Church News - The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

New authorities

Published: Saturday, Oct. 9, 2004

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iconFormer pilot is changing course

Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf
Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf's settled life as chief pilot for Lufthansa German Airlines and president of the Mannheim Germany Stake began to change with his call as a General Authority in 1994. That change has continued through service in the Second Quorum and First Quorum of the Seventy, the Presidency of the Seventy, and now as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve. He was sustained as an apostle and member of that quorum during the Saturday morning session of general conference October 2.

Elder Uchtdorf was born to Karl Albert and Hilde Else Opelt Uchtdorf on Nov. 6, 1940, in Ostrava, Czechoslovakia, where his father worked for Germany's customs office. He was baptized at age 8, two years after his family joined the Church in Zwickau, Germany.

Educated in engineering and business administration, he trained as a fighter pilot and later as a commercial airline pilot. He joined Lufthansa as a pilot in 1965 and retired in 1996 as senior vice president for flight operations and chief pilot.

Dieter Uchtdorf and Harriet Reich became acquainted as teenagers when they were members of the same branch after his family moved to Frankfurt. They were married in the Swiss Temple (now Bern Switzerland Temple) on Dec. 14, 1962. They are the parents of two children and have five grandchildren.

Among his callings, Elder Uchtdorf was president of the Frankfurt Germany Stake and was vice chairman of the Frankfurt Germany Temple committee.

iconA new venue for administrator

Elder David A. Bednar
Elder David A. Bednar, 52, president of Brigham Young University-Idaho, has been leading that institution's transition from a two-year junior college, known as Ricks College, to a four-year university. At the time of his calling to the Quorum of the Twelve, he was serving as an Area Authority Seventy.

Born June 15, 1952, in San Leandro, Calif., to Anthony G. Bednar and Lavina Whitney Bednar, Elder Bednar earned a bachelor's degree in communication from BYU in 1976, a master's degree in organizational communication from BYU in 1977 and a doctorate in organizational behavior from Purdue University in 1980. Except for two years teaching at Texas Tech University, Elder Bednar was a faculty member at the University of Arkansas from 1980 until his move to Rexburg, Idaho, in 1997 as president of Ricks College. He is the co-author of several books on organizational behavior.

Elder Bednar served as an Area Authority in Arkansas, as a regional representative, as president of the Rogers Arkansas Stake from 1991-1995, president of the Fort Smith Arkansas Stake from 1987-1991, and as bishop of the Fayetteville Ward in 1987. He served in the Germany South Mission from 1971-1973.

The new apostle is married to the former Susan Kae Robinson. They are parents of three sons and have three granddaughters.

iconCalled to Presidency of the Seventy

Elder Robert C. Oaks
Elder Robert C. Oaks of the Second Quorum of the Seventy has been called to serve in the Presidency of the Seventy.

The first LDS four-star general, he retired from the US Air Force in 1994, after serving on the Pentagon staff, as commander of the 86th Tactical Fighter Wing and later US Air Forces Europe at Ramstein AFB in Germany, and allied NATO forces in Naples, Italy, among other assignments. He is a Vietnam veteran. At the time of his call to be a General Authority, he was senior vice president of operations for US Airways. At that time, he was president of the Pittsburgh Pennsylvania North Stake. He has also served as mission president's counselor, Young Men president and gospel doctrine teacher. As a Seventy, he presided over the Africa Southeast Area.

He was born in Los Angeles, Calif., to Charles E. and Ann Bonnet Oaks. He married Gloria Unger and they are the parents of six children. A Vietnam veteran, he received a bachelor's degree in military science from the Air Force Academy, a master's in business administration from Ohio State University, and spent a year at the Naval War College and a year in pilot training.