For the second time in six months - and for the first time in two consecutive general conferences - Latter-day Saints met April 1 in a solemn assembly for the purpose of sustaining a new president of the Church.
President Gordon B. Hinckley was sustained as prophet, seer and revelator, and president of the Church during the opening session of the 165th Annual General Conference, which convened in the Tabernacle on Temple Square at 10 a.m. Saturday and continued through Sunday, April 2.Sustained as counselors to President Hinckley were President Thomas S. Monson, first counselor; and President James E. Faust, second counselor.
President Monson was also sustained as president of the Council of the Twelve, and President Boyd K. Packer was sustained as acting president.
President Hinckley succeeds President Howard W. Hunter, who was sustained Oct. 1 at the 164th Semiannual General Conference as the Church's 14th president. President Hunter died March 3. President Hinckley was ordained and set apart as the Church's 15th president on March 12.
The conference opened with President Hinckley presiding and conducting. He announced that President Monson would handle the business of the solemn assembly.
President Monson gave instructions for the procedure for the solemn assembly. In turn, members of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve sustained the First Presidency. They were followed by members of the First and Second Quorums of the Seventy and the Presiding Bishopric.
Next, ordained stake patriarchs, high priests and elders of the Melchizedek Priesthood participated in the sustaining. They were followed by members of the Aaronic Priesthood, deacons, teachers and priests.
Then, members of the Relief Society - women 18 years of age and older - and all young women, ages 12 to 18, were invited, in turn, to stand and sustain the First Presidency. Then the entire congregation, including those who had stood previously, stood and raised hands to sustain the First Presidency.
Members of the Church were invited to participate in sustaining the new First Presidency wherever they were, in the Tabernacle on Temple Square, in the nearby Assembly Hall or the Joseph Smith Memorial Building across the street, or in stake centers and meetinghouses receiving the conference proceedings by television or satellite transmissions throughout the world.
Other business of the conference included:
The announcement of a new administrative position, the Area Authority, and the honorable release of all the 284 regional representatives, effective Aug. 15.
In making the announcement at the general priesthood meeting Saturday evening, President Hinckley said the change was guided by the provisions in the revelation on priesthood, Section 107 of the Doctrine and Covenants, and then he quoted verse 98, about other officers in addition to the Twelve and the Seventy.
"As the work grows across the world it has become necessary to decentralize administrative authority to keep General Authorities closer to the people," said President Hinckley. (See page 14 for additional information.)
The 165th Annual General Conference attracted huge crowds to Temple Square. The Tabernacle's capacity is listed as "about 6,000." The historic building was filled to capacity for each of the sessions at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 1, and Sunday, April 2, and for the priesthood session Saturday evening. Hundreds more watched conference on large screens in the Assembly Hall and the Joseph Smith Memorial Building. The Temple Square grounds were packed during the weekend as conference-goers listened to the proceedings over loudspeakers on the Square or over radios they brought with them.
Sunny skies added a brightness to the conference weekend, but cool breezes early in the morning made jackets, coats, sweaters or blankets necessary for comfort.
Thousands of flowers splashed brilliant colors throughout Temple Square and added sweet fragrance to the annual gathering.
Language translators and interpreters - virtually all volunteers - were kept busy during conference weekend as they simultaneously interpreted 31 conference addresses into 34 languages: Bulgarian, Cambodian, Cantonese, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Haitian-Creole, Hmong, Hungarian, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Laotian, Mandarin, Navajo, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Samoan, Serbo-Croatian; Spanish, Swedish, Tagalog, Tahitian, Thai, Tongan and Vietnamese.
All sessions of the conference were sent to some 3,000 meetinghouses equipped with satellite dishes in the United States and Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Haiti, Jamaica, the West Indies, and the Dominican Republic.
In addition, conference sessions - except for the priesthood session - were transmitted by satellite to more than 1,200 cable television systems in the United States.
Portions of the conference were carried on commercial television and radio stations and on cable networks in the United States on a public service basis.
The opening session of conference - the solemn assembly - was transmsitted live to 102 meetinghouses in England, Scotland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Germany, France, Holland, Belgium, Spain, Portugal, Italy and Switzerland. Transmissions to Europe were accompanied by translations into 11 languages.
Church units in areas of the world where satellite and other transmissions were not available will receive videotapes of the conference sessions. Asian languages are being made available through distribution centers in Tokyo, Hong Kong, Taipei, Bangkok, Jakarta and Seoul. Spanish and Portuguese language tapes will be distributed throughout Latin America. Pacific island languages will be made available through various distribution centers. Eastern Europe languages will be made available through the Frankfurt, Germany, distribution center.
Sustained to the Council of the Twelve
Elder Henry B. Eyring
Called from the Second Quorum of the Seventy to the First Quorum of the Seventy
Elder John B. Dickson
Elder Jay E. Jensen
Elder David E. Sorensen
Sustained to the First Quorum of the Seventy
Elder W. Craig Zwick
Sustained to the Second Quorum of the Seventy
Elder Bruce D. Porter