Report of the 158th Semiannual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints


Sermons and proceedings of October 1–2, 1988, from the Tabernacle on Temple Square, Salt Lake City, Utah

“The Book of Mormon is the instrument that God designed to ‘sweep the earth as with a flood, to gather out [His] elect.’ (Moses 7:62.) This sacred volume of scripture needs to become more central in our preaching, our teaching, and our missionary work,” declared President Ezra Taft Benson in the opening session of October general conference.

“My beloved brothers and sisters, we hardly fathom the power of the Book of Mormon, nor the divine role it must yet play, nor the extent to which it must be moved,” he said.

“I do not know fully why God has preserved my life to this age, but I do know this: that for the present hour He has revealed to me the absolute need for us to move the Book of Mormon forward now in a marvelous manner. You must help with this burden and with this blessing which He has placed on the whole Church, even all the children of Zion,” said President Benson. (See p. 4 for article.)

The closing session on Sunday afternoon was again highlighted by President Benson’s stirring testimony: “I testify that as the forces of evil increase under Lucifer’s leadership and as the forces of good increase under the leadership of Jesus Christ, there will be growing battles between the two until the final confrontation. As the issues become clearer and more obvious, all mankind will eventually be required to align themselves either for the kingdom of God or for the kingdom of the Devil. As these conflicts rage, either secretly or openly, the righteous will be tested,” said President Benson. (See p. 86 for article.)

Presiding at the two-day conference was President Benson. Sessions were conducted by President Gordon B. Hinckley, First Counselor in the First Presidency, and by President Thomas S. Monson, Second Counselor in the First Presidency. All General Authorities were in attendance except Elder Yoshihiko Kikuchi, serving as president of the Hawaii Honolulu Mission, and Elder John H. Vandenberg, emeritus member of the First Quorum of the Seventy.

Administrative action at the conference included the sustaining of a new member of the Quorum of the Twelve, a new member of the Presidency of the First Quorum of the Seventy, and four new members of the First Quorum of the Seventy. (See articles on pages 101 through 107.)

Sustained to the Quorum of the Twelve was Elder Richard G. Scott, formerly of the Presidency of the First Quorum of the Seventy, filling the vacancy occasioned at the death of President Marion G. Romney, President of the Quorum of the Twelve, who died 20 May 1988.

Sustained to the Presidency of the First Quorum of the Seventy was Elder J. Richard Clarke. Sustained to the First Quorum of the Seventy to serve “for a period of five years” were Elder Monte J. Brough of Kaysville, Utah; Elder Albert Choules, Jr., of Phoenix, Arizona; Elder Lloyd P. George of Orem, Utah; and Elder Gerald E. Melchin of Calgary, Canada.

Conference proceedings were televised via satellite to many locations throughout the United States and Canada in twelve languages: English, Spanish, French, German, Tongan, Samoan, Portuguese, Laotian, Cambodian, Hmong, Vietnamese, and Korean.

Videotapes of conference will be made available to members in most other parts of the world.—The Editors