Saturday, October 1, 2011

LDS 181st Semiannual Conference, Saturday Morning General Session: Five New Temples Announced

Note: All posts on the October 2011 181st Semiannual General Conference available HERE, with the most recent post appearing first.

The 181st Semiannual General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints began on Saturday October 1st, 2011. Midway through the first hour, President Thomas S. Monson arrived, and announced the Church's intention to construct five new temples: Provo, Utah; Barranquillia, Colombia; Durban, South Africa; Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo; and Star Valley, Wyoming. The proposed Paris Temple had been previously announced by the Church in July after the media first broke the story.

The second Provo Temple will be erected upon the ashes of the Provo Tabernacle; which explains why the Church purchased adjacent properties earlier in August. And the announcement of a Congo Temple is truly remarkable, considering that some parts of that country remain ungovernable to this day and that outbreaks of mass rape and murder in the eastern part still occur.

President Monson announces six new temples and program for temple patrons |

The summaries combine highlights from single reports on the session from the Salt Lake Tribune and KSL Channel 5 with individual LDS Church News stories on each speaker to provide a broader perspective. 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.

-- Elder Richard G. Scott, Quorum of the Twelve: Spoke on the power of scripture. Elder Scott described the scriptures as one of the tools to help us be successful in our mortal probation, and the key to opening the channel of communication with our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. Scriptures can communicate different meanings at different times during an individual's life, according to their needs; a scripture that someone may have read many times can take on a different meaning when a new challenge in life appears.

-- Sister Barbara Thompson, Second Counselor, Relief Society General Presidency: Spoke about personal revelation and testimony. Sister Thompson explained that personal revelation can manifest itself in many different forms, and will come as individuals study scriptures, listen to and follow the counsel of the prophets and other Church leaders, and seek to live faithful, righteous lives. But to receive personal revelation, we need to first sincerely desire to receive revelation, avoid hardening our hearts, and then we need to ask in faith, truly believing that we will receive an answer, and then diligently keep the commandments of God.

-- Elder L. Whitney Clayton, First Quorum of the Seventy: Elder Clayton told people that our most important message, which we are both divinely commissioned and commanded to take everywhere in the world, is that there is a Savior who atoned for our sins, was crucified, and was subsequently resurrected. That message of redemption, which we proclaim with authority from God, is the real reason for the continued growth of the Church. He also noted that those prophecies about the Church filling the world and being known worldwide are literally being fulfilled right before our eyes.

-- President Thomas S. Monson: Announced the five new temples. Reminded congregants that no Church-built facility is more important than a temple, noting that temples are places where relationships are sealed together to last through the eternities. President Monson also announced the creation of the General Patron Assistance Fund to provide financial assistance towards a one-time visit to the temple for those who otherwise would not be able to go to the temple. Any who might wish to contribute to this fund can simply write in the information on the normal contribution slip which is given to the bishop each month.

-- Elder Jose Luis Alonso, First Quorum of the Seventy: Elder Alonso spoke of the necessity of doing the right thing at the right time without delay, declaring it to be one of the best ways for us to emulate the Savior and, by extension, showing our love for our Heavenly Father. When there is someone in need, like a neighbor or friend, we should learn to instinctively think of what the right thing to do would be and when the right time to do it would be.

-- President Boyd K. Packer, President of the Quorum of the Twelve: As has been his tradition in the past, President Packer directed his counsel towards the youth in the Church once again. President Packer noted that although youth today are being raised in enemy territory with a declining standard of morality, that they will be protected and shielded from the attacks of the adversary if they will heed the promptings that come from the Holy Ghost. He reminded people that Lucifer was cast out into the earth and is determined to disrupt Heavenly father's plan, seeks to control the minds and actions of all and is abroad in the land. Having been forever denied the privilege of taking upon himself a tabernacle of flesh, Satan seeks to undermine and derail those who have taken up the challenges of mortality by persuading them to misuse and abuse the powers of procreation. President Packer counseled the youth to "Dress modestly; talk reverently; listen to uplifting music. Avoid all immorality and personally degrading practices. Take hold of your life and order yourself to be valiant. Because we depend so much on you, you will be remarkably blessed. You are never far from the sight of your loving Heavenly Father."

It should also be noted that this true champion for Christ celebrated his 50th year of service to the Church as a General Authority in September of this year.

-- President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency: President Uchtdorf took the occasion to remind people how much we matter to our Heavenly Father, noting that one of His primary purposes in creating the universe is so we might reach our potential as His sons and daughters. President Uchtdorf said disciples of Christ know a person's worth and value are not related to the things the world values and that no amount of currency in the world would allow them to buy a loaf of bread in the economy of heaven; to inherit the kingdom of God, a person must become like a child. He also warned that Satan seeks to deceive the children of God by discouraging them and endeavoring to make them believe they have no worth and are forgotten by all, including God. In closing, he put forth four principles, all of which are designed to drive home the fact that we always matter to our Heavenly Father regardless of how humble or degrading our personal circumstances might be.

Several unofficial LDS bloggers are discussing this session, including By Common Consent, Feminist Mormon Housewives, and an open thread on Millenial Star.

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