The First and The Final General Conference Talks by
the Presidents of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Some presidents made final remarks to conclude the conferences. Technically those would be their "final" talks but were brief testimonies or thank yous. For this page I chose their last full addresses. However, some of the final remarks had really good content, so in those cases I included them also. Most of the talks came from general assembly sessions, unless specified. The pictures in the articles don't necessarily reflect the age of the president at the time the talk was given. I included some younger pics just for fun.
Thomas S. Monson
Born: August 21, 1927
Called As Church President: January 2008
Sustained as President: April 2008
President Thomas Monson's first talk
Gordon B. Hinckley
Born: June 23, 1910
Died: January 27, 2008
Served as Church President: March 1995 - January 2008
Sustained as President: April 1995
President Gordon Hinckley's first talk
President Gordon Hinckley's final address
Given 3 months before his death.
Howard W. Hunter
Born: November 14, 1907
Died: March 3, 1995
Served as Church President: May 1994 - March 1995
Sustained as President: October 1994
Unfortunately, President Hunter only presided over one General Conference before he was diagnosed with and quickly succumbed to cancer. I used his Priesthood Session talk as his first and his concluding talk as his final talk.
President Howard Hunter's Priesthood Session talk
President Howard Hunter's final talk, given 5 months before his death.
Ezra Taft Benson
Born: August 4, 1899
Died: May 30, 1994
Served as Church President: November 1985 - May 1994
Sustained as President: April 1986
President Benson spoke at every conference until his health declined in 1989. He presided over two more conferences, speaking personally at one and then having someone read his prepared remarks at the other. Unfortunately his health deteriorated to the point where he was unable to attend another conference. I've posted the last talk he was personally able to give as his "last talk", and his last prepared talk read by proxy as his "final talk".
President Ezra Benson's first talk
President Ezra Benson's last talk
given before his health failed.
President Ezra Benson's final prepared talk
Read by his 2nd Counselor, President Thomas S. Monson.
He died 5 years later.
Spencer W. Kimball
Born: March 28, 1895
Died: November 5, 1985
Served as Church President: December 1973 - November 1985
Sustained as President: April 1974
Toward the end of his life, President Kimball's health declined to where he couldn't personally address the conference attendees. So occasionally he would prepare talks to be read on his behalf. Fortunately, despite being unable to speak, he was able to attend most of the conferences up until his death. I included President Kimball's last talk he gave and the last talk someone gave for him.
President Spencer Kimball's first talk
President Spencer Kimball's last address he personally gave
before his health declined.
President Spencer Kimball's final prepared talk
Read by his personal secretary D. Arthur Haycock.
He died 3 years later.
Joseph Fielding Smith
Born: July 19, 1876
Died: July 2, 1972
Served as Church President: January 1970 - July 1972
Sustained as President: April 1970
President Joseph Fielding Smith's First Talk
President Joseph Fielding Smith's final full address
President Joseph Fielding Smith's closing remarks
He died 3 months later.
David O. McKay
Born: September 8, 1873
Died: January 18, 1970
Served as Church President: April 1951 - January 1970
Sustained as President: April 1951
President David McKay's First Talk
President George Albert Smith had just died two days before this conference.
President David McKay's Last Conference Talk he had personally given
President David McKay's Final Prepared Talkread by his son, Robert McKay.
President McKay died 3 months later.
George Albert Smith
Born: April 4, 1870
Died: April 4, 1951
Served as Church President: May 1945 - April 1951
Sustained as President: October 1945
President George Smith's First Talk
President George Smith's Final Talk
Given 6 months prior to his death, which was 2 days before the next General Conference was to commence.
Heber J. Grant
Born: November 22, 1856
Died: May 14, 1945
Served as Church President: November 1918 - May 1945
Sustained as President: April 1919
President Heber Grant's First Talk
President Heber Grant's Final Talk
Given 37 days before his death.
