Report of the 159th Semiannual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints


Sermons and proceedings of September 30–October 1, 1989, from the Tabernacle on Temple Square, Salt Lake City, Utah

“I would like to speak to the elderly in the Church and to their families and to those who minister to their needs,” said President Ezra Taft Benson in his address opening the 159th Semiannual General Conference.

He then suggested eight areas in which the elderly can make the most of their senior years: (1) Work in the temple and attend often; (2) collect and write family histories; (3) become involved in missionary service; (4) provide leadership by building family togetherness; (5) accept and fulfill Church callings; (6) plan their financial future; (7) render Christlike service; and (8) stay physically fit, healthy, and active.

To families of the elderly, President Benson declared: “We encourage families to give their elderly parents and grandparents the love, care, and attention they deserve. … Remember, parents and grandparents are our responsibility, and we are to care for them to the very best of our ability. …

“Let us also learn to be forgiving of our parents, who, perhaps having made mistakes as they reared us, almost always did the best they knew how,” said the President.

“Finally, we would urge priesthood leaders of the elderly to be sensitive to the Spirit of our Father in Heaven in assessing and meeting the spiritual, physical, emotional, and financial needs of the elderly. We trust you will utilize your counselors, Melchizedek Priesthood quorum leaders, and Relief Society leaders, home teachers, and visiting teachers in this great responsibility, for we must fulfill these duties without reluctance or hesitation,” he said. (See page 4.)

President Benson presided at the two-day general conference. Conference 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.

Significant administrative action occurred in the Saturday afternoon session when Elder Rex D. Pinegar and Elder Carlos E. Asay were sustained in their calls to the Presidency of the Seventy, eight General Authorities of the First Quorum of the Seventy were given Emeritus status, and eight General Authorities of the Second Quorum of the Seventy were honorably released.

“At the October 1978 general conference, several of the General Authorities were given Emeritus status,” said President Hinckley. “At that time the announcement was also made that additional members of the General Authorities would be so designated from time to time.

“Today, in consideration of factors of age and health, it is proposed that we sustain the following as Emeritus members of the First Quorum of the Seventy with a vote of thanks for their faithful and effective service: Elders Theodore M. Burton, Robert L. Simpson, Victor L. Brown, Paul H. Dunn, J. Thomas Fyans, Wm. Grant Bangerter, Royden G. Derrick, and Rex C. Reeve.”

Following this, President Hinckley announced: “When the Second Quorum of the Seventy was established in April 1989, the initial membership of the Second Quorum of the Seventy was comprised of General Authorities currently serving under a five-year call. It is accordingly proposed that we release with sincere appreciation for their devoted service … Elders Russell C. Taylor, Robert B. Harbertson, Devere Harris, Spencer H. Osborn, Philip T. Sonntag, John Sonnenberg, F. Arthur Kay, and Keith W. Wilcox.”

Elders Hugh W. Pinnock, Derek A. Cuthbert, and Ted E. Brewerton were sustained as the Sunday School General Presidency. Sustained as counselors to Young Men General President Vaughn J. Featherstone were Elders Jeffrey R. Holland and Monte J. Brough. (See pages 102–5.)

Conference sessions were broadcast throughout the world via satellite and other transmissions in English and fifteen other languages. Videotapes of conference are provided to members throughout the world where live or delayed transmissions are not currently available.—The Editors

The First Presidency

The First Presidency, from left: President Gordon B. Hinckley, First Counselor; President Ezra Taft Benson; and President Thomas S. Monson, Second Counselor.