SALT LAKE CITY — Saturday's first day of the LDS Church's October general conference began with an announcement of five new temples from President Thomas S. Monson, and it ended three sessions and nearly 10 hours later with President Monson detailing the three R's of choice.
And in between at the Conference Center, three two-hour sessions and 20 talks of testimony and messages of inspiration from general authorities and general auxiliary leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
In opening Saturday's morning session, President Monson announced five temples to be built in Hartford, Conn.; Indianapolis, Ind.; 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," he said. "May we continue faithful in attending the temples, which are being built closer and closer to our members."
President Monson also called on the church's young men to prepare themselves physically, 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. Missionary service is a priesthood duty — an obligation the Lord expects of us who have been given so very much."
Expressing appreciation for senior couples serving missions and acknowledging the need for many more, he urged adult members to prepare for the time when retirement and health permits such service.
In the evening priesthood meeting for male church members ages 12 and older, President Monson spoke of the right, responsibility and results of choice.
"May we be filled with gratitude for the right of choice, accept the responsibility of choice and ever be conscious of the results of choice," he said. "As bearers of the priesthood, all of us united as one can qualify for the guiding influence of our Heavenly Father as we choose carefully and correctly.
In all, 10 of the 15 men of the church's First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve — whom Mormons revere as prophets, seers and revelators — spoke Saturday.
Speaking in the priesthood session, President Henry B. Eyring, first counselor in the First Presidency, encouraged service with the Spirit.
"The light of heaven will be there for us as well as for those we serve," he said. "We may be tired. Our own and our family's troubles may loom large. But there is a blessing of encouragement for those who serve under the influence of the Spirit."
In closing the Saturday morning session, President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, second counselor in the First Presidency, told Latter-day Saints to be mindful of the pace of modern life and focus on life's essentials.
"Strength comes not from frantic activity but from being settled on a firm foundation of truth and light," he said. "It comes from placing our attention and efforts on the basics of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. It comes from paying attention to the divine things that matter most."
In the priesthood session, he cautioned against pride. "Let us follow the example of our Savior and reach out to serve rather than seeking the praise and honor of men. It is my prayer that we will recognize and root out unrighteous pride in our hearts and that we will replace it with 'righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience [and] meekness.' "
Also in the priesthood session, Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve underscored missionary work.
"Members and full-time missionaries may walk arm in arm in bringing the blessings of the gospel to cherished friends and neighbors," he said, adding, "this is all part of the preparation for the Second Coming of the Lord. He wants each of us truly to be an example of the believers."
Elders Jeffrey R. Holland and D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve spoke in the morning meeting of faithful service and consecrated lives, respectively.
"My thanks to all you wonderful members of the church — and legions of good people not of our faith — for proving every day of your life that the pure love of Christ 'never faileth,' " Elder Holland said. "We know how good the human heart can be because we know you."
And Elder Christofferson cited the five elements of a consecrated life: purity, work, respect for one's physical body, service and integrity.
Four members of the Quorum of the Twelve spoke in the day's afternoon session.
Elder Richard G. Scott listed four principles that help produce strength of character and an ability to convert challenges to stepping stones: faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and his program to acquire the power to achieve, repentance to rectify the consequences of mistakes, obedience to the commandments to provide strength and direction, and selfless service to enrich the lives of others.
Elder Robert D. Hales called agency as essential to the plan of life. "Are we hearkening with exactness to the voice of the Lord and his prophets?" he asked. "Or … are we practicing 'selective obedience' and fearing the judgements of men?"
Elder Quentin L. Cook warned against the assault on morality and religious freedom.2 comments on this story
"The moral foundation of our doctrine can be a beacon light to the word and can be a unifying force for both morality and faith in Jesus Christ. We need to protect our families and be at the forefront together with all people of good will in doing everything we can to preserve light, hope and morality in our communities."
And Elder Neil L. Andersen called on Latter-day Saints to stay close to the Savior.
"We push our spiritual roots deep, feasting daily on the words of Christ in the scriptures. We trust in the words of living prophets, placed before us to show us the way. We pray and pray, and listen to the quiet voice of the Holy Ghost that leads us along and speaks peace to our soul. Whatever challenges arise, we never, never leave him."