My beloved associates in the work of the Lord: this is truly a world conference, with the restored gospel now taught in some ninety nations. It is a wonderful and a marvelous thing that has come to pass. The work is moving forward. It will continue to grow and spread over the earth, for it is the work of God, restored in this the dispensation of the fulness of times, that the purposes of the Almighty in behalf of his sons and daughters might be accomplished.
This work is a great and important part of his grand, eternal plan. It is the Church of Jesus Christ. It bears his name. He stands at the head; we are but his servants. Our desire is to do his will: to be sensitive to the whisperings of the Holy Spirit, and then to go forward with faith to accomplish whatever he has commanded. He has placed a prophet on the earth. Though he is advanced in age, he is the prophet of the Lord, and he will be with us for as long as the Lord wills. And as the Lord’s appointed servant, no major decision concerning this work will be made without his consideration and his direction. As we begin this conference, we shall take care of several items of business according to his expressed will and consent.
There is a principle followed in the Church of rotating responsibilities. Inherent in a call to serve is a release, to be expected and welcomed after service well performed. In that spirit we extend honorable releases to the following: Sister Barbara B. Smith as president of the Relief Society, together with her counselors, Sister Marian R. Boyer and Sister Ann Reese, and all members of the Relief Society General Board; Sister Elaine A. Cannon as president of the Young Women, together with her counselors, Arlene B. Darger and Norma B. Smith, and members of the Young Women board. These women have performed a remarkable work during the years they have served. They have given countless hours of time, have given of their means and of their strength, have traveled far and wide without regard for personal convenience, all in furthering the work of the Lord. They retire now with our love and blessing, and we pray that the Lord will continue to pour out his Spirit upon them and upon their families and their homes. All who wish to join in an expression of appreciation to these beloved sisters for their dedicated, effective service may now do so by the uplifted hand.
As you know, there are two vacancies in the Council of the Twelve Apostles, incident to the passing of Elder LeGrand Richards and Elder Mark E. Petersen. We shall take action to fill these vacancies this morning, and we shall also add to the First Quorum of the Seventy.
In the case of the Seventy, we are putting into effect the practice long generally followed and accepted in the Church with reference to other offices. Members of the First Quorum of the Seventy are General Authorities in every sense: in calling, in responsibility, in power and authority. Theirs have been permanent appointments, and those presently serving will continue so to serve. However, tenure of appointment is not important insofar as the work is concerned. Calls to serve as bishop, stake president, Regional Representative, mission president, temple president, and president of the auxiliary organizations are for a period of years. The individual is then honorably released and others are afforded the opportunity of service. After much prayerful consideration, we have called six men, mature and tested through long years of service, to become members of the First Quorum of the Seventy, to serve for periods of three to five years, just as a mission president or temple president would do, and then to be released with honor and appreciation. While they so serve, they will be General Authorities with every right, power, and authority necessary to function. They will be expected to give their full time to this work while they are in office. This procedure, we feel, will provide a constant infusion of new talent and a much widened opportunity for men of ability and faith to serve in these offices.
I shall now present to you the names of the General Authorities and general officers of the Church for your vote.
It is proposed that we sustain President Spencer W. Kimball as prophet, seer, and revelator and President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. All in favor, please manifest it; contrary, by the same sign.
Marion G. Romney as First Counselor in the First Presidency, and Gordon B. Hinckley as Second Counselor in the First Presidency. All in favor, please signify it; contrary, if there be any, by the same sign.
It is proposed that we sustain as President of the Council of the Twelve, Elder Ezra Taft Benson. All in favor, please manifest it; those opposed, by the same sign.
As the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles: Elders Ezra Taft Benson, Howard W. Hunter, Thomas S. Monson, Boyd K. Packer, Marvin J. Ashton, Bruce R. McConkie, L. Tom Perry, David B. Haight, James E. Faust, Neal A. Maxwell, Russell M. Nelson, and Dallin H. Oaks. All in favor, please manifest it, contrary, if there be any, by the same sign.
With reference to Dallin Oaks, I should like to say that while we nominate and sustain him today, he will not be ordained to the apostleship, nor will he be set apart as a member of the Council of the Twelve, nor will he begin his apostolic service, until after he completes his present judicial commitments, which may require several weeks. He is absent from the city, and necessarily absent from the conference. We excuse him.
It is proposed that we sustain the counselors in the First Presidency and the Twelve Apostles as prophets, seers, and revelators. All in favor, please manifest it; contrary, if there be any, by the same sign.
As the Presidency of the First Quorum of the Seventy: J. Thomas Fyans, Carlos E. Asay, M. Russell Ballard, Dean L. Larsen, Royden G. Derrick, G. Homer Durham, and Richard G. Scott. As the new members of the First Quorum of the Seventy, previously referred to: John K. Carmack, Russell C. Taylor, Robert B. Harbertson, Devere Harris, Spencer H. Osborn, and Philip T. Sonntag. And all the other members of the First Quorum of the Seventy, the Presiding Bishopric, and the emeritus brethren as at present constituted. All in favor, please manifest it; contrary, if there be any, by the same sign.
The Relief Society: Barbara Ann Woodhead Winder as president. The Young Women: Ardeth Greene Kapp as president. All in favor, please manifest it; those opposed, by the same sign. I should say that these calls have come just very recently—a matter of hours—to these women, and they will have more time to select their counselors and member of their boards.
All of the other general officers and boards as at present constituted. All in favor, manifest it; contrary, by the same sign.
It appears to me that the voting has been unanimous in favor of the General Authorities and these general officers.
I mention to you another matter. We announced this morning the construction of five new temples, to be built in Bogotá, Colombia; San Diego, California; Portland, Oregon; Las Vegas, Nevada; and Toronto, Ontario, Canada. We met earlier at 7:30 this morning with officers of the stakes in these areas, and all expressed their enthusiastic support of these undertakings.