The saints gather: Church leaders appeal for love in homes, hearts

Expressing a desire that a renewed spirit of love and peace may be in the homes and hearts of Church members worldwide, President Gordon B. Hinckley of the First Presidency brought the 163rd Semiannual General Conference to a close Sunday afternoon, Oct. 3.

The conference convened Saturday morning, Oct. 2, in the Tabernacle on Temple Square in Salt Lake City and included two general sessions and a priesthood session that day, and two general sessions on Sunday.President Ezra Taft Benson was unable to attend conference because of his health. He watched conference proceedings on television from his apartment, it was announced. In addition to President Benson, three other General Authorities were excused from conference because of illness: President Howard W. Hunter and Elder Marvin J. Ashton of the Council of the Twelve, and Elder Clinton L. Cutler of the Seventy.

Also excused were Elder Marlin K. Jensen, who is serving as president of the New York Rochester Mission; Elder Glenn L. Pace, serving as president of the Australia Sydney North Mission; Elder L. Lionel Kendrick, who is serving as president of the Dallas Texas Temple; and Elder Gerald E. Melchin, serving as president of the Toronto Ontario Temple.

President Hinckley, first counselor in the First Presidency, and President Thomas S. Monson, second counselor in the First Presidency, took turns conducting the conference sessions. Each delivered addresses in the priesthood session Saturday evening and in the Sunday morning general session.

The General Authorities were sustained in the Saturday morning session. Included in the sustaining of authorities were three new members of the Presidency of the Seventy and a new counselor in the Young Men general presidency. Calls of the four were announced by the First Presidency last June and effective Aug. 15.

Sustained as new members in the Presidency of the Seventy were Elders Joe J. Christensen, Monte J. Brough and W. Eugene Hansen. They replace Elders Dean L. Larsen, James M. Paramore and J. Richard Clarke, each of whom is now serving in an area presidency. Sustained as second counselor in the Young Men general presidency was Elder Vaughn J Featherstone of the Seventy, who succeeds Elder Kendrick. (See June 12 Church News.)

The First Presidency announced also the granting of emeritus status to three members of the First Quorum of the Seventy: Elders Jacob de Jager, Adney Y. Komatsu and H. Burke Peterson. (See separate story on this page.)

All sessions of the conference were televised via satellite to more than 3,000 meetinghouses in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Haiti, Jamaica, the West Indies, and the Dominican Republic.

The Saturday and Sunday morning sessions as well as the Tabernacle Choir program, "Music and the Spoken Word," were transmitted to 60 Church-owned satellite downlinks in England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, Germany, France, Switzerland, Austria, Netherlands, Belgium, Portugal, Spain and Italy.

Videotapes of conference sessions are being sent to units in areas of the world where the satellite and other transmissions are not available.

Thirty addresses were delivered by Church leaders to members worldwide. Included were declarative messages of counsel and instruction on numerous topics, including calls to: obey all of God's commandments; adhere to the Savior's teachings; be loyal to the gospel of Jesus Christ; and strive for unity, love and peace in the home, Church and world. Several speakers focused on the home and family, the complementary responsibilities of men and women and the priesthood.

Near-ideal weather prevailed in Salt Lake City during conference weekend, delighting visitors and residents alike. Since Utah experienced a cooler-than usual summer, the high temperature of 84 degrees Fahrenheit on Sunday seemed like a bonus day of warmth and sunshine.

The vivid colors of thousands of flowers on Temple Square were accented by the brilliant hues of autumn leaves adorning trees on and around the historic block.

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