Reanalysis: How Many Children do the Seventy Have?

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This post is an update of my previous analysis of the number of children of the seventy. The following table includes all 69 members of the 1st Quorum of the Seventy (as of 10/04/2013) sorted by age, youngest to oldest. You can click on a name to be taken to a short biographical sketch for each member of the Seventy.

Seventy # Children
Michael John U. Teh 3
Edward Dube 4
Carlos A. Godoy 4
José A. Teixeira 3
Patrick Kearon 4
Scott D. Whiting 5
Anthony D. Perkins 6
Kevin R. Duncan 5
5
W. Christopher Waddell 4
Arnulfo Valenzuela 3
Ulisses Soares 3
Michael T. Ringwood 5
Jose L. Alonso 2
Paul B. Pieper 6
Marcus B. Nash 5
James J. Hamula 6
Kevin W. Pearson 6
Yoon Hwan Choi 3
Carl B. Cook 5
Craig C. Christensen 4
Erich W. Kopischke 7
Eduardo Gavarret 3
David S. Baxter 4
Rafael E. Pino 3
Jorge F. Zeballos 5
Paul V. Johnson 9
Shayne M. Bowen 7
Brent H. Nielson 6
Ian S. Ardern 4
S. Gifford Nielsen 6
Benjamin De Hoyos 6
Gerrit W. Gong 4
Juan A. Uceda 5
Kazuhiko Yamashita 6
Lynn G. Robbins 7
Christoffel Golden Jr. 4
Walter F. González 4
Bruce D. Porter 4
Dale G. Renlund 1
Joseph W. Sitati 5
LeGrand R. Curtis Jr. 5
Ronald A. Rasband 5
David F. Evans 8
Robert C. Gay 7
L. Whitney Clayton 7
Richard J. Maynes 4
Enrique R. Falabella 5
Donald L. Hallstrom 4
Claudio R. M. Costa 4
Steven E. Snow 4
Lawrence E. Corbridge 5
C. Scott Grow 8
Claudio D. Zivic 5
Allan F. Packer 8
Mervyn B. Arnold 6
Craig A. Cardon 8
Larry Echo Hawk 6
W. Craig Zwick 4
Stanley G. Ellis 9
Francisco J. Viñas 3
Daniel L. Johnson 6
Tad R. Callister 6
Don R. Clarke 6
Carlos H. Amado 5
William R. Walker 5
John B. Dickson 8
Paul E. Koelliker 7
F. Michael Watson 12

In order to start breaking down these data I think it is important to investigate some basic information about the numbers. First, the range of children is 1-12, meaning the fewest number of children is 1 and the most is 12. The total number of children of the 69 members of the Presidency of the Seventy and First Quorum of the Seventy is 361. This gives a mean number of children as 5.23 (s.d. = 1.85) with a median of 5 and a mode (most common number) of 5. Because all these values are basically the same, it is a good indicator that the distribution of the data is roughly normal. A quick calculation of the skewness and kurtosis reveals that this is the case: skewness = 0.80, kurtosis = 1.71. The data are “normal” enough to warrant further parametric analyses.

For those who prefer graphical representations here’s a bar chart (click on it for a larger image) sorted differently than the table above with most senior Seventy (not necessarily the oldest) at the bottom. A number of children X seniority trend does not seem obvious.

Children of 1st Quorum of Seventy Sorted by Reverse Seniority

Now, sorting the Seventy by age yields a graph with what looks like an age X children interaction but before I start that analysis, I need to provide a little background information.

Children of Seventy Sorted by Age

There appear to be about two outliers (one Seventy with 1 child and one with 12 children). However, I will include them in the analyses because I have sampled the entire population of living, non-emeritus members of the First Quorum of the Seventy (and Presidency of the Seventy, who were all members of the First Quorum of Seventy before their calls to the Presidency) so removing a couple Seventy (3% of the sample) just because they might be outliers would be misleading about the distribution of the actual population (i.e., the sample is the entire population).

Now back to the bar graph of the number of children of the Seventy when the Seventy are sorted by age. Now it looks like there might be a difference in the number of children between the oldest and youngest Seventies. When I correlated year born with year called as a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy, there was – no surprise – a significant (nonparametric) correlation (rho = 0.317, p=.008). This was run as nonparametric due to non-normality of distributions of year called. Because there is not a perfect correlation, the change to sorting by age rather than seniority seemed to make a qualitative difference. Now is there a quantitative difference in number of children between the oldest and youngest Seventies?

