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Thursday, June 28, 2018

Updated Information Provided on the Seminar for New Mission Leadership

Hello again, everyone! I wanted to post now to share some big news that has come out of the coverage of the Seminar for New Mission Leadership. The Church continues the tradition of having all members of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles participate in that seminar in some way. As noted in previous reports (specifically from my coverage of last year's seminar), some apostles have been given the opportunity to speak with their wives to those new mission leaders.

So the first thing I wanted to mention is that Elder Jeffrey R. Holland and his wife spoke together to these new leaders. Their address focused on the most important character mentioned in the pages of the Book of Mormon. Elder Holland mentioned that when he asked people who they thought that character was, he got a lot of the standard answers you would expect: several of the prophets whose words had a great impact.

But he noted that none of those answers were correct. The most important figure mentioned in the Book of Mormon is our Savior, Jesus Christ, who is mentioned both in the subtitle of the Book of Mormon, and is mentioned very frequently within its' pages. Elder and Sister Holland went on to highlight and emphasize how important that book should be to all Latter-day Saints, but particularly those who are involved in the Church's missionary efforts.

That address also provided some interesting information of which I was not aware. Apparently at some point in the recent past, Sister Holland had to deal with an illness which she described as "nearly fatal". She noted that while she was comforted and cared for by Elder Holland to the extent that he could do so, there were times when, due to his ecclesiastical obligations, he could not be with her.

So during those times, she ensured her Book of Mormon was always close by. She said that the doctors doubted she would survive, but that she was able to because of her faith in the principles of the gospel that are taught so well within the Book of Mormon's pages. There were several other significant things Elder and Sister Holland shared during their address, and you can read more on that in this article.

In the meantime, the Church News section on lds.org also continues to carry coverage of the seminar, with subsequent articles being added to this article as they are published. Among the many significant things covered in that main story was the note that Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf spoke on both the opening and closing days of the seminar, and that he was asked to do so because he chairs the Missionary Executive Council.

When I learned that information, I did some research, and I found out that the reason then-Elder Oaks gave addresses to open and close last year's mission president's seminar was because he was the chair of the Missionary Executive Council at that time.

As I noted in mid-January of this year, among the key assignments that Elder Uchtdorf was given following his return to the Quorum of the Twelve was oversight for the Church's two European areas, and that those assignments had previously been held by President Nelson and then-Elder Ballard.

And since Elder Uchtdorf also was asked to take over the assignment to chair the Missionary Executive Council from now-President Oaks, we see that the key assignments he has been given were previously the responsibility of the three most senior members of the Twelve prior to the reorganization of the First Presidency. If that is not a clear indicator of the trust the senior apostles have in Elder Uchtdorf, I don't know what would clarify that point further.

But there was something even more interesting in the "home article" for coverage of the seminar. The article cited above also notes the membership of the Missionary Executive Council, which is as follows: Elders Dieter F. Uchtdorf, D. Todd Christofferson, Neil L. Andersen, and Ulisses Soares of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles; General Authority Seventy and Executive Director of the Missionary Department Elder Brent H. Nielson, Bishop W. Christopher Waddell, Second Counselor in the Presiding Bishopric; Sister Bonnie H. Cordon, Young Women General President; and Sister Cristina B. Franco, Second Counselor in the Primary General Presidency.

I find this information significant for one simple reason. As some of you may know, in the 1990s and early 2000s, when the Deseret News published the Church Almanac every year, it had been somewhat common for the biographies of the Quorum of the Twelve to include details of their memberships in the councils and committees of the Church. By 2005 (at which point I made sure to buy the newest edition of that almanac every year), that information was not included.

And until now, except for articles published by the Church that identified certain assignments of the members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, we have not seen any complete lists of all Church leaders who serve on those councils and committees. So the fact that we now have that complete list of the members of the Missionary Executive Council is very noteworthy.

Although the page to which I shared a link above will carry full coverage of the other addresses that were given during the Seminar for New Mission Leadership, I will also do my level best to bring you coverage of individual articles as they are published.

That does it for this post. Any and all comments are, as always, welcome and appreciated. Thank you for the privilege of your time and also for wading through the content in this post, which was longer than I originally intended it to be. Until my next post, I wish each one of you all the best and pray that the Lord will bless you all in everything you do.