`Worshiping with one heart, one voice'

Be faithful

Study the scriptures

Live the gospel

Proclaiming "we are all one family," President Gordon B. Hinckley welcomed members to the 168th Semiannual General Conference of the Church Saturday morning, Oct. 3.

President Hinckley conducted the session, which originated in the Tabernacle on Temple Square and was broadcast widely by television, radio and satellite transmissions. In addition to those in the Tabernacle for the opening session, millions more watched proceedings in many parts of the world.

"We have one Lord, one faith, one baptism," the 88-year-old Church leader proclaimed. "In fulfillment of the words of Peter, we are `a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that

weT should shew forth the praises of him who hath called

usT out of darkness into his marvellous light." (1 Pet. 2:9.)

"For the most part," President Hinckley said, "we are a happy people.

"We are mindful of and continue to pray for those who are experiencing hardship due to natural or man-caused calamity. But even those among our number who are bowed down with sorrow and pain, go forward in faith with the certain assurance that God lives and is watching over His children."

President Hinckley expressed regret that all those who wished to do so could not be seated in the historic structure. He said that the Tabernacle once was considered very large and commodious, but with the growth of the Church, it will not accommodate all members. He spoke of having been in the Astrodome in Houston, Texas, two weeks earlier for a regional conference, which was attended by some 20,000 people, three times as many as can be seated in the Tabernacle.

"I am deeply grateful that we are moving forward with construction of a great new facility adjoining Temple Square on the block to the north of us," President Hinckley said. "It is an immense structure. I am grateful that we have followed the promptings to build it. I believe that the Lord would have us do so and that He has revealed His will in this undertaking."

He said that workmen were preparing to place the huge "king beam," which marks the beginning of the roof structure. "Things are moving forward according to schedule. Six hundred people are at work on the project now, and this number will grow."

The new building, he explained, will seat some 21,000 people, plus a thousand in the theater that will be part of it. "Through the generations that lie ahead, it will ring with the voices of the prophets. It will be primarily a house of worship. But it will also be a place of art. There will be concerts and other public offerings that will be uplifting and wholesome and spiritual.

"Barring some unforeseen circumstances, the building will be ready for the general conference of April in the year 2000. It will be a gift to the Master whose birth will be commemorated at that season."

President Hinckley further said, "As we contemplate these things, we think of our brothers and sisters in distant lands. We have met hundreds of thousands of you, have looked into your faces, have felt of your spirits. You are so very precious to this work.

"The Lord has gathered you, `one of a city, and two of a family,' as prophesied by Jeremiah. He is teaching you with pastors after His own heart. (See Jer. 3:14-15.) We pray for you, we visit you, we respect and admire you, we love you. We are all part of this family - 10 million strong - worshiping with one heart and one voice at the feet of our Master, the Son of God. Wherever you are, no matter how distant, you have the opportunity of participating in this conference. You will receive it by satellite in very many places. You will receive it by video tape in some places that cannot be reached by satellite. And for a few in far away places, you will have it as the written word in our Church magazines.

"No matter where we are, no matter our circumstances, we can be faithful Latter-day Saints. If necessary, we can pray and worship the Lord in the privacy of our closet. We can sing anthems of praise to the Almighty even when we are alone. We can study the scriptures. We can live the gospel. We can pay our tithes and offerings though the amount be ever so small. We can walk in faith. We can strive to live lives patterned after the life of our Master."

Concluding his opening remarks, President Hinckley invited members to listen to those whom they have sustained as General Authorities and officers, "as with prayer and faith and in humility, we bear testimony to you.

"May we all be inspired together," President Hinckley declared. "May our hearts be lifted in praise to our Redeemer. . . "

Subscribe for free and get daily or weekly updates straight to your inbox
The three things you need to know everyday
Highlights from the last week to keep you informed