I feel humble, beyond any language with which God has endowed me to express it, in standing before you here this morning, occupying the position in which you have just voted to sustain me. I recall standing before an audience in Tooele, after having been sustained as president of that stake, when I was a young man twenty-three years of age, pledging to that audience the best that was in me. I stand here today in all humility, acknowledging my own weakness, my own lack of wisdom and information, and my lack of the ability to occupy the exalted position in which you have voted to sustain me. But as I said as a boy in Tooele, I say here today: that by and with the help of the Lord, I shall do the best that I can to fulfil every obligation that shall rest upon me as President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, to the full extent of my ability. I will ask no man to be more liberal with his means, than I am with mine, in proportion to what he possesses, for the advancement of God’s Kingdom. I will ask no man to observe the Word of Wisdom any more closely than I will observe it. I will ask no man to be more conscientious and prompt in the payment of his tithes and his offerings than I will be. I will ask no man to be more ready and willing to come early and to go late, and to labor with full power of mind and body, than I will labor, always in humility. I hope and pray for the blessings of the Lord, acknowledging freely and frankly, that without the Lord’s blessings it will be an impossibility for me to make a success of the high calling whereunto I have been called. But, like Nephi of old, I know that the Lord makes no requirements of the children of men, save he will prepare a way for them, whereby they can accomplish the thing which he has required. With this knowledge in my heart, I accept the great responsibility, without fear of the consequences, knowing that God will sustain me as he has sustained all of my predecessors who have occupied this position, provided always, that I shall labor in humility and in diligence, ever seeking for the guidance of his Holy Spirit: and this I shall endeavor to do.
Just last Thursday I was sitting in the room in the Salt Lake Temple where the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve meet once each week. I gazed up at the wall which faces the First Presidency, and there I observed a portrait of each President of the Church. As my gaze moved from the Prophet Joseph right down through President Hinckley, I thought, “We have had great Presidents of this Church. Each one has guided us; his writings have stimulated us; his messages have inspired us. To show us the way, we have those whom the Lord has provided.” Some years ago I spoke here of the Presidents of the Church I have known, giving brief personal glimpses. Today I would like to mention each one in greater depth.