Complete summary of Sunday’s LDS General Conference: President Nelson announces new temples, encourages members to ‘overcome the world’

Apostle Quentin Cook urges an end to abuse; apostle Jeffrey Holland explains why members don’t wear crosses; church’s first Black African general authority counsels members to be loving, humble and helpful.

(The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) A seated President Russell M. Nelson delivers a major address at General Conference on Sunday, Oct. 2, 2022.

The Utah-based Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints wrapped up its 192nd Semiannual General Conference on Sunday with two sessions.

On Saturday, 98-year-old President Russell M. Nelson, who leads the worldwide faith of 16.8 million, delivered his remarks while seated on a stool at the podium. In his brief speech, he denounced the “grievous sin” of abuse and defended the church’s long-established guidelines for dealing with it.

Apostle Dieter F. Uchtdorf unveiled a new “For the Strength of Youth” pamphlet, while fellow apostle D. Todd Christofferson urged members to “be diligent in rooting prejudice and discrimination out of the church, out of our homes, and, most of all, out of our hearts.”

Presiding Bishop Gérald Caussé issued an environmental plea for Latter-day Saints and others to “collectively and individually” tend to the earth. And Tracy Y. Browning, the first Black woman to serve in a churchwide presidency, made history again by becoming the first Black woman to give a sermon at a General Conference.

Below are the speeches and announcements from Sunday’s sessions emanating from the Conference Center in downtown Salt Lake City and streamed across the globe.

Sunday afternoon

President Russell Nelson: 18 more temples to be built

(The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) President Russell M. Nelson closes General Conference on Sunday, Oct. 2, 2022, by announcing 18 new temples to built around the world.

President Russell M. Nelson closed conference by announcing 18 additional temples to be built around the world.

They will go up in the following locations:

Busan, Korea.

Naga, Philippines.

Santiago, Philippines.

Eket, Nigeria.

Chiclayo, Peru.

Buenos Aires City Center, Argentina.

Londrina, Brazil.

Ribeirão Prêto, Brazil.

Huehuetenango, Guatemala.

Jacksonville, Fla.

Grand Rapids, Mich.

Prosper, Texas.

Lone Mountain, Nev.

Tacoma, Wash.

Cuernavaca, Mexico.

Pachuca, Mexico.

Toluca, Mexico.

Tula, Mexico.

The temple is Jesus’ house, Nelson said. “It is filled with his power. Let us never lose sight of what the Lord is doing for us. He is making his temples more accessible. He is accelerating the pace at which we are building temples. He is increasing our ability to help gather Israel. He is also making it easier for each of us to become spiritually refined. I promise that increased time in the temple will bless your life in ways nothing else can.”

In April, Nelson announced 17 additional temples. With the newly named 18, he has now upped his total to 118 since he took the church’s reins in 2018.

The Salt Lake City-based faith now has 300 existing or planned temples.

This conference marked the second straight one in which no additional temples were named in Utah, which has 28 existing or planned temples.

Apostle Quentin L. Cook: Shun anger, abuse and lust; seek repentance

(The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) Apostle Quentin L. Cook speaks at General Conference on Sunday, Oct. 2, 2022.

Apostle Quentin L. Cook called on listeners to “bridle” their passions, specifically calling on listeners to reject verbal and physical abuse and lust.

“In our day one of the most significant challenges is contention and verbal abuse related to societal issues,” he said. “In many cases anger and abusive language have replaced reason, discussion and civility.”

One manifestation of this is in the home, Cook explained, saying, “in some families, it is not uncommon for an angry husband or wife to hit a spouse or a child.”

This, he said, must stop.

“Please make up your mind that regardless of whether your parents did or did not abuse you,” Cook said, “you will not physically or verbally or emotionally abuse your spouse or children.”

He also called on listeners to be vigilant regarding the moral content of their media.

“We need to avoid pornography,” he said, “evaluate the appropriateness of what we are streaming in our homes and avoid every form of sinful conduct.”

