Members Urged to Nourish Testimonies during April Conference
Contributed By By Marianne Holman Prescott, Church News staff writer
At the conclusion of the Church's 184th Annual General Conference—a “wonderful conference”—President Thomas S. Monson asked the 15 million Church members across the globe to constantly nourish their testimonies of the gospel, “that they will be a protection for us against the buffetings of the adversary.”
“As we ponder the messages we have heard, may we resolve to do a little better than we have done in the past,” he said during the closing moments of the Sunday afternoon session of conference. “May we be kind and loving to those who do not share our beliefs and our standards. The Savior brought to this earth a message of love and goodwill to all men and women. May we ever follow His example.
“We face many serious challenges in the world today, but I assure you that our Heavenly Father is mindful of us. He will guide and bless us as we put our faith and trust in Him and will see us through whatever difficulties come our way.”
More than 100,000 Church members gathered April 5–6 in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City to hear President Monson and other Church leaders offer counsel and direction.
Crowds filled the 21,000-seat Conference Center and overflow areas on Temple Square for each of the conference sessions, which were provided in 95 languages and broadcast to more than 170 countries and territories. In addition to broadcasts in local Latter-day Saint chapels around the globe, the Church streamed the conference live on LDS.org, BYUtv, BYUtv International, the Mormon Channel, Roku, Facebook, and YouTube. Online viewership increased more than 40 percent from October 2013 conference.
President Monson presided at the conference and spoke in four of the five sessions. His counselors in the First Presidency, President Henry B. Eyring and President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, took turns conducting the sessions.
In the opening session of conference Saturday morning, President Monson spoke of the recent Gilbert Arizona Temple dedication and the upcoming Fort Lauderdale Florida Temple dedication. In 2015 the Church will complete and dedicate new temples in several parts of the world. When all the previously announced temples are completed, the Church will have 170 operating temples throughout the world, he said.
“Although we are currently concentrating our efforts on completing the previously announced temples and will not be announcing any new temples in the immediate future, we will continue the process of determining needs and finding locations for temples yet to come. Announcements will be made in future general conferences,” he said. “We are a temple-building and a temple-attending people.”
During the Saturday afternoon session of the conference, the First Presidency announced a new member of the Presidency of the Seventy, four new General Authorities, a new Sunday School general presidency, and 42 Area Seventies.
Elder Lynn G. Robbins was named to the Presidency of the Seventy, succeeding Elder Tad R. Callister, who was released from the Presidency of the Seventy and as a member of the Second Quorum of the Seventy.
Called as General Authorities to serve in the First Quorum of the Seventy were Jörg Klebingat from Frankfurt, Germany, and Chi Hong (Sam) Wong from Hong Kong, China. Called as General Authorities to serve in the Second Quorum of the Seventy are Larry S. Kacher from Midway, Utah, and Hugo E. Martinez from Arecibo, Puerto Rico.
Elder Callister was called as the Sunday School general president. John Sears Tanner and Devin G. Durrant, both currently serving as mission presidents, will serve as first and second counselors respectively. Russell T. Osguthorpe, David M. McConkie, and Matthew O. Richardson were released and received an expression of gratitude for their five years of leadership.
“I bear testimony that this work is true, that our Savior lives, and that He guides and directs His Church here upon the earth,” said President Monson Sunday afternoon as he brought to a close the annual general conference. “I leave with you my witness and my testimony that God our Eternal Father lives and loves us. He is indeed our Father, and He is personal and real. May we realize how close to us He is willing to come, how far He is willing to go to help us, and how much He loves us.
“My brothers and sisters, may God bless you. May His promised peace be with you now and always.”
The Mormon Tabernacle Choir, under the direction of Mack Wilberg and Ryan Murphy, provided music for three sessions of conference. A combined choir from the Orem Institute, under the direction of Ryan Eggett, provided music for the Saturday afternoon session.
A priesthood choir from Brigham Young University-Idaho, under the direction of Randall Kempton and Kevin Brower, provided music for the priesthood session.
Clay Christiansen, Richard Elliott, Andrew Unsworth, Linda Margetts, and Bonnie Goodliffe accompanied the choirs on the organ.