President Joseph Smith died at Independence, Missouri, December 10, 1914. His oldest living son, Frederick Madison Smith, had been designated as his successor and was accepted by the church in this capacity. He was set apart as President of the Church and the High Priesthood at the Stone Church in Independence on May 5, 1915.
The Conference of 1915 had given consideration to the honorable release of Presiding Bishop E. L. Kelley, but referred any necessary action to the Presidency and Council of Twelve. President F. M. Smith reported the situation to a council of the Presidency, Council of Twelve, and Presiding Bishopric. By action of this council the text of the revelation was taken from the body of President F. M. Smith’s report and presented to the General Conference, where it was endorsed and approved for inclusion in the Doctrine and Covenants.
The matter of selecting one to succeed Bishop E.L. Kelley in the office of Presiding Bishop has received by me careful and prayerful consideration.
1 I am therefore now prepared to say that the voice of the Spirit to me is, that Bishop E. L. Kelley should be released from the responsibilities of Presiding Bishop, though he may act as traveling bishop, counseling and advising on the law of temporalities in harmony with his successor and the Presidency.
2 Let Benjamin R. McGuire be set apart and ordained Presiding Bishop of the church, and two of the brethren be set apart as counselors to him, one to be selected by him and supported by the conference, the other to be Bishop James F. Keir.
3a I admonish the church, and particularly those of the priesthood, that the hastening time being upon us there is great necessity for confidence in the men of the church chosen for positions of great responsibility,
3b and all should consecrate of their talents, abilities, and substance for the prosecution of the great work intrusted to us.
4 Everywhere the demand for great activity exists, and for the accomplishment of our work the great essential is fraternal cooperation in service to man and devoted consecration to God and his work.
Frederick M. Smith
Independence, Missouri, April 5, 1916