The First Presidency announced the calling of 10 new General Authority Seventies; a new Sunday School general presidency and 55 Area Seventies during the Saturday afternoon session of the 189th Annual General Conference on April 6.
Following are a brief sketches of the newly called leaders.
Elder Rubén V. Alliaud was 14 when he left his home in Argentina to live with his Uncle Manuel in the United States.
His father, Rubén Reynaldo Alliaud, had died a short time earlier and the teenager was developing, in his words, a “rebellious spirit.”
So his concerned mother, Maria Alliaud, sent her son to Houston to be with her brother, Manuel Bustos, and his family.
She had one condition of her brother: Do not share his Latter-day Saint beliefs with her son. Uncle Manuel agreed.
But the spirit of the gospel communicated to the teenager in other ways. He observed how the Church unitedhe Bustos family through prayer and service.
The shelves in Rubén’s guest bedroom held hundreds of copies of the Book of Mormon. Curious, he pulled out a copy and discovered Moroni’s promise (10:4-5) that he could know the Book of Mormon was true through prayer.
“That promise touched me in a strange way — I wanted to read the book,” said the recently called General Authority Seventy.
He took Moroni’s promise to heart and prayed to know if the Book of Mormon was true. He received an affirmative answer and told his surprised uncle that he wanted to be baptized.
Honoring his agreement, Uncle Manuel didn’t discuss the gospel. Instead, he immediately sent Rubén back to Argentina where he could receive his mother’s permission to join the Church. He was soon baptized.
Since that fortuitous discovery of the Book of Mormon, the restored gospel has anchored Elder Alliaud’s life.
Born Jan. 8, 1966, in Buenos Aires, Elder Alliaud still calls the Argentine capital home. He earned a law degree from the University of Belgrano and has enjoyed a wide-ranging legal career.
He served in the Uruguay Montevideo Mission and has been a bishop, high councilor, stake president, Area Seventy and president of the Argentina Córdoba Mission.
He married Fabiana Bennett Lamas on Dec. 17, 1992, in the Buenos Aires Argentina Temple. They have six children.
Elder Jorge M. Alvarado: Miguel and Iris Alvarado joined the Church in Puerto Rico in 1977 when their son Jorge was 6-years-old.
Young Jorge was baptized two years later and never missed Sabbath services.
“But my own conversion happened when I was 16,” said the newly called General Authority Seventy.
In high school, he began serving as president of his seminary class in his hometown of Ponce.The students were studying the Book of Mormon that year.
His new responsibility prompted personal soul-searching.
“I had to ask myself, ‘Do I really know the Book of Mormon is true?’... How could I be the president of the class if I didn’t even know if that book was true?”
He picked up his copy of the Book of Mormon and began earnestly reading it for the first time.
“I knelt down and I prayed and I knew then that it was true,” he said.
The Book of Mormon remains a defining element in his life.
When he served in the Tampa Florida Mission, he shared the Book of Mormon with everyone he taught. Later, he studied the book with his wife, Sister Cari Lu Alvarado, and their three children. And while presiding over the Puerto Rico San Juan Mission, he challenged his missionaries to love and share the Book of Mormon.
Now as a General Authority Seventy, he remains eager to invite others to discover the life-changing truths of the Book of Mormon.
Born Nov. 21, 1970, in Ponce, Puerto Rico, Elder Alvarado studied business management at the University of Puerto Rico. He has worked in a variety of business capacities in Puerto Rico and the mainland United States — most recently at Church headquarters in Utah’s Salt Lake County, where he lives.
Elder Alvarado has served as a ward mission leader, high councilman, branch president, stake president and an Area Seventy in the North America Southeast and Caribbean Areas.
He and Sister Alvarado were married Dec. 19, 1992, in the Washington D.C. Temple.
Elder Hans T. Boom: When Elder Hans T. Boom was 8 years old his family moved from Amsterdam to the city of Breda, located in the southern part of the Netherlands. His father, a Dutch man who had grown up in Indonesia and was a convert to the Church, felt like his family needed to leave the large city and return to his ancestral roots. “My father had a feeling that it was good to go to the Southern part where the Church was so small,” he said. “There were only a few people in the branch. I was the only boy until I was 13.”
Time with his family in that small branch proved to be a training ground for Church service, something Elder Boom has done his entire life and will continue to do in his new calling as a General Authority Seventy.
“Everything I am and everything I have — everything — I owe it all to the Lord and the opportunities He has given me to learn and grow,” he said.
Born in July of 1963 in Amsterdam, to Hans and Ankie Boom, the younger Hans is the second oldest of the Booms four children. His parents, both converts to the Church, taught the gospel in their home and encouraged their children to work hard.
