SEOUL (ABC4) — A South Korean member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was confirmed as a justice for South Korea Supreme Court earlier this year, the Church confirmed on Thursday.

Youngjoon Kwon, 52, is a Seoul native. He was nominated for the court on June 9 and was confirmed to serve six years on the 14-member court on July 19.

Kwon has been part of the LDS faith for most of his childhood after his parents were baptized in 1975. He said that his faith has been a major influence in his law work. He and his wife, Yeonshin Lee, were married in the Seoul Temple in 1995.

“The missionary service I did after entering law school – postponing my studies for a year – changed my life,” Kwon told the Church. “I met so many people in need and had so many deep conversations. I cried a lot of tears because I was very sensitive. Even though my studies were delayed by a year, my reverence for life deepened tenfold.”

The Church said Kwon was called to serve as an Area Seventy, which he has done since 2020. In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, an Area Seventy are Church leaders called by the First Presidency to assist the Quorum of the Twelve in specific geographical areas. Area Seventies reportedly help “build up the church, preach and administer the gospel, and regulate all affairs” in their assigned areas.

“I thought about how I could give back to the community with my time, talent and money, and I did that through my religion,” said Kwon.

Kwon holds a doctorate from Seoul National University School of Law and a master’s degree from Havard Law School. After he passed the bar exam in 1993, he took on work as a judge advocate general in the Navy and a District Court judge in Seoul. He has also served as a dean of the Graduate School of Law and worked as a professor at Seoul National University.

During his written testimony prior to his confirmation hearing, Kwon reportedly submitted materials to the South Korean Congress to emphasize what the Church does in society.

His experience with serving a mission for the LDS Church moved him to want to connect his personal life to the welfare of the community. Kwon said he realized that law is a study of life. Kwon sees the courtroom not just as a place of logic, but a place where “life’s desperate appeals are heard.”

“I will listen to the voices of life with a humble heart,” said Kwon. “The discourse on law should harmoniously incorporate the diverse voices of life, and I will make sure the voices of the few are not drowned out by the shouts of many.”