Saturday, October 3, 2009

LDS 179th Semiannual Conference, Saturday Morning General Session: Five New Temples, Consistency, Propriety, And The Holy Ghost

The 179th Semiannual General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints kicked off on Saturday October 3rd, 2009 with the announcement of five new temples, as well as the standard diet of counsel on how to minimize sin in one's life by addressing root causes. The appearance of propriety is just as important as propriety itself. The nation's growing obsession with pornography was also condemned.

The summaries combine highlights from a single report on the session from the Salt Lake Tribune with individual Deseret News stories on each speaker to provide a broader perspective. Official written transcripts of each address will be posted on the LDS website in about a week from now.

-- Summary of Saturday afternoon general session available HERE.
-- Summary of Saturday evening priesthood session available HERE.
-- Summary of Sunday morning general session available HERE.
-- Summary of Sunday afternoon general session available HERE.
-- Video and audio archives and written transcripts now available via the LDS 2009 Conference Page.

KSL news video embedded below:

Video Courtesy of

President Thomas S. Monson began the Saturday morning general session of the conference by announcing construction of five new temples, highlighting the dedication of two others, and acclaiming the miracles of communication technology and the growth of the Church. Read the full text of his address HERE. The five new temple locations are described below:

Click on the city name to view a map of the location:

(1). Brigham City, Utah: This will be the 14th temple in Utah. LDS members in the area will no longer need to choose between attending the Logan Temple to the east, or the Ogden Temple to the south.

(2). Concepcion, Chile: This will be the second temple in Chile, the first being the Santiago Chile Temple.

(3). Fortaleza, Brazil: This will be the seventh temple in Brazil. Five are currently in operation — Sao Paulo, Porto Alegre, Recife, Campinas, and Curitiba - with a sixth, in Manaus, announced in 2007.

(4). Fort Lauderdale, Florida: This will be the second temple in Florida, the other being in Orlando. The Ft. Lauderdale temple will serve members living throughout south Florida as well as the Bahamas.

(5). Sapporo, Japan: This will be the third temple in Japan and the first on the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido. The others are the Tokyo Japan Temple and the Fukuoka Japan Temple.

Milennial Star posts some interesting analysis about the proposed temple locations.

The LDS Church currently has 130 temples in operation worldwide, although operations at the Aba Nigeria Temple are temporarily suspended because of civil strife in the area. President Monson's announcement brings the total of additional temples either announced or under construction to 21. At present, 83 percent of LDS members worldwide live within 200 miles of a temple.

Next up was Elder Richard Scott, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve, spoke out at length about the Holy Ghost, characterizing it as a divinely appointed and invaluable form of assistance available to aid in navigating life's challenges. But Elder Scott also dsecribed various barriers to receiving the guidance of the Holy Spirit, including strong emotions such as anger, hate, passion, fear, or pride. But in particular, He singled out pornography for special attention, citing the addictive power and onslaught of pornography. "In all of its vicious, corroding, destructive forms [pornography] has caused grief, suffering, heartache, and destroyed marriages," Scott said. "It is one of the most damning influences on earth. ... And he singled out priesthood holders for special attention. Deseret News story HERE.

Sister Vicki F. Matsumori, second counselor in the Primary General Presidency, stressed the importance of helping people recognize inspiration from heaven. "I was the first member of my family to join the church," she said. "As an 8-year-old, I waited to feel somehow different because of my baptism. To be honest, the only thing I felt when I was brought out of the water was, well, dripping wet.". The following day, at a fast & testimony meeting, she experienced the influence of the Holy Ghost, describing it as a flood of warmth sweeping over her and conferring a tangible sense of inner peace. She mentioned three steps towards facilitating the recognition of the "whisperings of the Holy Spirit"; understand the doctrine, share personal testimony, and provide an environment where the Spirit can be felt. Deseret News story HERE.

Elder L. Whitney Clayton of the Presidency of the Seventy was not mentioned by the Tribune, but his remarks were described in this Deseret News story. He spoke about how the Lord can lighten life's burdens. Whether burdens are long or short, physical or emotional, heavy or light, all can be worrisome, oppressive and exhausting; but with the help of the Lord, they become manageable. Burdens can actually be blessings in disguise, and if we keep the commandments of God and our covenants, the Lord will help us with our burdens.

Elder Russell T. Osguthorpe, sustained in April 2009 as the General Sunday School president, also was not mentioned by the Tribune, but his remarks were described in this Deseret News story. He suggested that learning and teaching are not optional activities in the kingdom of God, characterizing them as the very means by which the gospel has been restored to the earth and by which we will gain eternal life. He also cited three elements of effective teaching, to include teaching appropriate doctrine, an invitation to live that principle, and a witness of the promised blessings.

Elder David A. Bednar, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve, focused on strengthening Mormon households. "Each family prayer, each episode of family scripture study and each family home evening is a brush stroke on the canvas of our souls," he said. "No one event may appear to be very impressive or memorable. But just as the yellow and gold and brown strokes of paint complement each other and produce an impressive masterpiece, so our consistency in doing seemingly small things can lead to significant spiritual results." He also cautioned members to beware of hypocrisy, identifying it a a cause of the greatest destruction within our homes. Deseret News story HERE.

President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, second counselor in the LDS First Presidency, cited the role of love as the compass that provides direction for the Church and its members on both sides of the veil, and also spoke about the image of church members throughout the world. "Although there will always be those who stereotype the church and its members in a negative way," he said, "most people think of us as honest, helpful and hard working.". Uchtdorf also urged members to become true disciples of Jesus Christ by following his commandments, and also urged members to be known as a people who love God with all our heart, soul and mind, and who love our neighbors as ourselves. Deseret News story HERE.

Several on the Bloggernacle are live-blogging or discussing the session, to include Times And Seasons, Feminist Mormon Housewives, and Temple Study. A specific critique of Elder Scott's address was later posted on the Juvenile Instructor. Numerous photos posted on By Common Consent.

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