Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News
SALT LAKE CITY — The announcement of three new temples and a call for Mormons everywhere to plan and participate in a "Day of Service" highlighted Saturday's first day of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' 181st Annual General Conference.
A total of 19 talks were given during Saturday's three sessions at the LDS Conference Center — the morning and afternoon general sessions and the evening priesthood session for males ages 12 and older.
The speakers included all three members of the church's First Presidency and seven members of the Quorum of the Twelve, individuals the Latter-day Saints revere as prophets, seers and revelators.
President Thomas S. Monson opened the morning session by announcing new temples in Fort Collins, Colo., Meridian, Idaho; and Winnipeg, Canada.
He also recapped LDS humanitarian efforts in Japan following its recent catastrophes, encouraged donations to the church's general missionary fund and expressed appreciation to Latter-day Saints for their faithfulness, service, devotion and donations.
With his concluding priesthood-session address serving as the day's bookend, President Monson emphasized the importance of personal worthiness, righteous conduct, repentance, the importance of marriage and maintaining marriage commitments.
"It is up to each of us who holds the priesthood of God to discipline ourselves so that we stand above the ways of the world. It is essential, however, that we be honorable and decent men. Our actions must be above reproach. The words we speak, the way we treat others and the way we live our lives all impact our effectiveness as men and boys holding the priesthood."
In the morning session, President Henry B. Eyring, first counselor in the First Presidency, related past and current expressions of welfare and charity in the face of devastation and despair.
Noting the 75th anniversary of the church's welfare program, President Eyring called for members worldwide to participate in a day of service.
He offered three suggestions:
"First, prepare yourself spiritually …
"Choose as recipients of your service people whose needs will touch the hearts of those who will give the service …
"Plan to draw on the power of the bonds of families, of quorums, of auxiliary organizations and people you know in your communities."
Exclaiming "our LDS women are incredible," Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve encouraged Mormon women to keep in mind two principles as they prayerfully consider the choices they make and how those choices affect marriage and family.
"First, no woman should ever feel the need to apologize or to feel that her contribution is less significant because she is devoting her primary efforts to raising and nurturing children. Nothing could be more significant in our Father in Heaven's plan," he said.
"Second, we should all be careful not to be judgmental or assume that sisters are less valiant if the decision is made to work outside the home. We rarely understand or fully appreciate people's circumstances. Husband and wives should prayerfully counsel together, understanding they are accountable to God for their decisions."
Also Saturday morning, Elder L. Tom Perry of the Quorum of the Twelve spoke of the importance of Sabbath patterns, including worship, sacrifice and sacrament.
"As we consider the pattern of the Sabbath and sacrament in our lives, there appear to be three things the Lord requires of us," he said. "First, to keep ourselves unspotted from the world. Second, to go to the house of prayer and offer up our sacraments. And third, to rest from our labors."
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