3:45 p.m. — A dozen more temples
Church President Russell M. Nelson announced plans to build a dozen more temples, including a second in Washington County, Utah, along with plans to renovate and update the faith’s iconic six-spired Salt Lake Temple and other “pioneer-generation” temples.
The new temples will be in Mendoza, Argentina; Salvador, Brazil; Yuba City, Calif.; Phnom Penh, Cambodia; Praia, Cape Verde; Yigo, Guam; Puebla, Mexico; Auckland, New Zealand; Lagos, Nigeria; Davao, Philippines; San Juan, Puerto Rico; and Washington County, Utah, which already has a temple in St. George.
The Beehive State currently has 17 operating Latter-day Saint temples, with plans for edifices in Saratoga Springs and Layton as well. So the Washington County temple will be the state’s 20th.
3:30 p.m. — Shepherding souls
Apostle Gary E. Stevenson said members must minister to one another — adding that “those who understand the true spirit of ministering realize that it goes far beyond merely being nice. Done in the Lord’s way, ministering can have a far-reaching influence for good that ripples throughout all eternity.”
Members must “identify the lost sheep”; “search for them until they are found”; “bring them home”; and “surround them with friends upon their return.”
“We have a responsibility to provide ministering assistance to others around us as shepherds ourselves. We heed the words of the Lord to 'serve me and go forth in my name, and ... gather together my sheep.'”
3:20 p.m. — ‘Now is the time’
Jack N. Gerard, a general authority Seventy and a point person for the church on Utah’s debate about medical marijuana, recounted how he had been misdiagnosed and actually had a serious pulmonary embolism, or blood clot, in his lung that needed immediate attention.
He invited listeners “to consider an important lesson learned from this experience — to step back from the world and assess your life. Or in the words of the doctor, if there is anything in your life you need to consider, now is the time.”
Furthermore, members should seek truth. “In the world today, the debate over truth has reached a fevered pitch with all sides claiming truth as if it were a relative concept open to individual interpretation.... As we step back from the world and assess our lives, now is the time to consider what changes we need to make.”
3:05 p.m. — God is eager to bless
Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints should accept the blessings that are offered to them, apostle Dale G. Renlund said.
“Our Heavenly Father wants to help and bless us, but we do not always let him,” Renlund said. “Sometimes, we even act as if we already know everything.”
That way of thinking comes from Lucifer. “He seeks to drag us down. He wants us to experience endless woe,” Renlund said. “He is the one who tells us we are not adequate, the one who tells us we are not good enough, the one who tells us there is no recovery from a mistake. He is the ultimate bully, the one who kicks us when we are down.”
2:50 p.m. — Repent now
Matthew L. Carpenter, a general authority Seventy, encouraged Latter-day Saints to repent — immediately.
“It is never a good idea to procrastinate your repentance,” he said. “The adversary often uses fear to prevent us from acting immediately upon our faith in Jesus Christ.”
He compared repentance to his son's decision to take medication to help alleviate the effects of a stroke.
“The paralyzing effects of his stroke that could have followed him for the remainder of his mortal life were reversed,” Carpenter said. “Likewise, the faster we repent and bring the Atonement of Jesus Christ into our lives, the sooner we can be healed from the effects of sin.”
2:40 p.m. — What would Jesus see?
Robert C. Gay, a member of the presidency of the Seventy, called upon Latter-day Saints to see others as Jesus Christ sees them.
“Can any one of you imagine our savior letting you and your burdens go unnoticed by him?” he asked. “The savior looked upon the Samaritan, the adulterer, the tax collector, the leper, the mentally ill and the sinner with the same eyes. All were children of his Father, and all were redeemable.
“Can you imagine him turning away from someone with doubts about their place in God’s kingdom or from anyone afflicted in any manner? I can’t.”
2:30 p.m. — Knowing God
Having a correct idea of God’s “character, perfections and attributes is essential to exercising faith sufficient to obtain exaltation,” said Brian K. Ashton, second counselor in the Sunday school’s general presidency, adding, “An incorrect view of his nature can leave us feeling as if we are incapable of ever making it back to his presence.”
God is “endless and eternal”; “perfectly just, merciful, kind, long-suffering, and wants only what is best for us”; “Heavenly Father is love”; “keeps his covenants”; “does not change”; “cannot lie”; “is no respecter of persons”; “knows all things; “is more intelligent than us”; “has all power.”
Heeding the gospel, Ashton said, will allow humans to “ultimately return to our Heavenly Parents and live with them.”
