In Sunday conference talk, Nelson warns against ‘deceptive’ voices, announces Provo Temple rebuild
SALT LAKE CITY — President Russell M. Nelson of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints exhorted members Sunday to reject “the lure of the world” and instead focus on the rewards of gospel teachings. He also announced 14 temple projects, including reconstruction of the Provo Temple and a new temple in Heber Valley.
“Too many voices are deceptive, seductive, and can pull us off the covenant path,” Nelson said in closing remarks at the church’s two-day General Conference. “To avoid the inevitable heartbreak that follows, I plead with you today to counter the lure of the world by making time for the Lord in your life — each and every day.”
Nelson and other speakers in the Sunday afternoon session variously cited themes including repentance, forgiveness, patience, clean living and rigorous discipline.
“If most of the information you get comes from social or other media, your ability to hear the whisperings of the Spirit will be diminished,” Nelson said. “If you are not also seeking the Lord through daily prayer and gospel study, you leave yourself vulnerable to philosophies that may be intriguing but are not true. Even the most faithful Saint can be derailed by the steady beat of Babylon’s band.”
Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said the church will be a guiding light as disbelief in Christ spreads through the world. He also pronounced as a success the church’s campaign begun three years ago to eliminate references to the church as “Mormon” or “LDS.” Maintaining the focus of the church on Jesus Christ has borne fruit, he said — more than 1,000 products previously labeled as Mormon or LDS have been charged.
Another apostle, Elder Gerrit W. Gong, counseled members to be more forgiving and less judgmental of themselves and each other so the church “can be a place we feel at home, whether we are coming for the first time or returning.” He spoke of questions about church history or policies and some members feeling they don’t fit in or feel judged. “Many today feel a great need to restore trust in human relationships and modern society,” Gong said.
Elder Anthony D. Perkins of the General Authority Seventy talked about his ongoing struggle with cancer and the knowledge his life may be cut short. “Regardless of where you live, physical or emotional suffering from a variety of trials and mortal weaknesses has been, is now or will someday be part of your life,” he said. “Emotional suffering can arise from anxiety or depression; the betrayal of a spouse, parent or trusted leader; employment or financial reversals; unfair judgment by others; the choices of friends, children or other family members; abuse in its many forms; unfulfilled dreams of marriage or children; the illness or death of loved ones; or so many other sources.”
Perkins said he has found solace in faith and the support of Christ to endure suffering well. “The Spirit gives us strength to endure trials and do what we cannot possibly do on our own,” he said. “The Spirit can heal us, although as President James E. Faust taught, ‘Some of this healing may take place in another world.'”
Incremental improvements, not wholesale changes, could be the secret for some people to enhance their lives, said another Seventy, Michael A. Dunn. He gave the example of the once-ridiculed British cycling team, which rose to prominence after a new coach started a program of small but consistent and long-term changes. Spiritually, he said, it is not easy to change from “Attila the Hun to Mother Teresa overnight.” He added, “Seek modest but makeable fixes in your life that might result in the sweet joy of being a little better.”
Elder Carlos G. Revillo Jr., a Seventy from the Philippines and a chemical engineer who once worked in a soap factory, likened repentance to a cleaning agent. “It allows us the opportunity to get rid of our impurities and our old debris, so we are worthy to be with God, as no unclean thing can inherit the kingdom of God,” he said.
When his family joined the church, “we changed our ways and our culture to align to the gospel,” he said. “We had to let go of wrong traditions. I saw this in my father when he learned of the gospel and repented. He was a heavy smoker, but he threw his cigarettes away and never touched one again.”
President Nelson said the Provo Temple, built in 1972, will be reconstructed once the Orem Temple is dedicated.
The newly announced temples will be built in:
- Kaohsiung, Taiwan
- Tacloban City, Philippines
- Monrovia, Liberia
- Kananga, Democratic Republic of the Congo
- Antananarivo, Madagascar
- Culiacán, Mexico
- Vitória, Brazil
- La Paz, Bolivia
- Santiago, Chile
- Fort Worth, Texas
- Cody, Wyoming
- Rexburg, Idaho
- Heber Valley, Utah