There is a significant correlation between age and number of children (r = 0.44, p < 0.001). That’s quite a bit higher a correlation coefficient compared to the one I found a few years ago with my original analysis (r = 0.27). Here’s a scatter plot of age X # of children with the trend line shown.

children_seventy_age_scatter

Now I’ll create two groups using a median current age split. The median current age is 60 years old. With this split there are 33 Seventies in the younger group and 36 in the older group (there was an even number of 60 year old Seventies so I put half into each group). Running an independent samples t-test yields a significant result (mean of younger group = 4.73, mean of older group = 5.69; t=-2.23, p = 0.03). Again, age seems to be a factor in the number of children that the Seventies have. When correlating number of children with how many years the Seventies have been a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy, there is a nonsignificant result (r = 0.02, p = 0.89). Therefore we can with some certainty rule out seniority (this just means age does not really enter in to when men are called into the First Quorum of the Seventy).

Now is it just age? When we enter whether or not the member of the First Quorum of the Seventy was born in the U.S. (29/69 were born outside the U.S.), we see a significant group difference in number of children (t = -4.24, p < 0.001) with those born outside the U.S. having fewer children (mean = 4.24, s.d. = 1.19) than those who were born in the U.S. (mean = 5.95, s.d. 1.92). So the U.S. average is nearly 6 and the non-U.S. average is just over 4. Those born outside the U.S. are significantly younger than those born within the U.S. (t = -2.01, p = 0.05) with non-U.S. mean = 58.72 (s.d. = 5.52) and U.S. mean = 61.28 (s.d. = 4.96).

To remove the effect of place of origin by splitting the Seventies into non-U.S. born and U.S. born I’ll run correlational analyses to see if the age X children relationship still exists. Within the non-U.S. born group it does (r = 0.42, p = 0.03). The same is true within the U.S.-born group (r = 0.39, p = 0.01). So age really has a significant relationship with number of children both within and without the U.S. (these results differ significantly from my analyses 3.5 years ago).

What does this all mean? It means that as time goes by, younger members of the 1st Quorum of the Seventy are having fewer children (but they still have almost 5 children apiece). There is also the effect of whether or not a Seventy was born in the U.S. since those who were not born in the U.S. have fewer children than those born within the U.S. In any case, age seems to be the driving factor at this point (meaning younger have fewer children). This means within the leadership of the Church we see a similar downward trend in the number of children over time (but the Seventy still have many more children than is the norm in the world).

The Twelve and the Seventy – Part Two

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I’ve written about the LDS Church’s quorums of seventy before: The Twelve and Seventy: An Interview With Pres. Packer, Part 1Organization of LDS Church, Part 2Chart of LDS General AuthoritiesHow Many Children do the Seventy Have?

The LDS Church posted the second part of a discussion of the roles and responsibilities of the Seventies. This is from an interview with Pres. Packer (video embedded at the end of the post).

The interview is interesting but I think that what is equally interesting is the timeline of the Seventy. I’ll highlight a few dates and points that I found particularly interesting.

1835 – First Quorum of the Seventy organized

1846 – At the time of the exodus from Nauvoo, the number of seventies quorums had increased to about 35.

1904 – Number of seventies quorums reaches 146.

1953 – Seventies quorums or units are organized in each stake.

1961 – First Council of Seventy ordained high priests.

1961 – Members of the First Council of the Seventy authorized to organize or reorganize stake presidencies and to call stake presidents on assignment. [This step is particularly important because it allowed members of the First Council of Seventy to bestow keys to Stake Presidents. Seventies were given authority to use the keys of the Apostles (which is still the case) as needed].

1974 – Stake presidents authorized to ordain seventies in stakes.

1984 – Tenure of appointment to be fewer years for some Seventy (3–5 years): “However, tenure of appointment is not important insofar as the work is concerned. … After much prayerful consideration, we have called six men, mature and tested through long years of service, to become members of the First Quorum of the Seventy, to serve for periods of three to five years. … They will be General Authorities with every right, power, and authority necessary to function” (Gordon B. Hinckley, in Conference Report, Apr. 1984, 4).

1986 – Seventies quorums in stakes discontinued.

1989 – Organization of the Second Quorum of the Seventy.

1995 – Area Authorities called.

1997 – First and Second Quorum of Seventy are General Authorities.

