Through orderly, continuous succession of priesthood keys, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints never will be left without the authority necessary to administer the kingdom on earth. That is a comforting, inspiring and glorious truth that was manifest once again by the 178th Annual General Conference.

Perhaps Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve said it best when he prefaced his talk on Sunday afternoon by giving thanks for being able to witness the "settling of a sacred prophetic mantle" on the shoulders of President Thomas S. Monson.

Past prophets have led the Church with energy, remarkable insights and inspiration, serving for various lengths of time. Each, at his death, has left an aching void among Church members who had grown to love them and rely on their counsel. But there can be no doubt that President Monson is the man the Lord has called to lead the Church at this time. God has not left His people alone.

General conference always is a time of spiritual edification; a time for members to gather strength from the inspired counsel of leaders who receive revelation from the Lord for the good of the Church. This conference, however, was a special spiritual feast.

Saturday morning's solemn assembly allowed each member of the Church a chance to lift his or her arm to the square and sustain a new prophet and First Presidency. This exercise, done individually by members of priesthood quorums, the Relief Society and Young Women organization, was a solemn and sacred experience. It was an opportunity not only for Church members to outwardly display their sustaining support for the Church's leadership, but for each person to feel the strength of a worldwide Church coming together in unity and purpose.

No matter where a person might have been, he or she could imagine hosts of millions, standing in diverse places throughout the world, raising their arms to the square.

The Lord has said, "I say unto you, be one; and if ye are not one ye are not mine" (Doctrine and Covenants 38:27). The solemn assembly was a memorable expression of unity.

This unity is essential in order for the Church to remain a bulwark against false teachings, as well as a place where precious truths and saving ordinances can be bestowed. A century ago, President Joseph F. Smith spoke of the character of the men the Lord will choose to lead the Church when he said, "The presiding quorums of the Church will always be composed of such men, they will be chosen in such manner, that the saints can be assured that solid wisdom, righteousness, and conscientious adherence to duty, will characterize the policy of those who are entrusted with the administration of the affairs of the Church" (Gospel Doctrine, Deseret Book).

That prophetic wisdom has been manifest again. It gives members a calm assurance that Church leadership never will lead them astray.

This wisdom, righteousness and adherence to duty was evident again in the calling of Elder D. Todd Christofferson as the newest member of the Quorum of the Twelve, and in numerous other callings announced. Elder Christofferson has been a member of the Presidency of the Seventy for 10 years and was sustained to the First Quorum of the Seventy 15 years ago. He has a lifetime record of honorable service to the Church.

President Monson, who spoke eloquently of the humility he feels as he assumes the leadership of the Church, is now being upheld by the united confidence, faith, and prayers of Church members worldwide. All those who stood to sustain him and his counselors must put that sacred covenant into action by following their counsel.