Latter-day Saints believe in a Heavenly Father and a Heavenly Mother.
2:15 p.m. — God will see us through
Henry B. Eyring, second counselor in the governing First Presidency, warned Latter-day Saints that “Satan’s war against truth and against our personal happiness is becoming more intense. The world and your life can seem to you to be in increasing commotion.”
But, he said, it's part of a plan. “Our mortal life is designed by a loving God to be a test and source of growth for each of us,” Eyring said, reassuring listeners that “the loving God who allowed these tests for you also designed a sure way to pass through them.”
And that way is through faith and being “willing to take upon us the name of Jesus Christ.... The savior is the rock upon which we can stand safely and without fear in every storm we face.”
11:30 a.m. — More than a name
President Russell M. Nelson ended the Sunday morning session, with a stern, uncompromising lecture on his August edict — for members, media and others — to use the faith’s full name: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
In response to critics, Nelson reiterated that his instruction is not a name change, not rebranding, not cosmetic, not a whim and not inconsequential. “It is a correction,” the 94-year-old leader said. “It is the command of the Lord.”
The church’s name “is not negotiable,” he said. “When the savior clearly states what the name of his church should be, and even precedes his declaration with, ‘Thus shall my church be called,' he is serious. And if we allow nicknames to be used and adopt or even sponsor those nicknames ourselves, he is offended.”
Using common nicknames such as “Mormon church,” “LDS Church” or the “Church of the Latter-day Saints,” Nelson said, “ ... is a major victory for Satan.”
When members “discard the savior’s name,” he said, “we are subtly disregarding all that Jesus Christ did for us — even his Atonement.”
Nelson rejects what he calls “worldly arguments” including the benefits of internet “search engine optimization” with the word “Mormon.”
If this move were a rebranding effort of “a man-made organization, those arguments might prevail,” he said. But this is God’s church and the “Lord’s ways are not, and never will be, man’s ways.”
If members do their best “to restore the correct name of the Lord’s church,” Nelson promised that God would “pour down his power and blessings upon the heads of the Latter-day Saints, the likes of which we have never seen.”
If people use the word “Mormon” to describe the church or its members, he urged Latter-day Saints to “be courteous and patient” in their efforts to correct them.
“Responsible media," Nelson added, "will be sympathetic in responding to our request.”
Jennifer Napier-Pearce, editor of The Salt Lake Tribune, has said she doesn’t foresee any changes to this paper’s practices at this time.
“The Tribune’s style has always been to refer to an organization’s full name in its reporting but to shorten to commonly used phrases or nicknames throughout a story for clarity and flow,” she said. “For example, the University of Utah becomes the U., Utes or even just Utah in context. Another example would be Utah GOP for the Utah Republican Party."
Paula Froke, lead editor for The Associated Press Stylebook, which The Tribune and many newspapers use, said AP is aware of the church’s desires.
She told an AP reporter this past week that the news organization is monitoring how the names evolve in the church itself — including among members — and with the public.
For now, the AP Stylebook entry about the faith remains unchanged.
“Clearly, the term ‘Mormon’ is deeply ingrained," Froke said, “both in the church and in the minds of the general public.”
Nelson lamented that the church itself has, at times, fostered that nickname. It released a “Meet the Mormons” movie, sponsored the “I’m a Mormon” ad campaign and produced the mormonandgay.org website.
The leader conceded in August that the church has “work before us to bring ourselves in harmony with [God’s] will.” On Friday, it announced a new name for the world famous Mormon Tabernacle Choir. It now is The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square. And the church-owned Deseret News has indicated it plans to change the name of its weekly Mormon Times section.
11:15 a.m. — Trials will come
Apostle Neil L. Andersen warned church members that, “without being alarmed, we need to be ready” for trials and tragedies — and pointed to four missionaries injured when two terrorist bombs detonated in the Brussels, Belgium, airport in March 2016.
Andersen quoted senior missionary Richard Norby: “I tried to run for safety, but I immediately fell down. ... I could see that my left leg was badly injured. I [noticed] black, almost spiderweb-type, soot drooping from both hands. I gently pulled at it but realized it was not soot but my skin that had been burned. My white shirt was turning red from an injury on my back.”
“Why would this happen?” Andersen asked.
Speaking “especially” to “those who are keeping the commandments of God … [and] are confronted with trials and challenges that are unexpected and painful,” he said that “intermingled with joy and happiness, one thing is certain: There will be moments, hours, days, sometimes years when your soul will be wounded.”
He counseled members to “never give up,” to “pray with all your heart," and “return to the [temple] as frequently as possible.