1997 – Area Authorities are ordained Seventies; Third, Fourth, and Fifth Quorums of the Seventy organized.

2005 – Area Authority Seventy title changed to Area Seventy.

2005 – Seventh and Eighth Quorums of the Seventy organized.

2009 – Area Seventies replaced by General Authorities in all Area Presidencies.

It is interesting to watch how the organization of the Seventies has changed to provide the authority and training and overview necessary to meet the needs of a growing church.

The Twelve and Seventy: An Interview With Pres. Packer

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I’ve written about the LDS Church’s quorums of seventy before: Organization of LDS Church, Part 2; Chart of LDS General Authorities; How Many Children do the Seventy Have?
I’ve been fascinated by the leadership and organization of the Church for many years. I enjoy watching the Church grow and seeing how the structure of the general church leadership changes to meet the needs of a growing church. What is interesting is how the changes made always fit within the pattern Christ established when on the earth as well as the pattern revealed to Joseph Smith. In other words, the pattern of church leadership established in ancient and modern scripture is sufficient for meeting the needs of any size church. I was thus pleased to see that the Church posted an interview between Elder Ronald Rasband (Senior President of the Seventy) and Pres. Boyd K. Packer.

At one point in the interview Pres. Packer commented about the foresight of Joseph Smith (the foresight was not his own but rather was from God). “President Packer said it is marvelous that Joseph Smith could have anticipated an organization that would expand to meet the needs of the Church worldwide. ‘The revelations came when he was a very young man,’ President Packer said. ‘How he knew what he knew, I was going to say it was incredible. It is not, because he did not have to know much. All he had to do is follow the patterns of revelation.'”

Here’s the video of the interview with Pres. Packer. It’s a nice video that shows the hand of the Lord as He directs the work of His church.

How Many Children Do The (1st Quorum) Seventy Have? A Statistical Exercise

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Update: I’ve provided an updated analysis of the number of children of the Seventy. Read it here.

Background

This post is a follow-up post to my previous statistical analysis of the number of children of the living Apostles. At the time the post was hosted on Blogger; here’s the link at Blogspot as featured by the Mormon Times on April 9, 2010. Much of the information for this post comes from the Church News site with any missing information (the biographical info about the General Authorities is only current to 2008 at that site) coming directly from Ensign biographies of the new general authorities (e.g., this link) or Wikipedia (with verification from church sources).

Question

How many children do the members of the 1st Quorum of the Seventy (and Presidency of the Seventy) have?

Analysis

Excuse the long table but there are 62 members of the 1st Quorum of the Seventy (plus 7 members of the Presidency of the Seventy, who are also all members of the 1st Quorum of the Seventy). These data are sorted based on length of time as a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy (i.e., most experience to least).

Name # of Children
Y. Kikuchi 4
M. Jensen 8
C. Amado 5
S. Condie 5
G. Pace 6
K. Johnson 1
C. Samuelson 5
W. C. Zwick 4
J. Dickson 8
J. Jensen 6
B. Hafen 7
G. Coleman 6
C. Pratt 8
F. Vinas 3
L. Robbins 7
R. Rasband 5
D. Hallstrom 4
L. Wickman 5
C. Golden Jr. 4
W. Gonzalez 4
R. Maynes 4
L. W. Clayton 7
S. Snow 4
C. Costa 4
B. Porter 4
U. Soares 3
P. Pieper 6
P. Johnson 9
B. De Hoyos 6
D. Evans 8
C. S. Grow 8
P. Koelliker 7
R. Hinckley 4
A. Perkins 6
M. Nash 5
D. Baxter 4
S. Bowen 7
D. Johnson 6
K. Hilbig 6
M. Teh 3
E. Kopischke 7
E. Falabella 5
C. Zivic 5
O. Tenorio 5
G. Causse 5
C. Godoy 4
J. Teixeira 3
M. Aidukaitis 5
J. Hamula 6
E. Gavarret 3
K. Pearson 6
C. Christensen 4
R. Pino 3
G. Stevenson 4
J. Zeballos 5
L. Corbridge 5
A. Packer 8
W. Walker 5
F. M. Watson 12
Y. Choi 3
M. Ringwood 5
B. Neilson 6
D. Renlund 1
M. Arnold 6
J. Sitati 5
P. Kearon 4
K. Duncan 5
G. Gong 4
J. Uceda 5

In order to start breaking down these data I think it is important to investigate some basic information about the numbers. First, the range of children is 1-12, meaning the fewest number of children is 1 and the most is 12. The total number of children of the 69 members of the Presidency of the Seventy and First Quorum of the Seventy is 360. This gives a mean number of children as 5.22 with a median value of 5 and a mode (most common number) of 5. Because all these values are basically the same, it is a good indicator that the distribution of the data is roughly normal. A quick calculation of the skewness and kurtosis reveals that this is the case: skewness = 0.69, kurtosis = 1.99. While the data are slightly leptokurtic, they are “normal” enough to warrant further analyses.

