Sunday, April 5, 2009

Sunday Afternoon Session, 179th Annual LDS General Conference: A Renewed Push For Temple Attendance

Note: Full transcripts of all Conference addresses now available in English HERE.

While the 179th Annual LDS General Conference was the first conference in a while featuring no new temple announcements, the General Authorities more than compensated for it by issuing plaintive and repeated calls for an increase in temple activity. During the concluding Sunday afternoon session, no less than three speakers echoed this theme. KSL Channel 5 news video embedded below:

Video Courtesy of

Even blogging about conference from 4,000 miles away, I could feel a bit of the Spirit as I read the various reports and accounts posted on the Web. And even I felt a bit of regret to see the conference end. Conference weekend is actually a respite for many Latter-day Saints from the routine of weekly meetings, and is a time to recharge spiritual batteries. Many return with a renewed appreciation for the weekly routine, to include partaking of the sacrament, performing various callings, and attending to temple ordinances.

Messenger and Advocate provides the most detailed summaries once again, followed by Times and Seasons. The summaries posted below, from the Deseret News, are also replicated in the Mormon Times. Reading the summaries from all three of these sources will provide you with a complete picture of the talks until the Church releases the full transcripts later during the month.

-- Elder Dallin H. Oaks, Quorum of the Twelve: Service to others. We do not serve our Savior well if we fear man more than God. He rebuked some leaders in his restored church for seeking the praise of the world and for having their minds on the things of the earth more than on the things of the Lord. Those who are caught up in trying to save their lives by seeking the praise of the world are actually rejecting the Savior's teaching that the only way to save our eternal life is to love one another and lose our lives in service to others.
-- Elder David A. Bednar, Quorum of the Twelve: Temple attendance. There are those who should have but have not yet received the ordinances of the House of the Lord, as well as those who have received the ordinances but who have not returned in quite some time. Whatever the reason, however long the delay, make the spiritual preparation to receive the blessings available only in the holy temple. Repent, prepare and do whatever needs to be done so you can again worship in the temple and more fully remember and honor your sacred covenants. Please cast away the things in your life that stand in the way. Please seek after the things that are of eternal consequence.
-- Elder Gary E. Stevenson, Quorum of the Seventy: Temple attendance. The Bible Dictionary defines 'temple' as 'most holy of any place of worship on the earth', followed by this insightful statement, 'Only the home can compare with the temple in sacredness'. This suggests a sacred relationship between the temple and the home. Not only can we turn the doors of our homes to the temple, or the House of the Lord, we can also make our homes a house of the Lord.
-- Elder Jose A. Teixeira, Quorum of the Seventy: Gifts from God. In life's journey to return to and become more like our Father, we are not left alone. God has given us necessary gifts to help us. One gift that will help us navigate our lives is the gift he has given to all, the ability and power to choose. Additionally, as members of the church we have been given the gift of the Holy Ghost to protect, comfort and guide us. Another gift that will help us navigate our lives is the capacity to believe the words of those who testify of Jesus Christ.
-- Elder F. Michael Watson, Quorum of the Seventy: The wisdom of those who have gone before, coupled by those who are with us still, will be our guide if we let them have the reins.
-- Elder L. Tom Perry, Quorum of the Twelve: How to be 'member missionaries'. Full-time missionaries currently spend more time trying to find people rather than teach them. If ordinary members did more finding for the full-time missionaries, this would free them up to spend more time teaching the people we find. And what should we, as member missionaries, declare? Three things, in the following order. First, declare our belief in Jesus Christ and His Atonement. Second, tell in our own words the story of the First Vision. And third, testify of the Book of Mormon, another Testament of Jesus Christ.
-- President Thomas S. Monson: Alarming are the abundant uses of the Internet for evil and degrading purposes — particularly pornography. Involvement in such will literally destroy the spirit. Be strong. Be clean. Avoid such degrading and destructive types of content at all costs — wherever they may be! I sound this warning to everyone, everywhere. I add — particularly to the young people — that this includes pornography images transmitted via cell phones.

See the following links for summarization of other sessions:

-- Saturday morning general session discussed HERE.
-- Saturday afternoon general session discussed HERE.
-- Saturday evening priesthood session discussed HERE.
-- Sunday morning general session discussed HERE.

But the benefits of conference aren't exclusively spiritual. There are material benefits as well, particularly for the merchants who cater to the conference traffic. Nearly all of the Salt Lake Valley's 17,000 hotel rooms filled up, the downtown streets were abnormally crowded, the restaurants were packed, and the Conference Center was filled to capacity. A public affairs spokesman for the LDS Church estimated that around 100,000 people attended conference. But the spokesman cautioned that's an unofficial estimate derived from a simple math calculation that multiplies the five official conference meetings by the 21,000 capacity of the Conference Center.

But it's the type of clientele that one doesn't mind having visit one's community. With this clientele, the main challenge for the police is to keep traffic organized.

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