Live prudently, LDS reminded

Counsel: Avoid debt, provide for less fortunate, Pres. Monson urges

Published: Sunday, Oct. 5 2008 12:00 a.m. MDT

The Youth Choir sings during Saturday afternoon's session of semiannual general conference at the Conference Center in Salt Lake.

Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News

With the world facing difficult economic times, Latter-day Saints must increase their efforts to live prudently, avoid debt and prepare to provide for those who are adversely affected, President Thomas S. Monson counseled on Saturday.

His remarks came during the evening priesthood session of the 178th Semiannual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

"Many areas of the world have experienced difficult economic times. Businesses have failed, jobs have been lost and investments have been jeopardized," said President Monson. "We must make certain that those for whom we share responsibilities do not go hungry or unclothed or unsheltered."

Working together, the priesthood of the church can make "near miracles take place," he said.

He 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 all-male priesthood gathering.

With downtown Salt Lake City drenched in light but persistent rain, umbrellas were the order of the day for tens of thousands of conference-goers. Many who could not be accommodated in the Conference Center and other buildings stood on the grounds with dripping umbrellas — or simply absorbing the rain. Thousands of LDS faithful gathered in meeting halls surrounding the Salt Lake Temple and in other sites to listen to church leaders. Millions more received the messages of the semiannual gathering via electronic networks.

Elder Richard G. Scott, who last April gave a stern and straightforward talk on the evils of abuse, made a special directive during the priesthood session that LDS men show due consideration for women.

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.

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."

In Saturday's opening session, President Monson announced the construction of temples in the greater Kansas City area; Philadelphia; Calgary, Alberta, Canada; Cordoba, Argentina; and Rome, Italy. When 17 now in some phase of planning or construction are completed, along with these five newly announced, the number of operating temples will rise to 145.

President Monson 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.

When then-President Spencer W. Kimball made a similar plea more than 30 years ago, "we saw miracles unfold as country after country, formerly closed to the church, was opened. Such will transpire again as we pray in faith."

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