“My brothers and sisters,” wrote President Spencer W. Kimball in his prepared text opening this October general conference of the Church, “the day for carrying the gospel to ever more places and people is here and now. We must come to think of our obligation … rather than our own convenience. Calls from the Lord are seldom convenient. The time is here when sacrifice must become an even more important element in the Church. … There is a growing need for more missionaries now that the term of service is shorter.”
With this clarion call, the prophet of the Lord in our time urged members of the Church to neither “weary nor falter in well-doing. We must lengthen our stride.”
The call by President Kimball also focused on world conditions: “There seems to be a general state of wickedness in the world in these perilous yet crucially momentous days. But in the midst of all the turmoil about us, we can have an inner peace. … The leaders of the Church continually cry out against that which is intolerable in the sight of the Lord: against pollution of mind and body and our surroundings; against vulgarity, stealing, lying, cheating, false pride, blasphemy, and drunkenness, against fornication, adultery, homosexuality, abortion, and all other abuses of the sacred power to create; against murder and all that is like unto it; against all manner of degradation and sin.” (See p. 4.)
Thus opened this 152nd semiannual conference. Conducting conference sessions were President Marlon G. Romney, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, and President Gordon B. Hinckley, Counselor in the First Presidency.
The conference included six sessions—four on Saturday and two on Sunday. Saturday’s sessions included the welfare session, early Saturday morning; the morning and afternoon sessions; and the evening priesthood session. Sunday’s sessions included the morning and afternoon sessions. All General Authorities were in attendance during the conference except Elder LeGrand Richards of the Quorum of the Twelve, who was convalescing.
Two major developments were announced at conference. The first came in an address by Elder Boyd K. Packer of the Quorum of the Twelve and a member of the Scriptures Publication Committee of the Twelve. In discussing the recent new editions of LDS scriptures, he said, “You should know … that by recent decision of the Brethren the Book of Mormon will henceforth bear the title ‘The Book of Mormon,’ with the subtitle, ‘Another Testament of Jesus Christ.’” (See pp. 51, 97.) He further noted that the “references from the four volumes of scripture constitute the most comprehensive compilation of scriptural information on the mission and teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ that has ever been assembled in the history of the world.”
The second major development was the use of satellite receiver dishes at 404 stake locations throughout the United States. This advancement meant that an estimated 250,000 members of the Church were able to see and hear live television coverage of general conference. About 90 satellite installations were used at the April 1982 general conference. (See p. 108.)
Conference proceedings in whole or in part were also broadcast in the United States over 85 commercial stations, a potential of 1,300 cable TV stations, and over 55 radio stations. In Canada, conference was broadcast in whole or in part over 55 television stations. Some 1,770 chapels received live, closed-circuit audio of the priesthood session in English. These chapels included 1,646 in the U.S. and Canada, 114 in New Zealand and Australia, and 10 in Korea and the Philippines.
Immediately following conference, videotapes were prepared in Spanish, Portuguese, Danish, French, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Finnish, and Italian.—The Editors