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A look at the 1984 General Conference

A few years ago, I wrote about the conference session during which Thomas S Monson was sustained as an Apostle. It was in 1963.

Recently, I viewed the April 1984 conference session to refresh my memory on the day that President Russell M Nelson was sustained as an Apostle. I love to observe the process and see the video from the Tabernacle.

As I watched the video, I had a few other things jump out at me. I thought I’d share them as we prepare for the April 2019 conference coming up this weekend. This will be the 35th year for President Nelson as an Apostle.

A temple for Las Vegas

We’ve become accustomed to new temples being announced regularly in conference but that hasn’t always been the case. In the early 1980s, new temples were often announced the Wednesday prior to conference.

In the 1984 session, President Hinckley (who was the only attending member of the First Presidency) announced “the construction of five new temples, to be built in Bogotá, Colombia; San Diego, California; Portland, Oregon; Las Vegas, Nevada; and Toronto, Ontario, Canada.”

The Las Vegas Temple has been a special place of worship and peace for me for thirty years.

A new Young Women President sans counselors

During this same session of conference, Sister Ardeth Greene Kapp was called as the new President of The Young Women organization. The video shows as she is sustained and later makes her way up to the stand. It must have been an incredible day for her. President Hinckley mentions that “these calls have come just very recently—a matter of hours—to these women, and they will have more time to select their counselors and member of their boards.” That’s a lonely walk up by yourself.

Sister Kapp has had a lasting influence on the young women of the church and we have all benefited from her leadership. She is the President that developed and presented the powerful Young Women’s theme and values program. She also published the first Personal Progress book.

The year 1984 was a time when issues relating to women worldwide were of major concern. The voices of the world were asking, “What is a woman’s role? What is her identity?”

After prayerful study, faith and reflection, the Young Women’s theme and values program was presented to the Priesthood Executive Council. I shall never forget Elder Nelson’s response to the presentation: “We have had the diagnosis, but now we have the prescription.”


Sister Ardeth Greene Kapp (source)

I believe her inspired leadership and program played a large role in the many thousands of powerful sister missionaries we currently enjoy in the world.

Dallin H Oaks is called as an Apostle but is not there

Along with Russell M Nelson, Dallin H Oaks is sustained as an Apostle. However, Elder Oaks was not in attendance. He was in traveling and performing his duties as an Utah Supreme Court Justice. Elder Oaks tells the story of his call which happened just the night before:

On April 6, 1984, Utah Supreme Court Justice Dallin H. Oaks was preparing for a confidential meeting with the Public Broadcasting Service board of directors. It was 9:30 p.m., and he was eating dinner in a restaurant in Arizona when he received a phone call from President Gordon B. Hinckley, then of the First Presidency.
“He told me to call him back when I got to my hotel room,” President Oaks recalled. “I assumed he wanted to know about something that happened while I was at BYU or someone I knew there” (Church News, Apr. 1984).
Upon returning President Hinckley’s call, he heard the Church leader’s words—that the Lord had called him, Dallin Oaks, to be a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.
“I was stunned,” President Oaks has said of the experience. After “13 sleepless hours,” it was announced to the Church—while he was on an airplane traveling to his meeting in Chicago, Illinois—that he would be a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Church members sustained President Russell M. Nelson to the Quorum on the same day.
“When I got off the plane, I called home to see if it had really happened,” he recalled.


Elder Dallin H Oaks

What will this conference bring?

It is an exciting time to be a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. President Nelson says that “Things are going to move forward at an accelerated pace. … The Church is going to have an unprecedented future, unparalleled. We’re just building up to what’s ahead now.”

I believe him.