The 167th annual general conference began Saturday morning with major administrative actions: the sustaining of 12 new General Authorities; the formation of three additional quorums of Seventy, and placing therein 134 brethren in the newly announced position of Area Authority Seventy; and the sustaining of a new Relief Society general presidency and a new counselor in the Young Women general presidency.
Called to serve in the First Quorum of the Seventy were four brethren: Elders Gary J. Coleman, Wm. Rolfe Kerr, and John M. Madsen, all of whom have been serving in the Second Quorum of the Seventy, and a new General Authority, Elder Carl B. Pratt, who has been serving as an Area Authority and Second Counselor in the South America North Area Presidency.
Elder Gary J. Coleman, 55, was called to the Second Quorum of the Seventy in June 1992 and is currently serving as First Counselor in the Mexico South Area Presidency. Elder Wm. Rolfe Kerr, 61, is serving as First Counselor in the North America Northwest Area Presidency and was called to the Second Quorum of the Seventy in April 1996. In June 1992 Elder John M. Madsen, 57, was called to the Second Quorum of the Seventy. He is currently serving as President of the Mexico North Area.
Called to the Second Quorum of the Seventy were 11 new General Authorities: Elders Richard D. Allred, Eran A. Call, Richard E. Cook, Duane B. Gerrard, Wayne M. Hancock, J. Kent Jolley, Richard J. Maynes, Dale E. Miller, Lynn G. Robbins, Donald L. Staheli, and Richard E. Turley Sr.
Elaine L. Jack was released as general president of the Relief Society, with her counselors, Chieko N. Okazaki and Aileen H. Clyde. Sister Jack and her counselors had served since 1990. Mary Ellen W. Smoot was sustained as the new general president of the Relief Society, with Virginia Urry Jensen as her first counselor and Sheri L. Dew as second counselor.
Carol B. Thomas was called to serve as second counselor in the Young Women General Presidency, succeeding Bonnie D. Parkin, whose husband has been called to serve as a mission president.
In announcing the formation of the Third, Fourth, and Fifth Quorums of the Seventy, President Gordon B. Hinckley said that those serving in these quorums will continue in their present employment, reside in their homes, and serve on a Church-service basis. These men will “have a quorum relationship presided over by the Presidents of the Seventy,” said President Hinckley. “They will be known as Area Authority Seventies.” (See pages 5–6.)
Area Authority Seventies serving in Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia, and Pacific areas will be assigned to the Third Quorum of the Seventy. Those in Mexico and Central and South America will be in the Fourth Quorum of the Seventy. Brethren serving in areas of the United States and Canada will become members of the Fifth Quorum of the Seventy.
“With these respective quorums in place, we have established a pattern under which the Church may grow to any size with an organization of Area Presidencies and Area Authority Seventies, chosen and working across the world according to need,” President Hinckley said.
Of the 134 Brethren who were called to serve in the Third, Fourth, and Fifth Quorums of the Seventy (see pages 7–8), 128 were already serving as Area Authorities.