SALT LAKE CITY — After two days of meetings in Salt Lake City the annual General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has come to a close.
During the conference, LDS members all over the world = heard from their leaders at a time when the church's missionary force is expanding.
Relating a story from his childhood about playing with matches as a boy, President Thomas S. Monson Sunday focused on being obedient to God's will, calling obedience "the great test of life."
"There are rules and laws to help ensure our physical safety," President Monson said. "Likewise, the Lord has provided guidelines and commandments to help ensure our spiritual safety."
President Monson also encouraged church members to reach out to the needy as he ended the conference.
"There are those who are lonely, including widows and widowers, who long for the company and concern of others," he said. "May we ever be ready to extend to them a helping hand and a loving heart."
Elder L. Tom Perry spoke of what he referred to as "the war against sin."
"In a world where the moral compass of society is faltering the restored gospel of Jesus Christ never wavers," he said. "Not should its stakes and wards, its families not its individual members."
Speaking kindly to children was the message from the Church's primary president.
"One of the greatest influences a person can have in this world is to influence a child," said Primary General President Rosemary M. Wixom. "Children's beliefs and self-worth are shaped early in their lives.
Church members were counseled to strengthened their marriages.
"Marriage is a gift from God to us," said Elder Whitney L. Cayton. "The quality of our marriages is a gift from us to Him."
For those who face difficult challenges in life, President Dieter F. Uchtdorf promised light to those in their darkest hour.
"As we draw near to God, He will draw near to us," Uchtdorf said. "And day by day, the hope of God's light will grow within us."
Members were receptive and said they felt uplifted by the conference.
"The talks were wonderful," said member Niranjan Selvaratnam. "As usual we feel the spirit and we're really grateful for the opportunity to be right here."
Members excited for new temples
When President Monson announced two <A href=http://www.ksl.com/index.php?sid=24684181&nid=295&title=new-lds-temples-announced-for-cedar-city-and-brazil">new temples Saturday morning, you could hear excited reaction in the Conference Center. cheers went up in many homes in Southern Utah as well.
From the Conference Center, the news spread. For years, Cedar City has been the Festival City, thanks to Shakespeare. Now, there will be a Latter-day Saint temple.
It will be built above the city on Leigh Hill. Many residents drove up to the site Sunday to see it and imagine what the temple might look like. The St. George temple, many say, is becoming more and more crowded.
Jason and Angie York are grateful their four children will watch the construction. Ashlyn remembers a trip to the Salt Lake Temple.
"I really like it up there because I walked on the temple grounds, but we don't have one here so, I don't get to do that very often," said child Ashlyn York,
Jason York said the city has been waiting quite a long time for a temple.
"It's going to change the outlook of the town," he said. "It will be an even more spiritual side to Cedar City."
The other temple announced will be built in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the country's eighth temple. The beautiful city will host the 2016 Summer Olympic Games.
It's most famous tourist attraction is the Christ the Redeemer sculpture, which overlooks the city.
Latter-day Saint Brazilians, who attended General Conference in Salt Lake, are thrilled.
"We have lot of friends from Rio de Janeiro and they are all really jubilant, really happy about it, so, we're really excited," said Wagner Pinheiro.