“It isn’t something you expect,” says Quentin Cook ’66 about receiving a lifetime appointment last October to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS)—considered to be one of the highest positions in the Mormon faith.

As part of the group that oversees the church and its 13 million members, the Utah-based Cook’s responsibilities include overseeing LDS activities for nearly 1 million members in the Philippines, the Pacific Islands, and Australia.

Cook’s legal career included 25 years with Carr McClellan followed by executive posts at California Healthcare System and Sutter Health, where he was vice chairman. In 1996, the church called Cook into service. He supervised nearly 1,100 congregations in Oregon, Washington, Alaska, British Columbia, and northern Idaho and later headed up the church’s well-known missionary program. While serving in this position, he helped secure the release of four missionaries abducted in Nigeria.

As for how being a lawyer informs his current work, “There’s a legal side to everything you do,” says Cook. “The training— learning how to think like a lawyer, getting all the facts, having compassion for people and understanding their needs—has been invaluable.”