Section 158: Letter of Comfort and Encouragement


Previous Editions

Looking for the earliest source!


Date Given: April 5, 1992

Date Canonized: April 7, 1992




After much prayerful consideration and inquiry regarding the divine will, I have received the full assurance of the Holy Spirit in regard to the following instructions pertaining to the general councils and quorums. I present them as representing the mind and will of God and ask that they be received by the Conference assembled and acted upon as soon as it is appropriate.

To the Councils, Quorums, and Orders, to the World Conference, and to the Church:


A. Alan D. Tyree is released from the Quorum of the First Presidency. After forty-two years as an appointee minister he should be allowed to retire, it being recognized that his gifts in artistic expression and worship leadership may well be called upon in the developing ministries of the Temple.

B. To fill the vacancy in the First Presidency, W. Grant McMurray is called into the full-time appointee ministry of the church and should be ordained as a counselor to the President of the High Priesthood and the church and as a member of the Quorum of the First Presidency. To assure a smooth transition in the functioning of the quorum, his ordination should be provided for as soon as practicable.


Duane E. Couey is released from the duties of presiding over the Order of Evangelists and should be allowed to retire, having served the church many years with wisdom, devotion, and great spiritual power.


Paul W. Booth is released from faithful service in the Council of Twelve Apostles. He is called to be an evangelist and, if willing, should be ordained as Presiding Evangelist of the church. As he functions in this office, his depth of insight and sensitivity will assist in bringing added meaning to the spiritual blessings available through the ministry of the evangelist.


William T. Higdon is also released from the Council of Twelve Apostles. He has served with loyalty and dedication as a special witness of the Lord Jesus. As a retired appointee, he will be free to devote his full time and energy to serving as President of Graceland College.


Kisuke Sekine is likewise released from the Council of Twelve Apostles. He should be retired honorably and may continue to minister as a high priest as time and circumstances allow.


To fill the vacancies in the Council of Twelve Apostles, David R. Brock, Lawrence W. Tyree, and Stephen M. Veazey are called from their present assignments to be apostles and should be ordained as special witnesses of Jesus Christ as soon as provision can be made within the body.


A. Gene M. Hummel is released from the office of Presiding Bishop. His valuable service, especially during the construction of the Temple in Independence, has been well recognized and he should be allowed to retire from his labors.

B. To fill this vacancy, Norman E. Swails is called to be Presiding Bishop of the church. His demonstrated skills, especially in the task of gathering resources for the Temple, have been a blessing to the church and he should be ordained without delay.


A. Ray E. McClaran is also relieved of his responsibilities as a counselor to the Presiding Bishop. He should continue to function as a bishop at large, utilizing his gifts, especially in counseling the Saints in the exercise of wise stewardship over their temporal resources, to the benefit of the church.

B. To complete the organization of the Presiding Bishopric, Larry R. Norris and Dennis D. Piepergerdes are called as counselors to the Presiding Bishop and should be ordained as expeditiously as possible.

The Spirit prompts me to say further regarding the great work in which we are engaged:


A. I have heard the prayers of you, my people, who cry out in anguish over conditions both in the world and in the church. These conditions harden the hearts of many and cause them to turn from me and from the work to which all are called.

B. Your concerns have been my concerns and your tears my tears as divisions, separations, reductions in participation, and limited resources have jeopardized the vigor of my body, the church. You, my people, are commended for the degree of faithful witness with which you have pursued the building up of the work in many places, despite temporary setbacks.


But know, dear Saints, the voice of doubt and the spirit of discouragement are strong and will continue to diminish your spiritual energy if you do not strive always to overcome them with a new outpouring of love and support for one another.


A. Therefore, continue to be strong in faith. To you who hear my voice and know my promises I will reveal myself and give my peace, even in the midst of your uncertainties.

B. Indeed, I am longing to pour out greater blessings than you have ever known if you, my people, will open yourselves through preparation, study, and prayer.

C. Look especially to the sacraments to enrich the spiritual life of the body. Seek for greater understanding of my purposes in these sacred rites and prepare to receive a renewed confirmation of the presence of my Spirit in your experiences of worship.


Your faith in progressing toward the completion of the Temple in Independence is pleasing to me. As my servants in the leading quorums and all the church together continue to seek for light and understanding regarding its ministries, my Spirit will fill you with joy and guide you into a new comprehension of the call to go into all the world, in my name and for the sake of the Kingdom.

Wallace B. Smith
President of the Church
Independence, Missouri
April 5, 1992