Elders Dieter F. Uchtdorf and David A. Bednar were sustained as new apostles Saturday morning by leaders and members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints during the opening minutes of the faith's 174th Semi-annual General Conference.
Two new temples were also announced, one to be built at an unnamed location in the Salt Lake Valley, and the other in Twin Falls, Idaho.
Elder Uchtdorf has been serving as a general authority since 1994, and was a member of the LDS Church's Presidency of the Seventy. Elder Bednar is president of Brigham Young University-Idaho in Rexburg.
In his opening remarks, President Gordon B. Hinckley spoke of the recent deaths of Elders David B. Haight and Neal A. Maxwell, both long-time apostles in the faith's12-member quorum, which functions under the direction of the three-member First Presidency. Recalling them with affection, he said, "we are confident they are carrying on this great work on the other side of the veil."
After what he called much "fasting and prayer," President Hinckley said Elders Uchtdorf and Bednar had been called to fill the vacancies left in the Quorum of the Twelve. "You may not know them, but you will get acquainted with them pretty soon," he said, asking those present in the Conference Center to sustain them by raise of the right hand. President Hinckley said the pair will speak at some point during the conference.
Speaking of the continuing growth of the church, President Hinckley then spoke of more than 450 meetinghouses currently under construction worldwide, and said continued growth also necessitates additional temples. "We are determined to build a new temple in the Salt Lake Valley," he said. "The location will be announced shortly."
He said while it may appear to many that church leaders are "favoring" the Salt Lake Valley, which already contains both the Salt Lake and Jordan River temples, current "temple attendance is such that we must accommodate those who wish to come. If present growth trends continue, we shall probably need yet another."
President Hinckley then announced plans for a new temple in Twin Falls, Idaho, to serve the "thousands of members who live between Idaho Falls and Boise." Idaho has the third largest LDS membership of any state, outranked only by California—where the ground for the Sacramento Temple was recently broken—and Utah.
Elder Uchtdorf was born Nov. 6, 1940, in Ostrava, Czechoslovakia. A former stake president and mission president, he was senior vice president for flight operations and chief pilot for Lufthansa German Airlines when he was called to the Second Quorum of the Seventy on April 2, 1994. He was then sustained to the First Quorum of the Seventy on April 6, 1996, and called to the presidency of the Seventy on Aug. 15, 2002. He and his wife, the former Harriett Reich, are the parents of two children. Elder Uchtdorf is the 11th apostle born outside the United States.
Elder Bednar was born June 15, 1952, in San Leandro. Calif. He has served the church as a bishop and twice as a stake president in Arkansas. He has also served as a regional representative, Area Authority and was sustained as an Area Authority Seventy in 1997. He was named president of Ricks College in July 1997, and has overseen the school's transition to what is now known as BYU-Idaho. He was formerly a professor of management in the college of business administration at the University of Arkansas. He and his wife, Susan, have three sons.