Members of the Church have “responded in a magnificent way in sharing” their “plenty with those who are destitute,” said President Gordon B. Hinckley, Second Counselor in the First Presidency in addressing the Sunday morning, April 7, general session of the Church’s 155th Annual General Conference.
“When hearts across the world were touched by reports of starving populations in Africa, we invited members of the Church in the United States and Canada to observe a special fast day, [27 January 1985] abstaining from two meals and giving the equivalent value, or more, to aid these famine-stricken people,” he said.
“The response of those who participated has been wonderful. It has been most gratifying. … Your contributions have reached the sum of $6,025,656.” President Hinckley reported that $4.4 million had been given to date to agencies such as the American Red Cross, Catholic Relief Services, Africare, and CARE.
“How grateful we are for the inspiration of the Almighty in establishing so simple, yet so effective a program for relieving want and suffering,” he said in his report to the Church (see page 51).
Presiding at the two-day general conference was President Spencer W. Kimball, who attended the four general sessions and who ten days prior to conference celebrated his ninetieth birthday.
Also in attendance at a session was President Marion G. Romney, First Counselor in the First Presidency. Conducting conference sessions were President Hinckley and President Ezra Taft Benson, President of the Quorum of the Twelve. All General Authorities were in attendance at conference except Elder Paul H. Dunn of the First Quorum of the Seventy who was convalescing from a recent heart ailment.
Four important administrative actions occurred at the conference. Elder Wm. Grant Bangerter of the First Quorum of the Seventy was sustained a member of the Presidency of the First Quorum of the Seventy, filling the vacancy occasioned by the January 10 death of Elder G. Homer Durham. Second, the members of the Presiding Bishopric—Bishop Victor L. Brown; H. Burke Peterson, First Counselor; and J. Richard Clarke, Second Counselor—were released and then sustained as members of the First Quorum of the Seventy. Elder Brown’s appointment as Salt Lake Temple president, Elder Peterson’s appointment as Jordan River Temple president, and Elder Clarke’s appointment as South Africa Cape Town mission president were also announced. Third, three additional brethren were sustained as members of the First Quorum of the Seventy—Elder Hans Benjamin Ringger of Switzerland, Elder Waldo Pratt Call, Sr., of Mexico, and Elder Helio da Rocha Camargo of Brazil, bringing the total active membership of that quorum to fifty-three. Fourth, a new Presiding Bishopric was sustained—Elder Robert D. Hales of the First Quorum of the Seventy was released from that Quorum and sustained as Presiding Bishop; Henry Bennion Eyring, Church Commissioner of Education, was sustained as First Counselor; and Glenn L. Pace, managing director of the Church’s Welfare Services Department, was sustained as Second Counselor. (See page 89 for articles.)
Conference proceedings were televised via satellite to more than one thousand gatherings of Church members in ward and stake centers throughout the United States and Canada.
On April 3, 4 and 8, sessions were held for all of the Church’s 180 current mission presidents and their wives. It was the first such gathering at conference since 1961. On Friday, April 5, the Regional Representatives’ Seminar was held during the day, to which the mission presidents were invited, and that evening a leadership meeting was held for regional representatives, stake presidents, and mission presidents. (See page 96 for article).