First, here is a graphical presentation of these raw data (click on the image to view full-size; warning, it has large dimensions). The bar graph has the longest serving Seventy at the bottom (Seventy who were sustained at the same time are then sorted by age):

Bar Graph of the Number of Children the 1st Quorum of the Seventy Have as of May 2010

Unlike the graph from my post about the number of children of the Apostles, there does not appear to be any obvious split based on seniority. [As an aside, there does not appear to be a significant difference between the number of children the Apostles have and the number of children the Seventy have, although the sample size is limited for the Apostle group; p = 0.70]. Here is the graph from my post about the apostles, just for comparison (the orientation and type of graph differences do not matter for this comparison):

For the Seventy, there does not seem to be a trend when sorted by seniority but what if we sort the Seventy by their current age and graph the number of children they have?

There appear to be about three outliers (two Seventy with 1 child and one with 12 children). However, without running a formal “outlier analysis” of these, I cannot say for certain whether or not they are statistically significant outliers. In any case, I will include them in the analyses because I have sampled the entire population of living, non-emeritus members of the First Quorum of the Seventy (and Presidency of the Seventy, who were all members of the First Quorum of Seventy before their calls to the Presidency) so removing a few Seventy (nearly 5% of the sample) just because they might be outliers would be misleading about the distribution of the actual population.

Now back to the bar graph of the number of children of the Seventy when the Seventy are sorted by age. Now it looks like there might be a difference in the number of children between the oldest and youngest Seventies. When I correlated year born with year called as a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy, there was – no surprise – a significant correlation (r = 0.652, p<.001). Because there is not a perfect correlation, the change to sorting by age rather than seniority seemed to make a qualitative difference. Now is there a quantitative difference in number of children between the oldest and youngest Seventies?

Before I answer that, I want to point out that there is a restricted range in the ages of the Seventy. They attain emeritus status around the age 70, which makes the oldest possible active Seventy about age 70. With the Apostles, they never attain emeritus status until they die. What this means is the ages of the Seventy appear to have less variation than the ages of the Apostles do. But is there really a difference in the spread of ages? The mean age of the Apostles is 75.47 (st. dev = 9.68); the mean age of the Seventy is 58.90 (st. dev. = 6.78). The variation in Apostle’s ages (standard deviation) is about 13% of the mean age of the apostles and the standard deviation of the ages of the Seventies is 11.5%. That is not very different when presented that way; meaning that even though the range of ages of the Seventies is restricted “artificially” with a ceiling of 70, there is still a good amount of variation in ages. This variance in ages of the Seventy allows me to make a reasonable assumption that any results are not inflated by a restriction of range (although they could be but they could also be deflated by the restricted range).

Let me present a result that partially answers the question of if there is a difference in the numer of children based on age. Here is a scatter plot of the number of children by age of the Seventy:

Notice the slight upward trend (older Seventies tend to have more children). It is only an R^2 of 0.07 though (age of the Seventy explains only 7% of the variance in the number of children), which is not a large value. Is this a significant trend? Yes (r = 0.27, p = 0.03; N = 69). However, let me remove the outliers (Elders Renlund and K. Johnson with 1 child each and Elder Watson with 12 children) just for the sake of completeness (they really should not be counted as outliers but bear with me). Here is the scatter plot (note: the scale has changed):

The R^2 value (variance) increased slightly. Now if I rerun the correlation (with N = 66) we receive an r = 0.31, p = 0.01. Removing the outliers improved the trend! I’ll keep all Seventy in all further analyses though. In either case, it appears that younger Seventies tend to have fewer children than older Seventies have.

Now I’ll create two groups using a median current age split. The median current age is 58 years old. With this split there are 35 Seventies in the younger group and 34 in the older group. Running an independent samples t-test yields a non-significant but trending result (mean of younger group = 4.83, mean of older group = 5.62; t=-1.821, p = 0.07). Again, age seems to be a factor in the number of children that the Seventies have. When correlating number of children with how many years the Seventies have been a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy, there is a nonsignificant result (r = 0.04, p = 0.76). Therefore we can with some certainty rule out seniority.

