Diverse group of new mission presidents gather for annual seminar


New mission presidents and their wives — 127 couples from 24 countries — gathered at the Provo Missionary Training Center June 24 through June 28 for the 2017 Seminar for New Mission Presidents.

The couples, who will serve in 61 different countries, received training and instruction from senior Church leaders.

Sharing the gospel and the love of the Lord is a call all Latter-day Saints receive at baptism, taught President Henry B. Eyring, first counselor in the First Presidency.

“We are in His service, called by Him to help take His gospel, and His love, to Heavenly Father’s children,” said President Eyring.

President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, second counselor in the First Presidency, told the new mission presidents, “You will not only have a positive influence on the spreading of the word of God worldwide, but you will also impact the lives of individuals and families,” he said. “You will be remembered for years and generations to come.”

Of the 127 couples entering missionary service, 82 couples came from the United States, 10 from Brazil, and four couples were called from Argentina, from Mexico and from the Philippines. The remaining mission presidents represent 19 additional countries.

The youngest of the 2017 mission president class is 40 years old and the oldest is 66 years old. Of the 127 mission presidents, 35 are converts, with 34 of their wives being converts, and 113 mission presidents served full-time missions in their youth with 19 mission president’s wives having served full-time missions.

More than 50 of the new mission presidents work in business or finance and more than 25 are Church employees; 11 work in the legal profession.

Regarding languages, 94 couples are native English speakers, 18 are native Spanish speakers, 10 are native Portuguese speakers and four are native Tagalog speakers.

Elder Brent H. Nielson, General Authority Seventy and executive director of the Missionary Department, thanked the new mission presidents and their wives — who begin service July 1 — for their courage to “accept a call you did not seek, to an area you did not choose, to be with people you do not know.”

Following are summaries of selected talks given during the seminar:

Women’s Auxiliary presidents: Sister Jean B. Bingham, Sister Bonnie L. Oscarson, and Joy D. Jones Sister

President Henry B. Eyring

President Dieter F. Uchtdorf

President Russell M. Nelson

Elder Dallin H. Oaks opening address

Elder Dallin H. Oaks closing address

Elder M. Russell Ballard

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland

Elder Quentin L. Cook

Elder D. Todd Christofferson

Elder Neil L. Andersen

Elder Ronald A. Rasband and Sister Melanie Rasband

Elder Gary E. Stevenson and Sister Lesa Stevenson

Elder Dale G. Renlund

Bishop W. Christopher Waddell