New General Authorities


Elder L. Whitney Clayton

Of the Seventy
Elder L. Whitney Clayton

When Elder L. Whitney Clayton, a new member of the First Quorum of the Seventy, was a student at the University of Utah and contemplating a full-time mission, an important factor in his decision to serve was the example set by returned missionaries on campus. “It wasn’t so much what they said, although several said things that were helpful,” he recalls. “It was the way they carried themselves, the way they acted. There was something about them that was different from all of the other young men I knew. And it was obvious that the key to it was a mission.”

He was called to the Andes Mission in Peru in 1970, and his experience there helped lay a strong foundation for other Church service. One event that strengthened his testimony occurred during a tour of the mission by Elder Boyd K. Packer of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. “When Elder Packer bore his testimony in a missionary meeting in Lima,” says Elder Clayton, “I knew that he knew the gospel is true.”

Elder Clayton was born in Salt Lake City on 24 February 1950 to L. Whitney Clayton Jr. and Elizabeth T. Clayton. He grew up in Whittier, California, received a bachelor’s degree in finance from the University of Utah, and obtained a law degree from the University of the Pacific in California. After working for several law firms, in May 1981 he and a partner opened a firm of their own in Newport Beach.

He married Kathy Ann Kipp on 3 August 1973 in the Salt Lake Temple, and they are the parents of seven children.

Elder Clayton’s previous callings include stake mission president, high priests group leader, branch president, bishop, stake high councilor, mission president’s counselor, regional representative, and Area Authority Seventy.

Grateful for the opportunity to serve that his new calling gives him, Elder Clayton says, “My testimony is the center of my life. It is a tremendous motivator for wanting to do right, for wanting to be of service, for wanting to bless and help people anywhere, any way that we can.”

Elder Christoffel Golden Jr.

Of the Seventy
Elder Christoffel Golden Jr.

“I have always had a deep love for the Savior. I grew up reading the Bible and saying my prayers most days,” says Elder Christoffel Golden Jr. of the First Quorum of the Seventy. “When I was 20, my mother opened the door to the missionaries. I won’t ever forget it. We all believed and were baptized.”

Elder Golden was born on 1 June 1952 in Johannesburg, South Africa, to Christoffel and Maria Oosthuizen Golden. As a young man, he completed nine months of military service in 1971. From 1977 to 1979, he served in the Johannesburg South Africa Mission. His studies at the University of South Africa resulted in a degree in political science in 1986 and then a postgraduate honors degree in international politics in 1990.

After his mission, he met his future wife, Diane Norma Hulbert, who had graduated as a registered optometrist. He finished college while she served a mission in Johannesburg. They married on 12 December 1981 and are now the parents of four children, ages 11 to 17.

“Our lives were centered in the Lord right from the beginning,” he says. “There is no question that we delight in sustaining the Lord, the prophet, and the Twelve.”

A successful businessman, Elder Golden has worked in banking and in pharmaceuticals. He was given the opportunity of a promotion and a move to Paris, but chose instead to remain in South Africa. Later he started an optical marketing business.

In June 1996 he began working as an area director for the Church Educational System. “Many of the young people here don’t have parents in the Church,” says Elder Golden, who speaks both English and Afrikaans. “It is through seminaries and institutes that we can teach a gospel culture.”

Elder Golden, who has served as a Young Men president, ward mission leader, bishop, and stake president, has served as an Area Authority Seventy for six years.

“My love for Jesus Christ has been with me since I was a child,” he says. “This new calling is another opportunity for me to serve Him.”

Elder Walter F. González

Of the Seventy
Elder Walter F. González

“The Book of Mormon has been the instrument for my conversion. I really love it,” says Elder Walter F. González.

Born on 18 November 1952, he grew up in Montevideo, Uruguay. At 12, he was studying his English lessons on a bus one day when two missionaries saw him and asked, “Do you speak English?”

From this first contact, young Walter received a copy of the Book of Mormon. Six years later, when he first began to read it, he says, “I knew it was true after just a few pages of 1 Nephi.” His parents, Fermin and Victoria González, had taught him Christian values that helped him recognize and receive the restored gospel.

He studied law at Universidad de la República in Uruguay, studied economics at Universidad de la Fraternidad in Argentina, obtained a technician’s degree in business administration at Instituto CEMLAD, and later completed through distance learning a bachelor’s degree from Indiana University at Bloomington.