At 18, Elder Boom served in the England London East Mission, and just a few months after his return he met his future wife, Ariena Johenna “Marjan” Broekzitter, at a Church young adult conference. The couple married on July 27, 1984, in Rhoon, Netherlands, and were sealed three days later in the London England Temple. They have three sons.
Prior to his call as a General Authority, Elder Boom served as a counselor in a branch presidency, branch president, stake Young Men president, counselor in a stake presidency, stake president and Area Seventy. At the time of his call, he was serving as an institute teacher and temple ordinance worker in The Hague Netherlands Temple.
Elder L. Todd Budge was sustained April 6 as a General Authority Seventy. As a young boy, Elder Budge was taught by his parents how to seek the Lord’s will. Throughout his life he has applied that practice in every decision.
At one point in his career in banking and finance, when he and his wife had five children and had just settled into their first home, he felt spiritual impressions to go a different but more meaningful direction. The change would require significant sacrifice to become established in that new career.
After much effort and preparation to make the change, Elder Budge met someone uniquely qualified to give him advice who suggested that he consider staying with his banking career. He was told that he would have many opportunities to counsel and help people through his Church service, stating “We need people with integrity in business.”
Elder Budge considered that encounter to be a tender mercy from the Lord. “I think He wanted to know where my heart was,” he said. “Once the Lord knew my heart he did not require the sacrifice, and I trusted that he could use me for His purposes without changing careers.
His career included time in Japan, which opened doors to talk about the gospel and to be an influence for good in the business world in Japan.
He was born in Pittsburg, California, to Lowell Jensen and Deanna Kay Price Budge in December 1959. He met Lori Capener during their freshman year at BYU. Eight months after he returned from serving in the Japan Fukuoka Mission, they were married in the Logan Utah Temple on Aug. 18, 1981. They have six children and now reside in Sandy, Utah.
After graduating with a bachelor of arts in economics from BYU in 1984, Elder Budge worked for Bain & Company, Citibank N.A. and GE Capital, and was president and CEO of Tokyo Star Bank Ltd. from 2003-2008, and chairman of the board from 2008-2011.
Elder Budge has served as an Area Seventy, Japan Tokyo Mission president, stake president, bishop and elders quorum president.
Elder Ricardo P. Giménez: April 2019 general conference will long be remembered in Antofagasta, Chile, for two reasons — the announcement of a future temple there and the calling of native son Elder Ricardo P. Giménez as a new General Authority Seventy.
Ricardo Patricio Giménez Salazar was born Nov. 28, 1971, in Antofagasta, Chile, the oldest of two children of Ricardo Benjamin Giménez Gimeno and Myrto Lucisca Amalia Salazar Signorini. He joined the Church at age 11, after his parents divorced and he moved with his mother and younger sister to Santiago, Chile.
He returned to Antofagasta to spend summers with his father — it was there in 1995 where bus passenger Catherine Ivonne Carrazana Zúñiga first saw him walking down the street, then noticing him later that day at a party. They didn’t meet until months later in Santiago, 800-plus miles south of Antofagasta, where she went to stay with an uncle and started attending the same ward where her future husband was attending.
They were married in 1997 — a Chile-required civil ceremony in Antofagasta on Sept. 9 and then what they call their “true” marriage date when sealed Sept. 12 in the Santiago Chile Temple.
Elder Giménez received his undergraduate degree in accounting and auditing at the University of Santiago in 1997 and a master’s of business administration at the University of Chile in 2003. After beginning his professional career in the mining industry, he moved to information technology as administrative and finance director for Computer Sciences Corporation in Latin America. He returned to mining in 2012, first with Sierra Gorda SCM and then with Robinson Nevada Mining Company in 2016, moving with his family to Ely, Nevada.
A stake presidency counselor in Ely at the time of his call to the Seventy, Elder Giménez has previous Church service that includes full-time missionary in the Chile Concepción Mission, high counselor, ward Young Men presidency counselor, bishopric counselor, bishop, stake president and Area Seventy in the Chile and South America South areas.
When facing worries of language or experience limitations, Elder Giménez takes faith in the adage “Whom the Lord calls the Lord qualifies.”
“I’ve taught that many times in the past, and now I’m trying to apply that to myself. He calls you, He knows you — so just go and do what He wants and everything will be fine.”
Elder Peter M. Johnson: The son of a New York City facility supervisor and taxi driver, Peter M. Johnson accepted a basketball scholarship to attend BYU-Hawaii and found himself standing before a trusted institute teacher.
