SALT LAKE CITY -- The Provo LDS Tabernacle, heavily damaged by fire in December, will be rebuilt and converted into the city's second temple, President Thomas S. Monson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced Saturday at General Conference.
"No church-built facility is more important than a temple," said Monson. "Temples are places where relationships are sealed together to last through the eternities."
The tabernacle was originally constructed between 1883 and 1898. It is located on University Avenue between Center Street and 100 South.
A news release from the church states that the project will include a complete restoration of the original exterior.
Provo's current temple, located near the Missionary Training Center and Brigham Young University, is one of the busiest in the church, he said, serving those who are preparing to go on full-time missions and a large student population.
Monson also announced new temples for Star Valley, Wyo.; Paris; Barranquilla, Colombia; Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo; and Durban, South Africa.
"I think I'll dedicate that one," Monson said of the Star Valley temple. "There's good fishing up there."
Members who live there now travel about an hour and a half to attend temples in Idaho Falls and Rexburg.
The 14.1 million-member church has 135 operating temples. Another 31 are planned or under construction.
Elder Boyd K. Packer, president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, counseled the youth of the church not to think that the end of the world would come before they had a chance to live their lives.
"Not so!" he said. "You can look forward to doing it right -- getting married, having a family, seeing your children and grandchildren, maybe even great-grandchildren."
In his talk, Packer also reiterated the church's stand against homosexuality. He was at the center of controversy a year ago when he spoke on the same subject.
Saturday morning, Packer quoted the church's declaration titled "The Family: A Proclamation to the World" by stating "We further declare that God has commanded that the sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between man and woman, lawfully wedded as husband and wife."
Elder Richard G. Scott, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, spoke about the power of scripture.
"Great power can come from memorizing the scriptures," Scott said. "To memorize a scripture is to forge a new friendship. It's like discovering a new individual who can help in time of need, give inspiration and comfort, and be a source of motivation for needed change."
Scott also spoke of his love of the Book of Mormon, telling how he recorded an audio version for his family for Christmas in 1991.
He read from a journal entry he had made as he finished this project.
"This has been an experience that has increased my testimony of this divine work and strengthened in me a desire to be more familiar with its pages to distill from these scriptures truths to be used in my service to the Lord," he read. "All who will study its message in humility, in faith believing in Jesus Christ, will know of its truthfulness and will find a treasure to lead them to greater happiness, peace and attainment in this life."
Barbara Thompson, second counselor in the Relief Society, spoke of the need to seek personal revelation and testimony and the power one will have in doing so.
"Let them seek for wisdom instead of power and they will have all the power they have wisdom to exercise," she said, quoting Eliza R. Snow, a former general president of the Relief Society.
Thompson told a story of Hedwig Biereichel, a woman in Germany who suffered much sorrow and deprivation during World War II.
When asked how she kept her testimony during tough times, Thompson reported Biereichel as saying "I didn't keep my testimony, my testimony kept me."
Thompson said similar messages are available in scripture.
In the Saturday afternoon session, Elder Neil L. Anderson, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, spoke about the church's stand on young couples not delaying having children while pursuing their careers.
Anderson told a story of a young couple who changed their minds about delaying childbirth after Spencer W. Kimball, later to become president of the church asked the husband where his faith was.
"In the most beloved story of a baby's birth, there was no decorated nursery or designer crib -- only a manger for the Savior of the World," he said.
A highlight for Top of Utah residents was a performance in the Saturday afternoon session by primary children from North Ogden and Pleasant View.
"Families Can Be Together Forever" was among the selections offered by the choir of children under the age of 12.
Information from the Associated Press is included in this story.