Date: April 3rd, 1978
Location: Independence, Missouri
Background: In April 3 of the 1978 World Conference President W. Wallace Smith, acting on the requirements of Section 152:1a-1b, read a statement of resignation and instruction. By this he enabled the orderly transmittal of prophetic and presidential leadership to his son Wallace B. Smith. On Wednesday, April 5, President Smith stated to the Conference in business session that his letter of instruction would be printed in the Appendix of the Doctrine and Covenants.
To the World Conference:
It was my happy privilege to respond to the leadings of the Spirit which prompted me to bring the document to the church at the World Conference held here in the Auditorium during March and April of 1976, which is now included in the Doctrine and Covenants as Section 152. In that document Elder Wallace Bunnell Smith was named as Prophet and President-Designate and the one to succeed me in the office of Prophet, Seer, and Revelator and President of the High Priesthood and of the church. Also, there were certain other provisions in the document, i.e., “…during a period of spiritual preparation and study approximating two years,” and “…if he remain faithful…” Two years have passed since this document was presented to and acted on by the Conference for the church. It is my considered judgment, now sincerely expressed, that these two requirements have been met in a most admirable manner by the diligent application to duty of the Prophet-Designate. Another provision in the document calls for this matter to be considered by the delegates to the World Conference and “…through the process of common consent of the body of my church, he is to be chosen as president….” In conformity with the foregoing I hereby tender my resignation as prophet-president to become effective at the completion of the ordination of my successor. I now ask you to accept my resignation and to move as expeditiously as possible to implement the provisions contained in the 1976 document which was accepted as a revelation of the mind and will of God covering this very significant matter. Further, in recognition of their responsibility in former situations pertaining to the setting apart of the President of the High Priesthood, members of the Council of Twelve will preside, with the President of the Council in the chair, during the consideration of the content of this letter of resignation. If affirmative action is taken there will be an ordination service on Wednesday evening, April 5, to set apart Wallace B. Smith as the Prophet, Seer, and Revelator to succeed me in office. In the meantime and until the ordination has been completed, the Quorum of the Presidency under the direction of President W. Wallace Smith will continue to preside over the Conference. This letter of resignation and instruction is presented with profound feelings and mixed emotions. On the one hand, the relinquishing of detailed administrative responsibility sadden me. The past twenty years as your chosen spiritual leader have been full of experiences which run the gamut from extreme joy and pleasure found in giving service to God and his people wherever we found them, to that of unhappiness and grief at not being able to meet all the needs and solve all the problems we faced in trying to do the will of our heavenly Father. On the other hand, I am uplifted by the knowledge of the availability of one so well qualified whom I can support to succeed me. His availability and willingness to serve is a source of joy and contentment in which both my wife and I share. For both of us (although I don’t presume to speak for her in any ultimate sense) I say thank you for your loyal support during the time, since responding to a call from God, I have been permitted to serve you and the cause of the kingdom in this latter-day dispensation.
Yours in the bonds of the gospel,
W. Wallace Smith