Brethren and sisters, traditionally the President of the Church, at the close of the conference, has offered words of benediction. President Benson, who is now in his ninety-first year, feels that he could not stand and address us, but I wish to say that we have been greatly uplifted by his very presence, with his smile and the wave of a hand as an expression of love.
May I, in conclusion, read some of the words he has said in the past on this occasion and from this pulpit.
“I commend my Brethren … for the excellent addresses they have given. My humble prayer is that all of us will follow the counsel and instruction we have received.
“As we have felt the Spirit and made new and sacred resolves, may we now have the courage and fortitude to carry out those resolves.” (Ensign, May 1988, p. 84.)
“We should like to reaffirm to all the world that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is led by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We believe in Christ. We accept and affirm His teachings as revealed truths from God. We know Him to be the literal Son of God. We love Him as our resurrected Lord and Savior.
“We believe there is ‘none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved’ (Acts 4:12.)
“So we invite all men, as the Book of Mormon declares, to ‘Come unto Christ, and be [redeemed] in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your [heart], mind and strength.’ (Moro. 10:32).” (Ensign, Dec. 1985, p. 5.)
“I bear witness to you that Jesus is the Christ, the Savior and Redeemer of the world—the very Son of God.
“He was born the babe of Bethlehem.
“He lived and ministered among men.
“He was crucified on Calvary.
“His friends deserted Him.
“His closest associates did not fully understand his mission, and they doubted. One of the most trusted denied knowing Him. …
“He asked forgiveness for His tormenters and then willingly gave up his life.
“His body was laid in a borrowed tomb.
“An immense stone was placed over the opening.
“In the minds of his stunned followers over and over echoed some of his last words, ‘… be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.’ [John 16:33.]” (In Conference Report, Apr. 1964, p. 119.)
Last Thursday, in a meeting in the temple of all of the General Authorities, where we bore testimonies one to another and partook of the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper, President Benson stood before his brethren and said with conviction and emotion, “I love you, my brethren. I bless you in your great ministry.”
Every man there was deeply touched as he felt of the spirit of our great leader. As we close this conference, I am confident he would have me say to each of you in his behalf, “I love you, my brethren and sisters. I bless you in the great work which you are doing in living the gospel of Jesus Christ and in carrying out His teachings.”
To these words of his I add my own testimony that God our Eternal Father lives; that Jesus is the Christ, the Only Begotten of the Father born in the flesh, the Savior and Redeemer of mankind, who offered His life on Calvary’s cross in atonement for the sins of all mankind; that Joseph Smith was a prophet of the living God; and that every man who has succeeded him in the office of the Presidency of this Church has been a living prophet—including Ezra Taft Benson, whom we love and for whom we pray as the Lord’s anointed in our day and time. Of these things I testify and leave my blessings. May God be with you and bless you as you travel to your homes, and may His guiding light be the lodestar of your lives, I humbly ask, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.