President Wallace B. Smith on April 8, 1980, presented this inspired document to the councils, quorums, and orders of the church and to the World Conference as expressing the divine will for the church. It was on that basis that the Conference accepted it and authorized its inclusion in the Doctrine and Covenants.
Clifford A. Cole, Donald V. Lents, and Aleah G. Koury are honorably released from the Council of Twelve: Cole to ministries of teaching and writing, and the latter two to serve in the Order of Evangelists.
The three vacancies in the apostolic council are to be filled by Bishop Kisuke Sekine of Okinawa; Everett S. Graffeo, Campus Minister at Graceland College; and Blue Valley Stake President Kenneth N. Robinson, a native of Australia.
The Council of Twelve is commended for its ministries of outreach, and encouraged toward even more creative and effective evangelistic endeavors. The Presiding Bishopric is indicated as playing a central role in the continuing redefinition of concepts of stewardship as personal and corporate response to God's grace and love.
Church leaders--"all who labor in the field"--are promised the confidence of the membership commensurate with the degree of sacrificial devotion they bring to their ministry. The body of Christ is called to a life of courage, hope, and faith in order that a more adequate proclamation of the gospel might ensue. The indwelling of the Spirit is surely to be the mark of those who "support one another in love."
President Smith introduced the document with this explanatory paragraph:
"With the needs of the church and its work constantly before me, I have sought frequently, prayerfully, and expectantly for direction concerning those needs. My earnest desire is always that, to the extent I am enlightened by the Holy Spirit, I might discern what God desires for the church and then have the strength and courage to convey that understanding to the church. In that spirit I humbly but confidently present the following as representing the divine will."
To the Councils, Quorums, and Orders of the Church and to the General Conference:
[Sec 154:1] It is my will that Clifford A. Cole be honorably released from his duties in the Council of Twelve Apostles. His calming spirit and reasoned approach many times have been a great blessing, especially in his role as president of the council. He should now be relieved of the burdens of the office of apostle to serve under the direction of the First Presidency, especially in the areas of teaching and writing by which, among his many other skills, the church has greatly benefited over the years.
[Sec 154:2a] Donald V. Lents and Aleah G. Koury are also relieved of their responsibilities as apostles in my church. Both have labored diligently, often under considerable hardship and conditions of discomfort. They are commended for their years of service which for Apostle Lents extend over the administrations of three presidents of the church.
[Sec 154:2b] Both are called and, if willing, should be ordained as patriarchs and take their place in the Order of Evangelists--Apostle Koury, if chosen, serving as secretary of the order.
[Sec 154:3] To fill the vacancies in the Council of Twelve Kisuke Sekine, Everett S. Graffeo, and Kenneth N. Robinson are called from their present responsibilities to be apostles in my church. They should be ordained as soon as practicable and take their places in the apostolic quorum.
The Spirit saith further by way of instruction:
[Sec 154:4a] The Council of Twelve Apostles should continue to pursue the strategies and methods by which the missionary work may be promoted and my gospel most meaningfully communicated to the world. As the chief missionary quorum they are encouraged to devote sufficient time to this task that they may develop a unity of purpose concerning the missionary work and go forth in great power to witness of me.
[Sec 154:4b] The brethren of the council are also commended for their collective stewardship in the identifying, evaluating, and recommending of missionary development projects. The opportunities for such outreach are limitless; however, because of the limited resources which are available for such projects, every effort should be made to assure that these resources are expended in the areas of greatest evangelistic potential.
[Sec 154:5a] The Presiding Bishop and his counselors are encouraged to continue to seek ways of effecting a greater understanding of the meaning of the stewardship of temporalities as a response to my grace and love so that the understanding of the principle may stir the hearts of the people as never before.
[Sec 154:5b] Redefinition of terms within the basic law of temporalities, for clarification and to meet the needs of a growing church, is in harmony with my will. However, let this be done with due deliberation and with full consent of the body after sufficient study and discussion, all to the end that the people may come to provide more fully and joyfully for the great work to which all are called.
[Sec 154:6] Likewise, it is the responsibility of all who labor in the field, either by general church appointment or otherwise, to continue always to be aware of the need to render unreserved and fully accountable service--"good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over." As they do so, there will be a confidence inspired and a desire to respond engendered in those who look to my servants for leadership.
[Sec 154:7a] Be of good cheer, O my people. Neither be discouraged by uncertainties nor disheartened by the seeming lack of understanding on the part of some regarding the kingdom-building task. If you will move out in faith and confidence to proclaim my gospel my Spirit will empower you and there will be many who respond, even in places and ways which do not now seem clear.
[Sec 154:7b] Support one another in love, confident that my Spirit will be with you even as I have gone before you and shown you the way.
Wallace B. Smith
President of the Church
Independence, Missouri, April 8, 1980