Upon last week’s reorganization of the First Presidency that shuffled around a few folks, leaving Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf out of the group and back in the Quorum of the Twelve, many noted that President Russell M. Nelson said Elder Uchtdorf had already received new assignments for which he is “uniquely qualified.”
The Mormon internet being what it is, we assumed this to mean he’d be the official pilot for the Brethren, or perhaps he’d serve as the Church’s Diet Coke liaison, or maybe he’d head up the new “Stop It” department.
Lest you thought Elder Uchtdorf would receive a much deserved break after 10 years in the First Presidency, it appears he is basically el hombre at the moment (or maybe der Mann), having received a bevy of assignments that are crucial to the functioning of the Church.
This comes from the Mormon Newsroom, which has informed us that Elder Uchtdorf is to serve in three capacities: chair of the Missionary Executive Council, chair of the Correlation Executive Council, and because one cannot escape being the lone European among the top brass, the primary contact for leadership in the Europe and Europe East Areas. (That means all of Europe for everyone playing along at home.) Sorry, folks, he’s not going to be the ward chorister.
Members of the Twelve regularly steer various councils and committees, but Elder Uchtdorf has been hit with some heavy ones. As the chair on the Missionary Executive Council (MEC), Elder Uchtdorf represents the First Presidency and the Twelve. Essentially, he will direct the missionary work of the Church on day-to-day basis. While this is awesome, it also opens the door to recent trends repeating themselves: the current chair of the MEC more often than not hounds on missionary work and only missionary work in General Conference talks. Now with presumably only one Uchtdorf talk per conference, there’s a strong chance it will be missionary work-related. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. There’s also minimal chance the apostle will use his conference time to talk about the work of the other council he chairs.
You see, one would be hard pressed to find someone who is passionate about Correlation. Heck, for some, Correlation is akin to a four-letter word, as it represented a pivotal time when Salt Lake asserted itself over what had previously been a largely autonomous Church. Either way, don’t expect Elder Uchtdorf to set out on some remarks about how youth Sunday school manual standardization is all the rage.
However, what this does mean is that Elder Uchtdorf chairs an extremely influential council, and one that oversees curriculum at that. As the Newsroom reminds us, the Correlation Executive Council “reviews and approves all Church materials and products.” If Elder Uchtdorf had been in around in 2000, we might have avoided The Testaments. As a bonus, that means Uchtdorf will likely be more involved in the forthcoming Book of Mormon videos already in production. (Maybe we’ll get lucky and he’ll force the directors to declare the location of Book of Mormon events, which they are reticent to do.)
So yes, it appears Elder Uchtdorf will have plenty to do. As far as areas where he is “uniquely qualified”? Here’s hoping it means an increased effort to improve teaching and scholarship, an effort already underway in this year’s priesthood and relief society meetings.
See? We told you. Everything’s fine.