During the Saturday afternoon session of the 191st Annual General Conference, President Dallin H. Oaks announced the call of 11 new Church leaders, including a new Primary general presidency.
Among the leadership changes announced by President Oaks, first counselor in the First Presidency, were eight new General Authority Seventies and the release of six Area Seventies. Earlier in the week, 77 new Area Seventies were announced at a leadership meeting.
Primary General President Joy D. Jones and her counselors, Sister Lisa L. Harkness and Sister Cristina B. Franco, were released prior to the sustaining of President Camille N. Johnson and Sister Susan H. Porter and Sister Amy Wright as the new Primary presidency.
President M. Russell Ballard, Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, concluded the session by speaking about single members of the Church “who make up more than half of the adults in the Church today.”
“Some wonder about their opportunities and place in God’s plan and in the Church,” President Ballard said. “We should understand that eternal life is not simply a question of current marital status but of discipleship and being ‘valiant in the testimony of Jesus’” (Doctrine and Covenants 76:79).
Stake and ward leaders should call on single members “to serve, lift and teach,” President Ballard said.
In his remarks, Elder Holland noted that today, conflict, contention and general incivility abound.
The instruments needed to “create a brighter day” can be found in the gospel of Jesus Christ, Elder Holland testified. “We cannot afford — and this world cannot afford — our failure to put these gospel concepts and fortifying covenants to full use personally and publicly.”
Elder Renlund spoke of the “infuriating unfairness” of the world but testified that “in the eternities, Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ will resolve all unfairness.”
Each child of God’s journey, Elder Andersen testified, did not begin “as the first flow of earth’s air came rushing” into their lungs, and it will not end when they take their last breath of mortality. “May we welcome [each spirit child of God], safeguard them and always love them,” Elder Andersen said.
Two General Authority Seventies who were called last April — Elder Jorge T. Becerra and Elder Thierry K. Mutombo — gave their first general conference addresses, which were prerecorded and delivered in remotely.
“In each ward and branch we need everyone – those who may be strong and those who are struggling. All are necessary and vital to the edification of the entire body of Christ,” Elder Becerra said.
President Russell M. Nelson has invited all to “keep on the covenant path” and follow the Savior, he said. For those who have stepped off the path, please come back. There is a place prepared for all in the Lord’s Church.
While Elder Mutombo was growing up, he lived with his family in a home that “was not only small in size but it was a dark place.” After meeting with the missionaries and being baptized, his family adopted a new lifestyle centered on the gospel of Jesus Christ and “truly became a family.”
“Jesus Christ is the light that we should hold up even during the dark times of our mortal life (3 Nephi 18:24). When we choose to follow Christ, we choose to be changed,” he said.
Music for the session was prerecorded by the Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square with directors Mack Wilberg and Ryan Murphy and included selections such as “Guide Us, O Thou Great Jehovah,” “If I Listen with My Heart,” and “Rejoice, the Lord Is King.”