A year after his baptism, he met his wife, Zulma, at a regional youth conference. They were married on 28 February 1975 in Uruguay and sealed in the Washington D.C. Temple in 1979. They have three sons and a daughter.

“I love teaching. I love the fellowship with students. They keep me young,” he says. Elder González has worked for the Church Educational System since 1975. His career as a teacher and administrator has taken him and his family to Ecuador and Colombia.

In the years since his baptism, Elder González says that the Lord has blessed him with many responsibilities and opportunities to serve. His first calling 30 years ago was counselor to the Mutual superintendent. He has served in a bishopric and as a stake president, mission president in Ecuador, regional representative, and public affairs area director. He was serving as an Area Authority Seventy when called to the First Quorum of the Seventy.

“I believe in the balanced life,” says Elder González. “We must make time for closeness to the Lord and wife and children.” Regarding other activities, he adds with a smile, “It is also important to have time for sports. I especially like soccer.”

Elder González consistently teaches members to “follow the prophets. They will lead us to Christ. The safest insurance policy for our spiritual well-being is to follow the prophet.”

Elder Steven E. Snow

Of the Seventy
Elder Steven E. Snow

Steven E. Snow and his wife, Phyllis Squire Snow, knew their summer was going to be full. They just had no idea how full.

The couple will celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary this June, but they had given little thought to the event because of their preparations for the May, July, and August weddings of three of their four children.

Then things became really busy when at conference Brother Snow was called to serve in the First Quorum of the Seventy. “Calls to serve don’t always come at a convenient time,” Elder Snow says, “but they are always a privilege. I’m looking forward to giving full-time service to the Lord. To wake up every morning and know you’re doing the right thing is the most wonderful feeling.”

Born on 23 November 1949 to Greg E. Snow and Vida Jean Goates Snow, Elder Snow has dedicated much of his life to service. He has been a stake high councilor, bishop, stake president, president of the California San Fernando Mission, and Area Authority Seventy in the Utah South Area. As a young man he served a mission in Germany, where he says he gained his strong testimony of the gospel.

Through his service, Elder Snow has developed a deep love for people. “As we prepare for our new assignment, I’m looking forward to meeting new people, particularly those of different backgrounds. I get a lot of joy and happiness from my interest in others.”

His love of people developed while he was growing up in St. George, Utah. “My grandparents owned a furniture store,” he says, “and as customers would come in, I would watch my grandfather visit with them. He enjoyed it so much that my grandmother would always have to remind him that he was at work.”

Elder and Sister Snow were married in the St. George Utah Temple and raised their family in nearby Washington, Utah. He is a senior partner with the Snow Nuffer law firm and has worked as a deputy county attorney for Washington County. He received a bachelor’s degree in accounting at Utah State University and a law degree from Brigham Young University.

Elder Keith K. Hilbig

Of the Seventy
Elder Keith K. Hilbig

“I’m very much a believer in President J. Reuben Clark’s statement that in the Church one neither seeks nor declines a position, and it matters not where one serves but how,” says Elder Keith K. Hilbig, recently called to the Second Quorum of the Seventy. “That holds true with every opportunity to serve in the Church.”

Elder Hilbig’s feelings about Church service began to develop in his childhood. He was born on 13 March 1942 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in the United States, to Karl and Mildred Hilbig. The example that his parents and other members set in accepting callings was a key factor in his spiritual development. Watching them serve, he recalls, shaped his attitude toward the Church and spiritual things.

Elder Hilbig served as a full-time missionary in the Central German Mission, then went on to receive a bachelor’s degree from Princeton University and a law degree from Duke University. After working as a trial attorney in Los Angeles, he established his own firm, then in April 1998 became International Legal Counsel for the Church. In that capacity he presently works with the Europe West and Europe Central Areas.

He married Susan Rae Logie in the Salt Lake Temple on 1 June 1967. They are the parents of six children and the grandparents of eight. Of his wife’s influence, Elder Hilbig comments: “She has been a wonderful example to me in gospel study and application. I watch her and learn.”

Prior to his call to the Second Quorum of the Seventy, Elder Hilbig was called in 1995 to be an Area Authority and in 1997 to be an Area Authority Seventy. He has also served as Gospel Doctrine teacher, Young Men president, elders quorum president, bishop, stake president, and president of the Switzerland Zurich Mission.

“I have a testimony of the divinity of the Savior and am increasingly awed by the Restoration and the work that is being accomplished through the Spirit today,” Elder Hilbig observes. “It is wonderful to look back on how much has been accomplished and to look forward and contemplate how much yet will occur. These are wonderful times in which to live and to contribute.”

