For behold, thus said Jesus Christ, the Son of God, unto his disciples who should tarry, yea, and also to all his disciples, in the hearing of the multitude: Go ye unto all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature;. . .

- Mormon 9:22By now it should have become readily apparent that each general conference can be viewed as another milestone in the continuing growth and development of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as an international institution with a worldwide message.

This growth and development can be seen not only in conference reports on total membership - now at 7,760,000 - but also in the calling of new LDS general authorities to handle the increasing workload.

As new general authorities are called from more and more parts of the globe, it should be increasingly clear that no community or country has a monopoly on extremely able, highly spiritual leaders, but that such choice people are to be found everywhere.

Likewise, as the gospel of Christ is spread to all mankind, including parts of the world with governments that are at times cruel and aggressive, the Savior's followers face a growing challenge to learn to love people everyone just as the Master himself loves them.

Such, at least, are a few of the conclusions that can be drawn just from Saturday's opening session of the 161st Annual General Conference of the LDS Church.

This session saw the calling of six new general authorities and the transfer of five members of the Second Quorum of the Seventy to the First Quorum of the Seventy. Among these, 11 are from Colombia, England, Mexico and Canada.

Newly called to the Second Quorum of the Seventy, a five-year assignment, were Julio E. Davila, Graham W. Doxey, Cree L. Kofford, Joseph C. Muren, Dennis B. Neuenschwander and Jorge O. Rojas. Transferred from the Second Quorum of the Seventy to the First Quorum were Elders Monte J. Brough, Harold G. Hillam, L. Lionel Kendrick, Alexander B. Morrison and L. Aldin Porter.

Even more diverse than the nationalities of these men is their professional backgrounds, which include science, education, dentistry, business and law.

But more important than the diverse backgrounds and impressive talents that these outstanding individuals bring to their challenging new assignments are the common traits they all share: the ability to keep growing personally by continued learning, the demonstrated capacity to handle heavier responsibilities through their mastery of many previous church assignments, their willingness to put the Lord's errand first, their demonstrated love of God through unstinting service to his children throughout the Earth.

Likewise, more important than even the increasing spread of Christ's gospel throughout the Earth is increasing spirituality on the part of his followers and the increasing unity that Jesus demands of all his disciples. Such unity can come only from full obedience to all the truths of salvation.

Finally, the changes and achievements outlined Saturday on Temple Square represent not a plateau on which to rest, but a new foundation on which to keep building toward greater peace, both individually and internationally, through greater and greater righteousness.