This is an archived article that was published on in 2015, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

His appointment Saturday to the Mormon apostleship was a "knee-buckling experience," said Gary E. Stevenson.

The 60-year-old presiding bishop of the church since 2012, Stevenson said the call from LDS Church President Thomas S. Monson on Tuesday was "completely unexpected for me, but one in which I feel a duty to serve."

He plans to follow the example of Jesus Christ and regard himself as a servant.

"As I think about this sacred calling, I think of it … as leading by serving, not serving by leading," Stevenson said at an afternoon news conference.

He grew up in northern Utah's Cache Valley and hails from pioneer stock. He married Lesa Jean Higley in 1979. They have four sons. He earned a degree in business administration at Utah State University, and co-founded and served as president of an exercise-equipment manufacturing company.

Stevenson is a skier and snowboarder, and his sons and their families — who learned of the appointment only when it was announced at General Conference — congratulated him after the news conference.

Stevenson spent more than nine years serving the LDS Church in Asia, first as a young missionary in the Japan Fukuoka Mission and later as a mission president and area president.

"It's really my second home," he said in an LDS Church news release. "I'm very, very comfortable in Asia."

When a major earthquake rocked Japan in 2011, Stevenson was overseeing the area for the church. He called it a sacred privilege to be able to "go and minister, bless and organize assistance."

Before being called as presiding bishop — overseeing the LDS Church's vast real-estate and business holdings — Stevenson was a member for the First Quorum of the Seventy.

One of the lessons the Lord has taught him, he said in the news release, is the importance of balance.

"When you're going through something that can be so consuming, what do you do to make certain that you maintain a balance of family, of profession and of church calling? And then making certain that you take care of yourself as well? Those are the challenges and the struggles that people face."

He noted that much of his focus as presiding bishop has been to help carry out the church's mission to care for the poor and needy in the world. It's "one of the divinely appointed responsibilities of Christ's church."

For now, Stevenson will continue as presiding bishop, according to the release, until a replacement is named.