As the membership of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints keeps growing at a phenomenal rate, so does the burden on its general authorities.

That growth and part of the vigorous response to it were again evident this weekend during the 158th annual General Conference of the church on Temple Square in Salt Lake City.With the callings of Robert E. Sackley of Bow Island, Alberta, Canada and L. Lionel Kendrick of Greenville, N.C. to the First Quorum of the Seventy, the membership of that body was brought to 63.

Each new member brings to the quorum his own, unique gifts of the spirit. Elderly Sackley, currently serving as president of the church's mission in Lagos, Nigeria, was president of Medicine Hat College in Alberta before his retirement in 1979. Elder Kendrick was professor of health education and director of the regional training center of East Carolina University until he was called in 1985 as president of the church's mission in Tampa, Fla.

At the same time, the new members share with all their associates on the quorum a common goal that of proclaiming the gospel throughout the world.

World-wide responsibilities are also shared by the newly-called General Presidency of the Primary Association: Michaelene Packer Grassli, president; Betty Jo Jepsen, first counselor; and Ruth Broadbent Wright, second counselor.

Those responsibilities are to be measured by more than just the fact that the new presidency will be directing the work of more than 200,000 adult Primary leaders. More important, the new presidency will help to shape the characters of the more than 800,000 children involved in the Primary program around the world.

From the ranks of these children eventually come new leaders of the LDS Church and its auxiliaries, as well as new parents and leaders in all walks of life.

To the outgoing presidency Dwan J. Young and her counselors Virginia B. Cannon and Michaelene P. Grassli the Deseret News joins many others in expressing gratitude for their service.

To the new Primary presidency and to the new members of the First Quorum of the Seventy, we extend our congratulations on their new responsibilities together with admiration for the selfless service this involves. By shaping the lives of young and old alike through the gospel, they truly help to shape a better future.