Gerry Avant, Deseret Morning News
President Thomas S. Monson is greeted by Jack Hepworth, left, and brother Robert Monson at a ward reunion. President Monson was assigned to be a bishop when he was 22 years old.

On the role and responsibilities of a bishop:

"Theirs is a sacred trust. Frequently, that which counts the most is recorded least. The visit to the elderly, the blessing to the sick, the comfort to the weary, the food to the hungry may not be recorded here, but I am convinced that they are known above and that we are guided in such ministrations....

"Every bishop needs a sacred grove to which he can retire to meditate and to pray for guidance. Mine was our old ward chapel.

"I could not begin to count the occasions when on a dark night at a late hour, I would make my way to the stand of this building where I was blessed, confirmed, ordained, taught and eventually called to preside. The chapel was dimly lighted by the streetlight in front; not a sound would be heard, no intruder to disturb.

"With my hand on the pulpit, I would kneel and share with him above my thoughts, my concerns, my problems." (At a time when fresh produce, in particular, was very difficult to come by.)

"My prayer that night is sacred to me. I pleaded that these widows were the finest women I knew in mortality, that their needs were simple and conservative, that they had no resources on which they might rely.

"The next morning, I received a call from a ward member, a proprietor of a produce business. 'Bishop,' he said, 'I would like to send a semitrailer filled with oranges, grapefruit and bananas to the bishops' storehouse to be given to those in need. Could you make arrangements?"'

General conference, October 1980