Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin was ordained an apostle of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Oct. 9, 1986. He was sustained and set apart as an Assistant to the Council of the Twelve Apostles on April 4, 1975, and served in that capacity until he was called to the First Quorum of the Seventy in April 1976.
He was set apart in the Presidency of the First Quorum of the Seventy Aug. 28, 1986, where he was serving when called to be an Apostle.
He was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, on June 11, 1917, to Joseph L. and Madeline Bitner Wirthlin. His father, Joseph L. Wirthlin, served as the Presiding Bishop of the Church, 1952-1961.
Elder Wirthlin graduated from the University of Utah in Business Administration. He received from Brigham Young University a Doctorate of Christian Service Honoris Causa, April 26, 2001. He was an Eagle Scout and was active in athletics in high school and played football (running back) at the University of Utah.
Before his call as a General Authority, he was a prominent business leader in Salt Lake City. He was also president of a trade association in Utah.
Elder Wirthlin served a mission to Germany, Austria and Switzerland in the late 1930s.
Among other positions in the stake and ward auxiliaries, he served as a counselor in the Bonneville Ward bishopric and as bishop. He was a member of the Bonneville Stake high council and a member of the stake presidency. He served as a counselor in the General Sunday School Presidency until April 1975, when he was called as an Assistant to the Twelve.
He married Elisa Young Rogers on May 26, 1941, in the Salt Lake Temple. They are the parents of eight children. Sister Wirthlin died Aug. 16, 2006.