Saturday, April 2, 2011

LDS 181st Annual Conference, Saturday Morning General Session: Three New Temples Announced, Keeping The Sabbath, And A Tribute To Women

The 181st Annual General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints began on Saturday April 2nd, 2011, and the major highlight was the announcement of three new temples to be constructed. Another important issue was a renewed call to keep the Sabbath holy, and an inspiring tribute to the role of LDS women was delivered.

-- All posts about the 181st Annual General Conference, to include session reports, can be simultaneously displayed HERE, with the most recent post displayed first.

Video and audio archives will be posted on the Conference Page as soon as they are available; official written transcripts of each address will be posted on the LDS website in about a week from now. In the interim, LDS Church News is providing news stories on the speakers and the counsel delivered; click on the speaker's name below to go directly to the Church News story.

President Thomas S. Monson: Announced the intention to construct three new temples in Meridian, Idaho; Fort Collins, Colorado; and Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. Discussed the Church's efforts in providing humanitarian aid, noting that have distributed over 70 tons of supplies, including food, water, blankets, bedding, hygiene items, clothing and fuel, and that over 40,000 hours of service have been donated by more than 4,000 volunteers. Revealed that in the year 2010, there were 52,225 missionaries serving in 340 missions throughout the world, and solicited additional support for them through contributions to the General Missionary Fund. Additional media stories on this from KSL Channel 5, the Deseret News, and the Salt Lake Tribune. More after the jump.

Elder L. Tom Perry, Quorum of the Twelve: Discussed the Sabbath. Reminded people that the pattern of Sabbath day observance must always include worship, and that partaking of the sacrament is the center of our Sabbath day observance. Noted that the three things the Lord requires of us on the Sabbath is to first, to keep ourselves unspotted from the world; second, to go to the house of prayer and offer up our sacraments; and third, to rest from our labors.

Sister Jean A. Stevens, First Counselor Primary General Presidency: Emphasized the many things that can be learned from children. Noted that Jesus Christ Himself taught us to look to children as examples; children tend to be the first to love and the first to forgive. Challenged members to look around at the children in their lives, and follow their example.

Elder Walter F Gonzalez of the Presidency of the Seventy: In order to pattern lives after the Savior and be followers of Christ, Elder Gonzalez suggested two characteristics to work on as a people. First, followers of Christ are loving people who follow Him because they love Him, and when they follow the Redeemer out of love, they are following His own example. Second, followers of Christ make and keep covenants. Members can best honor their covenants by loving the Savior, partaking of the sacrament and attending the temple.

Elder Kent F. Richards of the Quorum of the Seventy: Discussed the relationship between the Atonement and pain. Noted that pain is a gauge of the healing process, often teaching us patience. Explained that much of people's suffering is not necessarily their fault or may be a result of the actions of others. Opposition is part of Heavenly Father's plan of happiness. In addition to physical pain, spiritual pain can come from our sinful actions and lack of repentance; repentance is necessary to keep the Atonement operative in our lives.

Elder Quentin L. Cook, Quorum of the Twelve: Attempted to counteract the growing influence of feminism within LDS ranks by unequivocally declaring that LDS women are incredible. Emphasized that "Women are daughters of our Heavenly Father, who loves them. Wives are equal to their husbands. Marriage requires a full partnership where wives and husbands work side by side to meet the needs of the family." Noted that much of what is accomplished in the Church is due to the selfless service of women, and characterized the relationship between the priesthood and the Relief Society as "like a well-tuned orchestra and the resulting symphony inspires all of us". Suggested two principles to keep in mind; first, no woman should ever feel the need to apologize or to feel that her contribution is less significant because she is devoting her primary efforts to raising and nurturing children; and second, we should all be careful not to be judgmental or assume that sisters are less valiant if the decision is made to work outside the home.

It will be interesting to find out how the two leading LDS feminist blogs, The Exponent and Feminist Mormon Housewives, react to Elder Cook's address. If previous patterns hold, we will see a more measured and mature reaction from The Exponent.

President Henry B. Eyring, First Counselor in the First Presidency: Commemorated the 75th anniversary of the Church Welfare Program by inviting all members worldwide to plan and participate in a "Day of Service." Explained that although the official name associated with service has changed over the years — the Law of Consecration, the United Order or the current name of the Church Welfare Program — the principles remain the same. Noted that the principles at the foundation of the Church Welfare Program are not merely for only one time or one place, but are for all times and places, and shared four principles to guide individuals in helping in the Lord's way. Mainstream media story on this published by the Salt Lake Tribune.

Speaking of the Bloggernacle, By Common Consent and Times and Seasons offer the best liveblog; other reaction being posted on The Fulness and Faith Promoting Rumor, an open thread on Milennial Star,

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