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Leadership changes announced in LDS General Conference

By Celeste Rosenlof and Sam Penrod | Posted - Mar. 31, 2012 at 5:39 p.m.


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SALT LAKE CITY -- The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints made big shifts in leadership in their Annual General Conference Saturday.

During the Saturday afternoon session, both the Presiding Bishopric and the Relief Society Presidency members were released.

Gary E. Stevenson, a former business executive was called as the new Presiding Bishop, with Gérald Caussé, a general authority originally from France as first counselor and Dean Davies, a church employee, as second counselor.

The Presiding Bishopric serves under the First Presidency over the Aaronic Priesthood and primarily oversee the church's properties and worldwide welfare program.

Released as Presiding Bishop, H. David Burton was called to the position in December 1995 and sustained in the General Conference on April 6, 1996. He oversaw the City Creek Center retail project, which opened on March 22, as well as numerous temples the Conference Center and the Church History Library.

Richard C. Edgely and Keith B. McMullin were also released from their positions as counselors in the Presiding Bishopric.


His leadership in a time of unprecedented challenge has benefited Utahns of all faiths and people across the world.

–- Lane Beattie, Salt Lake Chamber


"Bishop Burton is remarkable in his ability to bring an entire community together," said Lane Beattie, president and CEO of the Salt Lake Chamber in a press release. "His leadership in a time of unprecedented challenge has benefited Utahns of all faiths and people across the world."

In the Relief Society, Julie B. Beck and her counselors, Silvia H. Allred and Barbara Thompson were released after five years of service together.

Linda K. Burton was called as the general president of the Relief Society, Carole M. Stephens as the first counselor and Linda S. Reeves was called to be the second counselor.

The Relief Society is the church's organization for women.

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Three new General Authorities and 40 Area Seventies were also called during the session, one of which is a top official for the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Assistant Secretary Larry Echo Hawk is being appointed to the Quorum of the Seventy, which is the Mormon Church's third-highest governing body. It is a full-time position, and he is resigning from the bureau to accept the position with the church.

The 63-year-old Echo Hawk is a member of the Pawnee Nation. He has worked for Indian Affairs since 2009.

Echo Hawk was elected as the attorney general for Idaho in 1990, the first Native American in the country to be elected as a state attorney general. He ran unsuccessfully as a Democrat in 1994 for governor of Idaho.

Also sustained was Fred Parker of Atlanta, as an area authority. He is the first African American to be called to the position.

Contributing: Associated Press

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Celeste Rosenlof
    Sam Penrod

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