The duty of the President of the office of the High Priesthood is to preside over the whole church, and to be like unto Moses—
“Behold, here is wisdom; yea, to be a seer, a revelator, a translator, a prophet.” (D&C 107:91–92.)
In the authority, promise, and spirit of this office, President Spencer W. Kimball again presided at a historic general conference, a conference destined to be a benchmark in the annals of the Church.
This year’s recently concluded semiannual conference was of momentous consequence, in part because members present participated in voting to “accept” as binding upon the Church a revelation “as the word and will of the Lord.”
The revelation dealt with “extending priesthood and temple blessings to all worthy male members of the Church … without regard for race or color.” The revelation had been announced earlier on June 9, but was now accepted by members at conference, a “constituent assembly” of the Church. (See page 16.)
President Kimball presided at all sessions. In the first general session on Saturday morning, he presented a new member of the Council of the Twelve to fill the vacancy occasioned by the August 19 death of Elder Delbert L. Stapley; a new member of the Presidency of the First Quorum of the Seventy; and three new General Authorities as members of the First Quorum of the Seventy.
Prior to sustaining these Brethren in the afternoon, President N. Eldon Tanner, first counselor in the First Presidency, presented the action regarding the priesthood. Also presented at that time was a “new emeritus status, to be given from time to time” to General Authorities who after “many years” of “complete and unselfish dedication” will not be “released, but will be excused from active service, … out of consideration for the personal well-being of the individuals.” (See pages 16 and 99.)
General Authorities sustained in the “emeritus” status were Elder Sterling W. Sill, Elder Henry D. Taylor, Elder James A. Cullimore, Elder Joseph Anderson, Elder William H. Bennett, Elder John H. Vandenberg, and Elder S. Dilworth Young.
Sustained as the new member of the Council of the Twelve was Elder James E. Faust, formerly of the Presidency of the First Quorum of the Seventy. Sustained as a new member of the Presidency of the First Quorum of the Seventy was Elder Wm. Grant Bangerter of the First Quorum of the Seventy, and sustained as new members of that quorum were Elder F. Burton Howard of Bountiful, Utah; Elder Teddy E. Brewerton of Calgary, Canada; and Elder Jack H Goaslind, Jr., of Salt Lake City. This brings the total number of General Authorities to sixty-eight, and the total in the First Quorum of Seventy to forty-nine. (See page 95 for biographical information.)
Conference sessions were held Saturday, September 30, and Sunday, October 1, and sermons were given by thirty-two of the General Authorities. Sessions were held in the Tabernacle on Temple Square.
Portions or all of the conference sessions were broadcast by television to 200 stations in the United States and Canada, 376 cable TV systems, and 50 stations in Italy (a first); by radio to 71 stations in Latin America, 61 in the United States, 61 in Australia, 20 in Italy (a first), and 2 throughout Europe and Africa; by closed circuit audio to 320 locations in the United States and 64 locations in Europe; by FM sideband over 7 stations at 73 locations in Europe; by closed circuit for the priesthood session Saturday evening to 1424 locations in the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico, and 54 locations in Australia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Hong Kong, Korea, and Japan.
In addition to the two days of general sessions, a seminar for Regional Representatives was held Friday, September 29, in the Church Office Building. Significant instruction was given by President Kimball concerning those lands that must soon receive the gospel, and by other General Authorities on important aspects of Church programs and priorities. (See page 100 for details.)—The Editors