We have received a telephone call that Elder Derek Cuthbert has just passed away. We have been praying for him. He has served faithfully and diligently and well as a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy—called as a General Authority of the Church some years ago. He was a convert to the Church in Nottingham, England, and has been true and faithful in every respect. He has filled assignments on this continent and other areas of the world. We extend to his beloved Muriel and their family the love, sympathy, condolences of the whole Church, and I am sure as we conclude this conference that President Benson, in a particular way, would like to extend his blessings to the Cuthbert family.
Customarily, the President of the Church has concluded the conference. Our hearts would have been stirred had President Benson been able to stand before us and speak with power and inspiration as he has done so many times in the past. Because of conditions incident to his age, he is unable to do so. He has indicated that I should say a few words of benediction in his behalf.
I think he would have me express his love for you, our brothers and sisters, wherever you may be across the world. He would leave his blessing upon you, the blessing of a prophet.
May I give you some of his own words on which to reflect as you leave for your homes.
“I solemnly declare that the Lord has established his latter-day kingdom upon the earth in fulfillment of prophecies uttered by his ancient prophets and apostles. Holy angels have again communed with men on the earth. God has again revealed himself from heaven and restored to the earth his holy priesthood with power to administer in all the sacred ordinances necessary for the exaltation of his children. His church has been reestablished among men with all the spiritual gifts enjoyed anciently.
“All this is done in preparation for Christ’s second coming. The great and dreadful day of the Lord is near at hand. In preparation for this great event and as a means of escaping the impending judgments, inspired messengers have gone forth to the nations of the earth carrying his testimony and warning.” (In Official Report, Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden Area General Conference, 18 Aug. 1974, pp. 128–29.)
“I hope that all of us can see … the hand of the Lord moving His kingdom forward to accomplish on an accelerated basis toward what He designs to accomplish. …
“The Lord is now revealing, and will continue to do so through channels He has appointed, everything necessary for the future development and perfection of His Church.” (Interdepartmental meeting, 16 Mar. 1977.)
These words have been the counsel of our President and prophet. I commend them to you as we conclude this great annual conference.
To his words I add my own words of testimony as one who has known and worked closely with seven Presidents of the Church, extending over a period of more than half a century. I know that each of these men has been a man of God, raised up by Him, trained and nurtured, schooled and disciplined for the great and singular and unique callings which have come to them. Our people have been blessed as they have followed their counsel. We will continue to be blessed if we will walk in the paths which they have pointed out and will continue to point out to us.
Now, my beloved brethren and sisters, as we return to our homes, may we carry with us a remembrance of that which we have heard. May God bless you, may His Holy Spirit abide with you, in your homes and in your hearts, and may you have reason to kneel before Him with thanksgiving in your prayers as those blessed with the light of His glorious gospel. I’m sure that President Benson would invoke that prayer upon you, and I do so in his behalf and by way of personal testimony and blessing, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.