Featured Stories

Elder Christopher H. Kim Relies on Divine Assurances as New General Authority Seventy

The newly sustained Seventy reflects on what has strengthened his testimony

Elder Christopher H. Kim, a new General Authority Seventy, and his wife, Sister Seongmi (Sue) Kim, pose for a photo at Temple Square in Salt Lake City on Monday, April 8, 2024. Photo by Scott G Winterton, courtesy of Church News.Copyright 2024 Deseret News Publishing Company.

This story appears here courtesy of TheChurchNews.com. It is not for use by other media.

By David Schneider, Church News

As Elder Christopher H. Kim discusses the experiences in his life that strengthened his testimony, some of the occasions he recounts — including one as a teenager and one as a missionary — build upon the comforting feelings received through the Spirit:

  • In answer to prayer as he was sharing the gospel with friends.
  • While concerned about his ability to teach investigators in English instead of his native Korean.

And now as one of the Church’s newest General Authority Seventies, sustained during April 2024 general conference, Elder Kim again relies on divine assurances as he steps into a new calling. Of the time since being called by the First Presidency earlier this year, Elder Kim said, “My prayers became more earnest and sincere than ever before.”

Growing Up in Korea

Christopher Hyunsu Kim was born November 18, 1965, in Daegu, South Korea, the oldest of four children — four sons — of Chinho Kim and Kuncha Han Kim.

His father was introduced to the Church by a co-worker and by an English teacher where the father attended English classes after work. His parents joined the Church when Elder Kim was an infant, and he was baptized at age 8 and grew up attending church.

When young Hyunsu was 14 years old and had a chance to share the gospel with friends, he realized he needed a testimony so he could speak with confidence.

“I had the opportunity to share the gospel with three of my friends. And during the process … I was talking to them about the Church and the gospel, and then I realized, ‘I need to know, for sure, that the Book of Mormon is true, and Joseph Smith is a Prophet of God and the Church is true,’ so I can share with my friends with a conviction.”

He had read the scriptures personally and with his family. “As I prayed about it, I felt a soul-comforting feeling. And suddenly, there was not any question or any doubt about the Book of Mormon. … And that is, I think, the first time that I really felt the Spirit, and I knew about the Book of Mormon, and I knew that Joseph Smith was a Prophet of God.”

He introduced his friends to the missionaries, and they joined the Church.

Elder Christopher H. Kim.2024 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.
Download Photo

Immigrating, Mission

Elder Kim lived in Daegu until he graduated from high school, and his family immigrated to the United States, settling in San Fernando Valley, north of Los Angeles, California.

As the oldest child in the family, he felt the “responsibility to help my parents and my brothers to settle in the U.S., and I spent about five years [helping] them and [working] with them.” The family had a small neighborhood store.

At that point, he felt he could serve a mission, and his mission call assigned him to the Washington Seattle Mission. “It was a big surprise. The family belonged to a Korean [speaking] branch, and most of the young single adults, when they went on a mission, they went back to Korea or to one of the Korean-speaking missions in the United States.”

He felt his limited English-language abilities would hinder his missionary efforts. “Even though I had been in the U.S. for five years, my English was still very limited. So I was really scared, actually, to serve.”

Elder Kim said he prayed, “Heavenly Father, I know this is where you want me to go. But … I cannot express my testimony in English, and I may not teach anyone because of my poor English.”

He felt a comforting feeling again, and “I felt that everything would be all right.”

“But at the same time, I knew that I had to work hard.” Near the end of his mission, it was extended by one month, and “that 25 months over my mission was the best time in my young age.”

Marriage and Family

While he was serving in the Washington Seattle Mission, the future Sister Kim — then Sister Seongmi (Sue) Hong — was serving in the California Los Angeles Mission. While she and her companion were street contacting at a shopping mall in Los Angeles’ Koreatown, the future Sister Kim met her future mother-in-law.

Kuncha Kim had been on her way to attend the temple in Los Angeles, and she felt she needed “to just get off the freeway. She said, ‘I don’t know why,’” Sister Seongmi Kim recounted later.

Sister Hong’s companion and Kuncha Kim were both from Daegu. They had known each other, and Kuncha Kim got the missionaries lunch. Sister Seongmi Kim said, “While we were eating lunch, she just kept talking about her son serving a mission in Seattle.”

When Elder Kim returned from his mission, his mother told him she’d met a missionary they knew and he grew up with in Daegu, and “she has a great companion, too.” After his mission, he was mission leader in the Korean branch in the San Fernando Valley and taught a family that had just come to the United States. The family moved from San Fernando Valley to Koreatown in Los Angeles, “so I gave her the referral,” Elder Kim said of Sister Hong. When a couple of members of the family were to be baptized, they wanted Elder Kim to perform the baptism, so at a baptismal service was the first time Elder Kim and Sister Hong met.

