Brother Brian K. Ashton was called to serve in the Sunday School general presidency just as he was completing his service as president of the Texas Houston South Mission. The calling was announced in June, and he was sustained during the October 2015 general conference.
Brother Tad R. Callister continues as general president, and Brother Devin G. Durrant, who had served as second counselor since April 2014, became the first counselor.
The vacancy in the presidency was occasioned by John S. Tanner’s appointment to serve as president of Brigham Young University–Hawaii.
Brian Kent Ashton was born in Provo, Utah, USA, in 1969 to Kent and Vicki Brown Ashton. He is the oldest of nine children. He remembers his parents as being consistent teachers of the gospel at home.
Brother Ashton served a full-time mission in the Peru Lima South Mission. His decision to serve was influenced by a good friend who felt prompted to tell him he needed to serve a mission. As his friend expressed his feelings, Brian felt the Spirit’s confirmation. On his mission he was struggling with some significant health challenges when he was called to serve as president of a large branch. During this time, he prayed fervently and continually to Heavenly Father for help. “I learned to rely on Him, and He came through for me,” he said. “Learning to trust Him has made all the difference.”
After his mission he attended Brigham Young University, where he met his future wife, Melinda Earl. Before they were married, however, she served in the Spain Malaga Mission while Brother Ashton worked in the midwestern United States. After her mission they were married in the St. George Utah Temple. They have seven children.
Brother Ashton received a master of business administration degree from Harvard University, while Sister Ashton attended medical school. Brother Ashton is an entrepreneur and has started several companies.
Brother Ashton has previously served as a bishop, high councilor, elders quorum president, and Gospel Doctrine teacher.