President Joseph Fielding Smith said: “There is no mystery about the choosing of the successor to the President of the Church. The Lord settled this a long time ago, and the senior apostle automatically becomes the presiding officer of the Church, and he is so sustained by the Council of the Twelve which becomes the presiding body of the Church when there is no First Presidency” (Doctrines of Salvation, comp. Bruce R. McConkie, 3 vols. [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1954-56], 3:156). — Come Unto Me, Relief Society Personal Study Guide 3, 1991, p. 70
President Spencer W. Kimball noted: “It is reassuring to know that [a new president is] not elected through committees and conventions with all their conflicts, criticisms, and by the vote of men, but [is] called of God and then sustained by the people. . . .
“The pattern divine allows for no errors, no conflicts, no ambitions, no ulterior motives. The Lord has reserved for himself the calling of his leaders over his church” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1972, p. 28; or Ensign, Jan. 1973, p. 33). — Come Unto Me, Relief Society Personal Study Guide 3, 1991, p. 71