A couple of months later she finished her mission and returned to Utah. The two dated, mostly long distance and via letters. They married December 7, 1991, in the Los Angeles California Temple. They have one son and three daughters; the youngest are twin girls.

The 11 newly sustained General Authority Seventies sit on the stand during the Saturday morning session of the 194th Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on April 6, 2024. Elder Christopher H. Kim is far left on the second row.2024 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.
Download Photo

Sister Kim’s Heritage

Seongmi Hong grew up in Daejeon, South Korea, as one of five children. The entire family, except a 6-year-old too young to be baptized, joined the Church in February 1977, when Seongmi was 9 years old.

The family was introduced to the Church by an uncle who taught English in high school. “He met the missionaries first, then he converted his wife, then his wife introduced my mom, who is her older sister,” said Sister Kim.

She studied sociology and graduated in 1989 from Chungnam University in Daejeon, then moved to Utah, where some siblings already had moved, to live with an aunt. She soon completed her mission papers and was called to the Los Angeles mission, where she served in 1990 and 1991.

Sister Kim is serving in the Church as a ward missionary and has been a ward Young Women and Primary president; counselor in a ward Relief Society presidency; seminary teacher, online during COVID-19 pandemic restrictions; and institute instructor.

Education and Vocation

Elder Kim had not attended college, and a few months after their marriage, “my wife strongly recommended that I finish school.” They moved to Utah in August 1992, and he started as a freshman at Utah Valley Community College — now Utah Valley University — and later transferred to Brigham Young University.

He graduated from BYU with a bachelor’s degree in sociology in 1995 and a Master of Business Administration in 1997.

All four of their children were born while he was attending college. He attended school full time and worked part time. “It wasn’t easy financially. But as we look back, that’s the happiest time,” Sister Kim said.

Elder Kim said: “That was the happiest time. And also, we learned a lot of lessons, especially we learned the principle of tithing. Sue told me, ‘Honey, even though you don’t make much money, … we have to pay tithing first.’”

He continued: “We received so many blessings. So for us, that principle, tithing, is not a sacrifice. It’s actually our little effort to receive so many blessings Heavenly Father prepared for us.” Even though they did not have much financially, they helped other BYU students who had come from Korea.

His part-time jobs included working in food services at a local hospital and doing translation work for the Church. During his final year of school, he was a teaching assistant.

After school, he worked for Neways and for Melaleuca. His career has taken him to Idaho, Thailand and South Korea. Since 2005, he had been employed by Unicity International, a Utah-based nutritional products and cosmetics supplier, most recently as president of global markets, based in Seoul, South Korea.

Church Service

On August 1, Elder Kim will begin serving as Second Counselor in the Asia North Area presidency.

Elder Kim had served since 2019 as an Area Seventy. His Church service has also included time as a stake president, stake presidency counselor, stake mission president and high councilor.

Elder Kim’s parents continue to set an example and to serve. They’re in their mid-80s, and they have served two full-time missions as a couple, one service mission, and now serve in the Seoul Korea Temple.

The Asia North Area Presidency for 2024-2025, from left to right: Elder J. Kimo Esplin, First Counselor; Elder John A. McCune, President; and Elder Christopher H. Kim, Second Counselor.2024 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

Elder Christopher Hyunsu Kim

Family: Born November 18, 1965, in Daegu, South Korea, the oldest of four children of Chinho Kim and Kuncha Han Kim. Married Seongmi (Sue) Hong on December 7, 1991, in the Los Angeles California Temple. They have one son and three daughters.

Education: Bachelor’s degree in sociology from Brigham Young University in 1995 and Master of Business Administration from BYU in 1997.

Employment: Worked in the United States, Thailand and South Korea for various businesses. From 2005 to 2024 employed by Unicity International, a Utah-based nutritional products and cosmetics supplier, most recently as president of global markets, based in Seoul, South Korea.

Church service: Area Seventy since 2019, stake president, stake presidency counselor, stake mission president, high councilor and full-time missionary in the Washington Seattle Mission (1988-91).

Locator map of Daegu, South Korea. Graphic courtesy of Church News.Copyright 2024 Deseret News Publishing Company.

Copyright 2024 Deseret News Publishing Company.

Style Guide Note:When reporting about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, please use the complete name of the Church in the first reference. For more information on the use of the name of the Church, go to our online Style Guide.