In closing, the apostle stressed the universal need for repentance, explaining, “All have sinned, and it is only through the atonement of Jesus Christ that we can obtain mercy and live with God.”

Seventy Isaac Morrison: Challenges are a chance for growth

(The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) General authority Seventy Isaac K. Morrison speaks at General Conference on Sunday, Oct. 2, 2022.

Challenges can be “a golden opportunity to grow,” general authority Seventy Isaac K. Morrison said Sunday afternoon.

A native of Ghana, Morrison recounted the death of his 18-month-old son, who drowned in a bucket in their backyard. And, he said, he failed to check on the boy and his two brothers even though his wife “felt repeated impressions that something might be wrong” and “asked me to check on the children while we were washing the dishes.” By the time the boy was discovered, it was too late.

“Though we knew Kenneth would be part of our family eternally, I found myself questioning why God would let this tragedy happen to me when I was doing all I could to magnify my calling,” Morrison said. “My wife never blamed me for not responding to her promptings, but I learned a life-changing lesson and made two rules, never to be broken. Rule 1 — listen to and heed the promptings of your wife. Rule 2 — if you are not sure for any reason, refer to rule number 1.”

And, Morrison said, he and his wife have grown from dealing with the death of their son. “Reflecting on my own experiences, I realize I have learned some of my best lessons during the hardest times, times that took me out of my comfort zone,” he said. “...The more I cheerfully respond to difficult circumstances with faith in the Lord, the more I grow in discipleship.”

Apostle Gary Stevenson: Testimony is ‘a most precious possession’

(The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) Apostle Gary E. Stevenson speaks at General Conference on Sunday, Oct. 2, 2022.

A testimony is confirmation of key truth assertions of Latter-day Saint belief, said apostle Gary E. Stevenson, including faith in Jesus Christ, church founder Joseph Smith and the current prophet-president.

“Your testimony is a most precious possession, often associated with deep spiritual feelings,” Stevenson said. “These feelings are usually communicated quietly and described as a ‘still small voice.’”

Acquiring this witness, he said, “will change what you say and how you act.”

People bear their testimony when they “share spiritual feelings with others,” Stevenson said. And there will be lots of opportunities to do so — “in formal church meetings, or in less formal, one-on-one conversations with family, friends and others.”

It can also be done in “the digital universe” by “using inspiring content of our own or sharing uplifting content prepared by others.”

A testimony can also be shared “through righteous behavior,” Stevenson said. “Your testimony in Jesus Christ isn’t just what you say — it’s who you are.”

Seventy Mark Eddy: Read the Book of Mormon daily to access Christ’s power

(The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) General authority Seventy Mark D. Eddy speaks at General Conference on Sunday, Oct. 2, 2022.

Centering his remarks on the faith’s signature scripture, the Book of Mormon, general authority Seventy Mark D. Eddy called on listeners to “try the virtue of the word of God” to increase their spiritual strength and “disperse the clouds of confusion” that distract from “the covenant path.”

To fully understand the power contained within “the word,” Eddy said, one must first understand from where that power derives.

“Ultimately,” he said, “the virtue of the word of God is the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Those who read their scriptures, and “particularly” the Book of Mormon, daily will be accessing that power to receive answers to questions and, he said, quoting President Russell M. Nelson, “‘be immunized against the evils of the day.’”

Seventy Jonathan Schmitt: Learn the many names of Christ

(The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) General authority Seventy Jonathan S. Schmitt speaks at General Conference on Sunday, Oct. 2, 2022.

On Sunday afternoon, general authority Seventy Jonathan S. Schmitt encouraged members to learn Jesus Christ’s “many names” because, in doing so, they “will come to better understand his divine mission and his selfless character,” and be inspired “to develop Christlike attributes that bring joy and purpose to our lives.”

Schmitt said he has developed a list of Jesus’ many names. “My personal list now has over 300 names, and I’m sure there are many more that I haven’t discovered yet.” He pointed to five he said “have application for all of us” — the good shepherd; the high priest of good things to come; the same yesterday, today and forever; the holy one of Israel; and faithful and true.

