General Authority Seventies are called to serve as special witnesses of Jesus Christ. They serve in their callings full time and often retire from their careers to serve. However, unlike members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, who serve for life, Seventies are granted emeritus status and released from full-time service when they reach age 70. Some Seventies serve in the Presidency of the Seventy; others serve in Area Presidencies. Many Seventies live near Church headquarters and assist in directing important Church efforts from there.
In a revelation to Joseph Smith, the Lord taught, “It is the duty of the [Twelve Apostles] to call upon the Seventy, when they need assistance, to fill the several calls for preaching and administering the gospel .”
The Church’s first Seventies were called shortly after the organization of the Church to “bear record of [Christ’s] name in all the world, wherever … [the] apostles, shall send them .” The First Quorum of the Seventy was organized in its current form in 1975, when the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles needed more General Authorities to assist them in meeting the needs of a worldwide church.
In the years following the organization of the First Quorum of the Seventy, more quorums of the Seventy were added as the Church grew. The Doctrine and Covenants teaches that more Quorums of the Seventy may be added .