LDS Church reorganizes Presiding Bishopric, releases senior president of the Seventy

(photo courtesy The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) Elder L. Whitney Clayton speaks during the Sunday afternoon session of General Conference on April 5, 2020.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints this weekend reorganized its Presiding Bishopric, which oversees its buildings, finances, welfare and other temporal work, and also released the senior president of its Quorum of Seventies.

L. Whitney Clayton, the 70-year-old senior president, was released Saturday and given emeritus status. He has served as a general authority Seventy since 2001. He had been a member of the Presidency of the Seventy since 2008 and was named senior president in October 2015.

On Sunday, general authority Seventy Brent H. Nielson replaced Clayton as a member of the Presidency of the Seventy. The 65-year-old Neilson is a native of Burley, Idaho.

Meanwhile, Dean M. Davies, 69, a counselor in the Presiding Bishopric since April 2012, was released Saturday and called instead as a general authority Seventy.

“Bishop Davies has been dealing with a significant health challenge for more than a year, though his current prognosis is positive,” church spokesman Eric Hawkins said in a news release. “We are grateful that he will be able to continue to serve in this new role as a general authority Seventy.”

W. Christopher Waddell was sustained to replace Davies as the first counselor in the Presiding Bishopric. L. Todd Budge was sustained as second counselor (the position formerly held by Waddell). Budge, a native of California, had been serving as a general authority Seventy since April 2019.

The Presiding Bishopric is responsible for many of the church’s temporal affairs. It consists of Presiding Bishop Gérald Caussé, a French native, and his two counselors. Each holds the office of bishop, and they serve under the direct supervision of the First Presidency.

The church also named four new area Seventies. They include Laurian P. Balilemwa, 49, of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania; Jonathon W. Bunker, 61, of Las Vegas; Enrique R. Mayorga, 47, of Otavalo, Ecuador; and Konstantin Tolomeev, 38, of Anapa, Russia.

The church also released two other general authority Seventies, Enrique R. Falabella and Richard J. Maynes, along with 47 area Seventies.