What do all these results mean, other than I am a bit of a statistics geek? We could surmise that the number of children that the General Authorities have seems to parallel the decreasing numbers seen worldwide, albeit very slowly. However, the average number of children of the current members of the First Quorum of the Seventy is 5, which is considerably higher than rates seen at present worldwide (although, that is not an entirely fair comparison because all/most of the Seventies are done having children – I’m just making an educated guess about that – so they are of a different generation than the current one(s) having children). However, members of the younger group of Seventy still have nearly 5 children on average. Are you convinced of age explaining the number of children?

You might be pretty convinced about the link between age and number of children. I was pretty convinced by this point. However, when doing research or an analysis it is important to think of other things that might be explanations for the results you found. In other words, what might be another factor that affects the number of children the Seventy have?

What about whether or not the Seventy were born in the United States of America? 40 of the 69 Seventy (58%) were born in the U.S. and 29 (42%) were not born in the U.S. I was surprised at how many of the Seventy are from different countries but it was a trend I noticed as the names of new General Authorities have been read in General Conference over the past few years. We are part of a growing worldwide church that has members in nearly all of the 200 or so nations of the world. When I correlated the number of children with my born in the U.S. or not variable, there was a significant result with the U.S. born Seventies having more children than those not born in the U.S. (r = -0.39, p = 0.001). An independent samples t-test confirms this result (mean of U.S. born = 5.83, mean of foreign born = 4.38; t = 3.50, p = 0.001). This result is still significant if I remove the 3 outliers (t = 3.79, p < 0.001). So is it age or place of birth?

Here is a similar bar graph to ones presented before before but grouped by country of origin (U.S. / non-U.S.) and sorted by age (youngest to oldest). Notice any trends?

First, I wonder if there is a link between birthplace and age. Maybe the youngest Seventies are more likely to not be born in the U.S. and that explains the results. Running a quick t-test yields the following result: mean of U.S. born = 60.20, mean of non-U.S. born = 57.10; p = 0.06. It appears there is a trend for the foreign born Seventy to be younger than their U.S. counterparts. Now, I will covary out where the Seventies were born in age and number of children analyses. A partial correlation (current age by number of children, controlling for place of birth) negates the significance of the results (r = 0.20, p = 0.11). An ANOVA (age by children) with place of birth as the covariate is also not significant (df = 23; F = 1.17, p = 0.32). This leaves the picture a bit hazy now. The number of children is not necessarily related to age, although it seems to be partially age-related, but it is not entirely explained by country of birth either (that only accounts for a proportion of total variance in number of children; plus, the foreign born Seventy tend to be younger than the U.S. born Seventy so place of birth results might be muddied by age differences). The number of children seems to be explained better by country of birth than age though.

I’ll do an additional analysis to try and verify this. Looking at just the U.S. born Seventies, there is no longer a relationship between age and the number of children (r = 0.11, p = 0.49). This is also the case for the foreign born Seventies (r = -0.09, p = 0.64). This means that within the two place of birth groups, age does not appear to be a significant factor in the number of children.

The Take-home Message

So where does this leave us? If we ignore country of origin, age seems to be a significant factor in the number of children (i.e., younger Seventies have fewer children, on average) but when we factor in country of origin (again, this is a binary classification – U.S. or non-U.S.), that relationship disappears. That means the number of children the Seventies have appears to be more of a country of origin effect than an age effect; however, we cannot completely rule out age. This is evident in that there is a trend for the foreign born Seventies to be younger than the U.S. born Seventies (mean of U.S. born = 60.20, mean of non-U.S. born = 57.10; p = 0.06). Anyway, country of origin is a significant factor but it is muddied by age differences. Clearly, there are a lot of other factors that I did not investigate that influence the number of children that General Authorities have.

I hope you enjoyed this analysis. Let me know of any errors you might see or if you have any requests for further analyses. Please feel free to leave a comment and offer any opinions you might have.