“One of two things are going to happen,” he was told. “You will join the Church right away or it will take you awhile before you join the Church.”
Then the teacher shared a scripture from Ether 12:6: “Dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith.”
Months would pass before Peter entered the waters of baptism, fulfilling the second prediction. Still, more than a year later — while living and playing basketball in Southern Utah — Peter “fasted and prayed and received an answer.” He was baptized Aug. 16, 1986.
Peter M. Johnson is the fourth of five children born to McKinley Johnson and Geneva Paris Long in November 1966, in Jamaica, Queens, New York City.
His parents divorced when he was 11 and his mother moved to Hawaii. A year later, Peter joined the Nation of Islam and became Muslim.
This association provided needed guidance, support, and prepared him, later, to embrace the gospel of Christ. At the age of 15, Peter moved to Hawaii to live with his mother.
In Hawaii, Peter discovered sports — especially basketball — and started down a road that would lead to university education, membership in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, full-time missionary service and a temple marriage to Stephanie Lyn Chadwick. The couple, who met while both played basketball at Southern Utah University, have four children.
Days after being sustained as a General Authority, Elder Johnson spoke of the Lord’s guiding hand in his life: “I'm here to serve the Lord. And regardless of nationality or culture, or where I am from, my assignment is to serve the Lord with all my heart, my mind and strength and represent the Lord to His people. The Savior loves us all. We are sons and daughters of God.”
Elder Johnson received a bachelor’s and master’s degrees in accounting from Southern Utah University and a PhD in accounting from Arizona State University. He worked as an associate professor at BYU-Hawaii, assistant professor at BYU, and associate professor at the University of Alabama. He has served in various Church callings, including Area Seventy for the North America Southeast Area, stake president, stake financial clerk, ward mission leader and full-time missionary in the Alabama Birmingham Mission.
Elder John A. McCune: Early in his business career, Elder John A. McCune recalls a conversation with his boss in which it quickly became evident the man didn’t know much about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In fact, Elder McCune realized the man probably wouldn’t have hired him had he known he was a member.
The bothered man entered Elder McCune’s office and asked why Latter-day Saints didn’t eat cookies or dance?
“Obviously I eat cookies,” Elder McCune said with a smile, rubbing his stomach. “I think you have us confused with somebody else.”
As they talked, Elder McCune clarified misconceptions about the Church and put the man at ease, which led to other positive conversations about the gospel of Jesus Christ.
The experience reaffirmed for Elder McCune the importance of always being ready to share the gospel with others.
“We are disciples of the Savior Jesus Christ, wherever we are, in any setting, in any opportunity,” Elder McCune said. “We have jobs and careers, but it’s there to support our families and put us in situations to share the gospel. That’s our primary responsibility as disciples of Jesus Christ.”
John Allen McCune was born in Santa Cruz, California, on June 20, 1963, to Clifford McCune and Joan Fuhriman Schulthies. He was primarily raised in Nyssa, Oregon.
After serving a full-time mission in Fukuoka, Japan, Elder McCune married Debbra Ellen Kingsbury in the Salt Lake Temple in 1984. They are the parents of four children and live in Midway, Utah.
Elder McCune received a Bachelor of Science degree in finance from Brigham Young University and later a Master of Business Administration in finance from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). He worked as the senior vice president and managing director for Capitol Investment Advisors before becoming a donor liaison for principal gifts with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Philanthropies.
Elder McCune has served as ward finance clerk, elders quorum president, counselor in a ward Young Men presidency, counselor in a branch presidency, counselor in a bishopric, bishop, stake president and president of the Utah Provo Mission. He was serving as Area Seventy in the Utah South Area at the time of his call as a General Authority Seventy.
Elder James R. Rasband: When Elder James R. Rasband was first called to a stake presidency many years ago, he felt ill-prepared. “I thought, ‘This has to be a mistake.’”
He felt a similar inadequacy as a 19-year-old entering the Provo Missionary Training Center in preparation for a full-time mission to Seoul, South Korea. He questioned, “How am I going to do this?”
In both cases, the answer was the same: “Stay at it. Joy comes.” Or, in the words of his mother, “Oh, the Lord's fresh out of perfect people. Just go to work."
He feels a bit of that now as he approaches his new call as a General Authority Seventy; he was sustained during general conference on April 6. But he knows from experience, “Our Heavenly Father just needs us to go to work and share the healing and joyful message of His Son and His Son’s atoning sacrifice.”
Elder Rasband was born in Seattle, Washington, to James E. and Ester Rasband in March 1963, and grew up in Pebble Beach, California, in a home about 200 yards from the water’s edge.
