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The LDS Church will never be without a prophet and that prophet will never lead the church astray, a member of the church's First Presidency told a regional conference this week.

Gordon B. Hinckley, first counselor in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, on Sunday responded to a paper presented at the Sunstone Symposium in Salt Lake City two weeks ago.In the paper, Mormon feminist housewife Janice Allred said statements by President Hinckley that God never would allow the church to be led astray do not have a scriptural basis.

"She can present her paper until doomsday," President Hinckley said at a Tri-Stake Regional Conference at church-owned Ricks College, but God will see to it that the church will not be led astray.

In her paper, Allred said, "The scriptures do not give any unconditional promises that the church will never fail, although there are some conditional ones. The condition of the promises is obedience to God, not obedience to leaders."

People who have been taught to accept anything their leaders say without seeking spiritual confirmation are "easy to deceive," Allred said.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the only church whose members sing, "We Thank Thee, O God, For A Prophet," President Hinckley told those gathered from the church's Ashton, Driggs and St. Anthony stakes.

Following that prophet is the way to salvation, President Hinckley said. "Our peace, safety and salvation lie in following the prophet."

President Hinckley, who has worked with eight LDS presidents, said there was never a question among the church's apostles who would succeed President Ezra Taft Benson after he died May 29.

"We knew what to do," President Hinckley said, when the remaining 14 apostles met in the Salt Lake Temple after President Benson's death.

The quorum elected its senior member, President Howard W. Hunter, as the church's 14th president and prophet. President Hinckley said he and the other apostles "knew the Lord sustained (President Hunter's) life through a terrifying sickness for a reason."

President Hunter nearly died in May 1993 of complications from gall bladder surgery and was hospitalized as recently as January with an undisclosed ailment.