Friday, May 23, 2008

What Happens to Former Stake and Mission Presidents: Creation of Seventh and Eighth Quorums of Seventy

Have you ever wondered what happens to many of the best former stake presidents and mission presidents? According to Earl C. Tingey in the 7 May 2008 Church News the cream of the crop are made Seventies and used to train other church leaders:

In the quorums are "many outstanding men. These are really powerful men; most have been presidents of missions and stakes. They are seasoned people who know the local area well — the customs, languages and carry the office of Seventy to preside. Once we have a Seventy, we can convene groups of stake presidents and let the Seventy train them as needed by direction of the seven presidents or the area presidency."

Several of the former mission presidents are today members of the eight quorums of Seventy. Up until April 2008 there were six quorums of Seventy but then two more were created on 19 April 2008.

John L. Hart of the Deseret News said about the creation of the two new Quorums of Seventy: "Two new quorums of the Seventy — the Seventh and Eighth quorums — have been created, the First Presidency announced April 19 by letter to priesthood leaders."

I wonder why there are eight Quorums of Seventy when the Lord said there would be seven by seventy but the Church goes on revelation and can call as many as they need. Elder Tingey tells us that the Prophet received inspiration to create more than seven groups.

John L. Hart says in the Church News account, "Elder Earl C. Tingey of the Presidency of the Seventy quoted Doctrine and Covenants Section 107, which states: "The Seventy are to act in the name of the Lord, under the direction of the Twelve or the traveling high council, in building up the church and regulating all the affairs of the same in all nations . . . (verse 34).

It is the duty of the traveling high council to call upon the Seventy, when they need assistance, to fill the several calls for preaching and administering the gospel, instead of any others . . . . (verse 38).

And also other seventy, until seven times seventy, if the labor in the vineyard of necessity requires it" (verse 96)."

Tingey also said in his response to the creation of the two quorums:

"As Elder Neal A. Maxwell used to counsel us, there is no elasticity in the ranks of the Twelve. It is fixed at twelve. The elasticity is in the ranks of the Seventy. We have seen the Seventy increase from 137 in 1997 to 195 today. We have seen the number of quorums increase from one in 1976, from two in 1986, and from five in 1997 to eight today.

The additional Area Seventies were called to meet the needs of growth which, combined with retention and activation efforts, has brought the Church to 2,676 stakes and 338 missions, with a membership of some 12.4 million.

This is a reflection of the Lord inspiring the prophet, from time to time, on how to organize the Seventies.

The beauty of it is that the organization is in place to add Seventies to a quorum,. You don't have to create a new structure. If there is a lot of growth in one part of the world, you can add three or four. It is flexible, it has elasticity to fit whatever situation is out there, based on the growth of the Church."

That the Church would use the former mission presidents who understand the areas of the world in which they serve and many times are men of significant Church experience is not surprising. During the last century many of the Twelve and Quorum of Seventy have been former mission presidents. Since these former mission presidents now Seventies have developed a vast amount of experience and new mission presidents and stake presidents need additional training and the Council of the Twelve are so busy organizationally it makes sense to call seasoned stake presidents and mission presidents to help in supervising a growing International Church. Who better than men who have served in similar callings and know just the kind of issues that will present themselves to other mission and stake presidents.

I have had great respect for the former stake president I served under for nearly five years as an executive secretary. He had served for nearly twelve years and was well seasoned in church leadership. I learned a great deal from him and know that other stake presidents could learn best practices from him.

If you are lucky enough to be a former stake or mission president that is dynamic and powerful you have a good chance of being called to one of these quorums. The article says when a quorum grows larger than 70 then it is split so conceivably there could be many more quorums plus there are still a few dozens of openings in the new quourms since there are only 197 total Seventies. There are some exciting times ahead in church government.

I have always had an interest in these types of things. Many years ago I was a student of Wilson Anderson who taught a Church government and history class and I worked for Richard O. Cowan who studied the development of the Church. It is quite fun to track the new pool of mission presidents coming out in the class of 2008. I wonder how many of them will distinguish themselves and have the Lord call them in the next decade to fill the ranks of the Seventh and Eight Quorum of Seventy.

1 comment:

Bored in Vernal said...


You can do one on missionary work!