“Report of the 144th Semiannual Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,” Ensign, Nov. 1974, 1
In the month the Church was organized, April 1830, the Lord established the conference procedure for the Church when he directed that the Church gather “from time to time” in conference whenever “said conferences shall direct or appoint; and said conferences are to do whatever church business is necessary to be done at that time.” (D&C 20:61–62.)
Since then, the Church has met every April in annual general conference, and since October 1839, when the Saints gathered at Commerce, Illinois, the Church has met every October in semiannual general conference. Between annual general and semiannual general conferences, quarterly conferences are held throughout the Church in response to the Lord’s directions that the Saints “meet in conference once in three months.” (D&C 20:61.)
The semiannual general conference of 1974, known as the 144th Semiannual General Conference, was held October 4–6 in the Tabernacle in Salt Lake City. Presiding was President Spencer W. Kimball, prophet, seer, and revelator, and 12th president of the Church. All 45 presently sustained General Authorities of the Church were present except Elder Alma Sonne, Assistant to the Council of the Twelve, who was indisposed at home.
Church leaders and members from throughout the world were in attendance and filled the Tabernacle. Overflow seating was provided in the Assembly Hall on Temple Square and in the Salt Palace nearby. During the conference sessions, two different General Authorities for each session were assigned to preside at the gatherings in the Assembly Hall and Salt Palace.
As in the past, seven general sessions were held: Friday, October 4, at 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.; Saturday, October 5, at 10:00 a.m., 2:00 p.m., and 7:00 p.m. (general priesthood meeting); and Sunday, October 6, at 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.
During the Saturday morning session, new general officers were sustained for the Relief Society and Primary Association. Released as general president of the Relief Society was Sister Belle S. Spafford and her two counselors, Sister Marianne C. Sharp and Sister Louise W. Madsen. Sustained were Sister Barbara B. Smith, general president, Sister Janath R. Cannon, education counselor, and Sister Marian R. Boyer, homemaking counselor. Released as general president of the Primary Association was Sister LaVern W. Parmley and her two counselors, Sister Naomi Ward Randall and Sister Florence R. Lane. Sustained were Sister Naomi M. Shumway, general president, Sister Sara B. Paulsen, first counselor, and Sister Colleen B. Lemmon, second counselor.
Proceedings of conference sessions were given extensive coverage in the United States and Canada over 195 television stations and 57 radio stations, originating with KSL in Salt Lake City.
Sessions were broadcast over 95 radio stations in Central and South America and in Mexico. In Australia, 20 radio stations carried some parts of the conference. Countries in Europe received broadcasts over international shortwave radio station WYFR, New York.
The Saturday morning and Sunday morning sessions were carried over oceanic cables to large numbers of members and friends in 111 chapels throughout Great Britain, Germany, Austria, France, Switzerland, Belgium, and the Netherlands. These sessions were also videotaped and released to many television stations to be broadcast later in the eastern and central United States, Hawaii, and U.S. Armed Forces bases throughout the Pacific.
Rebroadcasts of all conference sessions were carried by KSL Radio in Salt Lake City, KMBZ Radio in Kansas City, Missouri, and KIRO Radio in Seattle, Washington.
The general priesthood meeting was transmitted to more than 195,000 priesthood holders assembled in approximately 910 buildings throughout the United States, Canada, and Australia.
In conjunction with general conference, the following meetings were also held: October 2–3, Relief Society general conference for Relief Society leaders; October 3, a seminar for Regional Representatives of the Council of the Twelve; and October 5, a Welfare Services meeting.
This issue of the Ensign contains the addresses and proceedings of the general conference sessions in chronological order. It also contains news of the announcements and presentations associated with the seminar for Regional Representatives of the Council of the Twelve, Relief Society general, conference, and the Welfare Services meeting. —The Editors