Members cheered on Sunday as President Russell M. Nelson announced 12 new temples of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to be built around the world, including one in Utah and others in New Zealand, Brazil, Argentina, Cambodia and Puerto Rico.
There are currently 159 temples worldwide, Nelson said. Renovations are planned for the Salt Lake Temple, and he announced new temples will be built in:
- Mendoza, Argentina
- Salvador, Brazil
- Yuba City, California
- Phnom Penh, Cambodia
- Praia, Cape Verde
- Yigo, Guam
- Puebla, Mexico
- Auckland, New Zealand
- Lagos, Nigeria
- Davao, Philippines
- San Juan, Puerto Rico
- Washington County, Utah
As thousands of members filled the Conference Center in Salt Lake City, the church president also encouraged members to stop using the word “Mormon” to describe the church, re-emphasizing an announcement made previously by Nelson in mid-August.
Nelson told members that whenever they use the name of the church, they should remember and acknowledge that the church was organized and chosen by Jesus Christ.
“When we omit His name from His Church, are we inadvertently removing Him as the central focus of our lives?” he said.
He also told members that an effort to say the full name of the church is not cosmetic or inconsequential or an effort to re-brand; using the entire church name should remind members that the church is led by Jesus Christ.
“To remove the Lord’s name from the Lord’s Church is a major victory for Satan,” Nelson said. “When we discard the Savior’s name, we are subtly disregarding all that Jesus Christ did for us — even His Atonement.”
Even though others may continue using various nicknames for the church, Nelson requested every member should be respectful and patient in using the full name and correcting errors.
Establishing a pattern of using the full name of the church will bring the blessings of God, he promised, and blessed in missionary efforts around the world.
“What’s in a name? When it comes to the name of the Lord’s Church, the answer is ‘everything.’ Jesus Christ directed us to call the Church by His name because it is His Church, filled with His power,” Nelson said.
Sunday Morning Session
Other speakers focused on accessing the healing and strengthening power of Jesus Christ even during trials, pain, offense or heartache.
Elder Jeffrey Holland recalled a story when a man was deeply offended during an interview with a local bishop. Years after leaving the church, the father returned with a willing heart after hearing heartfelt pleas from his children.
“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.”
Recounting a terrorist attack at a Brussels airport that wounded several church missionaries, Elder Neil Anderson reminded members that pain is a part of mortality.
To survive and thrive spiritually, he encouraged members to turn to God and strengthen their faith in Jesus Christ.
“Look forward. Your troubles and sorrows are very real, but they will not last forever. Your dark night will pass because the sun did rise with healing in His wings,” Anderson said.
Young Women President Bonnie Cordon invited the youth of the church to ask for ministering assignments and become shepherds by doing more than just bringing brownies or cookies to others.
Observing true needs, like a man who desperately needed someone to talk with about a loved one's suicide attempt, will strengthen and lead struggling members closer to Christ, she said.
“Whether our sheep are strong or weak, rejoicing or in anguish, we can make certain that no one walks alone,” Cordon said. “We can love them wherever they are spiritually and offer support and encouragement for the next step forward the discerning guidance of the Holy Ghost."
Sunday Afternoon Session
During the Sunday afternoon session of the 188th Semiannual General Conference, leaders urged members to turn to God in times of trouble and lift others through following the example of Jesus Christ.
President Henry Eyring reminded that life is designed by God to test humankind and encourage them to grow through challenges and pain.
To draw closer to Christ and increase feelings of faith, hope and love, Eyring encouraged serving others and praying to be led to those who need support.
“As you help children of God in their troubles, your own troubles may seem lighter. Your faith and your hope will be strengthened,” he said.
Elder Robert Gay added that taking on the name of Christ included seeing people as God sees them and trusting God to overcome any problem.
“In any of life’s travels, why would you ever turn away from the only Savior who has all power to heal and deliver you?” he asked. “Whatever price you must pay to trust Him is worth it.”
To more fully feel God’s love, Elder Brian Ashton of the Sunday School presidency said members must correctly understand God’s character and purposes.
God does not change, cannot lie, and has all power, Ashton explained. Members can rely on God because He keeps His covenants and will always be there for them.
“He hears and answers our prayers. Heavenly Father delivers us from evil when we let Him. He weeps for us when we suffer,” he said. “Ultimately, all our blessings come from the Father.”
At the end of the session, Nelson urged members to study the messages shared at the conference and go to the temples often.
“We know that our time in the temple is crucial to our salvation and exaltation and to that of our families,” he said. “I promise you that the Lord will bring the miracles He knows you need as you make sacrifices to serve and worship in His temples.”