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Are General Authorities normally called to serve as mission presidents?

by | May 28, 2020

When the list of new mission presidents and companions was released by Church News in January 2020, two of the 130 names may have been more easily recognized: Elder Peter M. Johnson, called to the England Manchester Mission with his wife, Stephanie, and Elder Ricardo P. Giménez, called to the California San Diego Mission with his wife, Catherine.

Both Elder Johnson and Elder Giménez are General Authority Seventies, and both received their calls to be a General Authority Seventy in April 2019. But they aren’t the first General Authority Seventies called to serve as mission presidents. According to Church Newssince 1975, a dozen General Authority Seventies have received calls to be mission presidents. 

Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf, who serves as the chairman of the Missionary Executive Council, shared with Church News the value that comes from having a General Authority Seventy serve as a mission president.

“They come back with a wonderful pool of wisdom and experience, which will help us and the Church altogether to become better in how we serve our missionaries, how we better serve our mission presidents, how we better connect members and missionaries, the member leaders—stake presidents, bishops—and the mission leadership out there in the field,” Elder Uchtdorf said.

Serving as a mission president is not a requirement to become a General Authority, Elder Uchtdorf said. Only five members of the current Quorum of the Twelve served as mission presidents.

“Many of the General Authorities nowadays are younger. They have a long life to serve as a General Authority,” Elder Uchtdorf told Church News. “So if it fits into their schedule and into their background and their age group and everything, then it’s a great advantage if we send them out.”

READ MORE ABOUT HOW THE MISSION PRESIDENT LOCATION ASSIGNMENTS ARE MADE FOR GENERAL AUTHORITY SEVENTIES AT Church News.

Lead image of Elder Johnson and Elder Giménez by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
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Lindsey Williams

Lindsey Williams joined the LDS Living team with a passion to find the stories that matter most. Previous stops in her career include BYU-Pathway Worldwide, the Special Projects Department of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and Utah Valley Magazine. When she's not searching for stories to write, the Colorado Springs native is most likely on a hiking trail. 

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