In a sacred solemn assembly during the opening session of the 178th Annual General Conference April 5, Church members worldwide — according to their quorums and groups — stood and sustained President Thomas S. Monson as prophet, seer and revelator and president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
President Henry B. Eyring and President Dieter F. Uchtdorf were sustained as first and second counselors in the First Presidency — the highest governing body of the Church.
The First Presidency had been functioning since a Feb. 3 meeting in the Salt Lake Temple where members of the Quorum of the Twelve ordained and set apart President Monson to succeed President Gordon B. Hinckley as the 16th president of the Church. President Hinckley, 97, died Jan. 27 at home of causes incident to age.
President Uchtdorf gave instructions for the procedure of the solemn assembly. In turn, members of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve sustained the First Presidency by rising to their feet and raising their right hands. 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.
President Uchtdorf invited members to participate in sustaining the new First Presidency wherever they were — watching the proceedings from their homes or in meetinghouses across the globe.
"Members of the Church around the world convened yesterday in a solemn assembly ... ," said President Thomas S. Monson during his Sunday morning conference address. "As your hands were raised toward heaven, my heart was touched. I felt your love and support, as well as your commitment to the Lord.
"I know without question, my brothers and sisters, that God lives. I testify to you that this is His work. I testify as well that our Savior Jesus Christ is at the head of this Church which bears His name. I know that the sweetest experience in all this life is to feel His promptings as He directs us in the furtherance of His work."
Latter-day Saints gathered worldwide April 5-6 for the historic conference to hear President Monson and other Church leaders offer counsel and direction.
President Monson presided over the four general sessions, two each on Saturday, April 5, and Sunday, April 6, and the priesthood session Saturday evening.
Capacity crowds filled the 21,000-seat Conference Center and overflow areas on Temple Square for the conference, which was translated into 92 languages and sent, via satellite, to more than 160 countries and territories.
Conference was also broadcast on KSL-TV and BYU-TV, in Spanish on KSVN-TV, and to more than 1,700 cable television systems and radio and television stations in the United States and Canada. Closed captioning of the proceedings was available in Spanish.
The 360-voice Mormon Tabernacle Choir, under the direction of Mack Wilberg, provided music for three sessions of the conference. A combined choir from BYU, under the direction of Ronald Staheli and Rosalind Hall, provided music for the Saturday afternoon session; a priesthood choir from the Logan and Ogden institutes, directed by J. Nyles Salmond, Lynn Hopkins, and Jerald F. Simon, provided music for the Priesthood Session. Clay Christiansen, Richard Elliott, Andrew Unsworth, Linda Margetts, and Bonnie Goodliffe accompanied the choirs on the organ during the sessions.
In addition to the sustaining of a new First Presidency, Church members sustained:
• Elder D. Todd Christofferson to the Quorum of the Twelve.
• Elder L. Whitney Clayton — a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy since March 2001 — named to replace Elder Christofferson as a member of the Presidency of the Seventy.
• Fifteen new members of the Seventy, whose diverse cultural backgrounds represent the growing diversity of the Church, and two members of the Second Quorum who were called to the First Quorum.
• A new Young Women general presidency.
• Thirty-eight new Area Seventies.