Chart of LDS General Authorities


The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints put together a website with photos and links to biographies of the current General Authorities of the Church. One thing that is interesting is the small size of the Second Quorum of the Seventy. It’s been smaller than the First Quorum for as long as I can remember but the size difference is striking. One reason for the difference – I believe – is the localizing nature of the Church. What I mean by that is that with the formation of additional quorums of (area) Seventies – there are 8 in total – there is not as strong a need for such a centralized church. All authority goes back to the General Authorities but with the growth of the Church, there is greater need for stronger, more local leadership. Many of those who serve in the First Quorum of the Seventy are called to serve in various parts of the world to direct the church there, but their primary calling is to provide general (global) leadership over the Church; others are called to provide more local and specific leadership.

In any case, that website is a great source of information about the leaders of the Church.

Sample Quorum Meeting Agenda


I put together a sample quorum meeting agenda for use in Aaronic Priesthood quorum meetings on Sunday. It could be adapted easily for other meetings (such as Elder’s quorum) as well. I created it to be fairly verbose for young men who are not comfortable directing meetings. Part of my goal in working with the young men is to help them become competent leaders. One part of this process is organizing, conducting, and leading meetings. This is a skill that seems minor but will affect many of their callings in the Church in the future. Here is a PDF file of the agenda: Aaronic Priesthood Quorum Meeting Agenda

Here it is as a Word .doc format that can be edited: Quorum Meeting Agenda.

Disclaimer: this file is not sponsored by the LDS Church. It is not an official Church publication. I am responsible for its contents and any errors are my own. You are free to use, distribute, modify, but not sell the file.

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


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


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).


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


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.

How Many Children Do the Apostles Have? A Statistical Exercise


After General Conference was over my mother (who was visiting to help out with our new baby) remarked about how most of the Apostles had only a few kids. Being a scientist and a bit compulsive about my statistics I put together a little spreadsheet with the number of children each apostle has from which I calculated the mean, median, and mode number of children. My mother was correct in that more apostles have 3 children than any other number; however, the mean (4.93) and median (4.0) are higher.

Here are the numbers (Apostles are sorted according to seniority):

Apostle       # of children
Monson 3
Packer 10
Perry 3
Nelson 10
Oaks 6
Ballard 7
Scott 7
Hales 2
Holland 3
Eyring 6
Uchtdorf 2
Bednar 3
Cook 3
Christofferson 5
Andersen 4

Anyone surprised by the numbers? I was that the mode was 3 but my guess of the average was 5, which is what the mean turned out to be. We cannot really throw out Elders Packer and Nelson as outliers because the sample size is small, plus it would defeat the purpose of the analysis to remove them from the analysis just because they create a slight positive skew to the data (skewness = 0.85, kurtosis = -0.30). In any case, I think it is interesting that 9 of the 15 apostles have 5 or fewer children (most of those 9 have 2 or 3 children). The rest have 6, 7, or 10. There is a moderate correlation between number of children and age (r=0.49, p=0.06; should you feel a non-parametric correlation is more appropriate, Spearman’s rho = 0.40, p = 0.14).

When I looked at the above chart, it looked like there were two clusters of apostlesXchildren based on seniority. I thus created two groups within the Apostles based on seniority; the 7 most senior (through Elder Scott) were one group and the 8 left were the other group (beginning with Elder Hales). This group split was as close to a median split as possible. A t-test revealed that there was a significant difference in the number of children between groups (mean for group 1 = 6.57, mean for group 2 = 3.5, t = 2.68, p = 0.02, Cohen’s d = 1.35 – a large effect). There also is a significant difference in age between the two groups (which is not surprising; group 1 mean = 83.57, group 2 mean = 68.38, t = 4.99, p = 0.001).

Should my split of the groups be criticized based on the fact that Elder Hales only has 2 children and so placing him in group 2 might be undue manipulation of the data, here are the values with him in group 1 (group 1 mean number of children = 6.00, group 2 = 3.71, t = 1.79, p = 0.097; this is no longer significant but the sample size is also small {although, it could be viewed as large because the entire population of living apostles is 15 and I ‘sampled’ the entire population}. In any case, the effect size of this difference is still large – Cohen’s d = 0.95). I think the split should be between Elder Scott and Elder Hales because Elder Hales is the first of the apostles called while Pres. Hinckley was the prophet (technically, Elder Hales was called to fill the vacancy in the Twelve when Pres. Hunter died; Pres. Hinckley was called to replace Pres. Hunter); in other words, Elder Scott was the last of the apostles called in the 1980s and Elder Hales was the first called in the 1990s (there was about a 6 year gap in between when they were called). Either way I split the groups, the difference in number of children is large between the more senior Apostles and the newer Apostles. There are the outliers in the groups (Pres. Monson and Elder Perry for group 1 and Elder Eyring for group 2) but overall, the groups cluster together well (see the “Within Cluster Variation” chart).

