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On the Saturday morning session of the 188th LDS General Conference in the solemn assembly President Russell M. Nelson was sustained as the 17th president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and Gerrit W. Gong and Ulisses Soares were sustained as the two new apostles of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.
Elder Gerrit W. Gong was announced and sustained a new member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles during the solemn assembly at the 188th General Conference.
According to LDS.org prior to being sustained a member of the Quorum of The Twelve Apostles, Elder Gong was serving in the Presidency of the Seventy. He was born in Redwood City, California to his parents Walter and Jean Gong. Both of Asian descent making Elder Gong the first Apostle of Asian descent.
Prior to his call as a General Authority, he served a full-time mission for the Church in Taiwan as a high councilor, high priests group leader, stake Sunday School president, seminary teacher, bishop, stake mission president, stake president and Area Seventy.
Elder Gong’s extensive career began as a professor at several universities and later served as a special assistant for the United States State Department. Gong specialized in Asian affairs and also worked at the United States Embassy in China.
According to LDS.org, Elder Gong has always had a passion for education. He received a bachelor of arts degree in Asian and university studies at Brigham Young University in 1977. He continued to earn a master of philosophy and a PhD in international relations from Oxford University.
According to LDS Church News His service in the education community was furthered as a member of the United States Department of Education’s National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity.
In 1980 Elder Gong married his wife Susan Lindsay whom he met while teaching at the Missionary Training Center in Provo Utah preparing missionaries in Taiwan culture. The couple has four sons whom they raised in Maryland and Virginia.
Elder Soares was also announced and sustained a new member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles during the solemn assembly at the 188th General Conference.
He is the first Apostle called from a Latin American country. Elder Soares was born in São Paulo, Brazil, on October 2, 1958.
Elder Soares was serving as a “General Authority Seventy since April 2, 2005, and was named a member of the Presidency of the Seventy on January 6, 2013. He served previously as a counselor in the Africa Southeast Area, President of the Brazil Area and as a counselor in the Brazil South Area.”
Elder Soares received a Bachelor degree in accounting and economics from the São Paulo Pontifical Catholic University, in 1985 and later received a Master degree in Business Administration, according to LDS.org.
“He was an accountant and auditor for multinational corporations in Brazil and director for temporal affairs in the Church area office in São Paulo, Brazil,” according to LDS.org. “At the time of his call as a General Authority, he was serving on a special assignment for the Presiding Bishopric of the Church in Salt Lake City.”
According to LDS.org, Elder Soares has served as a full-time missionary in the Brazil Rio de Janeiro Mission, elders quorum president, counselor in a bishopric, high councilor, stake executive secretary, regional welfare agent, stake president and president of the Portugal Porto Mission from 2000 to 2003.
LDS.org informed that he married Rosana Fernandes in October 1982. They are now the parents of three children and three grandchildren.