Nepotism in the Church – 2010 Update

Jeff SpectorGeneral Authorities, LDS, Leaders, Mormon 17 Comments

To follow on with my post for the past two years, here is this year’s Nepotism in the Church installment.  To find the original post, click here. The 2009 update is here.

Just to re-explain, I check the 2010 Church Almanac and Church News for this information.  I have just been looking at General Authorities, Temple and Mission President because their bio information is available. As I post this, I will get other information from knowledgeable, “in the know” folks on other leaders.

One other thing I wondered is how many LDS “Celebrities” get high level calls like this?  I note this because Bruce Summerhays, a professional Golfer was just called as a Mission President and Gifford Nielsen, a former BYU star Quarterback was called to be an Area Authority 70.  I also recall that Dale Murphy, star Baseball player for the Atlanta Braves was a Bishop and a Mission President.

So as you look at the list for this year, the trend away from nepotism continues with a lot of leaders called from the areas they will serve in.  But, BYU professors, high ranking Church and CES emplyees and “well known” Church people continue to get calls.  many Temple Presidents are former GAs, mainly from the 2nd Quorum of 70 or emeritus GAs.

I was also thinking of doing a survey of professions since we now have more corporate types becoming GAs. What do you think about that idea?

2010 Nepotism Update

Name Position Relationship Relative Position
Gerritt W Gong 1st Quorum 70 Son in Law Richard P Lindsey 2nd Quorum 70
Bradford James Brower Miss Pres 2010 Son in Law M. Russell Ballard Quorum of 12
Robert Spence Ellsworth Miss Pres 2010 Grandson in Law Ezra Taft Benson President
Derek Lane Cordon Miss Pres 2010 Son in Law Harold G. Hillam Pres of 70
James R. Matsumori Miss Pres 2010 Husband Vicki F. Matsumori Prim GP 2nd C
Kent Hales Cannon Miss Pres 2010 Son George I Cannon 1st Quorum 70
George Holbrook Groberg Miss Pres 2010 Brother John H Groberg 1st Quorum 70
Stephen Elroy Jones Miss Pres 2010 Son in Law Dwan J. Young Prim GP

Comments 17

  1. The one thing though that I keep hoping for is greater representation at the top for non-white, non-Utah, non-English speaking GAs. Not that my testimony is reliant upon it, but would sure probably help the overall image (and subsequent growth) of the church. I think us gringos should have to start listening to more talks in General Conference in translation, that’ll be a great sign.

  2. We are all hoping for a Hispanic Apostle to represent the growing part of the Church, but you will find a significant number of those non-white, non-Utah types in the lower ranks. But, I would like to hear them speak in the their native tongue instead of English. I am certain some could express themselves much better that way. While most of the leaders are businessman and most probably have to learn English, it would be a refreshing change to see the Church really recognize the international nature of its membership.

  3. I bet Steve Young won’t be getting a high ranking calling anytime soon after his family’s public opposition to Prop 8.

    Regarding your comments about the professions of GAs, I’d love to see less doctors, lawyers, and executives. How about some whose professions have salaries representative of average and below average incomes? Might shift their perspective.

    I second #5. Not a foundation of my beliefs but more diversity would be mighty helpful.

  4. ‘since we now have more corporate types becoming GAs’

    Might be because the church today simply is just a large corporation!

    -I’d also like to see a Latino apostle but fact is that the largest ethnic group in the church today is still ‘the americans’ and given the apparently high level of animosity towards latinos within the US today maybe a Latino apostle wont be as effective as the white-Anglo lawyer type.

    But anyways, apostles represent the Lord and not this or that nationality so it shouldn’t matter where they are from.

  5. Interesting game, but the relevance? One seventy, who also held a significant position at BYU and would have been known to the board of trustees for that reason. Nepotism? Hmm.

  6. Thanks Jeff. I’d like to see professions as well. Mormon Times ran a piece just before conference outlining several GC talks from 100 years ago. It was amazing to see all the references to farming, and avoiding the fast life in big cities. It seems to me that early GA’s were all farmers, and we hear much less about gardening now than when the farmer Pres Kimball was around.

  7. MH,

    It will take me a bit of time to compile the list. I have a long trip coming up next week, that might be a good time to start!

  8. I’d love a list of professions. And if I picked the GA’s, I’d pick a few tradesmen and others who have made their living being paid by the hour. The current policy seems to be that the Mission Presidents and GA’s be financially independent, and have solid leadership/management experience, which tilts the ranks strongly towards the lawyers, business owners, and corporate executives.

    In a REALLY perfect world, they’d call a plumber to be mission president, and then ask the man in his ward that wears the $1,000 suit to church on Sunday if he would be willing to support his neighbor for a 3-year term. THAT would be moving forward towards consecration!

  9. Who said they were famous? Some are well-known in the LDS world. Apparantly not to you. Ever heard of the Osmonds? 🙂

  10. Before raising the charge of “Nepotism”…

    Most of the previous generation of GAs, Apostles…(Kimball, Benson, etc.) DID have large families, and their children followed suit. That’s a “talent pool” that ought not to be ignored simply of fears of appearance of nepotism. I believe that’s what Jacob (BoM) would have had in mind when he mentioned polygamy only being justified in raising up a “righteous seed.”
    AFAIK, only one instance of a ‘father-son’ duo in Presidents of the Church…and the older one himself was the newphew of Joseph Smith. There’s a few ‘father-son’ duos in the ranks of the Apostles, but I’m not sure that any (save for BY and BY, Jr.) served concurrently as GAs.

    Though we decry the “Utah white boys” club that the current crop of GAs largely seems to be, and has been, we should keep in mind that many of the 19th and early 20th century GAs were immigrants. It’s too bad we don’t have recordings of their talks, I’ve heard that some of them had rather thick accents or brouges!

    The rapid rise of President Utchdorf should be evidence that the Church is “going international.” It would not surprise me if in ten years we don’t see the Twelve have a Brazillian, a Mexican, and either someone from Asia or Africa. However, methinks it’d be the “old fashioned way”, e.g., revelation, and not due to any desire to assuage public opinion.

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