SALT LAKE CITY — The announcement of five new temples and a call to increase the Mormon church's missionary force highlighted President Thomas S. Monson's opening remarks in this weekend's October general conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The five announced temples — two in the U.S. and three internationally — will be in Hartford, Conn.; Indianapolis; Tijuana, Mexico; Urdaneta, Philippines; and Lisbon, Portugal.
"The ordinances performed in our temples are vital to our salvation and to the salvation of our deceased loved ones," said President Monson in Saturday morning's opening session at the Conference Center. "May we continue faithful in attending the temples, which are being built closer and closer to our members."
The new temples will be the first in Portugal and the states of Connecticut and Indiana. The Tijuana temple will be Mexico's 13th, and the Urdaneta temple the Philippines' third.
The LDS Church currently has 134 temples in operation, with another seven under construction. Including Saturday's five, a total of 16 announced temples are in various stages of planning.
Earlier this year, the LDS Church announced a new temple for Payson and plans to renovate the existing Ogden Utah Temple.
It is the third straight October conference in which President Monson has announced five new temples.
Last year, new temples were announced for Brigham City; Concepción, Chile; Fort Lauderdale, Fla; Fortaleza, Brazil; and Sapporo, Japan.
And in 2008, the five sites announced were in Calgary, Alberta, Canada; Cordoba, Argentina; Kansas City, Mo.; Philadelphia; and Rome.
In his opening remarks, President Monson spoke of dedicating temples already this year in Gila Valley, Ariz.; Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada; Cebu City, Philippines; and Kiev, Ukraine, with plans to rededicate a renovated Laie Hawaii Temple before year's end.
President Monson also called on the church's young men and male teens to prepare themselves physically, emotionally, spiritually and worthily to serve as missionaries.
"I repeat what prophets have long taught — that every worthy, able young man should prepare to serve a mission," he said. "Missionary service is a priesthood duty — an obligation the Lord expects of us who have been given so very much."
While young-adult women don't carry the same responsibility or obligation as their male counterparts, "you also make a valuable contribution as missionaries, and we welcome your service," President Monson said.
Expressing appreciation for the senior couples who serve missions and acknowledging the need for many more to join them, the 83-year-old man revered by Mormons who believe him to be a prophet urged adult members to prepare for the time when retirement and health permits such service.
"There are few times in your lives when you will enjoy the sweet spirit and satisfaction that come from giving full-time service together in the work of the Master."
The Conference Center is again the site for the five general conference sessions — morning and afternoon sessions both Saturday and Sunday and Saturday evening's priesthood meeting for male members ages 12 and older.
Speakers for the five general conference sessions are LDS Church general authorities and general auxiliary leaders.