The Organization of the LDS Church – Part 2

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Under the apostles is the 1st Quorum of the Seventy. All members of this quorum are called and set apart by the apostles. Like the callings of apostle, all members of the 1st Quorum of the Seventy serve until the end of their lives. However, members of the 1st Quorum of Seventy have traditionally been placed on emeritus status around the age of 70. They are especial witnesses of the Savior Jesus Christ – especial differing from special by an e meaning that they bear the responsibility to witness to the earth of the divinity of the Savior. The responsibilities of missionary work and church administration are the same as the apostles. The Seventy are not apostles or prophets, seers, or revelators though. They typically serve throughout the world, directing the church and teaching the gospel. As a whole, the 1st Quorum of the Seventy hold all the rights and keys to the priesthood [I had a brief conversation with someone with authority for the matter and he said that individual Seventies hold no keys – they act under the keys of the Apostles; however, in the case that all the 1st Presidency and Quorum of the 12 all died at the same time – hypothetically – then the 1st Quorum of the 70 should collectively be able to exercise all the keys. This means that collectively they at least have access to the keys of the kingdom should it ever be necessary for them to have to exercise those keys such as if all the 15 apostles {1st Presidency and the Twelve} died simultaneously or in a short enough succession that a new prophet and new apostles could not be called].

Members of the 2nd Quorum of the Seventy are called to serve for 5 years. Their role is the same as those in the 1st quorum, the main difference is the length of calls (1st quorum is for life and 2nd quorum is for 5 years). Members of the 2nd quorum, like those in the 1st quorum can serve throughout the world to call and direct the church in those areas. Each quorum of Seventy can contain up to 70 members. As with the apostles, the most important role of the Seventy is as witnesses of Jesus Christ. They also spend a lot of time training new church leaders, meeting with church members, teaching, and doing administrative tasks. The quorums of Seventy are headed by a presidency of seven men, who traditionally have been called from the 1st Quorum, although members can be called from both 1st and 2nd quorums. These seven presidents of the Seventy hold priesthood keys, unlike the rest of the Seventy.

There are general officers of the church I’ll address later and other authorities but only the apostles (including First Presidency) and those in the first two quorums of the Seventy are General Authorities.

Currently there are 6 more quorums of Seventy. All those in these quorums are ordained as area authority seventies (now just called area seventies). They are not referred to as general authorities because their stewardship lies within the area in which they live and not to the whole church and world. The church organizes its members into a number of geographical areas – some are large and some are small (e.g., ones in Utah). Each area is presided over by an area presidency, comprised of three men who typically are members of the 1st or 2nd quorums of seventy. I’ll copy from Wikipedia:

“The Third Quorum members live and serve in the Africa Southeast, Africa West, Europe Central, Europe East, and Europe West Areas of the Church. The Fourth Quorum members live and serve in the Mexico North, Mexico South, Central America, Caribbean, South America North, and South America West Areas of the Church. The Fifth Quorum members live and serve in the North America Northwest, North America West, Idaho, Utah North, Utah Salt Lake City, and Utah South Areas of the Church. The Sixth Quorum members live and serve in the North America Central, North America East, North America Northeast, North America Southeast, and North America Southwest Areas of the Church. Members of the Seventh Quorum live and serve in the Brazil North, Brazil South, Chile, and South America South Areas of the Church. The Eighth Quorum of the Seventy live and serve in the Asia, Asia North, Australia, New Zealand/Pacific islands, and Philippines areas of the Church.”

Area seventies provide training and teaching to the members within the areas in which they live. They support the apostles and other seventy in their roles. They can call and set apart local church leaders under the direction of the apostles through the area presidency. Similarly to the general authorities, area seventies have a responsibility for missionary work. Until the mid-1980s, the LDS Church had quorums of seventies at the stake level. Men were set apart as seventies with the predominant role as stake missionaries. The role and responsibility of these seventies was markedly different than that of any of the Seventy today. The stake seventies were purely missionary focused. The Seventy today have larger administrative responsibilities.

Each of the six general areas of the church that the area seventies are called to serve in are broken down into smaller areas (the areas were mentioned above – Mexico North or Asia North, for example). Within each of these areas are a number of stakes. Stakes are the largest local unit within the church. Stakes are called stakes in reference to Isaiah 54:2, which reads, “Enlarge the place of thy tent, and let them stretch forth the curtains of thine habitations: spare not, lengthen thy cords, and strengthen thy stakes” (emphasis added). In each of the stakes within the church, there are a number of wards. Each ward typically has between 100 and 500 members but some can be a little smaller or larger. There are typically 7-9 wards in each stake. There are a couple caveats to this (i.e., districts and branches) but I’ll address those later.