Joseph F. Smith
Born: November 13, 1838
Died: November 19, 1918
Served as Church President: October 1901 - November 1918
Sustained as President: November 1901
President Lorenzo Snow had instructed President Smith to reorganize The First Presidency immediately following his death, rather than delaying a few years as had been the practice. A special solemn assembly conference was held in November 1901 to sustain President Smith. Subsequent church presidents would continue the practice of promptly reorganizing the First Presidency in the days following the deceased president's funeral. The new president would then be sustained by the body of the church during the next general conference.
President Joseph F. Smith's First Talk
Given during a special solemn assembly conference held in November 1901 held in response to President Snow's death 4 days after the regular October 1901 conference.
President Joseph F. Smith's Last Talk
President Joseph F. Smith's Final Conference Remarks
Given 44 days before his death.
Born: April 3, 1814
Died: October 10, 1901
Served as Church President: September 1898 - October 1901
Sustained as President: October 1898
As instructed directly by The Savior, Jesus Christ, in the Salt Lake Temple, Lorenzo Snow was the first president to reorganize the First Presidency immediately following the death of the previous prophet. Prior to this when a president died, the Quorum of Twelve Apostles would govern the church for several years until they felt impressed to reorganize the First Presidency.
President Lorenzo Snow's Opening Comments
Given at his first conference as President.
President Lorenzo Snow's first talk as President
President Lorenzo Snow's Final Conference Talk
Given 4 days before his death.
Born: March 1, 1807
Died: September 2, 1898
Served as Church President: July 1887 - September 1898
Sustained as President: April 1889
President Wilford Woodruff's First Talk
Given after officially becoming LDS Church President.
President Wilford Woodruff's Final Talk
Given 5 months before he died.
Born: November 1, 1808
Died: July 25, 1887
Served as Church President: August 1877 - July 1887
Sustained as President: October 1880
The church didn't start publishing Conference Reports on a regular basis until 1897. Before that conference minutes and announcements were published and a few talks were transcribed from a stenographer's notes. For Presidents Taylor and Young I searched through their collections of published discourses and found full conference addresses that had been transcribed and published at the approximate times conferences would have been held when their presidencies began and concluded.
For the last 3 years of his presidency (and life), John Taylor had been operating the church while in exile, avoiding prosecution by the U.S. Government for polygamy. For his last talk I used one from the last conference I could find that he attended.
President John Taylor's First Talk
Given after officially becoming LDS Church President.
President John Taylor's Final Talk (I could find)
Given 3 years before his death.
Born: June 1, 1801
Died: August 29, 1877
Served as Church President: August 1844 - August 1877
Sustained as President: December 1847
After the martyrdom of Joseph Smith in 1844, Brigham Young lead the church from his calling as President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. President Young was formally sustained as LDS Church President during a conference held in December 1847 at Council Bluffs, Iowa. I could only find minutes and events recorded during that conference, so I wasn't able to use his actual first talk. Instead, I chose his earliest recorded full discourse that I could find after his sustaining. For his last talk I chose a published discourse he gave at a conference shortly before his death, but I can't guarantee it was his absolute final talk.
President Brigham Young's Earliest Recorded Conference Talk
Given after being sustain as LDS Church President.
President Brigham Young's Last Recorded Conference Talk
Given 4 months before his death.
Born: December 23, 1805
Died: June 27, 1844
Served as Church President: April 1830 - June 1844
Sustained as President: April 1830
Most of Joseph's recorded talks and sermons came from members' journals and diaries. Detailed transcripts of his addresses weren't kept until the 1840's and were published in portions in church newspapers. Rather than piece a talk together from various topics Joseph spoke about, I used a full recorded address of his he gave in 1840. His last recorded conference talk I found was his famous "King Follett Sermon", given at the funeral of King Follett during Joseph's last conference. Just for fun I also included the last public sermon Joseph gave before his murder at Carthage.
Joseph Smith's 1840 General conference talk
"The King Follett Sermon"
President Joseph Smith's Last General Conference talk, given 2 months before his martyrdom.
"The Christian Godhead - Plurality of Gods"
President Joseph Smith's Final Public Address as LDS Church President, given 11 days before his martyrdom.