The Sustaining of Church Officers

Gordon B. Hinckley

Second Counselor in the First Presidency


Since the April general conference, Elder Royden G. Derrick has been called as the president of the Seattle Temple. Because that necessitates his absence from Salt Lake City, it has been felt advisable to release him as a member of the Presidency of the First Quorum of the Seventy. All who wish to join in extending a sincere vote of thanks to Elder Derrick for his outstanding service in this capacity and his tremendous service in the management of the genealogical program of the Church may do so by the uplifted hand.

It is proposed that Elder Marion D. Hanks be called as a member of the Presidency of the First Quorum of the Seventy. All in favor, please manifest it. Any opposed, by the same sign.

In view of the continual expansion of the work of the Church, including the creation of Area Presidencies, it is deemed necessary to call three additional members of the First Quorum of the Seventy who will serve on a non-lifetime basis, as was established last April in the call of other Brethren to this quorum, and who will serve ordinarily for periods of three to five years. It is proposed, therefore, that we sustain the following as members of the First Quorum of the Seventy in these circumstances: Elder John Sonnenberg of Chicago, who has served as a bishop, a stake president, and is currently serving as a Regional Representative and chairman of the Chicago Temple committee; Elder F. Arthur Kay of Seattle, who has served as a bishop, as a stake president, as a Regional Representative, and who was recently released as president of the Seattle Temple; and Elder Keith Wilson Wilcox of Ogden, who has served as a bishop, as a stake president, as a mission president, as a Regional Representative, and who currently is serving as president of the Ogden Temple. All in favor, please manifest it. Any who may feel otherwise may so indicate.

Sisters Barbara W. Winder and Ardeth G. Kapp were sustained at the last general conference as the new general presidents of the Relief Society and Young Women, respectively. Since then, Sisters Joy Frewin Evans and Joanne Bushman Doxey have been called as the first and second counselors, respectively, to Sister Winder in the Relief Society presidency. Sisters Patricia Terry Holland and Maureen Johnson Turley have been called as the first and second counselors, respectively, to Sister Kapp in the Young Women presidency. Will those of you who can sustain these sisters in these positions please indicate in the usual manner. Any opposed, by the same sign.

With the exceptions noted, there have been no changes in the General Authorities or the general officers of the Church since the last conference. It is proposed, therefore, that we sustain all of the General Authorities and general officers of the Church as at present constituted. Those in favor, please manifest it. Those opposed, by the same sign.

It appears that the voting has been unanimous in favor of the General Authorities and general officers of the Church.

My beloved associates in this great work, my heart is touched this morning as I look out over this vast congregation and then think of many times more of you who are assembled in stake centers scattered over the continent from sea to shining sea. These semiannual conferences of the Church are unique and remarkable occasions when Latter-day Saints gather with listening ears and understanding hearts to counsel together and to hear those who have been called of God with a responsibility for the work in this dispensation. We are united with a common bond of faith and testimony. Jesus Christ stands at the head of the Church of which we are members. The Church bears his name. It is his Church. We are honored to be a part of it.

We have a prophet appointed by him, and we express gratitude for this our leader. Although he is old in years, and his body weakened, we look to him with love and appreciation.

Some people, most of them not members of the Church, worry because the President of the Church is an elderly man. I want to assure you that, under the organization put in place by the Lord himself, there is no need to worry. The President has two counselors. So long as either of them is able to function, there will be an active First Presidency with full powers of decision in all matters affecting the Church.

Associated with the Presidency is the Council of the Twelve Apostles. At times in the history of the Church, when there was no First Presidency, the Council of the Twelve governed its affairs. As a matter of fact, these were some of the most difficult and demanding times in the history of the Church, notably, when our people left Nauvoo, crossed Iowa, established Winter Quarters on the Missouri, and then made their historic odyssey to this valley in 1847. It was not until Brigham Young returned to Winter Quarters that he was sustained as the President of the Church.

The Lord will not allow his work to suffer. He will not allow it to be led astray. He has made that clear. There is much of flexibility and resiliency in this inspired organization. It can accommodate almost any imaginable set of circumstances. It is moving forward in a remarkable and wonderful way. The priesthood of God is upon the earth, and the strength of the Church lies in the power that comes therefrom and in the personal faith and testimony which reside in the hearts of its members.

We welcome you to this great world conference. We pray that the Lord will inspire all who speak, all who sing, all who offer prayers, and in a particular way all who participate as members in the many congregations who are joined together this day. May we all be edified thereby, I humbly pray in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.