“Report of the 158th Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,” Ensign, May 1988, 1
“The great test of life is obedience to God.
“The great task of life is to learn the will of the Lord and then do it.
“The great commandment of life is, ‘Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength’” (Mark 12:30).
With these stirring words, President Ezra Taft Benson opened the first general session of April conference.
“To love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength is all-consuming and all-encompassing. It is no lukewarm endeavor. It is total commitment of our very being,” President Benson declared.
At the Saturday evening general priesthood meeting, President Benson noted, “For some time I have wanted to speak directly to the great body of single adult brethren of the Church. Many of you have served full-time missions. Many of you are giving outstanding service in your wards and stakes. …
“I want you to know of my great love for each of you. I have great expectations for you and a great hope in you. You have so much to contribute to the Lord and to the kingdom of God now and in the future.”
President Benson then discussed “some of the priorities we pray that you single adult brethren will consider to be essential in your life.”
The concluding session on Sunday was again highlighted by a message from the prophet of the Lord in our time: “For the next six months, your conference edition of the Ensign should stand next to your standard works and be referred to frequently. As my dear friend and brother Harold B. Lee said, we should let these conference addresses ‘be the guide to [our] walk and talk during the next six months. These are the important matters the Lord sees fit to reveal to this people in this day.’”
President Benson presided at the two-day general conference. Sessions were conducted by President Gordon B. Hinckley, First Counselor in the First Presidency; and by President Thomas S. Monson, Second Counselor. All General Authorities attended conference except President Marion G. Romney, President of the Quorum of the Twelve, and Elder John H. Vandenberg, an emeritus member of the First Quorum of the Seventy, both of whom were ill.
Administrative action at the conference included the sustaining of two new members to the First Quorum of the Seventy and a new General Presidency of the Primary. The action brought to sixty-three the number of members serving in the First Quorum of the Seventy.
Sustained were Elder Robert E. Sackley of Alberta, Canada, who at the time of his call was president of the Nigeria Lagos Mission; Elder L. Lionel Kendrick of Greenville, North Carolina, who at the time of his call was president of the Florida Tampa Mission; President Michaelene Packer Grassli, who was sustained as president of the Primary; Betty Jo Nelson Jepsen, sustained as first counselor in the Presidency of the Primary; and Ruth Broadbent Wright, sustained as second counselor. (See articles on pages 89 through 92.)
Released as the General Primary President was President Dwan J. Young, who will accompany her husband in July to the Canada Calgary Mission, where he will preside. Also released was President Young’s first counselor, Virginia B. Cannon. Sister Grassli was President Young’s second counselor.
Conference proceedings were televised via satellite to many gatherings of Church members throughout the United States and Canada. Videotapes of conference will be made available to members in most other parts of the world.
On Friday, April 1, a Regional Representatives’ Seminar was held during the day, and a leadership meeting for Regional Representatives and stake presidents was held Friday evening. At the evening leadership meeting, the American Red Cross honored Church members worldwide by presenting to the First Presidency a plaque “in gratitude to the individuals and families of the Mormon community who help alleviate suffering” (see page 93).—The Editors