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A Christ-focused Saturday at the 193rd Annual General Conference was also chock full of news.

1. The church has 17 million members

Convert baptisms rose 26% in 2022, and the church had 17,002,461 members as of the year’s end on Dec. 31, according to a statistical report released during the Saturday afternoon session.

2. Elder and Sister Holland have COVID-19 but gave a Twitter message

“Pat and I love being with you at general conference,” Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve said in a tweet on Saturday morning. “Unfortunately, we both tested positive for Covid and are not able to attend this weekend. We will be watching together, hand-in-hand, at home. Like you, I express my gratitude for the Savior this Palm Sunday weekend.”

3. The Tabernacle Choir had international members

For the first time, the Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square welcomed singers from outside the United States to sing at general conference.

The 10 special choir members traveled from Brazil, Ghana, Malaysia, Mexico, the Philippines and Taiwan to participate. Choir members usually must live within a 100-mile radius of Salt Lake City.

4. A new Young Women general presidency

A new Young Women general presidency was named, effective Aug. 1.

The outgoing presidency is President Bonnie H. Cordon and her counselors, Michelle D. Craig and Becky Craven, will serve until then.

The new presidency is:

  • President Emily Belle Freeman, co-host of the “Don’t Miss This” scripture study podcast, author of a dozen books and a former teacher in the Church Education System. She and her husband Greg have five children.
  • Sister Tamara W. Runia, first counselor, who served with her husband, Scott, a former BYU basketball player, as leaders of the Australia Sydney Mission. She has 20 years on the board of the Food & Care Coalition in Provo and is the mother of seven children.
  • Sister Andrea Muñoz Spannaus, second counselor, was serving on the Relief Society advisory council, is a native of Buenos Aires, Argentina, returned missionary and former leader with her husband, Alin, of the Mexico Cuernavaca Mission. She has two children.

5. Other new leaders

Five new General Authority Seventies were named, including one from France and one from England. They are:

  • Elder Ahmad S. Corbitt, who comes from the Young Men presidency. He served as a mission president in the Dominican Republic with his wife, Jayne Lillian Joslin.
  • Elder Robert M. Daines, who is the associate dean for Global Programs at Stanford University’s Rock Center for Corporate Governance.
  • Elder J. Kimo Esplin, is a Utah Area Seventy and former mission president in Japan with his wife, Kaye. He is executive vice president of strategy and investment at Huntsman Corp. and chief financial officer for Huntsman Advanced Materials.
  • Elder Christophe G. Giraud-Carrier, a native of Lyon, France, who was serving as president of a young single adult stake in Provo, Utah. He is the former president of the France Lyon Mission.
  • Elder Alan T. Phillips, a native of Kent, England, has served in the Seventh Quorum of the Seventy since 2016 and in the Europe North Area Presidency for the past year. He previously worked as the academic director of the Brigham Young University London Centre.

The Young Men general presidency had one change, because Elder Corbitt was called as a General Authority Seventy. Brother Bradley R. Wilcox moved from second to first counselor, and a new second counselor was called:

  • Brother Michael T. Nelson of Salt Lake City is the chief financial officer of a Utah-based company and former president of the California San Bernardino Mission. He and his wife Barbara have nine children.

Also, at Thursday’s leadership session of conference, church leaders announced 61 new Area Seventies and the upcoming release of 50 Area Seventies.

My recent stories

Church leaders turn members’ focus toward Christ on eve of Palm Sunday (Wrap-up story about Saturday’s messages and news)

‘Jesus Christ is the strength of parents,’ leader says during Saturday afternoon session (Saturday afternoon session)

Latter-day Saint membership passed 17 million in 2023, according to a new church statistical report

Latter-day Saints should make Easter as rich in tradition as Christmas, apostle says at conference (Saturday morning session)

Church names 61 new Area Seventies during leadership session (March 30)

About the Church

The Deseret News published three comprehensive lists about temples on Friday:

To read summaries of every talk on Saturday, visit this page at the Church News.

Behind the scenes

The new Young Women General Presidency, First Counselor Sister Tamara W. Runia, President Emily Belle Freeman and Second Counselor Sister Andrea Muñoz Spannaus during the 193rd Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City on Saturday, April 1, 2023. | Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
President Bonnie H. Cordon, Young Women general president, and her counsellors Sister Michelle D. Craig and Sister Becky Craven hold hands after being released during the 193rd Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City on Saturday, April 1, 2023. | Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
Dr. Ash Puriri, New Zealand, wears a korowai cloak during the 193rd Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City on Saturday, April 1, 2023. | Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
Members of the Logan Institute of Religion choir make heart shapes at the audience of the Conference Center in Salt Lake City during the Saturday evening session of the 193rd Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on April 1, 2023. | Ryan Sun, Deseret News