“Jesus wants for us to know him because he is the only name under heaven whereby we can be saved,” Schmitt said. “Jesus is the way, the truth and the life.”

Seventy Ryan Olsen: Today’s youths must seek to rely on Jesus Christ in all things

(The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) General authority Seventy Ryan K. Olsen speaks at General Conference on Sunday, Oct. 2, 2022.

Speaking directly to the church’s young people, general authority Seventy Ryan K. Olsen emphasized the need to develop a testimony and relationship with Jesus Christ.

“The answer to the simplest questions, and to the most complex problems, is always the same,” he said. “The answer is Jesus Christ. Every solution is found in him.”

Reflecting on his own experience as a missionary in Argentina, and later as a mission leader with his wife in Uruguay, Olsen emphasized the importance of putting Christ at the center of missionary service.

“To those who will choose to serve, I can attest to the blessings that will come as you heed a prophet’s call,” he said. “Serving is not about you; it is about the Savior.”

President Henry Eyring: A mother’s encouragement

(The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) President Henry B. Eyring, second counselor in the governing First Presidency, speaks at General Conference on Sunday, Oct. 2, 2022.

His mother gave Henry B. Eyring, second counselor in the governing First Presidency, a “legacy of encouragement.”

That legacy has “blessed him,” Eyring said Sunday afternoon, as has the example of Latter-day Saint leaders he has known.

Eyring also mentioned his wife of 60 years, who is “a private person who neither seeks nor appreciates praise.”

The 89-year-old leader then noted that Kathleen no longer can speak, but whenever talk turns to lauding her, she runs her fingers across her lips, motioning for him to zip it — and stop. Eyring then dragged his finger across his mouth.

His wife taught him through her example to understand “faith, hope, meekness, enduring, seeking not our own, rejoicing in the truth, not thinking evil and, above all, charity,” Eyring said. It showed him that “human beings can take all of those wonderful ideals into their daily lives as they rise through the buffetings of life.”

All Latter-day Saints, he said, “need such encouraging examples and loving friends.”

Sunday morning

President Russell Nelson: ‘A special kind of rest’

(The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) A seated President Russell M. Nelson delivers a major address at General Conference on Sunday, Oct. 2, 2022.

The present is “a most complicated time in the history of the world,” President Russell M. Nelson said as the concluding speaker Sunday morning. “The complexities and challenges leave many people feeling overwhelmed and exhausted.”

The 98-year-old leader, who gave his major address while seated at the pulpit (as he did Saturday), said he grieves for those who leave the church “because they feel membership requires too much of them. They have not yet discovered that making and keeping covenants actually makes life easier. Each person who makes covenants in baptismal fonts and in temples — and keeps them — has increased access to the power of Jesus Christ.”

Such power strengthens believers “to withstand our trials, temptations and heartaches better,” Nelson said. “This power eases our way. …Thus, covenant keepers are entitled to a special kind of rest that comes to them through their covenantal relationship with God.”

He promised his Latter-day Saint listeners that they could “overcome this sin-saturated, self-centered, and often exhausting world,” but it means “being willing to ‘give away’ even our favorite sins.”

It does not mean, however, that problems will “magically evaporate,” Nelson said, “because they won’t.”

“And it does not mean that you won’t still make mistakes,” he added. “But overcoming the world does mean that your resistance to sin will increase.”

While the world insists that “power, possessions, popularity and pleasures of the flesh bring happiness, they do not,” Nelson said emphatically. “They cannot.”

He called upon members “to become this righteous people. Cherish and honor your covenants above all other commitments. As you let God prevail in your life, I promise you greater peace, confidence, joy and, yes, rest.”

Apostle David Bednar: ‘To be chosen is not an exclusive status’

(The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) Apostle David A. Bednar speaks at General Conference on Sunday, Oct. 2, 2022.

