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President Hunter set apart to lead Council of Twelve

President Howard W. Hunter was set apart Thursday, June 2, as president of the Council of the Twelve, succeeding President Marion G. Romney, who died May 20 after a lengthy illness. President Hunter was set apart by President Ezra Taft Benson during a meeting of General Authorities of the Church in the Salt Lake Temple.

President Hunter, 80, had been the acting president of the Council of the Twelve since October 1985. He has served as an apostle since Oct. 15, 1959.He was born Nov. 14, 1907, in Boise, Idaho, to John William and Nellie Marie Rasmussen Hunter. He joined the Church there at age 13, and was the second Boy Scout in the Boise area to earn the rank of Eagle.

President Hunter married Clara May Jeffs on June 10, 1931, in the Salt Lake Temple, and they had three sons. She died in October 1983.

Before his marriage, President Hunter was a professional musician. Afterwards, he worked at a bank while studying law at night. Upon graduating with honors from Southwestern Law School in Los Angeles in 1939, he established himself as a leading corporate attorney in Southern California during the next 20 years until his call to the Council of the Twelve.

He was bishop of the El Sereno Ward in the Pasadena (Calif.) Stake, and later served for nine years as president of that stake. He was also chairman of the Los Angeles and Southern California welfare regions.

President Hunter has served as president of the Genealogical Society, forerunner of the Church's Family History Department, and of the Polynesian Cultural Center in Laie, Hawaii.

Members of the Council of the Twelve officiate under the direction of the First Presidency to build up and regulate the affairs of the Church in all nations. Church membership now totals 6.5 million, with congregations organized in 97 nations and 25 territories, colonies and possessions.