The Lord has said that scripture contains the “will,” “mind,” “word,” and “voice of the Lord, and the power of God unto salvation.” (D&C 68:4.)
Members of the Church attending the April 1976 General Conference received the extraordinary opportunity of sustaining and approving the action of the First Presidency and Council of the Twelve in adding two visions to the Pearl of Great Price, thus formally enlarging the official body of the standard works of the Church.
The two visions are the Vision of the Celestial Kingdom, given to the Prophet Joseph Smith in 1836, and the Vision of the Redemption of the Dead, given to President Joseph F. Smith in 1918. The vision given to the Prophet Joseph Smith deals with salvation of those who die without a knowledge of the gospel, and the vision given to President Joseph F. Smith deals with the visit of the Savior to the spirit world between the period of his crucifixion and resurrection and sets forth the doctrine of the redemption of the dead. Both visions greatly underscore a present emphasis of the Brethren that members be much more energetically involved in turning “the hearts of the children … to their fathers.” (JS—H 1:38.) (See pages 127–29 for complete texts of the visions.)
Presiding at the conference was President Spencer W. Kimball, prophet, seer, and revelator, and Presiding High Priest over the Church. Sessions were held Saturday, April 3, at 7:00 A.M. (welfare session), 10:00 A.M., 2:00 P.M., and 7:00 P.M. (general priesthood session); Sunday, April 4, at 10:00 A.M. and 2:00 P.M.; and Tuesday, April 6, at 10:00 A.M. and 2:00 P.M. Tuesday was the 146th anniversary since the Church was organized April 6, 1830.
In addition to these sessions, a seminar for Regional Representatives of the Council of the Twelve was held Monday, April 5.
Sessions were held in the Tabernacle on Temple Square, with overflow seating provided in the Assembly Hall on Temple Square and in the Salt Palace one block away, in both of which conference was televised. Presiding over these gatherings at the Assembly Hall and Salt Palace were selected General Authorities who rotated the assignment.
In the Saturday afternoon session, President N. Eldon Tanner, first counselor in the First Presidency, presented the action of the First Presidency and Council of the Twelve dealing with the two visions to be included in the Pearl of Great Price, and invited leaders and members present to sustain and approve the action. President Tanner also presented the names of four new members to the First Quorum of the Seventy—Elder Carlos E. Asay of Provo, Utah; Elder M. Russell Ballard, Jr., presently president of the Canada Toronto Mission; Elder John H. Groberg of Idaho Falls, Idaho; and Elder Jacob de Jager of Nijmegen, The Netherlands. (See pages 134–36 for biographical information.) This raises the number of General Authorities to fifty-four.
Sessions of the conference—all, selected, or selected parts—were carred in various parts of the world. In the United States and Canada, more than 210 television stations carried up to two hours of conference on Sunday, April 4. Another 30 television stations carried portions of conference on a one-week delayed basis by videotape playback. Over 46 U.S. radio stations carried various sessions of the conference live, with 16 stations providing full coverage of all sessions. In Mexico, Central America, and South America, 90 stations carried up to two hours of conference sessions by means of satellite; 32 stations in Australia carried a half-hour report, featuring remarks by President Spencer W. Kimball. Other portions of the world received selected sessions via cable. In Europe, two sessions of conference were transmitted to 90 chapels throughout Europe. Remarks were translated into French, German, and Dutch. The priesthood session was relayed to 1,050 buildings in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Korea, Okinawa, and the Philippines.—The Editors