Elder Robert F. Orton

Of the Seventy
Elder Robert F. Orton

“I don’t remember a time in my life when I haven’t known God lives,” says Elder Robert F. Orton of Salt Lake City. That testimony has been strengthened through years of scripture study—much of it undertaken at night when he is unable to sleep. “When I wake up, instead of lying there I study the scriptures,” he says. He feels this intense personal study will be a benefit in his new call to the Second Quorum of the Seventy.

Elder Orton was born on 24 August 1936 to H. Frank and Gwen Riggs Orton and was raised in Panguitch, Utah. His parents had been married in the temple, but not long afterward his father became less active. It wasn’t until young Robert was 12 years old that his father determined to return to full activity. “That took place after many years of hoping and praying and pleading,” Elder Orton says. “He had always been a good father, but there was now a calmness and sweetness in our home because of the spiritual relationship that existed between my father and the rest of our family.”

Another profound influence in Elder Orton’s life was his grandmother Mildred Riggs, who lived with the family after the death of her husband. She set an example of personal righteousness and self-discipline, reading the scriptures faithfully every day and choosing to serve a mission while in her late 60s. “When the time came for me to consider going on a mission, I began to think of my grandmother and the kind of person she had been,” Elder Orton recalls. “Finally I said to myself, If Grandma Riggs can do it, you can do it, and you should do it.” Elder Orton subsequently served in the French Mission, an experience he credits with deepening his love for the restored gospel.

Elder Orton earned a bachelor’s degree at Brigham Young University and a law degree at the University of Utah. On 13 June 1963 he married Joy Dahlberg in the Salt Lake Temple, and they now have six children and nine grandchildren.

Elder Orton’s numerous callings include service as a bishop, counselor in a stake presidency, and mission president.

Elder Wayne S. Peterson

Of the Seventy
Elder Wayne S. Peterson

A cornet led Wayne S. Peterson to one of his earliest spiritual experiences. He learned to play the instrument as a teenager growing up in Roy, Utah. He was a member of the Ogden Utah Boys’ Chorus and Trumpet Choir, a group that was invited to perform at the Kiwanis International Convention in Atlantic City, New Jersey. As part of the trip east, the boys also had the opportunity to visit the Sacred Grove and the Hill Cumorah near Palmyra, New York.

“It was one of the defining points in my life,” remembers Elder Peterson. “The Spirit that I felt there, the assurance of what had occurred there, sank deeply into my heart.”

That personal testimony has stayed with Elder Peterson as he has served throughout his life. He has been a missionary in Australia, a bishop twice, a stake high councilor twice, a stake president, president of the California Oakland Mission, and a regional representative. He had been serving since 1995 as an Area Authority Seventy for the Utah North Area when he was called as a member of the Second Quorum of the Seventy.

Elder Peterson was born in Roy, Utah, on 6 October 1939 to Rulon and Naomi Skeen Peterson. He and his wife of 39 years, Joan Jensen Peterson, have reared six children, which has been a rich and rewarding experience. A year after he and Sister Peterson were married in the Logan Utah Temple, their first child, Linda, was born with spina bifida. The experience rapidly brought the couple a deepened maturity. Their faith increased as they saw prayers answered and small miracles occur in the life of this daughter. Today Linda has served a mission, taught at the Missionary Training Center, graduated from Brigham Young University, married in the temple, and is the mother of two.

Elder Peterson earned a bachelor’s degree and an MBA at Utah State University, where he was student body president. Professionally he has worked as a real estate developer in Salt Lake City.

Elder R. Conrad Schultz

Of the Seventy
Elder R. Conrad Schultz

Elder R. Conrad Schultz has enjoyed playing basketball since he was young, so it was a surprise to everyone—himself included—when he quit his Oregon high school team as a senior. “At the time I didn’t know why I needed to quit,” he says. “But now I know.”

The day after he left the school team, a friend invited him to play for his ward team. Although not a Church member at the time, young Conrad agreed, and he helped take the team to the All-Church tournament in Salt Lake City. They placed among the top teams in the tournament, and afterward team members were able to attend a banquet where the featured speaker was Joseph Fielding Smith, President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

“When I came back from the tournament, I wanted to know more about the Church,” says Elder Schultz. “So I took the missionary discussions.” While fasting and praying, he received a strong witness that Joseph Smith was a prophet and the Book of Mormon was the word of God. He was baptized shortly thereafter, in 1956. Two years later, in June 1958, he commenced his service in the Gulf States Mission.

