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Keith Johnson, Deseret News
President Thomas S. Monson, center, president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; his first counselor, President Henry B. Eyring, left; and his second counselor, President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, sit on the stand and converse prior to the Saturday morning session of General Conference.

Five new temples and a caution against the destructive wake left by anger.

Those were the highlights of bookend messages Saturday by President Thomas S. Monson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as he opened and concluded the first day of the church's 179th Semiannual General Conference.

"To be angry is to yield to the influence of Satan," said President Monson in his concluding address of Saturday night's priesthood session in the Conference Center. "No one can make us angry. It is our choice. If we desire to have a proper spirit with us at all times, we must choose to refrain from becoming angry. I testify that such is possible."

All are susceptible to feelings that, if left unchecked, can lead to anger, he added.

"We experience displeasure or irritation or antagonism and, if we so choose, we lose our temper and become angry with others," he said. "Ironically, those others are often members of our own families — the people we really love the most."

In the Saturday morning session, he opened the two-day conference by announcing five new LDS temples — in Brigham City; Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; Concepcion, Chile; Fortaleza, Brazil; and Sapporo, Japan.

While no new members were added to the Quorums of the Seventy, 13 were released Saturday.

The four released from the First Quorum of the Seventy — Elders Charles Didier, John M. Madsen, Lynn A. Mickelsen and Dennis B. Neuenschwander — were designated emeritus general authorities.

Released from the Second Quorum of the Seventy were Elders Douglas L. Callister, Shirley D. Christensen, James M. Dunn, Daryl H. Garn, Clate W. Mask Jr., Robert C. Oaks, William W. Parmley, W. Douglas Shumway and Robert S. Wood.

Morning session

Also speaking in the day's first meeting, President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, second counselor in the First Presidency, underscored the importance of the love of God as a defining attribute for LDS members.

"Let us be known as a people who love God with all our heart, soul and mind, and who love our neighbor as ourselves," he said. "When we understand and practice these two great commandments in our families, in our wards and branches, in our nations, and in our daily lives, we will begin to understand what it means to be a true disciple of Jesus Christ."

Encouraging listeners to acquire spiritual guidance, Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve said spirituality yields two fruits — inspiration, or knowing what to do; and power, or the capacity to do it.

He also decried pornography as one of the strong emotions — along with anger, hate, passion, fear and pride — that can mask and overcome the inspiring influence of the Holy Ghost.

Afternoon session

Speaking of prayer and promptings, President Boyd K. Packer of the Quorum of the Twelve said: "Learn to pray. Pray often. Pray in your mind, in your heart. Pray on your knees. Prayer is your personal key to heaven. The lock is on your side of the veil. And I have learned to conclude all my prayers with 'Thy will be done.' "

He concluded his talk by speaking of and bearing testimony of President Monson and his sacred calling to lead the church.

Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve spoke of God's love and how his blessings are contingent on obedience to his laws and commandments. Elder Oaks encouraged parents to follow similar principles.

"In the midst of such stress, we must endure the reality that the straying of our loved ones will detract from our happiness, but it should not detract from our love for one another or our patient efforts to be united in understanding God's love and God's laws," he said. "We all need to teach with clarity, love with purpose and pray without ceasing."

Priesthood session

President Henry B. Eyring, first counselor in the First Presidency, emphasized the importance of being ready to exercise the priesthood, first by having faith, and then having confidence in living up to the blessings and the trust that God has offered.

"As we meet our obligations as fathers and leaders," he said, "we will help the next generation rise to their glorious future. They will be better than we are just as you have tried to be even better parents than your parents and better leaders than the great ones who helped you."

President Uchtdorf outlined two basic principles — work and learning — that sustained him in his critical, formative years as a young refugee in war-torn Germany and that can aid in any economical circumstances.

"Now, many years later, I know this for a certainty: It is often in the trial of adversity that we learn those most critical lessons that form our character and shape our identity," he said.

In his session-opening remarks, Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve offered three suggestions each to fathers and sons in improving their relationships.

His counsel to a son: Trust your father, take interest in your father's life and ask your father for advice. And to a father: Listen — really listen — to your son, pray with and for your son and dare to have the "big talks" with your sons.