Report of the 167th Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints


Sermons and proceedings of 5–6 April 1997 from the Tabernacle on Temple Square, Salt Lake City, Utah

A great theme of this April general conference was pioneers. “I wish to go on record concerning the magnitude of what our forebears accomplished and what this means to us,” said President Gordon B. Hinckley in the Sunday morning general session.

“What a marvelous thing to be the recipients of a magnificent heritage that speaks of the guiding hand of the Lord, of the listening ear of His prophets, of the total dedication of a vast congregation of Saints who loved this cause more than life itself! Small wonder that so many hundreds of thousands of us—yea, even millions—will pause this coming July to remember them, to celebrate their wondrous accomplishments, and to rejoice in the miraculous thing that has grown from the foundation they laid,” he said.

“It is now 1997, and the future is ahead,” said President Hinckley. “We have great institutions of learning. We have vast treasures of family history. We have houses of worship by the thousands. Governments of the earth look upon us with respect and favor. The media treat us well. This, I submit, is our great season of opportunity.”

President Thomas S. Monson, First Counselor in the First Presidency, spoke in the Sunday morning session of other persons who qualify as pioneers, mentioning such individuals as Moses, Ruth, John the Baptist, and the Prophet Joseph Smith.

“Turning the pages of scriptural history from beginning to end, we learn of the ultimate pioneer—even Jesus Christ. … His mission, His ministry among men, His teachings of truth, His acts of mercy, His unwavering love for us prompts our gratitude and warms our hearts. Jesus Christ, Savior of the world—even the Son of God—was and is the ultimate pioneer, for He has gone before, showing all others the way to follow,” said President Monson.

President James E. Faust, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, spoke in the Saturday morning session: “On February 3, 1846, it was a bitter cold day in Nauvoo, Illinois. That day, President Brigham Young recorded in his diary: ‘Notwithstanding that I had announced that we would not attend to the administration of the ordinances, the House of the Lord was thronged all day.’

“And so the temple work continued until 1:30 A.M.,” said President Faust. “Temple blessings were one of the last yearnings of President Brigham Young and the pioneers as they left Nauvoo. For the same reason, President Young’s thoughts on arriving in the valley of the Great Salt Lake were to again secure these eternal blessings for God’s children by building and operating temples.

“Temple building and temple worship were paramount reasons for the pioneers’ willingness to suffer so greatly and endure so much in their remarkable exodus to the barren, isolated desert of the West,” said President Faust.

In addition to reading texts of conference addresses throughout this issue, readers may review the administrative actions of conference by turning to President Hinckley’s opening remarks (page 4), to the sustaining of Church officers (page 7), and to the news of the Church (page 101).

Videocassettes of general conference are sent to Church units where transmission of conference is not available.—The Editors