I have to admit that I anticipated the October 2007 general conference with l insights that come from that experience. But, like many Church members, I was incredibly curious as to who would be called to serve in the First Presidency in the spot vacated by the passing of President James E. Faust. And with that change, a new apostle would also likely be called to fill the vacancy in the Quorum of the Twelve left by the new counselor in the First Presidency.
So I was definitely paying attention when President Hinckley read out the names of the presiding officers of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I remember several years ago when he was about to announce the name of a new apostle, he gruffly added, “And this should put an end to the speculation.” The congregation, of course, burst into laughter.
We all know that it isn’t really right to speculate on who will be called into Church positions. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints fills these callings a little differently than the rest of the world might. There is no campaigning or voting; rather, the call comes from the Lord and it is up to those called to accept and fulfill the calling. And it is up to those of us whom these people lead to sustain them.
Still, I’m sure many of us would admit to wondering which of our beloved apostles would be called into the First Presidency, and who would subsequently be called into the Quorum of the Twelve. And I’m sure that there were many Latter-day Saints who were paying close attention when President Hinckley read the names of the general officers of the Church for our sustaining vote.
Elder Henry B. Eyring of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles was called as the new second counselor in the First Presidency of the Church. Elder Quentin L. Cook of the First Quorum of the Seventy was called as the newest apostle of the Church. He had been serving in the Presidency of the Seventy.
With the new assignment of Elder Cook, a new Presidency of the Seventy was also sustained in the October 6 meeting. The new Presidency members are: Elder Claudio R.M. Costa, Elder Steven E. Snow and Elder Walter F. Gonzalez. Besides Elder Cook, those released were: Elder Merrill J. Bateman, Elder Charles Didier, and Elder Robert C. Oaks. Elder Bateman was given emeritus status and will serve as the president of the Provo Temple. Elders Didier and Oaks will continue to serve in overseas area presidency assignments.
We welcome our new leaders. As we’ve raised our hands, publicly indicating that we will do all we can to sustain them, we’ll continue to pray for them and follow their counsel. We truly appreciate the sacrifices these brethren are making to serve the Lord.