What does the New Testament verse mean, when it says, “many are called but few are chosen?”

Being chosen “is not an exclusive status conferred upon us,” apostle David A. Bednar said. “Rather, you and I ultimately can choose to be chosen through the righteous exercise of our moral agency.”

God does not have “a list of favorites to which we must hope our names will someday be added,” he said. “He does not limit ‘the chosen’ to a restricted few. Instead, our hearts, our desires, our honoring of sacred gospel covenants and ordinances, our obedience to the commandments, and, most importantly, the Savior’s redeeming grace and mercy determine whether we are counted as one of God’s chosen.”

In the busyness of daily lives and “in the commotion of the contemporary world in which we live,” Bednar said, “we may be distracted from the eternal things that matter the most by making pleasure, prosperity, popularity and prominence our primary priorities.”

All Latter-day Saints should evaluate their “temporal and spiritual priorities sincerely and prayerfully to identify the things in our lives that may impede the bounteous blessings that Heavenly Father and the Savior are willing to bestow upon us,” the apostle concluded. “The Holy Ghost will help us to see ourselves as we really are.”

Young Men leader Steven Lund: Burnish your testimony

(The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) President Steven J. Lund, who leads the church's Young Men organization, speaks at General Conference on Sunday, Oct. 2, 2022.

The church’s Young Men general president extolled the virtues of For Strength of Youth (FSY) conferences, which resumed this year after break caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“At FSY, 150,000 and more of our youth came to better know the Savior by using a simple formula of coming together,” said Steven J. Lund. The young participants sang together and prayed together, “a powerful prescription for spiritual awakening.”

He said that experiences like conferences and camps, sacrament meetings and missions “can help to burnish our testimonies. … Like brightly hulled steel ships at sea, we live in a spiritually corrosive environment where the most gleaming convictions must be mindfully maintained or they can etch, then corrode, and then crumble away.”

Emeritus Seventy Joseph Sitati: Humility, love and service bring peace and joy

(The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) Joseph W. Sitati, a newly minted emeritus general authority, speaks at General Conference on Sunday, Oct. 2, 2022.

Joseph W. Sitati, a newly minted emeritus general authority, encouraged Latter-day Saints to show humility and love, and to serve others.

“It is an absolute truth of our human existence that we cannot negotiate around according to our own desires and get away with it,” he said. “I am reminded of this every time I take a flight from Africa to come to General Conference, resetting the body clock backwards by 10 hours in one day.”

Sitati, who turned 70 in May, was granted emeritus status Saturday. Born in Kenya, he joined the church in 1986. In 1989, he became that country’s first district president, and, in 2001, became the first stake president in Kenya. In 2004, he was called as an area Seventy, and, in 2009, Sitati was called to the First Quorum of the Seventy, making him the faith’s first Black African general authority.

“Humility inclines the heart of the disciple towards repentance and obedience,” Sitati said. “The spirit of God is then able to bring truth to that heart, and it will find entry.”

And, he added, “the miraculous irony of it is that when we focus our best efforts on loving God and others, we are enabled to discover our own true divine worth, as sons and daughters of God, with the complete peace and joy that this experience brings.”

Apostle Gerrit Gong: Eternal happiness is ‘not the imaginary stuff of fairy tales’

(The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) Apostle Gerrit W. Gong speaks at General Conference on Sunday, Oct. 2, 2022.

The hope for “happy and forever” relationships is “not the imaginary stuff of fairy tales,” apostle Gerritt W. Gong said. “True, enduring joy and eternity with those we love are the very essence of God’s plan of happiness. His lovingly prepared way can make our eternal journey happy and forever.”

None of us “is perfect, nor is any family,” he said. “Our relationships include love, sociality and personality, but often also friction, hurt, sometimes profound pain.”

Believers’ joy “becomes full as we feel Jesus Christ’s grace and forgiveness for us,” Gong said. “And, as we offer the miracle of his grace and forgiveness to each other, the mercy we receive and the mercy we offer can help make life’s injustices just.”

