Solemn assembly is 'sacred, sober, reverent occasion'

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Understand Church order- Avoid "false shepherds"

A solemn assembly is a "sacred, sober and reverent occasion," said Elder David B. Haight of the Council of the Twelve after members of the Church had sustained the new prophet and other General Authorities during the Saturday morning session.

"When we sustain the president of the Church by our uplifted hand, it not only signifies that we acknowledge before God that he is the rightful possessor of all priesthood keys; it means that we covenant with God that we will abide by the direction and counsel that comes through His prophet," Elder Haight said. "It is a solemn covenant."

He went on to explain briefly the history of solemn assemblies in the Church. He also talked about the order of Church government that provides that the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles holds the keys to preside when the president of the Church dies and the First Presidency is dissolved.

Speaking of the the Church's new prophet, Elder Haight explained: "The revealed process by which Howard W. Hunter became the president of the Church began when he was called, ordained, and set apart to become a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles - a call that was inspired of the Lord."

He further said: "Joseph Smith received the keys to the apostleship from Peter, James, and John, the same who held the authority of the apostleship in New Testament times. This authority has come down from the Prophet Joseph Smith to President Howard W. Hunter."

He related the story of a man in Joseph Smith's time who said he was ordained by an angel from heaven. He then cited teachings of Joseph Smith and the apostle George Q. Cannon which confirmed that since Joseph Smith received the priesthood from heavenly messengers with power to ordain others that no heavenly messenger will ever come to interfere with that power by ordaining any more.

He said that those teachings "should be a warning and testimony to any `pretender' who claims apostolic authority on the basis that he has been visited by angels. It should also warn any who may be so deceived as to follow after these false shepherds."

Elder Haight reviewed the characteristics and Church service of President Hunter.

"We have sustained as God's prophet on this earth a kind, sensitive servant of God . . . who is a humble, faithful, scholarly and gentle soul - one who has experienced deep sorrow, suffered serious infirmities and a threat upon his life.

"President Hunter understands compassion, thankfulness, graciousness, charity and graitute towards individuals and mankind, and even has the saintly bearing of a prophet of God. He, in my estimation, is truly Christ-like."

Elder Haight then bore testimony of the new prophet's divine calling: "The sermons, writing, and teachings of him whom we have sustained this day attest that he is indeed a prophet - and a special witness of our Lord and Savior."

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