SALT LAKE CITY — The First Presidency of the LDS Church, which grew to 15,082,028 members during 2013, made numerous changes in leadership during the Saturday afternoon session of the faith's 184th Annual General Conference.
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, second counselor in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, announced the changes.
Elder Lynn G. Robbins was named to the Presidency of the Seventy, succeeding Elder Tad R. Callister. Brother Callister was released as a general authority and sustained as the general president of the Sunday School.
Elder Robbins, 61, became a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy on April 1, 2000, following three years in the Second Quorum of the Seventy. He served a full-time mission in Argentina and as president of the Uruguay Montevideo Mission.
A graduate of Utah State University with an MBA from the American Graduate School of International Management, Elder Robbins was one of the founders of Franklin Quest, which later became Franklin Covey.
A statistical report also was presented, which included the updated number of church members.
The report included updated details about missionaries, as of March 31:
• Total number of missionaries serving: 85,039
• Percentages: 64 percent are elders, 28 percent are sisters and 8 percent are seniors
• Number of those who have received calls: 14,375
• Number of those who are working with their stake president or bishop in the process somewhere in the process: 6,306
The leadership changes included four new general authorities, a new Sunday School general presidency and 42 Area Seventies.
President Uchtdorf announced calls to the First Quorum of the Seventy for Jörg Klebingat, Kyiv, Ukraine, and Chi Hong (Sam) Wong, Hong Kong. Both men are converts to the church.
Born in Zweibrücken, Germany, Elder Klebingat, 46, has been serving as president of the Ukraine Kyiv Mission. Since joining the church in 1985, Elder Klebingat has served as a full-time missionary in the Colorado Denver Mission. He has a degree in Russian and a master’s degree in organizational behavior from Brigham Young University and began his career working for several consulting companies. He worked for the church for many years.
Elder Wong, 51, was serving as an Area Seventy in the Asia Area. Since joining the church in 1982, Elder Wong has served in numerous other church callings.
Born in Hong Kong, Elder Wong earned accounting and computer science degrees at Brigham Young University-Hawaii. He also received an MBA from the Hong Kong Open University. In his professional life he was the founder and partner of a business and quality consulting company and also worked at a materials testing and inspection group.
The other two new general authorities are Larry S. Kacher, Midway, Utah, and Hugo E. Martinez, Arecibo, Puerto Rico, who will serve in the Second Quorum of the Seventy.
Members of the Seventy have responsibility for administering the work of the church throughout the world under the direction of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve. Some of them also have executive responsibilities in a number of church departments. Members of the First Quorum of the Seventy usually serve to age 70.
A new Sunday School general presidency was also announced.
Brother Callister was called as the Sunday School general president. John S. Tanner and Devin G. Durrant will serve as first and second counselors respectively. Brother Tanner is serving as president of the Brazil São Paulo South Mission. Brother Durrant is president of the Texas Dallas Mission. Both men will complete their mission assignments on July 1 and join the general Sunday School presidency.
The previous Sunday School general presidency, Brother Russell T. Osguthorpe, Brother David M. McConkie and Brother Matthew O. Richardson, were released.
The 2013 year-end statistical report included information on church membership.
The number of children of record, or born to church members, was 115,486. The number of converts baptized was 282,945.
Church units grew to 3,050 stakes, 405 missions, 571 districts and 29,253 wards and branches.
At the end of 2013, the church had 83,035 full-time missionaries and 24,032 church-service missionaries. On Friday, church spokesman Cody Craynor said the number of full-time missionaries has grown to more than 85,000 since the beginning of the year.
One temple was dedicated in 2013, the Tegucigalpa Honduras Temple, giving the church 141 operating temples. A 142nd temple was dedicated last month.
Saturday's announcements included callings for 42 new Area Seventies. Area Seventies give part-time voluntary church service within their assigned geographic areas and support area presidencies in international areas.
