Latter-day Saints around the world gathered April 5-6 for the Church's 173rd Annual General Conference, receiving counsel and comfort during times of war and listening to Church leaders testify that the Gospel of Jesus Christ brings peace.
President Gordon B. Hinckley presided over all four general sessions and the priesthood session of the two-day conference, offering four addresses and speaking candidly and openly Sunday morning of war and peace.
He said that Church members are "in the position of those who long for peace, who teach peace, who work for peace, but who are citizens of nations and are subject to the laws of our governments. Furthermore, we are a freedom loving people, committed to the defense of liberty whenever it is in jeopardy." (Please see report on page 10.)
President Thomas S. Monson and President James E. Faust each spoke twice, also offering counsel and direction to Church members from many lands. Conference messages were translated simultaneously in 56 languages, and sent by satellite to Latter-day Saint congregations around the world.
During conference, Elder Merrill J. Bateman was sustained to the Presidency of the Seventy, filling the vacancy left by Elder Cecil O. Samuelson, who was recently appointed to succeed Elder Bateman as president of Brigham Young University.
Elder Bateman was sustained as Sunday School general president, a position also left vacant by the release of Elder Samuelson from that position. Elder John H. Groberg and Elder Val R. Christensen will continue to serve as first and second counselors, respectively, in the Sunday School general presidency.
Additionally, Elder Bruce D. Porter, who has been serving as a General Authority in the Second Quorum of the Seventy since 1995, was sustained to the First Quorum of the Seventy.
Sustained to the Second Quorum of the Seventy were Elder Mervyn B. Arnold of Taylorsville, Utah; Elder Shirley D. Christensen of Pasco, Wash.; Elder Clate W. Mask Jr. of Gilbert, Ariz.; Elder William W. Parmley of Alamo, Calif.; and Elder W. Douglas Shumway of Show Low, Ariz.
Another 37 leaders were sustained as Area Authority Seventies in the Third, Fourth and Fifth Quorums of the Seventy. Their biographies and photographs will be included in a future issue of the Church News, as will in-depth profiles on the new General Authorities.
Elder Porter, 50, a former professor of political science at BYU and a former executive director of the U.S. Board for International Broadcasting, has served in the Europe East Area Presidency. He and his wife, Susan Elizabeth Porter, are parents of four children.
In the Second Quorum of the Seventy, Elder Arnold, 54, serving as stake Young Men president in the Taylorsville Utah Valley Park Stake, worked in real estate and banking prior to his current employment in the Church's Missionary Department. He is married to Devonna Kress Arnold, and they are parents of six children.
Elder Christensen, 64, recently president of the Argentina Resistencia Mission and ordinance worker in the Columbia River Washington Temple, was self-employed for 35 years as a fruit grower. He and his wife, Geniel Johnson Christensen, are parents of seven children (six living).
Elder Clate W. Mask Jr., 60, bishop of the Tempe University 6th Ward, is a retired teacher and administrator for the Church Educational System. He and his wife, Carol Garns Mask, are parents of six children.
Elder William W. Parmley, 67, a gospel doctrine teacher in the Alamo 1st Ward, Danville California Stake, at the time of his call as a General Authority and a former Area Authority Seventy, is a physician and emeritus professor of medicine. Elder Parmley and his wife, Shanna Lee Parmley, are parents of four children.
Elder W. Douglas Shumway, 62, who recently served as president of the Bolivia Santa Cruz Mission, has been self-employed for 38 years as the owner of Whiting Brothers Investment Company. He and his wife, Dixie Ann Jarvis Shumway, have eight children.
Also announced during conference was the release of Elder J. Devn Cornish, an Area Authority Seventy who has been called as a mission president.
The 37 new Area Authority Seventies called are: D. Fraser Bullock, 47, Alpine, Utah; Luis G. Chaverri, 54, Guapiles, Costa Rica; Ronaldo da Costa, 48, Brasilia, Brazil; Stanley G. Ellis, 56, Spring, Texas; Randy D. Funk, 50, Aurora, Colo.; Jose A. Garcia, 57, Panama City, Panama; Robert H. Garff, 60, Bountiful, Utah; Julio G. Gaviola, 47, Manila, Philippines; Francisco I. Gimenez, 51, Barcelona, Spain; Carlos A. Godoy, 42, Sao Paulo, Brazil; S. Horacio Guzman, 51, Guanajuato, Mexico; Yu Chen (Philip) Ho, 51, Taipei, Taiwan; Beaver T. Ho Ching, 56, Pago Pago, American Samoa; Robert Koch, 56, Zurich, Switzerland; G. Steven Laney, 50, Ontario, Ore.; Barry Lee, 58, Flagstaff Hill, Australia; Miguel A. Lee, 47, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic; Kuen (Tony) Ling; 51, Hong Kong; Lamont W. Moon, 62, Duchesne, Utah; Alexander A. Odume, 46, Benin City, Nigeria; Adesina J. Olukanni, 46, Ikeja, Nigeria; Fernando D. Ortega, 51, Buenos Aires, Argentina; Antonio R. Oyola, 46, La Paz, Bolivia; Adilson de Paula Parrella, 40, Sao Paulo, Brazil; Luigi S. Peloni, 50, Verona, Italy; Rafael E. Pino, 47, Miranda, Venezuela; Gelson Pizzirani, 51, Sao Paulo, Brazil; Gerold Roth, 53, Mondsee, Austria; A. Kim Smith, 49, Short Hills, N. J.; W. Blake Sonne, 60, Orlando, Fla.; Ronald A. Stone, 59, Midway, Utah; Subandriyo, 44, Jakarta, Indonesia; Jeffrey C. Swinton, 55, Salt Lake City, Utah; Donald P. Tenney, 62, El Cajon, Calif.; Jose L. Torres, 43, Mexico City, Mexico; Pita R. Vamanrav, 58, Nuku'alofa, Tonga; Perry M. Webb, 53, Farmington, N.M.