Two new apostles were called during the Saturday morning session of the LDS Church's 188th annual General Conference, as part of the Solemn Assembly.
Elder Gerrit W. Gong and Elder Ulisses Soares were called as new members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, following the deaths of President Thomas S. Monson and Elder Robert D. Hales.
According to the church, Gong served as a General Authority Seventy from April 3, 2010, until the time of his call to the Twelve. He was named a member of the Presidency of the Seventy on Oct. 6, 2015. From 2011 to 2015, Gong was a member of the Asia Area Presidency, headquartered in Hong Kong, and concluded that service as the area president.
Gong was born in Redwood City, California on Dec. 23, 1953, and married Susan Lindsay in January 1980, according to information released on Mormonnewsroom.com. They are the parents of four children and three grandchildren.
Gong has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Asian and university studies from Brigham Young University. He also has a Master of Philosophy degree and a doctorate in international relations from Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes Scholar.
In 1985, he served as special assistant to the undersecretary of state at the U.S. State Department. In 1987, he served as special assistant to the U.S. ambassador in Beijing, China. From 1989, he served in several positions at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C. He was assistant to the president for planning and assessment at Brigham Young University until April 2010.
Gong has served in numerous church callings, including full-time missionary in the Taiwan Taipei Mission, high councilor, high priests group leader, stake Sunday School president, seminary teacher, bishop, stake mission president, stake president and Area Seventy.
Soares served as a General Authority Seventy since April 2, 2005, and was named a member of the Presidency of the Seventy on Jan. 6, 2013, according to the church. 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. He is the second member of the current Twelve to be from outside the United States.
Soares was born in São Paulo, Brazil, on Oct. 2, 1958. He married Rosana Fernandes in October 1982. They are the parents of three children and three grandchildren.
Soares has a Bachelor of Arts degree in accounting and economics from the Sao Paulo Pontifical Catholic University and a Master of Business Administration degree.
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. 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.
Soares has served in a number of church callings, including 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.