“... Your dark night will pass,” Andersen said. “The sun will rise again.”
11 a.m. — The Book of Mormon as a converter
Shayne M. Bowen, a general authority Seventy, told conferencegoers that the faith’s signature scripture, the Book of Mormon, holds the key to conversion — and that Latter-day Saints are “latter-day gatherers.”
“A principal purpose of the Book of Mormon is to gather scattered Israel,” he said. “This gathering gives all of God’s children the opportunity to enter into the covenant path and, by honoring those covenants, return back to the presence of the Father. As we teach repentance and baptize converts, we gather scattered Israel.”
Members “are seeking to bring the world to an understanding of — and a conversion to — the gospel of Jesus Christ.”
10:45 a.m. — Feeling pain is fine, but forgiving is divine
Apostle Jeffrey R. Holland spoke about the power of forgiveness.
“Surely each of us could cite an endless array of old scars and sorrows and painful memories that this very moment still corrode the peace in someone’s heart or family or neighborhood,” he said. “Whether we have caused that pain or been the recipient of it, those wounds need to be healed so life can be as rewarding as God intended it to be.”
Jesus Christ preached forgiveness as part of his Sermon on the Mount, Holland said. And even forgave those who crucified him.
“It is, however, important for any of you living in real anguish to note what he did not say,” Holland said. “Jesus did not say, ‘You are not allowed to feel true pain or real sorrow from the shattering experiences you have had at the hand of another.’ Nor did he say, ‘In order to forgive fully you have to re-enter a toxic relationship or return to an abusive, destructive circumstance.’”
Even given the “most terrible offenses that might come,” the apostle said, “we can rise above our pain only when we put our feet onto the path to true healing…. Forgiving and forsaking offenses, old or new, is central to the grandeur of the Atonement of Jesus Christ.”
Ultimately, “spiritual repair can come only from our divine Redeemer,” Holland said, urging members to be peacemakers and put aside their hurts and disagreements.
“If you know of an old injury, repair it,” he said. “Care for one another in love.”
10:30 a.m. — Be a ‘shepherd’
The first woman to speak Sunday, Bonnie H. Cordon, Young Women general president, described what it means to be a “shepherd” for Christ.
“We have been assigned specific individuals and families to tend so we are certain all of the Lord’s flock are accounted for and no one is forgotten,” Cordon said in the opening session. “...It is about making certain each person feels the love of the savior through someone who serves for him. In that way, all can recognize that they are known by a loving Father in Heaven.”
She urged Latter-day Saint listeners to treat those they serve as friends and confidants.
“Sisters and brothers, the world is more hope-filled and joyful because of the small inspired acts of kindness you perform,” Cordon said. “As you seek the Lord’s direction on how to convey his love and see the needs of those to whom you minister, your eyes will be opened. Your sacred ministering assignment gives you the divine right to inspiration. You can seek that inspiration with confidence.”
Cordon also was the first female speaker at a general session during this General Conference. A women’s session, however, featured three female speakers Saturday night.
10:15 a.m. — Redeeming, and reuniting with, the dead
M. Russell Ballard, acting president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, speaking just six days after the death of his wife, Barbara, recounted the many tragedies endured by former LDS Church President Joseph F. Smith — and the “vision of the redemption of the dead” he reported receiving on Oct.3, 1918,
The vision “comforted his heart and provided answers to many of his questions,” Ballard said. “We too can be comforted and learn more about our own future when we die and go to the spirit world by studying this revelation and pondering its significance in the way we live our lives each day.”
“ ... How grateful I am today ... to know where my precious Barbara is,” Ballard said. “And that we will be together again, with our family, for all eternity.”
Latter-day Saints believe husbands and wives, with their children, can be together as families in the afterlife.
10 a.m. — Any other big changes?
A day after hearing news of a major shift in their Sunday worship services, Latter-day Saints gathered Sunday in downtown Salt Lake City and around televisions and computers across the globe, eagerly anticipating any other announcements as the faith’s fall General Conference resumed for its final two sessions.
On Saturday, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints unveiled a much-rumored shift from a three-hour block of Sunday meetings to two hours.
The twice-yearly conference, held at the Conference Center near the church’s Salt Lake City headquarters and broadcast around the world, is being led by President Russell M. Nelson, his second since taking the faith’s helm in January.
Before Sunday’s first session, the former Mormon Tabernacle Choir performed — for the first time for its long-running “Music and the Spoken Word” broadcast — under its new moniker: The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square. The newly titled choir also sang at Saturday morning’s conference session.