Regional Representative

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Regional representative, a shortened name for regional representative of the Twelve, was a priesthood calling in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints between 1968 and 1995.

In the semiannual general conference held in October 1967, President Hugh B. Brown of the First Presidency announced the creation of this new position and called 69 men to begin work as regional representatives effective January 1, 1968.

As many of you will remember, in 1941, it became necessary for the First Presidency and the Twelve to provide for additional brethren to help with the work of overseeing and setting in order an ever-growing, world-wide Church. Thus in the General Conference of April 1941, Assistants to the Twelve were named and sustained, "to be increased or otherwise from time to time as the necessity of carrying on the Lord's work seems to dictate.
Since then the world-wide demands of the Church have increased in ever greater degree and it is felt by the First Presidency and the Twelve that a further provision for guidance and direction is now needed.
What, therefore, is now proposed is the calling of as many brethren as may be necessary, to be known as Regional Representatives of the Twelve, each, as assigned, to be responsible in some aspects of the work to carry counsel to and to conduct instructional meetings in groups of stakes or regions as may be designated from time to time.
These Regional Representatives of the Twelve will not be "General" Authorities, as such, but will serve somewhat as do stake presidents, giving full Church service time for greater or lesser periods of service as circumstances may suggest.[1]

Regions of the Church were geographic units between the stake and the general levels of administration. Regional representatives principally provided help in training stake leaders and frequently visiting stakes. They often presided at stake conferences when assigned, but did not have authority to call local leaders. They were not general authorities or general officers of the Church.

At the April 1995 general conference, newly sustained Church president Gordon B. Hinckley announced the discontinuation of regional representatives.

Now in the ongoing of this work, administrative changes sometimes occur. The doctrine remains constant. But from time to time there are organizational and administrative changes made under provisions set forth in the revelations.
For instance, twenty-eight years ago the First Presidency was inspired to call men to serve as regional representatives of the Twelve. At the time that was a new calling in the Church. The Presidency stated that this was necessary because of “the ever-increasing growth of the Church” which made “evident a greater need to train our stake and ward leaders in the programs of the Church that they in turn might train the membership in their responsibilities before the Lord.”
At that time there were 69 regional representatives. Today there are 284. The organization has become somewhat unwieldy.

More recently the Presidency were inspired to call men from the Seventy to serve in area presidencies. As the work grows across the world it has become necessary to decentralize administrative authority to keep General Authorities closer to the people. We now have such area presidencies well established and effectively functioning.

It is now felt desirable to tighten up the organization administered by the area presidencies. Accordingly, we announce the release—the honorable release—of all regional representatives effective August 15 of this year. To these devoted and able brethren we express our deep appreciation for the tremendous work you have accomplished, for your loyalty, faithfulness, and devotion in advancing the cause of our Father in Heaven. I cannot say enough of good concerning these men. They have sacrificed their time and their resources. They have gone wherever they have been asked to go, whenever they have been asked to go. They have greatly assisted stake presidents and bishops with wise counsel and direction, with skillful training and instruction. We thank them one and all and pray that through the years to come the Lord will bless them with the satisfying assurance that each of them made a significant contribution to the work and that their labors have been accepted by Him.[

He also announced the call of a new local officer “to be known as an area authority. These will be high priests chosen from among past and present experienced Church leaders. They will continue with their current employment, reside in their own homes, and serve on a Church-service basis. The term of their call will be flexible, generally, for a period of approximately six years. They will be closely tied to the area presidencies. They will be fewer in number than have been the regional representatives. We are guided in setting up this new corps of area officers, as were our Brethren before us in the calling of regional representatives, by the provision contained in the revelation on priesthood, section 107 of the Doctrine and Covenants.”[2]

Area authorities are now called Area Seventies.