He met Mary Diane Williams as a freshman at Brigham Young University. They wrote each other during his 5-month study abroad to Israel and then through his missionary service in Korea. They were married in the Los Angeles California Temple on Aug. 11, 1984. They are the parents of four children.
After returning from his mission, he finished his bachelor's degree in English and Near Eastern studies at BYU before earning his juris doctorate from Harvard Law School. After practicing law for five years in Seattle, he returned to BYU in 1995 when he joined the faculty of the J. Reuben Clark Law School. Since then he has served as dean of the J. Reuben Clark Law School and, most recently, as academic vice president of BYU.
Elder Rasband has served as an Area Seventy, stake president, high councilor, bishop, ward Young Men president, counselor in a stake presidency, counselor in a bishopric, Gospel Doctrine teacher, and assistant Scoutmaster.
Elder Benjamin Ming Zhe Tai's paternal grandfather was captured, imprisoned and executed by Japanese forces invading Hong Kong during World War II in the early 1940s.
Still, decades later when Benjamin told his father, Emeritus General Authority Elder Kwok Yuen Tai, that he was dating and hoping to marry a Japanese woman attending BYU, there was no bitterness.
Instead Naomi Toma’s parents — second generation Church members in Japan Rikuo and Fumiko Toma — visited Hong Kong and met Benjamin’s parents. They called their daughter and reported that the gospel of Jesus Christ had made a marriage possible.
“We come from different cultures,” said Elder Tai. “But there are threads of common faith and sacrifice.”
The couple married Dec. 23, 1995, in the Salt Lake Temple. They have six children — fourth generation Church members in Asia.
Elder Tai, sustained April 6 as a General Authority Seventy, knows those threads of faith and sacrifice will now connect him with Latter-day Saints across the globe.
Benjamin Ming Zhe Tai was born in May 1972, in Hong Kong to Kwok Yuen and Hui Hua Tai. His father’s employment took the family from Hong Kong to around the world before the family emigrated to Southern California, where Elder Tai spent his teenage years.
Elder Tai served in the Australia Melbourne Mission and attended BYU, where while serving as Elder’s Quorum president he participated in ward council meetings in his student ward with his future wife, the Relief Society president.
He received a Bachelor of Science degree in exercise science from BYU in 1996 and an MBA from UCLA in 2003. He has worked in Japan and Hong Kong in the banking and real estate development industries. He served as a branch president, Sunday School teacher, district executive secretary, a counselor in the district presidency, district president and Area Seventy in the Asia Area.
The Church has always been an important and essential part of his life.
As a child, Elder Tai’s parents displayed a scroll in their home with a scripture from Joshua 24:15 written in Chinese calligraphy. The scripture is still the Tai family motto: “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
Elder Alan R. Walker: Learning about new cultures and immersing himself in them has become something of a lifetime hobby for Elder Alan R. Walker.
Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, to Victor Adrian Walker and Cristina Ofelia Sparrow Walker on Jan. 2, 1971, Elder Walker grew up in various locations in North and South America.
His early years were spent in Argentina before his family moved to Boston, Massachusetts, and later to Mexico City, Mexico, for his father's job.
"Learning English has been a tremendous blessing," he said. And growing up in the gospel allowed him to develop his testimony at an early age and prepare for a mission.
After attending Brigham Young University for a year, Elder Walker was called to serve as a full-time missionary in the Tennessee Nashville Mission.
To assist his father's recovery from a serious accident, Elder Walker delayed his plans to return to school following his mission and returned to Argentina for a time.
That's when he first met Ines Marcela Sulé at an institute dance. Eight months after their first meeting, on Aug. 12, 1993, they were married in the Buenos Aires Argentina Temple. The next day, the young couple moved to Provo, Utah, where Elder Walker completed his bachelor's degree in economics in 1996.
Elder Walker worked for three years as a corporate banker with Citibank, six years as a controller for the Church in the South America South Area and 11 years in the Mexico Area, and most recently as a director for temporal affairs for the South America South Area.
In 2010 the Walkers were called to preside over the Mexico Monterrey East Mission.
The couple, along with their daughter, find joy in serving others, traveling and getting to know new places and people.
Prior to being called as a General Authority Seventy on April 6, 2019, Elder Walker served in various Church capacities including as a gospel doctrine teacher, ward mission leader, bishop, bishopric counselor, and counselor in a stake presidency, and Area Seventy
Brother Mark L. Pace: With an appointment set for what would be a call to serve as the Church’s new Sunday School general president, Brother Mark L. Pace offered a prayerful commitment.
