“President Benson has asked that I say a few words on his behalf,” said President Gordon B. Hinckley, First Counselor in the First Presidency, at the opening session of the 160th Semiannual General Conference of the Church.
“In doing so, I quote his own language. …
“‘If you will follow the admonitions of the Lord and heed the counsel of His chosen servants in their callings as prophets, seers, and revelators, I promise you that love at home and obedience to parents will increase; faith will be developed in the hearts of the youth of Israel and they will gain power and strength to combat the evil influences and temptations which beset them.’
“‘With all my soul I testify that this work will go forward till every land and people have had opportunity to accept our message. Barriers will come down for us to accomplish this mission, and some of us will see this done. Our Heavenly Father will cause conditions in the world to change so that His gospel can penetrate every border.’” (See page 4.)
Hospitalized following surgery a few days before conference, President Benson was able to watch conference proceedings on television while convalescing in his hospital room.
Conducting the sessions were President Hinckley and President Thomas S. Monson, Second Counselor in the First Presidency.
Speaking in the closing session, President Monson spoke also of President Benson: “There is a loneliness in the empty chair between President Hinckley and me, and we feel it in our hearts. I wish I could take you with President Hinckley and me to President Benson’s hospital room, which we visited a few days ago. I think the picture of tranquillity and love which was there would be very beneficial for all members of the Church to see. President Benson lay on his hospital bed, his left hand held by a noble son and his right hand by a beautiful daughter as she read to him from the Book of Mormon. In the background, a recording of Tabernacle Choir music played softly. It was just a little bit of heaven.” (See page 87.)
Administrative action occurred in the Saturday afternoon session when Elder Waldo P. Call of Mexico and Elder Helio R. Camargo of Brazil, both members of the Second Quorum of the Seventy, were released after five and a half years of devoted service. (See pp. 19, 102.) Changes in assignments were also made among the Seventy in the presidencies of the Young Men and the Sunday School. (See pp. 19, 102.)
Sessions were broadcast throughout the northern hemisphere in English and fifteen other languages. Videotapes of conference are sent to Church units where live or delayed transmission of conference is not available.—The Editors