President Wallace B. Smith submitted the following document to the quorums, councils, and orders of the church, and to the World Conference, convened at Independence, Missouri, on April 3, 1984. Major aspects of the document centered in (1) the release of Apostle Charles D. Neff and the call of Geoffrey F. Spencer to the Council of Twelve, (2) the purposes of the temple in the Center Place, (3) analysis and fuller comprehension of priesthood calling and commitment to servant ministries, (4) opening the way for the full participation of the church's women in relation to those ministries, including priesthood, and (5) a reemphasis of the vital role of every member in bringing to pass the cause of Zion. The World Conference on April 5, 1984, voted acceptance of the document as God's will for the church, and provided for its inclusion in the Doctrine and Covenants.
President Smith included the following statement as an introduction to the document:
"As I have continued to seek for greater understanding of the divine will in my role as prophet of the church, the burdens of that office have not become easier. In seeking to address some of the difficult and potentially divisive issues facing the church today, I have found myself spending much time in prayer and fasting, importuning the Spirit on behalf of the church.
"Because of the nature of that which I am now presenting, I have sought over and over for confirmation. Each time the message has been impressed upon me again, consistently and steadily. Therefore, I can do no other than to bring what I have received, in all humility, and leave it in your hands, believing with full assurance that it does truly represent the mind and will of God."
To the Councils, Quorums, and Orders of the Church, to the World Conference, and to the Church:
[Sec 156:1] It is my will that Charles D. Neff be released from the Council of Twelve Apostles. His long association with the developing national churches, beginning with the Orient field in 1960, has been a great blessing to the church. Likewise, his leadership in the council, especially in regard to field organization and structure, has been of particular value in a time of expanding witness of my gospel. Now, in order to pursue his continuing interest in human and community development in emerging countries, he should be allowed to retire and be afforded the honor of superannuation.
[Sec 156:2] To fill the vacancy in the Quorum of Twelve, Geoffrey F. Spencer is called to be an apostle in my church. In this office and calling his strong pastoral sense and unique ministerial gifts will enrich the church, and he should be ordained without delay.
The Spirit prompts me to say further by way of guidance to the church:
[Sec 156:3] My servants have been diligent in the work of planning for the building of my temple in the Center Place. Let this work continue at an accelerated rate, according to the instructions already given, for there is great need of the spiritual awakening that will be engendered by the ministries experienced within its walls.
[Sec 156:4a] Indeed, these ministries shall be the means of great blessing for you, my people, if you will heed the counsel of my servants of the First Presidency who are rightly charged with the responsibility of developing the specific details of these ministries.
[Sec 156:4b] The priesthood offices already provided for in my church have always had the potential of supplying these blessings. Some of their functions, however, will be expanded and given additional meaning as the purposes of temple ministries are revealed more fully.
[Sec 156:5a] The temple shall be dedicated to the pursuit of peace. It shall be for reconciliation and for healing of the spirit.
[Sec 156:5b] It shall also be for a strengthening of faith and preparation for witness.
[Sec 156:5c] By its ministries an attitude of wholeness of body, mind, and spirit as a desirable end toward which to strive will be fostered.
[Sec 156:5d] It shall be the means for providing leadership education for priesthood and member.
[Sec 156:5e] And it shall be a place in which the essential meaning of the Restoration as healing and redeeming agent is given new life and understanding, inspired by the life and witness of the Redeemer of the world.
[Sec 156:6] Therefore, let the work of planning go forward, and let the resources be gathered in, that the building of my temple may be an ensign to the world of the breadth and depth of the devotion of the Saints.
The following is also presented as the voice of the Spirit:
[Sec 156:7a] Hear, O my people, regarding my holy priesthood. The power of this priesthood was placed in your midst from the earliest days of the rise of this work for the blessing and salvation of humanity.
[Sec 156:7b] There have been priesthood members over the years, however, who have misunderstood the purpose of their calling. Succumbing to pride, some have used it for personal aggrandizement.
[Sec 156:7c] Others, through disinterest or lack of diligence, have failed to magnify their calling or have become inactive.
[Sec 156:7d] When this has happened, the church has experienced a loss of spiritual power, and the entire priesthood structure has been diminished.
[Sec 156:8a] It is my will that my priesthood be made up of those who have an abiding faith and desire to serve me with all their hearts, in humility and with great devotion.
[Sec 156:8b] Therefore, where there are those who are not now functioning in their priesthood, let inquiry be made by the proper administrative officers, according to the provisions of the law, to determine the continuing nature of their commitment.
[Sec 156:9a] I have heard the prayers of many, including my servant the prophet, as they have sought to know my will in regard to the question of who shall be called to share the burdens and responsibilities of priesthood in my church.
[Sec 156:9b] I say to you now, as I have said in the past, that all are called according to the gifts which have been given them. This applies to priesthood as well as to any other aspects of the work.
[Sec 156:9c] Therefore, do not wonder that some women of the church are being called to priesthood responsibilities. This is in harmony with my will and where these calls are made known to my servants, they may be processed according to administrative procedures and provisions of the law.
[Sec 156:9d] Nevertheless, in the ordaining of women to priesthood, let this be done with all deliberateness. Before the actual laying on of hands takes place, let specific guidelines and instructions be provided by the spiritual authorities, that all may be done in order.
[Sec 156:10] Remember, in many places there is still much uncertainty and misunderstanding regarding the principles of calling and giftedness. There are persons whose burden in this regard will require that considerable labor and ministerial support be provided. This should be extended with prayer and tenderness of feeling, that all may be blessed with the full power of my reconciling Spirit.
[Sec 156:11a] Dear Saints, have courage for the task which is yours in bringing to pass the cause of Zion. Prepare yourselves through much study and earnest prayer.
[Sec 156:11b] Then, as you go forth to witness of my love and my concern for all persons, you will know the joy which comes from devoting yourselves completely to the work of the kingdom. To this end will my Spirit be with you. Amen.
Wallace B. Smith
President of the Church
Independence, Missouri, April 3, 1984