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Monday, August 6, 2018

Elder Gary E. Stevenson Marks His 63rd Birthday

Hello again, everyone! As we are now just over 2 hours into August 6, I wanted to go ahead and post a tribute to Elder Gary E. Stevenson, who is marking his 63rd birthday today. Elder Gary Evan Stevenson was born on this day in 1955 in Ogden, Utah to Evan and Jean Stevenson. He grew up in the Cache Valley. He served full-time in the Japan Fukuoka Mission, after which he continued his secondary education at Utah State University's Jon M. Huntsman School of Business.

During his studies there, he met Lesa Jean Higley, whom he later married in the Idaho Falls Idaho Temple, and with whom he would raise four sons. He spent his professional career working as the COO of ICON Health & Fitness, and served on both the Marriott School of Management Advisory Council and also the USU Foundation Board.

In the Church, he has served as a bishop and a stake president's counselor. He went on to serve between 2004 and 2007 as the president of the Japan Nagoya Mission. Less than a year after his return, he was among the first general authority seventies called during President Thomas S. Monson's prophetic administration in April 2008.

In August of that same year, he was called to serve as First Counselor in the Asia North Area Presidency. The following year, he became the president of that same area, and he served in that assignment until April 2012, at which point  he was released as a General Authority Seventy and sustained as the Church's 14th Presiding Bishop.

In October 2015, with three vacancies in the apostleship due to the deaths of President Boyd K. Packer and Elders L. Tom Perry and Richard G. Scott, Elder Stevenson was unexpectedly summoned to meet with the First Presidency. He related that he felt sure that he was being notified that one of his counselors (Bishops Gerald Causse or Dean M. Davies) were being called to the apostleship. He was stunned when the apostolic call was extended to him.

He was sustained as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles on October 3, 2015, and was ordained an apostle on October 8, then released as Presiding Bishop one day later. Elders Ronald A. Rasband and Dale G. Renlund, whom he sits between, were called to fill the other two apostolic vacancies, and shared the same sustaining and ordination dates.

Although he was the youngest of the three at that time, in a somewhat unusual move, he was called, sustained, and ordained to be senior to Elder Renlund, who is just short of 3 years older than he is. Typically, when more than one apostle is ordained at the same time, the oldest one is ordained first. At the age of 60, Elder Stevenson was the youngest man called to the apostleship since Elder David A. Bednar (who was 52 at the time of his October 2004 apostolic call).

With the recent apostolic calls of Elders Gerrit W. Gong and Ulisses Soares, Elder Stevenson is the 9th in seniority in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and the 12th in seniority among all current apostles. In terms of his age, he is the second-youngest among both the Quorum of the Twelve and the apostles overall.

In just over a decade in which he has served as a general authority, he has given 9 talks in General Conference (1 as a General Authority Seventy, 1 as Presiding Bishop, and 6 since his call to the apostleship). All of these addresses, covering a wide variety of topics, are well worthy of your time, attention and review.

Though there is little to no chance he will ever read this, I am pleased to sustain him as a prophet, seer, and revelator, and to have had this opportunity to post this tribute to him for his birthday. I admire all of the Brethren we sustain in their apostolic office, and I am grateful to them for giving their time and talents to build up the kingdom of God, and to go wherever they are sent, bearing witness of the Savior at all times and in all circumstances. I share my witness that these men are called of God, and that we will be blessed as we give heed to their words.

That does it for this post. Any and all comments are, as always, welcome and appreciated. Thank you for the privilege of your time. If you enjoyed what you read here and would like to do so, please feel free to subscribe to stay informed of newly-added content. 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.