Thirteen years ago, on April 1, 1995, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints met in solemn assembly in the Salt Lake Tabernacle and sustained a new president of the church.Thomas S. Monson handled the business of the meeting. He reminded those assembled in the Tabernacle and those participating at other church locations via worldwide satellite broadcast:"This is an occasion of great significance for members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints throughout the world. We shall vote by quorums and groups. Wherever you are, you are invited to stand when requested and express by your uplifted hand whether you choose to sustain those whose names will be presented."The assembly sustained Gordon Bitner Hinckley as prophet, seer, revelator and president of the LDS Church, with Thomas Spencer Monson as first counselor and James Esdras Faust as second counselor in the First Presidency. The Quorum of the Twelve Apostles was sustained with new member Henry Bennion Eyring. The First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles were sustained as prophets, seers and revelators.The quorums and groups voting were the First Presidency; Quorum of the Twelve Apostles; the Seventy and Presiding Bishopric; patriarchs, high priests and elders; priests, teachers and deacons; Relief Society sisters; Young Women; and, finally, the entire congregation. The congregation as a whole then sustained the other general authorities and general officers of the church.On Oct. 10, 1880, President John Taylor became the first church president sustained in a solemn assembly held in the Salt Lake Tabernacle. Joseph Smith and his presidency were sustained in a solemn assembly in the Kirtland Temple on March 27, 1836, and Brigham Young and his presidency were first sustained Dec. 27, 1847, in the Kanesville Tabernacle at Council Bluffs, Iowa.The solemn assembly to sustain President Heber J. Grant was postponed from April to June 1919 because of the worldwide flu epidemic.President Hinckley was the 13th president of the church sustained in a solemn assembly in the Salt Lake Tabernacle.Members of the church look forward to a historic solemn assembly this weekend, when President Monson will be the first president of the church to be sustained in a solemn assembly held in the new Conference Center.While this weekend's solemn assembly likely will follow the general pattern of solemn assemblies held in the past, there have been slight variations in procedure over the years.Until 1986, when Ezra Taft Benson was sustained as president of the church, the priesthood was seated by quorums and groups in various areas of the Tabernacle. The first solemn assembly in which the Relief Society and Young Women of the church voted as separate groups was in 1995.While church members in earlier solemn assemblies were able to participate only by attendance in the Tabernacle, in recent years congregations around the world have participated via satellite broadcast, with stake presidencies observing the vote of the congregations. Beginning in 1945, church members listening to the proceedings of conference in their homes have been asked to sustain the new president wherever they may be.From time to time, priesthood leadership is also brought together to receive special instruction from the First Presidency of the church in another type of solemn assembly.Ancient Israel met in solemn assembly every year at the Feast of the Passover (Exodus 23:14-17; Deuteronomy 16:8, 16) and at the Feast of Tabernacles, also called the Feast of Booths, the Feast of Ingathering or Sukkot (Leviticus 23:33-36; Nehemiah 8:18). The dedication of Solomon's Temple took place during the solemn assembly at the Feast of Tabernacles (2 Chronicles 5:2-3, 7:9-11; 1 Kings 8).President Hinckley commented at the end of the solemn assembly in 1994 that sustained President Howard W. Hunter: "Thank you, brothers and sisters, for your sustaining vote and your faith and prayers. We feel that you have sustained us not only with your hands but also with your hearts. We urgently need your prayers and pray that you will continue to offer them in our behalf as your servants."For members of the church, sustaining church officers is not a passive act of casting a vote. Sustaining in a solemn assembly indicates a willingness to offer continued faith, prayers and support for the new church president.The solemn assembly will not be the only time church members will be asked to sustain the authorities of the church. A sustaining vote is taken at every general conference, as a part of stake conferences, and as a part of every ward or branch conference held in the church. As members regularly sustain the leadership of the church, they will have an opportunity to renew the commitments they will make in this weekend's solemn assembly.(Elder Jensen is a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy.)