LDS Growth Encyclopedia on Missionary Work and Church Growth (Missiology)

Return to Table of Contents

Area Seventy

Author: Matt Martinich

Posted: October 25th, 2013

High priests in the Melchizedek Priesthood ordained to the office of Seventy but who do not serve as General Authorities are called Area Seventies.  The jurisdiction of Area Seventies is limited to a single church area whereas Seventies in the First and Second Quorums of the Seventy are designated as General Authorities and have authority to serve anywhere in the world.  Area Seventies comprise the Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, and Eight Quorums of the Seventy.[1]  At present the third quorum administers Africa, Europe, and the Middle East, the fourth quorum administers the Caribbean, Central America, and northwestern South America, the fifth quorum administers the Pacific Coast of the United States and Canada, Alaska, and Hawaii, the sixth quorum administers central and eastern Canada and the United States, the seventh quorum services Brazil and southern South America, and the eighth quorum services Asia and Oceania.

Prior to 1995 Area Seventies were called regional representatives.[2]  In 1967, the Church announced a new administrative position called "regional representative of the Twelve" and called the 69 initial regional representatives the same year.[3]  In 1995, the Church released all regional representatives and instituted the new position of Area Authority.  In 1997, the Church changed the name of the calling from Area Authority to Area Authority Seventy and ordained Area Authorities as Seventies.  Today the Church refers to this calling as Area Seventy.  The number of Area Seventies increased from 137 in 1997 to 195 in 2005[4] and 224 in 2012[5] whereas the number of Quorums of the Seventy increased from one in 1976 to two in 1986, five in 1997, six in 2004, and eight in 2005.[6]

Area Seventies receive assignments from the First Presidency, the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and the Presidency of the Seventy.  Some common responsibilities include setting apart and training stake presidencies, organizing and reorganizing stakes, presiding at stake conferences, and coordinating between multiple stakes within their area.  Area Seventies meet quarterly as an area council to provide training and review progress in their jurisdictions.[7]  There are also times when Area Seventies serve in area presidencies.[8]  Unlike general authorities, Area Seventies do not serve full-time and instead continue their current employment, remain in their homes, and serve on an as needed basis.  Duration of service is approximately six years.[9]  In May 2012, the average age of Area Seventies was 54.[10]

The country of origin of Area Seventies provides insight into the size, strength, and sustainability of leadership.  In May 2012, there were 224 Area Seventies serving worldwide including 77 in North America (34%), 49 in South America (22%), 26 in Asia (12%), 25 in Central America (11%), 21 in Europe (9.4%), 13 in Africa (6%), 10 in Oceania (4.5%), and three in the Caribbean (less than 1%).[11]  The percentage breakdown for Area Seventies by world region differs from the percentage breakdown for church membership.  By year-end 2011, 44.44% of worldwide church membership resided in North America whereas 24.64% resided in South America, 14.64% resided in Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean, 7.09% resided in Asia, 2.49% resided in Africa, 3.36% resided in Europe, and 3.34% resided in Oceania.  The difference in the distribution of Area Seventies and LDS membership appears rooted in area-specific characteristics pertaining to membership growth rates, the strength and sustainability of stake presidencies, and the number of new stakes created relative to the number of stakes already functioning.  Between 1997 and 2012, the rate of increase in the numbers of Area Seventies was comparable to the rate of increase in worldwide church membership (63.5% versus 43.4%, respectively).

Area Seventies provide an adaptable solution to meeting changing administrative needs to create and reorganize stakes and accommodate church growth.  Former member of the Presidency of the Seventy, Elder Earl C. Tingey stated, " You don't have to create a new structure. If there is a lot of growth in one part of the world, you can add three or four [Area Seventies]. It is flexible, it has elasticity to fit whatever situation is out there, based on the growth of the Church.[12]  The frequency of Area Seventies serving from specific nations and their representation in their respective quorums provides insight into the availability of leadership manpower and how well-developed and independent church leadership has become in specific countries and world regions.


[1]  "Church Administration," True to the Faith, p. 35


[2]  Hinckley, Gordon B.  "This Work is Concerned with People," Ensign, May 1995.


[3]  "Historical Chronology of the Church," Deseret News 2012 Church News Almanac, p. 312


[4]  Hart. John L.  "Two more quorums are created; now eight," LDS Church News, 7 May 2005.


[5]  "Area Authority Seventies,", retrieved 26 October 2012.


[6]  Hart. John L.  "Two more quorums are created; now eight," LDS Church News, 7 May 2005.


[7]  Murray, W.T. David.  "The Role of the Area Seventy,", 5 May 2012.


[8]  Hart. John L.  "Two more quorums are created; now eight," LDS Church News, 7 May 2005.


[9]  Hinckley, Gordon B.  "This Work is Concerned with People," Ensign, May 1995.


[10]  "Area Authority Seventies,", retrieved 26 October 2012.


[11]  "Area Authority Seventies,", retrieved 26 October 2012.


[12]  Hart. John L.  "Two more quorums are created; now eight," LDS Church News, 7 May 2005.