“In opening the conference I simply want to very briefly give a report on the Church,” President Gordon B. Hinckley said on Saturday morning, 31 March 2001. “It is stronger than it has ever been. It is not only larger in numbers, but I believe there is greater faithfulness among the Saints generally.”
“One of the bellwether marks of the growth and vitality of the Church is the construction of temples,” he said. “We will keep on working to bring the temples to the people, making it more convenient for Latter-day Saints everywhere to receive the blessings which can only be had in these holy houses.” He added: “We have visited and are giving consideration to a significant number of potential temple sites.”
The Church moves forward on the faith of its members, President Hinckley taught in his address on Sunday morning. “Whether it be going into the mission field, living the Word of Wisdom, paying one’s tithing, it is all the same. It is the faith within us that is evidenced in all we do.”
At the Saturday evening priesthood session, President Hinckley announced the establishment of the Perpetual Education Fund, which will help young members in international areas of the Church—returned missionaries, for the most part—gain education or training they otherwise could not afford. “Where there is widespread poverty among our people,” President Hinckley said, “we must do all we can to help them to lift themselves, to establish their lives upon a foundation of self-reliance that can come of training. Education is the key to opportunity. … This is a bold initiative, but we believe in the need for it and in the success that it will enjoy.” The loan program will begin this fall.
Sessions of conference were conducted by President Thomas S. Monson, First Counselor in the First Presidency, and President James E. Faust, Second Counselor in the First Presidency.
Administrative action during the Saturday afternoon session added new members to all five Quorums of the Seventy. Two members of the Second Quorum of the Seventy were sustained to the First Quorum, and four other brethren were also called to that quorum. Six new members were sustained to the Second Quorum. The Third, Fourth, and Fifth Quorums grew by 22 members—new Area Authority Seventies called from Canada, Central America, Japan, México, South Africa, South America, and the United States.
Conference sessions were translated into 49 languages for visitors. Sessions were broadcast live via satellite to meetinghouses in the United States, Canada, Latin America, Europe, the Caribbean, and South Africa. More than 1,500 radio and television stations and cable or satellite dish systems carried all or portions of conference sessions. All sessions were also available at www.lds.org in English audio and video formats and in 34 other languages in audio only. Videotapes were later made available for areas of the Church where the broadcast was not received.—The Editors