Called as Area Seventies: Julio C. Acosta, 44, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic; Blake R. Alder, 54, Boise, Idaho; Alain L. Allard, 62, Terrebonne, Canada; Taiichi Aoba, 59, Ehime, Japan; Carlos F. Arredondo, 56, Villas del Bosque, Guatemala; Vladimir N. Astashov, 34, Moscow, Russia; Jorge T. Becerra, 51, Sandy, Utah; Michael H. Bourne, 57, Salt Lake City; Rómulo V. Cabrera, 60, Montevideo, Uruguay; José C. F. Campos, 49, Recife, Brazil; Nicolás Castañeda, 46, Gómez Palacio, Mexico; Walter Chatora, 48, Johannesburg, South Africa; Zeno Chow, 55, Hong Kong; J. Kevin Ence, 58, St. George, Utah; K. Mark Frost, 55, Flagstaff, Ariz.; Maurício G. Gonzaga, 50, Maringá, Brazil; Leonard D. Greer, 59, Gilbert, Ariz.; Jose L. Isaguirre, 39, Ciudad Obregon, Mexico; Michael R. Jensen, 65, Price, Utah; A. Johan Johansson, 44, Auckland, New Zealand; Tae Gul Jung, 52, Sejong-Si, South Korea; Wisit Khanakham, 62, Bangkok, Thailand; Serhii A. Kovalov, 45, Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine; Sergio L. Krasnoselsky, 54, La Plata, Argentina; Milan F. Kunz, 59, Philadelphia; Bryan R. Larsen, 58, Logan, Utah; Geraldo Lima, 47, Manaus, Brazil; W. Jean-Pierre Lono, 54, Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo; Tasara Makasi, 40, Johannesburg, South Africa; Khumbulani Mdletshe, 49, Johannesburg, South Africa; Dale H. Munk, 63, Mapleton, Utah; Eduardo A. Norambuena, 54, Copiapo, Chile; Yutaka Onda, 61, Yokohama, Japan; Raimundo Pacheco De Pinho, 49, São Paulo, Brazil; Marco A. Rais, 53, São Paulo, Brazil; Steven K. Randall, 64, Layton, Utah; R. Scott Runia, 56, Provo, Utah; Alexey V. Samaykin, 37, Moscow, Russia; Edwin A. Sexton, 54, Rexburg, Idaho; Raúl H. Spitale, 53, Cordoba, Argentina; C. Walter Treviño, 50, Veracruz, Mexico; Juan A. Urra, 56, Concepción, Chile.
Releases also were announced for 35 Area Seventies, effective May 1:
Pedro E. Abularach, Julio A. Angulo, Victor A. Asconavieta, Duck Soo Bae, Juan C. Barros, Colin H. Bricknell, Dennis C. Brimhall, Thomas M. Cherrington, Kim B. Clark, Wynn R. Dewsnup, Rodolfo C. Franco, G. Guillermo Garcia, Julio C. González, Mauro Junot De Maria, Larry S. Kacher, David E. LeSueur, Paulo C. Loureiro, Steven J. Lund, Abraham Martinez, Hugo E. Martinez, Sergey N. Mikulin, Christopher B. Munday, Hirofumi Nakatsuka, Chikao Oishi, Alejandro S. Patanía, Renato M. Petla, Anatoly K. Reshetnikov, Jonathan C. Roberts, J. Craig Rowe, Robert B. Smith, Warren G. Tate, Hesbon O. Usi, Taniela B. Wakolo, Randy W. Wilkinson, Chi Hong (Sam) Wong.
The church issued a press release with additional information about the leadership changes:
Second Quorum of the Seventy
Elder Larry S. Kacher, 62, was serving as an Area Seventy in the Middle East/Africa North Area when he was called to the Second Quorum of Seventy. Elder Kacher has served in numerous other church callings, including full-time missionary in French Polynesia, elders quorum president, branch president in Belgium, high councilor, bishop, stake president and president of the Geneva Switzerland Mission.
He received both a bachelor of science degree in psychology and a master’s degree in organizational behavior from Brigham Young University. Professionally, he has worked as an organizational development specialist, human resource development manager and management consultant.
Elder Kacher was born in Mankato, Minn. He is married to Pauline Miller, and they are the parents of six children.
Elder Hugo E. Martinez, 57, was serving as an Area Seventy in the Caribbean Area when he was called to the Second Quorum of the Seventy. Elder Martinez has served in numerous other church callings, including bishop, elders quorum president, district president, mission president’s counselor and president of the Guatemala City Central Mission.
He completed his pre-medicine studies at the University of Mississippi and received a medical degree from Escuela de Medicina de la Universidad de Puerto Rico. He completed a family practice residency in the University of Mississippi Medical Center. Elder Martinez worked for 20 years as a physician and medical consultant and owns his own family medical practice.
Elder Martinez was born in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico. He is married to Nuria Merced Alvarez Pagan and they are the parents of five children.
Sunday School General Presidency
The new Sunday School general president, Brother Callister, 68, served as a full-time missionary in the Eastern Atlantic States Mission, as president of the Toronto Canada Mission and an Area Seventy.
He earned a degree in accounting from Brigham Young University, law degree from UCLA and a master’s degree in tax law from New York University Law School. He spent most of his professional career practicing tax law.
John Sears Tanner, 63, earned an English degree from Brigham Young University and a doctorate in English from the University of California-Berkeley. He has worked as a professor of English at Florida State University and BYU and as academic vice president of BYU. His wife, Susan Winder Tanner, served as the church's general Young Women president from 2002-08.
Devin G. Durrant, 53, earned a degree in American studies from BYU and an MBA from the University of Utah. Professionally, he is a self-employed real estate professional. He played in the NBA and is a member of the BYU Sports Hall of Fame.
Email: [email protected]