Ronald A. Rasband
Elder Ronald A. Rasband was called as the Senior President of the Presidency of the Seventy on April 4, 2009. He has been serving as a member of the Presidency of the Seventy since 2005. Elder Rasband was named a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on April 1, 2000. He has served as a counselor in the Europe Central Area Presidency, president of the Utah Salt Lake City Area, and Executive Director of the Temple Department. He has also supervised the North America West, Northwest, and three Utah Areas as a member of the Presidency of the Seventy.
Elder Rasband attended the University of Utah. In 1995, Utah Valley University awarded him an honorary Doctorate of Business and Commerce. In 1976 he joined Huntsman Container Company as a sales representative, and in 1987, he was appointed President and Chief Operating Officer of Huntsman Chemical Corporation.
When he left Huntsman Chemical Corporation in 1996 to serve as a mission president in New York, he was also serving as a member of the Board of Directors.
Elder Rasband has held numerous Church callings, including full-time missionary in the Eastern States Mission (1970-1972), Temple Square missionary guide, bishop, and member of the Church’s Sesquicentennial Committee. He presided over the New York New York North Mission from 1996 to 1999.
Elder Rasband was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, in 1951. He married Melanie Twitchell in 1973. They are the parents of five children and have twenty-two grandchildren.
From the Mormon Newsroom:
A long-time successful businessman, he became President and Chief Operating Officer of Huntsman Chemical Corporation in 1987. He credits the experience as helping him be more effective in life and in Church service. “I learned that people are the most important asset. I learned that if you take good care of your people they’ll take good care of you. I learned many, many leadership skills from the people that I worked with that have served me well as a general authority.”
His service in the Church is extensive: bishop; mission president; supervised the North America West, Northwest, and three Utah areas; a counselor in the Europe Central Area Presidency; executive director of the Temple Department; a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy since April 2000 and Senior President of the Quorums of the Seventy since April 2009.
“The calling that brought me to my knees the most, and that was serving as a mission president,” he said. He oversaw hundreds of missionaries in the New York City area, serving with his wife. “My view is that it doesn’t matter what you’ve done in business. It doesn’t matter what your occupation has been in life. There is really nothing that can completely prepare you or even closely prepare you to be a mission president and companion. So I really learned to rely on the scriptures.”
“I really learned to rely on the Lord. I was on my knees more on that assignment than ever before in my life,” he continued “I was caught in situations that I had no experience in, things I didn’t know how to deal with and the Lord spoke to me through the Holy Ghost and I knew what to do. So I began to understand and learn the power of being spiritually dependent on a higher source.”
Gary E. Stevenson
Bishop Gary Evan Stevenson says he has spent much of his life observing the essential work bishops perform across the globe. His father, he said, was “the bishop of my youth, and his service deeply impacted me.”
On many occasions, Bishop Stevenson’s father would invite him along on visits to one of the more than 30 widows living in their ward. From his father, Bishop Stevenson learned lessons about Christlike service and caring for those in need. Those lessons, he said, will serve him well in his calling as the Presiding Bishop of the Church.
“The bishops of the Church are really my heroes,” he said. “Every single day they are having such an impact upon the members of the Church, particularly the children and young men and young women.”
Born on August 6, 1955, to Evan N. and Vera Jean Stevenson, Bishop Stevenson grew up in Utah’s Cache Valley in a family that came of pioneer stock. While a young man, he accepted a call to serve a mission to Japan. That assignment instilled in Bishop Stevenson a dual love for Asia and for sharing the gospel that has lasted a lifetime.
After returning from his mission, he enrolled at Utah State University. It was there he met (and was immediately smitten by) Lesa Jean Higley. The two married in April 1979 in the Idaho Falls Idaho Temple. The Stevensons have four sons. While at Utah State, Bishop Stevenson obtained a degree in business administration. He later cofounded and served as president of an exercise equipment manufacturing company.
He has served in a variety of Church callings, including counselor in a stake presidency, bishop, and president of the Japan Nagoya Mission (2004–07). He was called to the First Quorum of the Seventy in 2008 and served as a counselor and president in the Asia North Area.
