Joseph W. Sitati

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Joseph W. Sitati
First Quorum of the Seventy
4 April 2009 (2009-04-04)
Called byThomas S. Monson
Personal details
BornJoseph Wafula Sitati
(1952-05-16) 16 May 1952 (age 70)
Bungoma, Kenya

Joseph Wafula Sitati (born 16 May 1952) has been a general authority of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) since 2009, when he became a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy. He is the church's first black African general authority and the second general authority of black African descent.[1][2]

Early years[edit]

Sitati is a native of Kenya.[2] He has a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Nairobi. He worked in the oil and gas industries (such as Total Oil) as well as for Reach the Children, for which he was also a member of their international board. Immediately prior to his call as a mission president in the LDS Church, Sitati was the church's director of public affairs in Africa.

LDS Church service[edit]

Sitati first attended the LDS Church in 1985 and became a member in March 1986.[2] In 1989, he became the church's first district president in Kenya.[3] He and his wife and children were the first Kenyans to go to a temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.[4] At that point the LDS Church was not fully recognized in Kenya, so Sitati organized tight knit groups of nine to meet together in meetings because this was the most allowed by the laws at the time for unrecognized religions.[5]

Sitati also became the first stake president in Kenya when the Nairobi Kenya Stake was organized in 2001.[3][6] On 3 December 1991, in the Johannesburg South Africa Temple, Sitati and his wife and children became the first Kenyan family to receive the church's sealing ordinance.[3][7] In 2004, Sitati became an area seventy of the church[8] and in 2007 he became the president of the Nigeria Uyo Mission.[9]

General authority[edit]

Sitati was still a mission president at the time of his call to the First Quorum of the Seventy in April 2009. He served as a counselor in the church's Africa West Area from 2010 to 2013, resident in Ghana but overseeing Church operations in seven countries with regular travel to many of them, and with supervisory oversight on any efforts to open and operate the church in another roughly seven west African countries. He then served for a time as an assistant executive director of the church's temple department. In October 2015, he gave a significant address on the LDS Church in Africa at the University of Utah's "black, white and Mormon" conference.[10][11]

Sitati spoke at the Sunday afternoon session of general conference on October 4, 2009, where he stated the LDS Church is a "global faith."[12] Sitati spoke again in the April 2015 general conference on the subject of the commandment to be fruitful, multiply, and subdue the earth, saying that God has not revoked this commandment.[13]

Advisor assignment[edit]

After his time with the West Africa Area Sitati was tranfered to Church headquarters and took up residence in Utah.

Sitati became an adviser to the church magazines in 2014. In 2015, Sitati became the editor of the church magazines, succeeding Craig A. Cardon, who in turn succeeded Sitati as one of the advisers. Sitati also served as assistant executive director of the church's priesthood and family department, and later as an assistant executive director of the missionary department and member of the boundary and leadership change committee.[14]> Sitati served as one of three general authority seventies who oversaw the work of the church's committee planning the "Be One" celebration marking the 40th anniversary of the priesthood revelation, along with Claudio R. M. Costa and Edward Dube.

Area presidency[edit]

From August 2018 to August 2020, Sitati served as a counselor in the presidency of the church's Africa Southeast Area, resident in South Africa but overseeing the Church in about 15 countries with regular travel to many of them.[15] In November 2018, Sitati, along with Neil L. Andersen, met with Kembo Mohadi, Vice President of Zimbabwe.[16] In August 2020, Sitati became president of the newly created Africa Central Area, based in Nairobi, Kenya.[17] The area had over 600,000 members of the LDS Church when it was organized.[18][19]

Personal life[edit]

Sitati and his wife, Gladys, are the parents of five children. A talk she gave was the most recent and final in the book entitled At The Pulpit: 185 years of Discourses by Latter-day Saint Women.[20][21]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Helvécio Martins, who was a general authority between 1990 and 1995, was the first general authority to be of black African descent. Martins was of Brazilian nationality. Christoffel Golden Jr., a native of South Africa who was called to the First Quorum of the Seventy in April 2001, was the first native African general authority.
  2. ^ a b c Peggy Fletcher Stack, "Spiritual satisfaction: Africa's 'Mormon superstar' is first black African LDS general authority", Salt Lake Tribune, 2009-04-17.
  3. ^ a b c Gerald W. Jensen and Carolyn Jensen, "First stake in Kenya created", Church News, 2001-09-29.
  4. ^ article on the formation of first take in Kenya
  5. ^ article on Sitati
  6. ^ *2008 Deseret News Church Almanac (Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret News, 2007) p. 403.
  7. ^ Julie Dockstader Heaps, "Serving in Africa: Members teach, testify of gospel blessings", Church News, 2003-05-31.
  8. ^ "Sunday School, Young Men receive new presidencies", Deseret News, 2004-04-04.
  9. ^ "New mission presidents receive assignments", Church News, 2007-03-03.
  10. ^ Tad Walch, "Major LDS growth in Africa unaffected by priesthood restriction, Elder Sitati says", Deseret News, October 9, 2015.
  11. ^ "4. Black, White, and Mormon: Race and the International Church - YouTube". Archived from the original on 2021-12-20. Retrieved 2020-07-30.
  12. ^ "Elder Joseph W. Sitati: Blessings of the gospel available to all", Deseret News, 2009-10-04.
  13. ^ "Elder Joseph W. Sitati: 'Be Fruitful, Multiply and Subdue the Earth'", Deseret News, 5 April 2015. Retrieved 25 July 2015.
  14. ^ "Elder Joseph W. Sitati". The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Retrieved 23 August 2019.
  15. ^ "First Presidency Announces 2018 Area Leadership Assignments". The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Retrieved 23 August 2019.
  16. ^ Chikwati, Elita (15 November 2018). "Latter Day Saints to expand Zim presence". The Herald. Retrieved 23 August 2019.
  17. ^ The area includes operations of the church in Ethiopia, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Burundi, the Republic of the Congo, Cameroon, Gabon and the Central African Republic, as well as theoretical oversight of any future outreach into Somalia, Djibouti, South Sudan, and Equatorial Guinea.
  18. ^ Provo Daily Herald article on organization of the Africa Central Area
  19. ^ article on creation of Africa Central Area
  20. ^ Jerry Earl Johnston "'At the Pulpit' has a treasury of talks to read before you die", Deseret News March 15, 2017
  21. ^ Sitati, Gladys N. "54. Resolving Conflicts Using Gospel Principles: Gladys N. Sitati". Retrieved 2020-07-30.

Further reading[edit]

  • E. Dale LeBaron, "Kenya" in Arnold K. Garr et al., ed., Encyclopedia of Latter-day Saint History, (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2000) p. 605

External links[edit]