A “Wonderful General Conference” for 15 Million Members
By Sarah Jane Weaver, Church News assistant editor
At the conclusion of the Church’s 183rd Semiannual General Conference—a “wonderful general conference”—President Thomas S. Monson asked Church members across the globe “to show increased kindness toward one another” and “ever be found doing the work of the Lord.”
“Conference is now over. … May the spirit we have felt here be and abide with us as we go about those things which occupy each day,” he said in the Sunday afternoon session. “My brothers and sisters, may God bless you. May His promised peace be with you now and always.”
In the opening session of conference Saturday morning, President Monson announced that two weeks earlier the membership of the Church reached 15 million.
“The Church continues to grow steadily and to change the lives of more and more people every year,” he said. “It is spreading across the earth as our missionary force seeks out those who are searching for truth.”
More than 100,000 Church members gathered October 5–6 in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City to hear President Monson and other Church leaders offer counsel and direction.
Crowds filled the 21,000-seat Conference Center and overflow areas on Temple Square for each of the conference sessions, which were translated into more than 93 languages and broadcast to more than 170 countries and territories. In addition, proceedings were available on the Internet, cable television systems, and radio and television stations.
President Thomas S. Monson speaks at the commencement of general conference at the Saturday morning session on October 5, 2013. He announced historic milestones reached of 15 million members and 80,333 missionaries now serving missions. Photo by August Miller. © 2013 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.
President Monson presided at the conference and spoke in four of the five sessions. His counselors in the First Presidency, President Henry B. Eyring and President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, took turns conducting the sessions.
“May heaven’s blessings be with you,” concluded President Monson in the final moments of the conference. “May your homes be filled with love and courtesy and with the Spirit of the Lord. May you constantly nourish your testimonies of the gospel, that they will be a protection to you against the buffetings of the adversary.”
The Mormon Tabernacle Choir, under the direction of Mack Wilberg and Ryan Murphy, provided music for three sessions of conference. A family choir from stakes in Roy, Kanesville, Hooper, and West Haven, Utah, under the direction of Jane Fjeldsted, provided music for the Saturday afternoon session.
An Aaronic Priesthood choir from stakes in Murray, Utah, under the direction of Kelly DeHaan, provided music for the priesthood session.
Clay Christiansen, Richard Elliott, Andrew Unsworth, Linda Margetts, and Bonnie Goodliffe accompanied the choirs on the organ.
During conference, three members of the First Quorum of the Seventy were honorably released and given emeritus status: Elder John B. Dickson, Elder Paul E. Koelliker, and Elder F. Michael Watson.
In addition, one member of the Second Quorum of the Seventy was honorably released: Elder Kent D. Watson.
Also, Julio A. Angulo, 45, of Bogota, Colombia; Peter F. Evans, 54, of Salt Lake City, Utah; and Gennady N. Podvodov, 47, of Donetsk, Ukraine, were sustained as Area Seventies. César H. Hooker and Craig T. Wright were released as Area Seventies.
Those in attendance at the Conference Center in Salt Lake City sing a rest hymn at the Saturday afternoon session of general conference, October 5, 2013. Photo by August Miller. © 2013 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.
Elders David A. Bednar, Jeffrey R. Holland, Neil L. Andersen, and L. Tom Perry of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles greet each other prior to the start of the Saturday morning session of general conference, October 5, 2013. Photo by August Miller. © 2013 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.
President Thomas S. Monson shakes hands with a boy at the Saturday afternoon session of general conference, October 5, 2013. Photo by August Miller. © 2013 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.