SALT LAKE CITY -- A woman's place is in the home with her children, while husbands and fathers should be breadwinners, said the president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints during its general conference here last weekend.

In sessions attended by 6,000 people and viewed by many more via satellite, Mormon President Ezra Taft Benson praised obedient Mormons for staying true to their faith in the face of purported discoveries of documents, subsequently proved to be forged, that cast doubt on early church leaders.

Addressing the all-male priesthood of the 6.2 million-member church, Benson said, "The Lord clearly defined the roles of providing for and rearing a righteous posterity. In the beginning, Adam, not Eve, was instructed to earn the bread by the sweat of his brow."

Benson, U.S. secretary of agriculture during the Eisenhower administration, counseled young husbands still in school not to depend totally upon their wives for financial support -- especially if there are young children in the home. At the same time, he urged young married students not to delay starting their families on account of income problems.

When husbands insist on their wives working outside the home, "not only will the family suffer," Benson said, "but your own spiritual growth and progression will be hampered. I say to all of you, the Lord has charged men with the responsibility to provide for their families in such a way that the wife is allowed to fulfill her role as mother in the home."

During the Oct. 4 session, Gordon B. Hinckley, first counselor in the church's First Presidency, said only church members "of little faith" were shaken by the forgeries produced by Mark W. Hofmann.

Hofmann began making news several years ago with revelations about alleged historical documents that were inconsistent with Mormon history, including the so-called "salamander letters," which linked the church's founder to practice of folk magic.

Hofmann is in prison after pleading guilty to second-degree murder charges in the bombing deaths two years ago of two prominent Mormon leaders who he feared were about to unmask his widespread forgeries.

Hinckley recalled that when the "discovery" of the documents -- several of which the church purchased -- was first announced by the church five years ago, it was said they bore little significance in church history.

"But some people of little faith {who} seemingly are always quick to believe the negative, accepted as fact the predictions and pronouncements of the media," he said.

But Hinckley added that "the vast majority of church members, all but a very few, paid little attention and went forward with their church service, living by a conviction firmly grounded in that knowledge which comes by the power of the Holy Ghost."