As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints sustained Russell M. Nelson as the 17th president and prophet of the faith Saturday morning, two new leaders were also announced. Gerrit W. Gong and Ulisses Soares were called to serve in the church’s Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.
The announcement and sustainings were made during a “solemn assembly,” conducted as part of the church’s General Conference. The ritual dates back to 1880 where male members, 12 and older took turns standing according to the separate priesthood offices they hold to show support for their new leader. They were followed by adult women and girls 12 to 17-years-old. Then all members joined in together to sustain the leaders.
President Nelson became leader of the church in January after the death of former President Thomas S. Monson. The 93-year-old presided at the twice-yearly General Conference for the first time.
Gerrit Gong was born in California on December 23, 1953. He has served as a General Authority Seventy since 2010. From 2011 to 2015, he was a member of the Asia Area Presidency, headquartered in Hong Kong, and concluded that service as the Area President. He and his wife, Susan, have four children and three grandchildren.
Ulisses Soares was born in São Paulo, Brazil, on October 2, 1958. He has served as a General Authority Seventy since 2005. He served previously as a counselor in the Africa Southeast Area, President of the Brazil Area and as a counselor in the Brazil South Area. He and his wife, Rosana, have three children and three grandchildren.