The events associated with this year’s April general conference were indeed striking:
—First the Church’s new Museum of Church History and Art was dedicated on Wednesday, April 4, prior to the weekend conference. The 63,500-square-foot granite-faced building is directly across the street and to the west of the Tabernacle and is featured photographically throughout this issue. (See page 104 for article.)
—Second, there was announced Saturday morning, April 7, prior to conference, the plan to build five new temples—three in the United States, and one each in Canada and South America. The temples will be in San Diego, California; Portland, Oregon; Las Vegas, Nevada; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; and Bogota, Colombia, bringing to forty-seven the number of LDS temples. (See page 102.)
—At the Saturday morning opening general session the two new members of the Quorum of the Twelve—Elder Russell M. Nelson and Elder Dallin H. Oaks—were sustained to fill the vacancies occasioned by the deaths of Elder LeGrand Richards in 1983 and Elder Mark E. Petersen in 1984. (See pages 87 and 89.) This was the first time that two new members of the Twelve were sustained at a general conference since Elder Spencer W. Kimball and Elder Ezra Taft Benson both were sustained in October 1943.
—Then came an announcement of great significance regarding the Quorum of the Seventy: “There is a principle in the Church of rotating responsibilities,” said President Gordon B. Hinckley. “In the case of the Seventy, we are putting into effect the practice long generally followed and accepted in the Church with reference to other offices. … Theirs have been permanent appointments, and those presently serving will continue so to serve. However, tenure of appointment is not important insofar as the work is concerned … After much prayerful consideration, we have called six men, mature and tested through long years of service, to become members of the First Quorum of the Seventy, to serve for periods of three to five years … and then to be released with honor and appreciation. While they so serve, they will be General Authorities with every right, power, and authority necessary to function. They will be expected to give their full time to this work while they are in office. This procedure, we feel, will provide a constant infusion of new talent and a much-widened opportunity for men of ability and faith to serve in these offices,” said President Hinckley.
The six newly sustained members of the First Quorum of the Seventy are Elder John K. Carmack of Los Angeles, California; Elder Russell C. Taylor of Denver, Colorado; Elder Robert B. Harbertson of Farmington, Utah; Elder Devere Harris of Idaho Falls, Idaho; Elder Spencer H. Osborn of Salt Lake City, Utah; and Elder Philip T. Sonntag of Salt Lake City, Utah. (See pages 91 to 96.)
—Next came the announcement of the honorable releases of general Relief Society president Barbara B. Smith, her presidency and general board, and the honorable releases of Young Women general president Elaine A. Cannon, her presidency and general board. Sustained as presidents, with counselors and general boards to be called later, were Barbara Woodhead Winder as general Relief Society president, and Ardeth Greene Kapp as general Young Women president. (See pages 97 and 98.)
Attending three of the five sessions of general conference was President Spencer W. Kimball, of whom President Hinckley said, “As the Lord’s appointed servant, no major decision concerning this work will be made without his consideration and his direction.” President Kimball, now in his ninetieth year, appeared stronger than he has for more than a year.
Conducting the general conference sessions were President Hinckley and President Ezra Taft Benson, President of the Quorum of the Twelve. President Marion G. Romney was not in attendance due to illness and advanced age.
Conference proceedings were televised via satellite to more than six hundred gatherings in stake centers in the United States. Portions of general conference were also relayed through numerous cable television systems and many commercial television and radio stations.
Prior to general conference, on Friday, April 6, were held a Regional Representatives Seminar during the day and an evening leadership meeting for Regional Representatives and stake presidents. (See page 99.)—The Editors