On the other hand, those who “deliberately choose wickedness, who consciously procrastinate repentance, or who in any premeditated or knowing way break the commandments planning for easy repentance,” he said, “will be judged by God.”

The faith’s first Asian American apostle addressed “missionaries or others who say following the spirit means not having to obey mission standards or the commandments.” They should “remember that obeying mission standards and the commandments invite the spirit.”

As the golden rule teaches, “a sanctifying symmetry in repentance and forgiveness,” he said, “invites us each to offer others that which we ourselves need and desire.”

God’s work and glory, he said, “include bringing to pass ‘happy and forever.”

J. Anette Dennis: Don’t judge, and show compassion

(The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) J. Anette Dennis, first counselor in the general presidency of the women's Relief Society, speaks at General Conference on Sunday, Oct. 2, 2022.

J. Anette Dennis counseled members against prejudice. She repeated the urgings of President Russell M. Nelson that “any abuse or prejudice toward another because of nationality, race, sexual orientation, gender, educational degrees, culture or other significant identifiers is offensive to our maker!”

And Dennis, first counselor in the general presidency of the women’s Relief Society, asked, “How often do we judge others based on their outward appearance and actions, or lack of action, when, if we fully understood, we would instead react with compassion and a desire to help instead of adding to their burdens with our judgment?”

The fourth woman to speak at this General Conference, she said she believes “the Savior is inviting us to live a higher, holier way — his way of love where all can feel they truly belong and are needed.”

And, she said, “none of us has perfect lives nor perfect families. I certainly don’t.” But empathizing with others “can help them feel that they are not alone in their struggles. Everyone needs to feel that they really do belong and are needed in the body of Christ.”

Apostle Jeffrey Holland: The cross is a symbol of ‘generalized Christianity’

(The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) Apostle Jeffrey R. Holland speaks at General Conference on Sunday, Oct. 2, 2022.

One reason Latter-day Saints do not emphasize the cross as a symbol, apostle Jeffrey R. Holland said in the first General Conference speech Sunday morning, “stems from our biblical roots.”

Because crucifixion was “one of the Roman Empire’s most agonizing forms of execution, many early followers of Jesus chose not to highlight that brutal instrument of suffering,” the apostle said. “The meaning of Christ’s death was certainly central to their faith, but for some 300 years they typically sought to convey their gospel identity through other means.”

By the fourth and fifth centuries, a cross was being introduced as “a symbol of generalized Christianity,” Holland said, but Mormonism is not a “generalized Christianity.”

“As I attempt to explain why we generally do not use the iconography of the cross,” the apostle said, “I wish to make abundantly clear our deep respect and profound admiration for the faith-filled motives and devoted lives of those who do.”

Still, being neither Catholic nor Protestant, Latter-day Saints believe that their church is, rather, “a restored church, the restored New Testament church,” he said. “Thus, our origins and authority go back before the time of councils, creeds and iconography.”

The most important of all scriptural references to the cross, Holland said, “has nothing to do with pendants or jewelry, with steeples or signposts. It has to do, rather, with the rock-ribbed integrity and stiff moral backbone that Christians should bring to the call Jesus has given to every one of his disciples.”

To be a follower of Jesus Christ, Holland said, “one must sometimes carry a burden — your own or someone else’s — and go where sacrifice is required and suffering is inevitable.”

He described various “burdens” that believers carry.

“I know those who are fighting mental illness of many kinds, who plead for help as they pray and pine for the promised land of emotional stability. I know those who live with debilitating poverty, but defying despair, ask only for the chance to make better lives for their loved ones and others in need around them,” Holland said. “I know many who wrestle with wrenching matters of identity, gender and sexuality. I weep for them, and I weep with them, knowing how significant the consequences of their decisions will be.”

As Latter-day Saints “take up our crosses and follow him, it would be tragic indeed,” he said, “if the weight of our challenges did not make us more empathetic for and more attentive to the burdens being carried by others.”