ward Missionary Work
The members of the bishopric coordinate missionary work in the ward. Depending on the number of nonmembers available, they may be assisted in this responsibility by a ward mission leader who is a Melchizedek Priesthood holder serving as a stake missionary. The ward mission leader is a member of the ward priesthood executive committee and the ward council where he assists in the coordination of missionary work in the ward.
The operating funds of stake seventies quorums should be forwarded to Church headquarters to become part of the General Missionary Fund of the Church.
In the event that a stake seventies quorum operated a project or owned property, the stake presidency should, after prayerful consideration, submit its recommendation to the First Presidency concerning the disposition of such projects or properties.
Additional information that may be required regarding missionary work in the stakes and wards will be provided through the Bulletin, revisions of the General Handbook of Instructions, and other handbooks and/or guides.
At this time, we express our appreciation to all who have served as members of stake seventies quorums of the Church and commend those who have so ably given of their time, talents, and resources in spreading forth the gospel of Jesus Christ.