Saturday, April 6, 1974, a solemn assembly was held and President Spencer W. Kimball, was sustained by the members of the Church as prophet, seer, and revelator, and President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. At the same time the following Brethren were sustained.
Elder L. Tom Perry, an Assistant to the Council of the Twelve, was named to the Council of the Twelve. He fills the vacancy created by President Kimball’s becoming President of the Church. Elder Perry was called as an Assistant to the Twelve at the October conference in 1972.
Elder Perry was born in Logan, Utah, August 5, 1922, a son of L. Tom and Nora Sonne Perry. Elder Perry’s service in the Church began early as he was called as president of his deacons quorum. He served a mission in the Northern States, followed by two years with the United States Marines in the Pacific.
Elder Perry received his B.S. degree in finance at Utah State University in 1949. Eight years ago the Perry family moved to Boston, where Elder Perry became vice-president of finance for Lechmere Sales, an appliance and hardware department store in that city. He later took a position as treasurer for the R.H. Stearns Company, which operates six department stores in Boston. While in the East, Elder Perry served a year as counselor in the stake presidency, was counselor in the Weston (Massachusetts) Ward bishopric, a member of the New York Stake high council, and then president of the Boston Stake.
Elder Perry first met his wife, Virginia Lee, at a stake MIA leadership meeting. He was stake secretary and she was a ward speech director. They were also both attending Utah State University. They were married in the Logan Temple, July 18, 1947, and are the parents of a son and two daughters: Mrs. Barbara (Terry) Haws of Tempe, Arizona; Lee, a student at Brigham Young University; and Linda Gay, a high school student in Salt Lake City.
During the past 18 months that Elder Perry has served as a General Authority of the Church, he has proved himself to be a great friend and counselor to the young people in the Church. He has traveled widely attending stake conferences and giving inspired leadership to the Melchizedek Priesthood MIA. He is also serving as the chairman of the Church Bicentennial Committee.
Two new Assistants to the Council of the Twelve were also called to serve as General Authorities of the Church. Elder J. Thomas Fyans comes to his position after many years of faithful Church service. He has just completed two years of pioneering leadership in the newly established Division of Internal Communications. He has been managing director of the division since it was formed in March of 1972. He will continue to give leadership in this division, which is responsible for the scheduling, preparation, translation, printing, and distribution of all communications, magazines, instructional materials, and periodicals going to Church members. Prior to that assignment Elder Fyans was administrative director for the Presiding Bishopric. He has been coordinator for the Church in directing the area general conferences for the Church and served as a mission president in the Uruguay Mission from 1960 to 1964, during which time the mission membership increased from 3,000 to 10,000 members.
Upon his return he was a member of the Church Priesthood Missionary Department until October 1967, when he became one of the original Regional Representatives of the Twelve.
Elder Fyans served 20 years as a department executive for ZCMI, Utah’s largest department store chain. He has been on the board of directors of three corporations, is a past president of the Salt Lake Junior Chamber of Commerce, and past national Chairman of the Jaycee Speakers Committee. He has been an outstanding Church and civic leader.
In mid-1970 the Church reinstituted the position of Church Commissioner of Education, held in the past by a number of distinguished educators and Church leaders, and gave the position to Elder Neal A. Maxwell, newly appointed Assistant to the Council of the Twelve. In this position he supervises all seminaries, institutes, colleges, and institutions of higher learning of the Church. Commissioner Maxwell will continue in this assignment as he serves in his new calling.
Prior to his Church assignment he was executive vice-president of the University of Utah, having joined the school’s staff in 1955 as Assistant Director of Public Relations. A year later he became an Assistant to the President, and in addition, in 1961 he was appointed secretary to the University of Utah Board of Regents.
Elder Maxwell’s church service began with a mission to Canada, and then from 1959 to 1962 he served in a bishopric, first as a counselor and then as bishop of the University of Utah Sixth Ward. He was also a member of the general board of the Young Men’s Mutual Improvement Association, a member of the Adult Correlation Committee of the Church, and in 1967 became one of the first Regional Representatives of the Church.
The new General Authority was born in Salt Lake City on July 6, 1926. He graduated with high honors from the University of Utah in 1952 with a degree in political science and in 1961 received his master’s degree in political science. He has received two honorary degrees: an honorary doctorate of laws in 1969 from the University of Utah, and an honorary doctorate of letters from Westminister College in 1971.
He is the author of four books and many articles on politics and government.
Elder Maxwell married Colleen Hinckley in the Salt Lake Temple on November 22, 1950. They are the parents of four children: Mrs. Becky (Michael) Ahlander, attending Brigham Young University with her husband; Cory, a missionary in the Germany Central Mission; and daughters Nancy and Jane, Salt Lake City high school students.