Men were told to become more righteous and avoid pitfalls like pornography, gambling, poor sportsmanship and watching too much television during the priesthood session of the 158th Semiannual Conference.
Four new members of the First Quorum of the Seventy also were given the opportunity to respond to their calls.President Gordon B. Hinckley, first counselor in the First Presidency, Saturday specifically advised the church's 11,000 bishops to avoid even the appearance of evil to become better examples for their congregations.
"Your goodness must be as an ensign to your people. Your morals must be impeccable. The wiles of the adversary may be held before you because he knows that if he can destroy you, he can injure an entire ward."
He outlined attributes bishops should have, situations they must avoid and goals they should achieve in their demanding, volunteer positions.
"You must be men of integrity. You must stand as examples to the congregations over which you preside. You must stand on higher ground so that you can lift others. You must be absolutely honest, for you handle the funds of the Lord," he said.
"You must be wise with inspired wisdom in all of your relationships lest someone read into your observed actions some taint of moral sin. You cannot succumb to the temptation to read pornographic literature."
President Hinckley added, "You cannot use your office as bishop to further your own business interests lest through some ensuing financial mishap accusation be placed against you by those who succumbed to your persuasiveness."
He also told bishops to be the counselor, comforter and teacher of congregation members. "You stand as a watchman on the tower of the ward over which you preside. . . . You must see that there is no false doctrine creeping in among the people. . . . You must be their confessor, privy to their deepest secrets, holding absolutely inviolate the confidences placed in you."
President Thomas S. Monson, second counselor in the First Presidency, told all priesthood holders: "Lately we have received at the Office of the First Presidency letters which tell of serious arguments on the part of participants on the basketball floor or on the baseball or softball diamond, name-calling by parents and abuse of referees by spectators and coaches. We have room for improvement, brethren, and improve we must."
He reminded church members that the church sponsors sports programs to strengthen faith and build integrity. He said that is sometimes overlooked when groups worry too much about winning and not enough about sportsmanship and ensuring that all worthy men and women have an opportunity to play.
"It is not our objective in the sports program to produce clones of Larry Bird or Magic Johnson - or coaches who are clones of John Wooden or Pat Riley. When you put a player in a suit, put him in the game," he said.
President Monson said, "Brethren let's take the necessary steps to rekindle sportsmanship, to emphasize participation and to strive for the development of a Christlike character in each individual."
Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin, a member of the Council of the Twelve, reminded priesthood holders that their ordinations brought responsibility to avoid sin and follow the advice of church leaders, and he outlined some of those key areas.
"I hope you single adult brethren will follow our prophet's admonition to marry at the proper time and will not procrastinate your opportunity to be a husband and father," he said.
Other advice included: "Television is out of control in some homes; the set is rarely turned off, regardless of the programming. Some programs are filthy and evil and are poisoning the minds of God's children. . . . Satan has made the television and film media among his most effective tools to destroy minds and souls."
For example, he said, TV alcohol ads distort how damaging alcohol may be and make it appear as a prerequisite for fun.
Elder Wirthlin urged priesthood holders to avoid all gambling, and to especially fight state lotteries - proposals for which will go to voters in some states next month. "We urge members of the church to join with others with similar concerns in opposing the legalization and government sponsorship of lotteries."
He added: "Public lotteries are advocated as a means of relieving the burden of taxation. It has been clearly demonstrated, however, that all too often lotteries only add to the problem of the financially disadvantaged by taking money from them and giving nothing of value in return."
Elder Gene R. Cook of the First Quorum of the Seventy urged priesthood holders to be more in tune with the spirit when they visit other members, and suggested seven steps to help: pray for the spirit, use the scriptures, testify, use music, express love and gratitude to God and man, share spiritual experiences and perform priesthood ordinances.
"May I remind each of us that our motivation must not be just for duty, for the church or as a result of a calling we have, but our divine motivation must be for the love of God. Then will the miraculous results occur," Elder Cook said.
Elder Monte J. Brough, a newly called member of the First Quorum of the Seventy, responded to his call saying, "One thing my heart has is a willing nature." He said he is willing to serve the church in any way leaders desire.
Elder Albert Choules Jr., another newly called member of the quorum, said he promised President Hinckley when the first counselor interviewed him for the call on Thursday "that I would give my all."
Elder Lloyd P. George, another new member, said the gospel brings joy to the lives of church members. He recalled that when he was a mission president some missionaries baptized a 100-year-old woman. He said she was filled with joy and said: "I have been waiting 80 years for this. When I was 20, the missionaries talked to me but did not invite me to be baptized."
The last newly called quorum member, Elder Gerald E. Melchin, also gave public thanks for the gospel. "All my life I've known it is true and that we have a prophet."