“Heavenly Father, whatever thou wouldst have me do, I’m happy to do it. Just know that I’m all in.” His desire is to bless, support and encourage others. “We want to give everything we have.”
Mark Leonard Pace was born Jan. 1, 1957, in Buenos Aires, Argentina, the fourth of 10 children of Lorin Nelson and Marylynn Haymore Pace as they presided over the Argentine Mission in the late 1950s.
He first met his future wife, Anne Marie Langeland, as second-grade classmates in Salt Lake City. Later, while attending different high schools in the city, they reconnected during a combined seminary activity between their schools. They wrote each other for the next few years as she accompanied her family to Norway where her father presided over that mission and while Brother Pace served in the Spain Madrid Mission. They were married in the Salt Lake Temple on Nov. 21, 1978, and are the parents of seven children.
He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Utah in 1980 and with an MBA from the Harvard Business School in 1982. After brief employment with PriceWaterhouse in New York City, he joined The Boyer Company in Salt Lake City to work in commercial real estate development from 1984 to 2012. Following a three year mission assignment with his wife in Barcelona, he joined Gardner Company in real estate development in 2015.
At the time of his call as Sunday School general president, Brother Pace was serving as an Area Seventy. Other previous Church service includes elders quorum president, Scoutmaster, bishopric counselor, ward Young Men president, high councilor, bishop, stake presidency counselor and president of the Spain Barcelona Mission.
Brother Milton da Rocha Camargo: In 1957, while still pregnant with her son, Milton, Nair Belmira da Rocha Camargo made the decision to follow her husband's example and be baptized into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Helio da Rocha Camargo, a former Methodist minister, had taken nearly a year to decide to be baptized. Now the Camargos combined decisions would bless their future generations, Brother Milton da Rocha Camargo said.
Born on March 10, 1958, in São Paulo, Brazil, Brother Camargo said he was lucky to grow up as a member of the Church.
"The Lord knows us individually. His plans for each of us are bigger than we can imagine," said Brother Camargo, sustained April 6 as first counselor in the Sunday School general presidency.
Brother Camargo met his wife, Patricia, while his parents served as mission presidents in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in the late 1970s. The couple married on Jan. 4, 1980, about a year after Brother Camargo returned from serving as a full-time missionary in the Portugal Lisbon Mission. They have three children.
While living in Rio de Janeiro during the early years of their marriage, Brother Camargo completed a bachelor of science in civil engineering from the Instituto Militar De Engenharia in 1982 and later received an MBA from Brigham Young University in 1991.
Throughout his career, Brother Camargo has dedicated his time and energy to the education of others by working for several universities, including Laureate Brazil Online Education, Universidad Tecnológica de México, and most recently BYU-Pathway Worldwide — where he works as the vice president of curriculum.
Over the years, he has served in various Church callings, including as an Area Seventy, bishop, stake mission president, elders quorum president, and president of the Brazil Porto Alegre South Mission from 1997 to 2000 and in the presidency of Brazil Missionary Training Center from 2002 to 2005.
Brother Jan E. Newman: As a young missionary serving in Strasbourg, France, Brother Jan E. Newman had a special spiritual experience in which he strongly felt Heavenly Father’s love.
It came as he read the Prophet Alma’s words about planting seeds of faith in the Book of Mormon.
“I read that if you make room for that seed in your heart, it will grow, and you will actually feel these swelling motions,” Brother Newman said. “I remember reading that and the spirit just testifying to me so strongly that it was true. I felt those swelling motions. I will never forget that as long as I live.”
This and other experiences helped solidify Brother Newman’s testimony of the gospel and prepared him for a lifetime of service as a husband, father and disciple in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Jan Eric Newman was born April 16, 1960, in Jerome, Idaho, to George Raymond Newman and Dora Lillian Walker. He was raised in Overton, Nevada, in a home where his father was a convert and his mother was a multi-generational Latter-day Saint.
He developed a testimony at a young age and served a full-time mission in France and Belgium.
Following his mission, Brother Newman earned a bachelor’s degree in French from Brigham Young University and considered teaching before choosing a career in the software industry. He worked as a serial entrepreneur for more than 30 years and founded several successful software companies. He’s currently a partner at SageCreek Partners, a technology consulting company in Utah.
He married Lucia Price in the Oakland California Temple on Aug. 18, 1984. They are the parents of six children and reside in Elk Ridge, Utah.
Brother Newman has served as a bishop, stake president, Scoutmaster, ward Young Men president and temple worker. From 2006 to 2009, he served as president of the Nebraska Omaha Mission.
Brother Newman was sustained as second counselor in the Sunday School general presidency in April 2019 general conference.