Born in North Bend, Oregon, on 11 March 1938, Elder Schultz is the son of Ralph Conrad Schultz and Dorothy Bushong Schultz. He has lived in his home state for most of his life. He earned his bachelor’s and juris doctorate degrees at the University of Oregon and has practiced law throughout his career. In June 1961 he married Carolyn Lake in the Salt Lake Temple; the couple now have five children and eight grandchildren. He and his family enjoy camping, fishing, and attending sporting events together. “I can’t express how important family unity is,” he says. “It is a great thing in our lives.”

Prior to his call to the Second Quorum of the Seventy, Elder Schultz served as a bishop, stake president, and president of the Colorado Denver South Mission. “Missionary work is the touchstone of my heart,” he says. “It is so important to me because of how it has blessed my own life.”

Elder Robert R. Steuer

Of the Seventy
Elder Robert R. Steuer

Elder Robert R. Steuer remembers how members were “so kind and considerate” when he joined the Church at age nine. Through the examples of neighborhood friends, he began attending Primary and was introduced to the gospel. At an early age, he learned firsthand the importance of befriending and being kind to others.

At age 14, Robert again learned by example the need to have “true love and concern for the other person.” He recalls a home teaching companion, a man in his 80s, who set a wonderful example for him. “His idea of home teaching,” says Elder Steuer, “was to go out and paint the widow’s porch and house.”

Born on 6 December 1943 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to Hulda Hanel and Fritz Steuer, young Robert spent his youth in Salt Lake City, Utah, and Las Vegas, Nevada. He moved to the Midwest to attend college at the University of Minnesota and there received his bachelor’s and medical degrees. Following schooling, he practiced medicine and pursued medical research, eventually becoming a diagnostic physician. He was the founder and chairman of a medical diagnostics firm.

Because of his experiences in the medical profession, Elder Steuer says that “the Spirit gives inspiration not only in ecclesiastical matters but also in secular matters.” He says it has been exciting to see the Lord’s hand in medical research.

Elder Steuer and his wife, Margaret Black, from Ogden, Utah, were married on 21 June 1971 in the Logan Utah Temple. They reside in Pleasant View, Utah, and have five children and five grandchildren. His wife and family “have been such a strength to me,” he says.

His Church callings have included bishop, stake mission president, and mission president of the Brazil São Paulo North Mission.

Elder Steuer says life experiences have taught him that there are many moments in our lives when “quiet inspiration comes.” As a new member of the Second Quorum of the Seventy, he encourages members to “find those quiet moments in our homes to reflect on the needs of each family member.”

Elder H. Ross Workman

Of the Seventy
Elder H. Ross Workman

At age 19, H. Ross Workman was engaged to be married and not planning on serving a full-time mission. Then one Sunday morning his stake president walked up to him as he sat in his car and said, “I’ve been inspired to call you to go on a mission. Will you go?” Caught by surprise but feeling the confirming influence of the Holy Ghost, young Ross said, “Yes.” When he told his fiancée, the girl he had dated through high school and become engaged to on graduation day, she cried but agreed to support him and delay the wedding.

The commitments made that day were a turning point in his life. He was born 31 December 1940 in Salt Lake City to Harley and Lucille Ramsey Workman. Following his mission to the southern states, he married Katherine Evelyn Meyers, his high school sweetheart, in the Logan Utah Temple. They are the parents of four children and have seven grandchildren. He earned degrees in chemistry and law from the University of Utah and has worked for more than 28 years as a patent attorney. He worked with the youth for many years and has served in several bishoprics, on a stake high council, and as a bishop, and was president of the Hawaii Honolulu Mission when called to the Second Quorum of the Seventy.

Elder Workman credits the leadership training he received while serving in a student ward bishopric as “giving me a vision of this work.” He looks back on his service as a bishop as one of the great experiences of his life. Among the successes he watched unfold as a mission president were the remarkable growth in faith of the missionaries and the establishment of the Church on Christmas Island in Kiribati, where the branch has grown to more than 114.

“I know that God speaks to man through the direction of the Holy Spirit,” Elder Workman testifies. “The Lord has sustained me throughout my life. I have come to know that Jesus Christ lives and that He is my Savior. I have a profound gratitude for Him. He is the living Christ.”