Click HERE for highlights of Day Two of the Conference.
On Day One of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' 178th Semiannual General Conference, the watchwords dispensed by Church leadership were to live prudently, avoid debt, and to prepare to provide for those adversely affected by economic turmoil.
And plans for five new temples were also announced. Full stories from the Deseret News (Conference and Temple Announcement), the Salt Lake Tribune, the Provo Daily Herald, the Mormon Times, and KSL Channel 5. Also see the Conference Page of the LDS website for more information on archives and upcoming sessions.
Church President Thomas S. Monson remarked on the escalating economic turmoil worldwide, acknowledging the growing loss of jobs and depletion of investment income. But in response, he reminded Latter-day Saints that "We must make certain that those for whom we share responsibilities do not go hungry or unclothed or unsheltered". He also stated that, working together, the priesthood of the church can make near-miracles take place.
In addition, President Monson repeated long-standing advice that church members be "prudent in their planning, to be conservative in their living and avoid excessive or unnecessary debt." The financial affairs of the church are conducted within the same guidelines, he said, "for we are aware that your tithing and other contributions have not come without sacrifice and are sacred funds".
"Let us make of our homes, brethren, sanctuaries of righteousness, places of prayer and abodes of love, that we might merit the blessings that can come only from our Heavenly Father. We need his guidance in our daily lives," President Monson told the gathering.
President Monson also touted the church's missionary program. He said the church missionary effort continues to draw new converts throughout the world and asked members to pray for the opening of countries that continue to bar missionary efforts within their boundaries. This same theme was also echoed by Sister Silvia H. Allred, first counselor in the General Relief Society Presidency. Recently, changes to Russian visa laws have impaired missionary efforts in that country, while civil strife in Bolivia caused the church to temporarily withdraw its missionaries there to Peru.
Elder Richard G. Scott, who delivered a stern and straightforward talk on the evils of abuse during the April 2008 Annual Conference, made a special appeal for LDS men to show due consideration for women. Elder Scott said that while it is customary in some cultures for men to be in a dominant role, LDS priesthood holders should act only to give, to serve, to lift and to inspire, he said. There is no place for unrighteous control or force in marriage. "God will hold us accountable for how we treat his precious daughters. Therefore, let us treat them as he would wish to have them treated," Elder Scott said. [Ed. Note: This is the best antidote for feminism. Many women fall victim to feminism because of mistreatment by men. Feminism is a Satanically-inspired counter-response to male chauvinism.]
He referred to the church's Family Proclamation, which states that husband and wife should be equal partners in marriage. He said he feels assured that every wife in the church would welcome that opportunity and support it. Whether it occurs depends upon the husband. The notion that men are superior must be rejected by priesthood-holders, he said. "Nothing could be further from the truth". [Ed. Note: This counsel is particularly welcome. Just because the priesthood and fatherhood are reserved for men doesn't mean men are superior to women. It simply means that they are responsibilities reserved uniquely for men, even as childbirth and motherhood are reserved uniquely for women.]
Elder L. Tom Perry of the Quorum of the Twelve told Latter-day Saints Saturday morning that hard times reinforce the wisdom of living prudently and within one's means. "Our income should determine the kind of housing we can afford, not the neighbor's big home across the street".
But the one message that seemed to resonate best with congregants was delivered by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, second counselor in the First Presidency. President Uchtdorf closed the Saturday morning session with the admonition that members should never succumb to despair but should cling to the hope that surmounts all challenges. "No matter how bleak the chapter of our lives may look today, because of the life and sacrifice of Jesus Christ, we may hope for and be assured that the ending of the book of our lives will vastly exceed our grandest expectations".
The big news was the announcement by President Monson that new temples will be constructed in the greater Kansas City area, Philadelphia, Calgary, Cordoba (Argentina), and Rome, Italy. With 128 temples currently operational and 17 more now in some phase of planning or construction, the number will rise to 145, and these five new temples will ultimately push the number to 150.
The Rome Temple will be interesting. Relations between the LDS Church and the Vatican took a turn in May, when the Catholic hierarchy issued a letter calling LDS baptisms for the dead a "detrimental practice" and directed each Catholic diocesan bishop "not to cooperate with the erroneous practices" of the Utah-based church by providing them with Catholic baptismal or other religious records. However, no new problems with the Catholic Church are anticipated.
The Kansas City-area temple is of greater interest. The dedicated plot of land for a future LDS temple is currently owned by the Church of Christ-Temple Lot, an offshoot of the main denomination. They have expressed no inclination to sell it. In addition, LDS tradition holds that a Jackson County, Missouri temple would be built, along with a New Jerusalem that Mormons believe will also be constructed just prior to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. However, that tradition also holds that Jackson County must be swept clean of inhabitants before this can occur. This would be a result of a cataclysm of some type; it could be geological, or it could be the result of a Russian-Chinese led international invasion of the United States (which would ultimately fail) triggered by America's incessant military operations around the world, coupled with an economic collapse and the breakdown of civil order in the United States. Many report having had visions in which they foresaw such events. In 1979, the LDS Church officially downplayed this apocalyptic scenario. Whether this Kansas City-area Temple is to be the temple in question remains to be seen.
Click HERE for highlights of Day Two of the Conference.