SALT LAKE CITY – The Mormon Church has made history and brought diversity to a leadership by selecting the first Latin American Apostle and the very first Apostle of Asian descent. The selections of Ulisses Soares from Brazil and Gerrit W. Gong, a Chinese-American, were announced on Saturday morning at the beginning of a biannual conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
They join a panel of The Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, which before Saturday consisted only of whites from the United States, with the exception of one German, Dieter Uchtdorf.
The two new apostles were selected from the ranks of the church authorities in the LDS conference center and already sitting at the booth, reports the CBS daughter KUTV.
The all-male jury sits under President Russell M. Nelson and his two counselors, helping to establish church policies and oversee the business interests of the faith.  The selections of Soares and Gong are likely to spark applause from a contingent of Mormons intent on seeing the global footprint of faith in leadership positions. Soares and Gong served in a lower management level for the church.
More than half of the 16 million members of the religion live outside the United States.
Here's a closer look at the leadership structure and how new members are elected:
Who directs The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?
A president and his two top advisers, who form the so-called "first presidency".
They come from a supreme governing body called the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, which sits below the first presidency and helps to set church policy and oversees the business interests of the faith.
These 15 people are all men, in accordance with the all-male priesthood of the Church.
How are the Mormon Presidents elected?
The longest-serving member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, in a tradition founded in 1889, becomes the new president to prevent lobbying and ensure a smooth transition
Succession plan wa Following the death of the third President of the Faith, John Taylor, Armand Mauss, professor of sociology and religious studies at Washington State University, 1965, Nelson, the 17th anniversary of the founding of the university, called on church president on January 14 during a private session of the college. By protocol, his formal selection came a few days after a funeral for former president, Thomas S. Monson.
At the church conference in Salt Lake City, Nelson was given a ceremonial show of Mormon support in attendance and watched around the world during a more than one hundred year-old custom called the "Solemn Assembly" as the saints of the Risen in the last days and raised their hands.
What does a Mormon President do?
He is considered a prophet, seer, and revelator, leading the church, through divine revelation, with God, along with two top advisors and members of the quorum.
The president sets policies, rules and manages church programs. He also oversees the church's operations, which include real estate, farms, publishing, life insurance, nonprofits, a Polynesian cultural center in Hawaii, and an upscale Salt Lake City shopping center.
The Church does not disclose or discuss its finances But the Mormon historian D. Michael Quinn estimated in a book published last year that it received $ 33 billion in contributions and another $ 15 billion in 2010 its for-profit business. Much of this money is likely spent on running churches and temples and programs, Quinn said.
How long do Mormon Presidents serve?
Until they die, which is why the length of their term is very different.
The longest was Brigham Young, who almost served 30 years in the middle to late 19th century. Other long terms include Heber J. Grant, with nearly 27 years from 1918 to 1945, and David O. McKay, with nearly 19 years from 1951 to 1970.
The shortest term was Howard H. Hunter, who served only nine months 1994 to 1995.
The last two Presidents, Monson and Gordon B. Hinckley, each had rather long terms. Monson served nearly 10 years and Hinckley nearly 13.
How are the two Presidential Advisers selected?
A new president usually elects her from the college. Sometimes it's the same men who served the previous president. If they are different, the former counselors will become members of the college again.
Nelson retained Henry B. Eyring as a consultant and elected Dallin H. Oaks second.
To be a consultant does not advance them in the lead to become president, but Oaks happens to be next in line as the longest established member. The 85-year-old is a former judge at the Supreme Court of Utah, who joined the college in May 1984, a month after Nelson.
How are the members of the quorum elected?
They can come from anywhere, but in modern history Most of them have already worked in the lower council.
The apostles tend to be older men who have achieved a degree of success in occupations outside the church. The last five that have been selected for the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, including three in October 2015 and two on Saturday, fit this description.
The 59-year-old Ulisses Soares from Brazil was previously an accountant and auditor for multinational corporations in Brazil. After a church biography he joined the church leadership.
64-year-old Gerrit W. Gong, a Chinese-American, worked for the US State Department, the Washington DC-based Center for Strategic and International Studies and Mormon at Brigham Young University before joining the church leadership Selected, showing his church biography
The selections of Soares and Gong marked church history when they became the first Latin American apostle and first apostle of Asian descent. They joined a body that previously consisted solely of white men from the US, with the exception of one German, Dieter Uchtdorf.
Soares and Gong filled the openings through the death of Monson and College Member Robert D. Hales, who died in October at the age of 85.
The group is modeled on the apostles of Jesus Christ. Members serve until they die or rise to presidency.
What about women?
The nine highest ranking women in the church oversee three organizations that run programs for women and girls. These councils sit under several layers of leadership groups reserved for men.
The president and the advisors who oversee the Relief Society are considered the most important female leaders on the basis of the organization's historical prestige.