The First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has announced an increase in the number of quorums of the Seventy, adding four quorums for Area Seventies to the existing eight quorums and changing the geographic structure of quorum assignments.
In a Tuesday, May 19, letter to the Church’s General Authorities and officers and Area Seventies, the First Presidency reported the approval for the additions and reassignments came in a recent meeting of the Council of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.
The announced changes will become effective June 1.
“It is felt that the changes in Area Seventy quorums will enhance the functioning of the quorums, improve geographic alignment of the quorums, and enhance cultural and language similarities among quorum members,” the First Presidency said in the letter.
“The adjustments will also assist in providing members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and the Presidency of the Seventy more interactive time with Area Seventies.”
The proposed quorum numbers and assignments for the Area Seventy quorums, beginning next month:
- Third Quorum — Africa Central, Africa South and Africa West areas. (The first two are being created from a division of the current Africa Southeast Area.)
- Fourth Quorum — Asia and Asia North areas.
- Fifth Quorum — Brazil Area.
- Sixth Quorum — Caribbean, Central America and Mexico areas.
- Seventh Quorum — Europe, Europe East and Middle East/Africa North areas.
- Eighth Quorum — Pacific and Philippines areas.
- Ninth Quorum — South America Northwest and South America South areas.
- Tenth Quorum — North America Central, North America Northeast, North America Southeast areas.
- Eleventh Quorum — North America Southwest and North America West areas.
- Twelfth Quorum — Utah Area.
The First and Second Quorums of the Seventy are comprised of General Authority Seventies.
Latter-day revelations contain provisions for additional quorums of the Seventy, “until seven times seventy, if the labor in the vineyard of necessity requires it” (Doctrine and Covenants 107:96).
The Prophet Joseph Smith called the first Seventies in this dispensation in 1834, with President Spencer W. Kimball reconstituting the First Quorum of the Seventy in 1975 and filling that quorum the next year with the 21 men who had been Assistants to the Twelve and subsequently ordained Seventies.
The seventies quorums in stakes worldwide were discontinued in 1986, and the Second Quorum of the Seventy was organized in 1989.
In April 1995 general conference, President Gordon B. Hinckley announced the creation of a new leadership position — the area authority. In 1997, area authorities were renamed area authority seventies — later shorted to Area Seventies — and ordained to the priesthood office of seventy.
Area Seventies are not considered Church General Authorities. They live at home throughout the world, maintain their non-religious vocations, and serve on a Church-service basis for a designated number of years, similar to a bishop or stake president.
Also in 1997, the Third, Fourth and Fifth Quorums were created — the third for those living in the Church’s Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia and Pacific areas; the Fourth for those residing in the Mexico, Central America and South America areas; and the Fifth for those in the United States and Canada.
In July 2004, the Sixth Quorum of the Seventy was organized from the division of the Fifth Quorum, since that quorum’s numbers exceeded 70. The areas within the United States and Canada separated into the Fifth and Sixth Quorums. A year later, the Church announced the creation of the Seventh and Eighth quorums — the former for areas in Brazil and southern South America and the latter for areas in Southern Asia, Australia and the Pacific islands.
With the Church’s geographic areas consolidated and realigned over the years, the most recent quorum composition until the May 19 announcement included:
- Third Quorum — Africa Southeast, Africa West, Europe and Europe East areas
- Fourth Quorum — Caribbean, Central America, Mexico and South America Northwest areas.
- Fifth Quorum — North America West and Utah areas.
- Sixth Quorum — North America Central, North America Northeast, North America Southeast and North America Southwest areas.
- Seventh Quorum — Brazil and South America South areas.
- Eighth Quorum — Asia, Asia North, Pacific and Philippines areas.