“Report of the 167th Semiannual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,” Ensign, Nov. 1997, 1
“I believe,” said President Gordon B. Hinckley in the Saturday evening general priesthood meeting on 4 October, “that no member of the Church has received the ultimate which this Church has to give until he or she has received his or her temple blessings in the house of the Lord. Accordingly, we are doing all that we know how to do to expedite the construction of these sacred buildings and make the blessings received therein more generally available.”
Having announced in the meeting the plan to build temples in Houston, Texas, and in Pôrto Alegre, Brazil, President Hinckley then said, “But there are many areas of the Church that are remote, where the membership is small and not likely to grow very much in the near future. Are those who live in these places to be denied forever the blessings of the temple ordinances? While visiting such an area a few months ago, we prayerfully pondered this question. The answer, we believe, came bright and clear.
“We will construct small temples in some of these areas, buildings with all of the facilities to administer all of the ordinances.”
The announcement was a significant feature of this October general conference.
In the Sunday morning general session, President Hinckley referenced the celebrations of 1997 on the Church’s pioneers and said, “The time has now come to turn about and face the future. This is a season of a thousand opportunities. … If we will go forward, never losing sight of our goal, speaking ill of no one, living the great principles we know to be true, this cause will roll on in majesty and power to fill the earth.”
But “the key to the success of the work will be the faith of all who call themselves Latter-day Saints,” President Hinckley stated. “Simply put, we must be better Latter-day Saints.”
Conducting the two days of general conference sessions were President Hinckley and his two Counselors in the First Presidency, President Thomas S. Monson, First Counselor, and President James E. Faust, Second Counselor.
Included among administrative actions occurring during Saturday’s afternoon session were the giving of emeritus status to three members of the First Quorum of the Seventy, the release of seven members of the Second Quorum of the Seventy, and the release of the Young Women general presidency. Newly called were three Area Authority Seventies, a new Young Women general presidency, and counselors in the Young Men and Sunday School general presidencies (see page 20).—The Editors