Pres. Hinckley calls racism 'ugly and unacceptable'

Published: Sunday, April 2 2006 12:00 a.m. MST

But for those who need to find their way back, the gospel offers opportunities for repentance and forgiveness, said Elder Boyd K. Packer, who related the story of a Book of Mormon prophet and his wayward son. "Christ is the creator, the healer. What he made, he can fix," he said.

Avoiding temptation was encouraged by other speakers.

"The standard is clear," said Elder David A. Bednar. "If something we think, see, hear or do distances us from the Holy Ghost, then we should stop thinking, seeing, hearing or doing that thing."

Through "tender hearts and helping hands," church members can also lift and strengthen others, said Presiding Bishop H. David Burton, who oversees the temporal affairs of the church. He related several instances where church members and others have assisted people devastated by natural disasters.

When hurricanes roared ashore in the southern United States and the Caribbean, hygiene kits, food, water and volunteer labor were provided to victims of the storms, Bishop Burton said. Refugees in Sudan have been provided with a nutritional porridge and medical supplies. Victims of the 2004 tsunami that killed thousands in Southeast Asia were provided with immediate and long-term assistance.

"To each of you whose tender hearts and helping hands have eased the burdens of so many, please accept my heartfelt gratitude."

Membership in the LDS Church has surpassed 12.5 million, according to a statistical report released Saturday. In 2005, more than 240,000 converts were baptized into the church. Three new temples were dedicated and one rededicated, putting the number of operational temples worldwide at 122.

The conference will reconvene today, with sessions at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

E-mail: nwarburton@desnews.com

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