If seniority roughly equals age (remember the significant difference between the ages of the two groups), does age explain the difference in number of children? In part it does. Age explains 24% of the variance in number of children (R = 0.49, F = 4.166, p = 0.06), which is a moderate amount but it is obvious that age alone cannot account for the difference in number of children. There are other testable (e.g., number of children in their nuclear family, age at marriage, income, etc.) and untestable (e.g., personal choice and how many children the Lord let them know they could or should have) factors that might explain the difference. Frankly, it does not matter in the end. Can we really explain why people have the number of children that they have? Sometimes we can if there are fertility issues but the number of children a couple has boils down largely to personal choice. That is why I am not going to try to explain why we see these differences in the number of children between the more senior Apostles and the newer Apostles.

I hope you found this an interesting analysis – I certainly did! I think it would be interesting to expand it to include the 1st and maybe 2nd quorums of the Seventy as well but that is an analysis for a later time.

The Organization of the LDS Church – Part 2


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.

The Organization of the LDS Church – Part 1


There is no other church on earth like The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Its organization and growth are inspired. Much of the organization of the church is built upon the following principle: “No man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron” (Heb. 5:4). The LDS Church is largely run by a lay ministry. People do not vie for positions; most do not seek office. When a call is received, service begins. The LDS church is organized in such a manner that all have the opportunity in even a small way to play a role in the church. The church is run and directed by and through the priesthood of God. In this essay, I’ll provide an overview of how the LDS Church is organized.

I’ll start from the “top” and move down. Actually this is starting at the bottom – at the foundation – and moving up, but we more commonly think of it as top-down. The Savior Jesus Christ is the head of the LDS Church. It is His church and is a restoration of the church He established in ancient days. The Savior chooses one man to act as His prophet – to preside over and to lead the church on earth. The current prophet is Thomas S. Monson, who is the most senior apostle and is ordained as a prophet, seer, and revelator. He is the only one authorized to speak definitively for the whole church and to establish church doctrine. He can delegate this authority in specific circumstances but generally does not. The prophet is the presiding priesthood holder on the earth. He holds all of the keys of the kingdom, meaning that he has the authority and responsibility to direct the church as inspired. The prophet has two counselors (although there could be more) who as a whole constitute the First Presidency of the LDS Church. The First Presidency together also hold all the keys of administration of the church. They constitute the highest governing body of the church and serve in a small way as a type for the Godhead – the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost (in other words, there are three people in the First Presidency in part to mirror the three personages in the Godhead).

The members of the First Presidency are all prophets, seers, and revelators in addition to being ordained as apostles. While they are currently called from the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, their roles are separate from the Quorum of the Twelve while they are in the First Presidency. Upon the death of the prophet, the First Presidency is automatically dissolved and the counselors return to their place in the Quorum of the Twelve.

The Quorum of the Twelve consists of twelve men who are ordained as apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ and who are sustained as prophets, seers, and revelators. They are all special witnesses of the Lord Jesus with a special call to bear witness of Him unto all the world. They also serve as the main, under the direction of the First Presidency, administrative body of the church. One man is called as president of the Quorum (with another called as acting president should the president of the Twelve be called as a counselor in the First Presidency). The Twelve, along with the First Presidency, fulfill different assignments throughout the world, including dedicating new temples, meeting with church members, meeting with world, religious, and civic leaders, meeting with the media, and so forth. Each also serve on various committees pertaining to different aspects of church administrations, such as missionary work or education. The Twelve each individually hold all the keys of the priesthood but are not individually or collectively authorized to use those keys except as following the death of the prophet; in that instance, they can only use their keys collectively. The members of the Quorum of the Twelve are “ranked” according to seniority based on how long they’ve been a member of the quorum. The most senior apostle, following the death of the prophet, is shortly sustained as the new prophet and president of the church. There is no jostling for position or asking of questions about who will be called. The new prophet then calls two counselors. Any voids left in the Quorum of the Twelve are then subsequently filled with the callings and sustainings of new apostles.