The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is continuing its 190th Annual General Conference at an undisclosed "small auditorium" in the Church Office Building in Salt Lake City on Sunday.
Members of the Church are gathering for a concluding afternoon session of the two-day conference to listen to sermons from church leaders. This session starts at 2 p.m. and follows this morning's session. A major takeaway from Sunday morning was President Nelson's announcement of a new proclamation to members in time of 'uncertainty, fear.'
The worldwide proclamation was the first in 25 years that the Church issued called, "The Restoration of the Fulness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ: A Bicentennial Proclamation to the World." It is the sixth proclamation in the Church's 190-year history and serves as general epistles to its members and non-members around the globe.
Elder Henry B. Eyring – Second Counselor, First Presidency –thanked all those that helped make the conference possible digitally and said the concluding speaker would be President Russell M. Nelson.
Nelson summarized the sessions and continued with the admonition that the "Come Follow, Me," program will be life-changing and then talked about temples.
He said there are 168 temples worldwide. Though he acknowledged it may be a strange time to announce new temples as they are all now closed in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, he said members can still draw upon the power of the temple by their endowments and covenants.
He advised members to talk about the temples and then announced 8 new temples would be built to include a temple in Shanghai, China, though missionaries will not be proselytizing there.
The list of the new temple sites are:
- Bahía Blanca, Argentina;
- Tallahassee, Florida;
- Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of the Congo;
- Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania;
- Benin City, Nigeria;
- Syracuse, Utah;
- Dubai, United Arab Emirates; and
- Shanghai, People’s Republic of China.
Following the temple announcement, Nelson said:
These eight new temples will bless the lives of many people on both sides of the veil of death. Temples are a crowning part of the Restoration of the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ. In God’s goodness and generosity, He is bringing the blessings of the temple closer to His children everywhere.
He concluded by issuing an apostolic blessing to all for peace, increasing faith in the Lord, the desire to repent and knowledge that Joseph Smith is the prophet of the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ and "healing consist with the will of the Lord."
Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles began his address about the restoration and the resurrection.
He said the restoration belongs to the world and confirmed:
But the Restoration is not only for those of us who rejoice in it today. The revelations of the First Vision were not for Joseph Smith alone but are offered as light and truth for any who “lack wisdom.”3 The Book of Mormon is the property of mankind. The priesthood ordinances of salvation and exaltation were prepared for every individual, including those who no longer dwell in mortality. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and its blessings are intended for all who want them. The gift of the Holy Ghost is meant for everyone.
He said the pure love of Christ is "ours for the asking." He said:
What you are lends authenticity to your invitation to come experience the joy of the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
The ultimate promise of the Restoration is redemption through Jesus Christ. The Resurrection of Jesus Christ is the proof that He in fact possesses power to redeem all who will come unto Him—redeem them from sorrow, injustice, regret, sin, and even death.
Elder L. Whitney Clayton of the Presidency of the Seventy followed Uchtdorf and began by talking figuratively about homes saying that "they aren’t made fine in any important or lasting way by their furniture or by the net worth or social status of the people who own them. The finest characteristic of any home is the image of Christ reflected in the homes’ residents. What matters is the interior design of the souls of the inhabitants, not the structure itself."
He gave guidance of having Christlike attributes to adorn the home. He said people may contribute to the spiritual furnishings of their family’s home by studying the scriptures, attending the temple, keeping the commandments and living in discipleship. He added:
God’s prosperity is the power to press forward despite the problems of life.
In conclusion, Clayton said:
The Savior is the perfect engineer, builder, and interior designer. His project is the perfection and eternal joy of our souls. With His loving help, your soul can be all He wants it to be and you can be the very best version of yourself... The restored gospel of Jesus Christ is the perfect blueprint for establishing finest homes.
The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square then sang a prerecorded hymn, "I Know That My Redeemer Lives." The musical performance was followed by a talk by Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.
Uchtdorf shared the message of practicing discipleship. He said being a disciple of Jesus Christ involves much more than talking and preaching of Christ. He added:
The Savior Himself restored His Church to help us on the path to become more like Him. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is structured to provide opportunities to practice the fundamentals of discipleship.
He then extended the invitation for non-members to learn of Christ. He said:
We invite you to come and help! Come and serve with us, ministering to God’s children, following in the footsteps of the Savior, and making this world a better place.
