Bishop Gary Evan Stevenson says he has spent much of his life observing the essential work bishops perform across the globe. His father, he said, was “the bishop of my youth, and his service deeply impacted me.”
On many occasions, Bishop Stevenson’s father would invite him along on visits to one of the more than 60 widows living in their ward. From his father, Bishop Stevenson learned lessons about Christlike service and caring for those in need. Those lessons, he said, will serve him well in his calling as the Presiding Bishop of the Church.
“The bishops of the Church are really my heroes,” he said. “Every single day they are having such an impact upon the members of the Church, particularly the children and young men and young women.”
Born in August 1955 to Evan N. and Vera Jean Stevenson, Bishop Stevenson grew up in a family that came of pioneer stock in Utah’s Cache Valley.
While a young man, he accepted a call to serve a mission to Japan. That assignment instilled in Bishop Stevenson a dual love for Asia and for sharing the gospel that has lasted a lifetime.
After returning from his mission, he enrolled at Utah State University. It was there he met (and was immediately smitten by) Lesa Jean Higley. The two married in April 1979 in the Idaho Falls Idaho Temple. The Stevensons have four sons.
Bishop Stevenson would claim a degree in business administration and later cofound and serve as president of an exercise equipment manufacturing company.
He has served in a variety of Church callings, including counselor in a stake presidency, bishop, and president of the Japan Nagoya Mission (2004–07). He was called to the First Quorum of the Seventy in 2008 and served as a counselor and president in the Asia North Area.