From the Mormon Newsroom:
“I’ve often said that I feel like I was blessed to have a sense of the truthfulness of the gospel, really from my earliest memories, and something that instilled in me the desire, the duty to live the gospel, and every day, try to do that,” Elder Stevenson said as he described his life and how the Lord has tutored him and prepared him to serve as an apostle. “Balance was probably one of the great lessons. When you’re going through something that can be so consuming, what do you do to make certain that you maintain a balance of family, of profession and of Church calling? And then making certain that you take care of yourself as well? Those are the challenges and the struggles that people face. I think that’s been a great preparation, and something that really blessed us.”
More than nine years of Elder Stevenson’s life have been spent living in Asia. As a young missionary, he served for two years in the Japan Fukuoka Mission. “Missionaries develop a love for the people and the place.” Later, he would return to Asia many times on business, and then served as the mission president of the Japan Nagoya Mission (2004-2007) and as Area President of the Church’s Asia North Area (2008 – 2012). “It’s really my second home,” he said. “I’m very, very comfortable in Asia.”
When a major earthquake hit Japan in 2011, Elder Stevenson was serving as the Area President of that region, and experienced a “defining moment” in his life. “We knew immediately that this portended to something really big somewhere on the island. To see the destruction, to see the loss of life, to walk the streets and see it and feel it and be with people who were affected with family members that were gone. And to be able to see a response and to help shape a response. That was a manifestation of the Church of Jesus Christ filling one of its divinely appointed responsibilities of caring for the poor and needy. If there were people that were needy, this was them.” He described it as a sacred privilege to be able to “go and minister, and bless, and organize assistance. There was so much we learned about the goodness of humanity.”
Dale G. Renlund
Elder Dale G. Renlund was sustained a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on April 4, 2009, at age 56. At the time of his call, he had been serving as a member of the Fifth Quorum of the Seventy in the Utah Salt Lake City Area. He is currently serving in the presidency of the Africa Southeast Area.
After receiving B.A. in Chemistry and M.D. degrees from the University of Utah, Elder Renlund received further medical and research training at Johns Hopkins Hospital doing a 6 year residency there. He was a Professor of Medicine at the University of Utah and the Medical Director of the Utah Transplantation Affiliated Hospitals (UTAH) Cardiac Transplant Program. In 2000, he also became director of the Heart Failure Prevention and Treatment Program at Intermountain Health Care in Salt Lake City.
Elder Renlund has served in numerous church callings including full-time missionary in Sweden from 1972 to 1974, stake president, bishop, and Area Seventy.
Elder Renlund was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, in November 1952. He married Ruth Lybbert in 1977. They are the parents of one daughter.
From the Mormon Newsroom:
On Tuesday, September 29th, Elder Renlund received a completely unexpected call from the Office of the First Presidency, and was asked to come to the North Board Room in the Church Administration Building. “I didn’t know where the North Board Room was,” he laughed. He was welcomed there by President Thomas S. Monson and his two counselors. What followed was a very brief meeting, in which President Monson said “Brother Renlund, we extend to you the call to serve as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.”
Elder Renlund immediately found himself without words. Says the former physician: “Wherever the sweet spot is between apoplectic and catatonic, that’s where I was.” He humbly accepted the assignment, and after a few minutes, found himself back in his office, where “I closed the door, and fell to my knees.”
The reaction of his wife, Ruth Lybbert Renlund, who he married in 1977, was a source of great strength to him. “She was all in. When I called her, her life changed too.” In the hours that followed, they prayed together and received a witness that “God directed this course.”
This was not the first time that a calling had changed the direction of their lives. “When I was called as a General Authority and asked to serve in the Africa Southeast Area presidency, she made the greater sacrifice.” Ruth Renlund left her place as the president of her law firm and positions on several prominent boards to serve with him in Africa. “We were sent there and tutored by the saints about what really matters.”
Elder Renlund tells of a Sunday meeting in Central Congo when he asked the members repeatedly what challenges they were facing, as he wanted to offer help. After the third time “an old gentleman stood in the back of the room and said: ‘Elder Renlund, how can we have any challenges? We have the gospel of Jesus Christ.’” Elder Renlund’s deep love of the people is evident in his emotion as he tells this story. “When I grow up, I want to be like these Kananga saints, who pray for food every day, are grateful every day for food, who are grateful for their families. They have nothing, but they have everything.”