Come and belong! You will make us stronger. And you will become better, kinder, and happier as well. Your faith will deepen and grow more resilient—more capable of withstanding the turbulences and unexpected trials of life.
Those who are interested, Uchtdorf said could learn more about what the Church teaches and believe by going to ComeUntoChrist.org. He added:
Jesus the Christ, though He is the 'King of kings,' the Messiah, the Son of the living God, does care deeply about each and every one of God’s children. He cares regardless of a person’s position—how poor or rich, how imperfect or proven someone is. During His mortal life, the Savior ministered to all: to the happy and accomplished, to the broken and lost, and to those without hope.
Uchtdorf also said that God uses the weak to bring about his purposes. He said, "This truth stands as a testimony that it is God’s power, not man’s, that accomplishes His work on the earth." He concluded by saying:
It is my hope that, in this bicentennial year of the First Vision, as we contemplate and learn of the Restoration of the Church of Jesus Christ, we will realize that it is not just a historical event. You and I play a crucial part in this great, continuing story.
Elder Ricardo Patricio Gimenez Salazar of the Seventy took to the pulpit and talked about facing refuge in the face of adversity. He quoted President Nelson, who said, "Faith is the antidote for fear.”
As I have seen the storms that affect people’s lives, I have concluded that no matter what kind of storm is battering us—regardless of whether there is a solution to it or whether there’s an end in sight—there is only one refuge, and it is the same for all types of storms. This single refuge provided by our Heavenly Father is our Lord Jesus Christ and His Atonement.
He continued by saying:
In order to enjoy the refuge that Jesus Christ and His Atonement offer, we must have faith in Him—a faith that will allow us to rise above all the pains of a limited, earthly perspective. He has promised that He will make our burdens light if we come unto Him in all that we do.
Elder Quentin L. Cook, Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, speaks about the new proclamation and how it represents a loving communication between members, church leaders, and the Father. Cook ratifies the new Proclamation President Nelson delivered this morning, calling it "a revelation to bless all people."
Cook spoke to those who are working on their testaments, been less active, or have had their names removed from the Church records. He ensured them, regardless of their situation, the Church would welcome back those members wholeheartedly.
Speaking on revelations, Cook said:
As a stake president I not only received important revelation, but also received personal correction that was necessary to accomplish the Lord’s purposes.
President Dallin H. Oaks, Of the First Presidency, said the Church has been invited to join in fasting to "minimize the present and future effects of a devastating worldwide pandemic."
Oaks took the time to discuss the divine plan for members of the Church. Members must reject the evil oppositions that tempt mortals to act contrary to God's commandments, he explained.
Oaks summarized some of the principal elements of the Church's gospel of what it calls God's plan. He said:
The purpose of mortal life and the post-mortal growth that can follow it is for the offspring of God to become as He is. This is Heavenly Father’s desire for all His children. To achieve this joyful destiny, eternal laws require that we must become purified beings through the Atonement of Jesus Christ so we can dwell in the presence of the Father and the Son and enjoy the blessings of exaltation.
He said God's divine plan requires people to make choices that are in accordance with God’s commandments. He said, "The plan reveals our destiny in eternity, the purpose and conditions of our journey in mortality and the Heavenly helps we will receive." He detailed what he called the "four great assurances" to assist people through their mortal journeys.
- Through Christ's atonement, man can repent and be cleansed of sins. "The, the merciful final judge will "remember them no more."
- As part of our Savior’s atonement He took upon Him all other mortal infirmities.
- Through His infinite atonement revokes the finality of death and gives us the joyful assurance that all of us will be resurrected.
- Modern revelation teaches that men's progress does not conclude with the end of mortality.
Oaks then went on to talk about the "plan" as it relates to marriage. He quoted scripture saying, "Marriage is ordained of God unto man that the earth might answer the end of its creation.” He added:
The power to create mortal life is the most exalted power God has given his children. Its use was mandated in the first commandment, but another important commandment was given to forbid its misuse. Outside the bonds of marriage, all uses of the procreative power are to one degree or another a sinful degrading and perversion of the most divine attribute of men and women. The emphasis the restored gospel places on this law of chastity is because of the purpose of our procreative powers in the accomplishment of God’s plan.
GENERAL CONFERENCE: President Henry B. Eyring – Second Counselor, First Presidency –commences the afternoon session.