SALT LAKE CITY -- President Thomas S. Monson announced plans for five new temples Saturday at the morning session of the 180th Semiannual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The new temples are to be built in Hartford, Conn.; Indianapolis, Ind.; Tijuana, Mexico; Urdaneta, Philippines; and Lisbon, Portugal. Currently, there are 134 temples in operation, seven under construction (including one in Brigham City) and 16 others have been announced.
"The ordinances performed in our temples are vital to our salvation and to the salvation of our deceased loved ones," Monson said. "May we continue faithful in attending the temples, which are being built closer and closer to our members."
Monson also advised senior couples, available young women and all young men to prepare to go on missions for the church.
"I repeat what prophets have long taught -- that every worthy, able young man should prepare to serve a mission," he said.
"Missionary service is a priesthood duty -- an obligation the Lord expects of us who have been given so very much."
Reviewing messages that church leaders have shared in the past was a central theme as speakers often quoted words of those who had gone before.
In his talk on the things that matter most, President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, second counselor in the First Presidency, seemed to shed light on why the speakers may have thought it necessary to review teachings of the church.
"The reason we return to these foundational principles, to the pure doctrines, is because they are the gateway to truths of profound meaning," he said.
"I think most of us intuitively understand how important the fundamentals are. It is just that we sometimes get distracted by so many things that seem more enticing."
Uchtdorf's message was for members to slow down their lives in order to allow them to focus on that which is most important.
"Let us make the changes necessary to refocus our lives on the sublime beauty of the simple, humble path of Christian discipleship -- the path that leads always toward a life of meaning, gladness and peace," he said.
Among messages that reviewed principles taught in the past was the one from Elder Claudio R. M. Costa, of the presidency of the Seventy.
He quoted 13 fundamentals about obedience to the prophets shared in 1980 by former Church President Ezra Taft Benson when he was serving as president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.
Among those principles was members' belief that the prophet is the only man who speaks for the Lord in everything, that the living prophet is more vital to members than scriptures, that living prophets are more important than dead prophets, that the prophet will never lead the church astray and that prophets don't require any particular earthly training or credentials to speak on a given subject.
As an example of such fundamentals, Costa recalled a prediction by a prophet that his home country, Brazil, would become a great world economy at a time when inflation was higher than 10 percent every month.
"Brazil has become ninth in the world economy," he said.
David M. McConkie, first counselor in the Sunday School General Presidency, reviewed a favorite story often told by President Boyd K. Packer, of the Quorum of the Twelve, of William E. Berrett's boyhood Sunday School teacher.
The story is about an unlikely match when an elderly Danish man was asked to teach a group of 15-year-olds.
"Across all those barriers, across all those limitations, this man reached into the hearts of those rowdy 15-year-old kids and changed their lives," McConkie said. "We could have warmed our hands by the fire of his faith," he said quoting Berrett.
McConkie's message was for teachers to focus not on their own limitations but on their plight to invite the spirit of the Lord into their lessons for all those in attendance.
Elder D. Todd Christofferson, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, in his talk quoted a 1903 article written by B. H. Roberts and published in the Church's Improvement Era publication.
"The man who so walks in the light and wisdom and power of God, will at the last, by the very force of association, make the light and wisdom and power of God his own," he said.