This section does not deal with the seventy, but was generated because of the question about numbers above. [In other entries]
I just did a study of the status of the patriarch to the church, Elder Eldred G. Smith. I learned he is still living, past the age of 100 now—second general authority to reach that age. I heard Elder Smith speak at a fireside as a young man in Ogden, Utah. I believe it was a young single adult fireside that I heard about, probably from my brother Chad, and decided to go even though I was still in high school. I’ll bet Cam Barnes went with me. I remember him showing the chest which held the gold plates, that his great-great-great grandfather Hyrum had finally provided, and telling that Joseph had been told for years to get a chest ready but had done nothing about it until the night before going to get them. He also described the Urim and Thumimum (sp?). It was a very interesting talk.
The second biography of Pres. Kimball has a section that speaks of making this role an emeritus GA. It gives a sense of a bit of contention in the discussion, but I am not sure there was. I think there is a difference in which significant leaders need to speak of things that to others can appear to be contention when in fact it is simply directness and honesty.
In pondering upon why the GA role was done away with, I know that patriarchs are to have no administrative duties, so there is no reason for a GA level role to perform those. But it dawns upon me here that as the church moves to more and more family centric models, the true patriarchs may in fact become the patriarch in the home. Wouldn’t that be interesting to “sustain” another type of “prophet seer and revelator.”