In recent years general conferences have been memorable in part by significant announcements affecting the scriptures or teachings or Church government of the kingdom of God on earth.
The October 1979 general conference continued in this pattern with several major announcements by President N. Eldon Tanner in the Saturday afternoon general session (see page 18).
President Tanner said: “Because of the large increase in the number of stake patriarchs and the availability of patriarchal services throughout the world, we now designate Elder Eldred G. Smith as a Patriarch Emeritus, which means that he is relieved of all duties and responsibilities pertaining to the office of Patriarch to the Church.”
Following the announcement on the Patriarch Emeritus, President Tanner said: “President Kimball has also asked me to announce the honorable release … of the Sunday School general presidency—consisting of Presidents Russell M. Nelson, William D. Oswald, and J. Hugh Baird, and the general presidency of the Young Men—consisting of President Neil D. Schaerrer, Graham W. Doxey, and Quinn G. McKay. The conference will note that, as the names are read, members of the First Quorum of Seventy are being presented as the new presidencies of the Sunday School and the Young Men.”
Thus, sustained as the new general presidency of the Sunday School were Elder Hugh W. Pinnock, president; Elder Ronald E. Poelman and Elder Jack H. Goaslind, Jr., as counselors. Sustained as the new general presidency of the Young Men were Elder Robert W. Backman, president, and Elder Vaughn J. Featherstone and Elder Rex D. Pinegar as counselors.
Presiding at all sessions was President Spencer W. Kimball, who only a month previous had undergone head surgery but whose presence at the conference greatly lifted the spirits of all participants. Conducting all sessions were President N. Eldon Tanner, first counselor, and President Marion G. Romney, second counselor. All General Authorities of the Church were in attendance except Elder Gene R. Cook and Elder F. Enzio Busche, both of whom were convalescing.
Portions or all of conference sessions were broadcast by television to 152 stations in the United States and Canada, to 13 other stations via TV satellite, to 777 other stations via cable TV and satellite, and to 7 other stations via cable TV and videotape; to 63 radio stations in the United States, to 71 radio stations in Latin America (in Spanish and Portuguese), to 1 radio station in Spain, and to 63 radio stations in Australia; to 535 locations in the United States and Canada by closed circuit audio only, to 907 locations for the welfare session by closed circuit audio only, and to Europe by videotape; to 1,688 locations for the priesthood session audio to the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, Australia, New Zealand, Philippines, and Korea. Also, five sessions were televised via satellite direct to 9 locations in the United States in an experiment using “earth stations with receiver dishes” set up for the test.
In addition to the general sessions, a seminar for Regional Representatives was held Friday, October 5, in the Church Office Building (see page 100).—The Editors.