Sustaining vote isn't just a motion, it's a witness

Follow direction



Making an oblique reference to his age - 92 - Elder David B. Haight of the Quorum of the Twelve began his conference address Saturday afternoon by saying that a friend had told him he had something in common with Steve Young, quarterback for the San Francisco '49ers professional football team. Elder Haight said he asked what that was. The friend said: "What you have in common is that we're wondering if you'll be back for another season."

Elder Haight evoked more laughter as he recited an adage of the aged that praises a pacemaker, remodeled hip and knee, "and special glasses that are quite a find but, oh, how I miss my mind."

As he spoke, it was evident that the recitation was merely an adage, for he addressed the congregation with obvious clarity of thought and fluency of speech without the use of notes.

He spoke of the sustaining of the General Authorities and officers that had taken place earlier in the conference session, and said that watching the congregation in the Tabernacle raise their hands with such enthusiasm caused him to think of some other such events that have taken place in Church history.

The raising of the hand in a sustaining vote is not just a motion, he said, it's the bearing of witness of knowledge that President Gordon B. Hinckley is the leader of the Church. "We not only just raise our hands in saying that we sustain, but that we will follow his direction, that we will listen, that we . . . pray about it, that we're mindful of what comes from the lips of the prophet."

Elder Haight spoke of three historical occasions on which members raised their hands in sustaining votes. The first was in April 1830 as the Church was organized at Fayette, N.Y., and Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery were sustained as first elders.

The second sustaining of which Elder Haight spoke was in Nauvoo, Ill., in 1844, when, after the martyrdom of the Prophet and his brother, members upheld that the leadership of the Church would rest in the hands of the Quorum of the Twelve.

The third sustaining of which Elder Haight spoke took place in Kanesville, Iowa, in December 1847, when members of the Church sustained Brigham Young as president of the Church, and Heber C. Kimball and Willard Richards as his counselors.

Elder Haight said, "As we see the work move forward and move on, I would only declare to you as I stand before you today that in those 90 and more years that I've had, as I've witnessed and felt and seen and been part of the spiritual experiences that have been mine, that this is the work of the Lord. It's just as has been revealed. I've sensed it and I feel it, and I so declare to you."

The remainder of Elder Haight's address focused on Matt. 10:39: "He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it."

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