In 1976, Clarke became the second counselor to presiding bishop Victor L. Brown. He served in this capacity until Brown was released in 1985. At this time, Clarke was retained as a general authority and became a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy. He became a member of the Presidency of the Seventy in 1988, and served in that capacity until 1997, when he was released and given general authority emeritus status.
1. Emeritus general authorities are individuals who have been released from active duties as general authorities. However, they remain general authorities of the church until their death. Most living emeritus general authorities are former members of the First Quorum of the Seventy. 2. Patriarch emeritus and former Patriarch to the Church; Smith is the oldest living general authority and the only emeritus general authority who was not a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy.