Coverage of the Sunday Afternoon Session of April 2019 General Conference

Contributed By Aubrey Eyre, Church News staff writer

  • 7 April 2019

Kalawai'a Fano, Taliloa Fano, Kennethia Dorsey, and Desiree Addo pause during the 189th Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City on Sunday, April 7, 2019. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.

During the final session of the 189th Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, President Russell M. Nelson announced eight new temples.

Temples were announced for the following locations:

  • Pago Pago, American Samoa
  • Okinawa City, Okinawa
  • Neiafu, Tonga
  • Tooele Valley, Utah
  • Moses Lake, Washington
  • San Pedro Sula, Honduras
  • Antofagasta, Chile
  • Budapest, Hungary

The temple announcements came at the end of the session, during which President Nelson emphasized the importance of personal responsibility for gospel learning and repentance and said God wants “His children to choose to return to Him.”

Prior to announcing the eight new temples, President Nelson asked that attendees listen carefully and reverently to the announcements and react with silent prayers of gratitude rather than verbal outbursts.

President Nelson explained that the 162 dedicated temples of the Church stand as monuments to the faith’s early history and vision. He explained that each of the early pioneer-era temples, which will soon undergo renovations, were built at great personal sacrifice and effort of the Saints and that members of the Church today have a sacred responsibility to preserve and care for the sacred buildings.

Plans for the Salt Lake Temple will be officially announced on Friday, April 19, with plans for the Logan and Manti temples to follow later, President Nelson said.

During the weekend’s four general conference sessions, more than 128,160 people attended live and broadcast gatherings at Temple Square in Salt Lake City, with millions more tuning in to watch the conference via satellite broadcast around the world.

In his closing remarks, President Nelson emphasized the remarkable way that the themes of the various conference addresses, which are not assigned, fit together in a unified way. The themes of the talks shared during the closing session addressed themes of repentance, individual responsibility for gospel learning, and the importance of fortifying homes and families against the “evils of the world,” which were shared throughout the weekend’s sessions. Additionally, speakers at the closing session of the conference echoed the urgency of President Nelson’s words from earlier Sunday morning, when he expressed that the time to repent and come unto Christ is running out.

President Dallin H. Oaks of the First Presidency opened the afternoon session by emphasizing the importance of Christ’s Atonement and the responsibility that each individual has to repent.

“Repentance is an essential part of God’s plan,” President Oaks said. “Because all would sin in our mortal experience and be cut off from God’s presence, man could not be saved without repentance.”

But the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ provides a message of hope for all men, he noted. “Our loving Savior opens His arms to receive all men and women on the loving conditions He has prescribed to enjoy the greatest blessings God has for His children.”

Repentance is a gift and a joy, not a burden, he said.

Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles continued the theme of personal responsibility by stating that “the ultimate responsibility for developing spiritual strength and stamina rests upon each one of us.”

His address emphasized the importance of “making our homes sanctuaries wherein we can ‘stand in holy places.’” With the new Church emphasis on home-centered learning, homes and families become the most important places of learning and teaching youth to prepare for the temple and missions.

“Our homes are fortresses against the evils of the world,” Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said. “In our homes we come unto Christ by learning to follow His commandments, by studying the scriptures and praying together, and by helping one another stay on the covenant path.”

He emphasized that frequently renewing sacred covenants through partaking of the sacrament and making regular temple and church attendance a priority can help fortify families’ and individuals’ homes against the evil efforts of Satan.

The Good Shepherd, Jesus Christ, calls the children of God and invites them to find peace, healing, and joy through His gospel, said Elder Gerrit W. Gong of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles during his address.

He emphasized the responsibility of each individual not only to draw closer to Christ themselves but also to “invite others to come, follow Him.” All who have the knowledge of God’s eternal plan of happiness have a responsibility to share it, he explained, noting that each person is like a shepherd in the work of gathering Israel.

“Shepherds in Israel must not slumber, nor scatter or cause the sheep to go astray, nor look our own way for our own gain,” he said. “God’s shepherds are to strengthen, heal, bind up that which is broken, bring again that which was driven away, seek that which was lost.”

Other speakers from the session included Elder Juan Pablo Villar and Elder Kyle S. McKay, General Authority Seventies.

The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square provided the music for the session, under the direction of Mack Wilberg and Ryan Murphy. Bonnie Goodliffe and Linda Margetts accompanied the choir on the Conference Center organ.

Prayers during the session were offered by Elder Taniela B. Wakolo and Elder Claudio R. M. Costa, General Authority Seventies.

President Russell M. Nelson hugs his wife, Sister Wendy Nelson, as he enters the Sunday afternoon session of the 188th Semiannual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Conference Center in downtown Salt Lake City on Sunday, October 7, 2018. Photo by Kristin Murphy, Deseret News.

Bishop Dean M. Davies of the Presiding Bishopric, left, shakes hands with Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles before the start of the Sunday afternoon session of the 188th Semiannual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Conference Center in downtown Salt Lake City on Sunday, October 7, 2018. Photo by Kristin Murphy, Deseret News.

President Russell M. Nelson waves as he enters the Sunday afternoon session of the 188th Semiannual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Conference Center in downtown Salt Lake City on Sunday, October 7, 2018. Photo by Kristin Murphy, Deseret News.

President Russell M. Nelson and his wife, Sister Wendy Nelson, wave to attendees at the close of the 189th Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City on Sunday, April 7, 2019. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.

Conference-goers sing a congregational hymn during the 189th Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City on Sunday, April 7, 2019. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.

President Dallin H. Oaks, First Counselor in the First Presidency, talks with Elder Gary E. Stevenson and Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles prior to the 189th Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City on Sunday, April 7, 2019. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.

President Russell M. Nelson speaks at the close of the 189th Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City on Sunday, April 7, 2019. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.

Sister Yian Chang and Sister Mehgyuan Han pause during the 189th Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City on Sunday, April 7, 2019. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.

Conference-goers sing a congregational hymn during the 189th Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City on Sunday, April 7, 2019. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.

Conference-goers stand near blossoming trees during the 189th Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City on Sunday, April 7, 2019. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.

Conference-goers sing a congregational hymn during the 189th Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City on Sunday, April 7, 2019. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.

Botswana/Nambia mission president Dunstan Chadambuka and his wife, Sister Pertunia Chadambuka, attend the 189th Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City on Sunday, April 7, 2019. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.

President Russell M. Nelson, center, and his counselors, President Dallin H. Oaks, left, and President Henry B. Eyring, right, stand in the Conference Center prior to the 189th Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City on Sunday, April 7, 2019. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.

William Vaipulu and Tevita Ngauamo attend the 189th Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City on Sunday, April 7, 2019. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.

Kalawai'a Fano, Taliloa Fano, Kennethia Dorsey, and Desiree Addo pause during the 189th Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City on Sunday, April 7, 2019. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.

Conference-goers walk to the Conference Center for the afternoon session of the 189th Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City on Sunday, April 7, 2019. Photo by Silas Walker, Deseret News.

Conference-goers park and walk to the Conference Center for the Sunday afternoon session of the 189th Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City on April 7, 2019. Photo by Silas Walker, Deseret News.

Attendees leave the Conference Center after the Sunday afternoon session of the 189th Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City on April 7, 2019. Photo by Silas Walker, Deseret News.

Conference-goers leave the Conference Center after the Sunday afternoon session of the 189th Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City on April 7, 2019. Photo by Silas Walker, Deseret News.

A young family leaves the Conference Center after the Sunday afternoon session of the 189th Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City on April 7, 2019. Photo by Silas Walker, Deseret News.

Crowds of people leave the Conference Center after the Sunday afternoon session of the 189th Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City on April 7, 2019. Photo by Silas Walker, Deseret News.

A young family leaves the Conference Center after the Sunday afternoon session of the 189th Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City on April 7, 2019. Photo by Silas Walker, Deseret News.