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Question

 

Gramps,

What is the difference between a general conference session and a solemn assembly?

Scott

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Answer

 

Scott,

A solemn assembly is usually held following the calling and setting apart of a new president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  This is normally held during a general conference session. It is also used for the dedication of temples and special instruction to priesthood leaders

David B. Haight made the following comments regarding solemn assemblies:  (Source)

“Today, we are witnesses to and participants in a most sacred occasion — a solemn assembly to act upon heavenly things,” As in olden times, there has been much fasting and prayer offered by the Saints throughout the world that they may receive an outpouring of the Spirit of the Lord, which is so much in evidence here on this occasion this morning.”

He went on to explain:

“A solemn assembly, as the name implies, denotes a sacred, sober, and reverent occasion when the saints assemble under the direction of the First Presidency. Solemn assemblies are used for three purposes: the dedication of temples, special instruction to priesthood leaders, and sustaining a new President of the Church. This conference session today is a solemn assembly for the purpose of sustaining a newly called church president and other officers of the church.”

David B. Haight also had this to say about the pattern of a solemn assembly:

There is a pattern to solemn assemblies that distinguishes them from other general Church meetings where we sustain officers of the Church. That pattern, which was established by the Prophet Joseph Smith, is that the priesthood quorums, commencing with the First Presidency, stand and manifest by the uplifted right hand their willingness to sustain the President of the Church as a prophet, seer, and revelator, and uphold him by their confidence, faith, and prayers. The priesthood quorums of the Church so manifest by their vote. Then the general body of all the Saints stand and signify their willingness to do the same. The other leaders of the Church are similarly sustained in their offices and callings.”   

So what about those who are unable to attend the solemn assembly in the conference center?  Gordon B. Hinckley who was a counselor at the time of Howard W. Hunter’s solemn assembly had this to say:

“We have now reached a point where many times the number seated in the Tabernacle are assembled in other church halls across the United States and Canada, as well as in other parts of the world,”  Furthermore, many are seated in their homes, listening to the conference. All of you, wherever you may be, are invited to participate in this solemn and sacred undertaking when we sustain a new president of the church together with other officers.”

 

In these present circumstances, it is considered unfeasible to seat by quorums those assembled in the Tabernacle and the many other halls. We shall, however, vote by quorums and groups. Wherever you are, you are invited to stand when requested and express by your uplifted hands whether you choose to sustain those whose names will be put before you.”

 

Gramps

 

 

 

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