“We are living in a wonderful season of the work of the Lord,” said President Gordon B. Hinckley during the Saturday morning session of the 167th Semiannual General Conference held April 5–6, 1997. President Hinckley continued, “The work is growing ever stronger. It is expanding across the world. Each of us has an important part to play in this great undertaking.”
Three members of the Second Quorum of the Seventy were called to the First Quorum. Twelve new General Authorities were called, one as a new member of the First Quorum of the Seventy and eleven as new members of the Second Quorum of the Seventy.
In addition, a major change was made in the organization of the Quorums of the Seventy. Members of the first two Quorums of the Seventy will continue functioning as General Authorities with members of the First Quorum serving until the age of 70 and members of the Second Quorum serving for periods of three to five years. Three additional Quorums of the Seventy were formed, comprised of those who have been serving as Area Authorities.
Members of the three newly formed Quorums of the Seventy will be known as Area Authority Seventies and will serve for a period of years. The 134 new Area Authority Seventies will continue with their employment, reside in their own homes, and serve on a Church-service basis.
The Third Quorum of Seventy will consist of Area Authority Seventies residing in Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia, and the Pacific.
The Fourth Quorum of Seventy will be those Area Authority Seventies living in Mexico, Central America, and South America.
The Fifth Quorum of Seventy will be formed by the Area Authority Seventies from the United States and Canada.
The Area Authority Seventies will be assigned to preside at stake conferences and train stake presidencies; create or reorganize stakes and set apart stake presidencies; serve as counselors in Area Presidencies; chair regional conference planning committees; serve on area councils presided over by the Area Presidency; tour missions and train mission presidents; and complete other duties as assigned.
Also, a new Relief Society general presidency was organized, and a new counselor in the Young Women general presidency was called.
“People in more than 160 nations,” concluded President Hinckley after announcing the changes that would be made, “speaking a score of languages and more, worship our Father in Heaven and our Redeemer, His Beloved Son. This is their great work. It is their cause and their kingdom.”