187th General Conference challenges saints to ‘become’

President Thomas S. Monson announces five new LDS temples at the 187th Annual General Conference. (Mormon Newsroom)

Five new temples, a new Relief Society General Presidency and challenges to “become” were some of the highlights of the LDS Church’s April 2017 General Conference.

Audible gasps sounded in the conference center on Sunday morning as President Thomas S. Monson announced five new temples, to be located in Brasília, Brazil; the greater Manila, Philippines area; Nairobi, Kenya; Pocatello, Idaho; and Saratoga Springs, Utah.

The five announced temples bring the total number of temples operating or under construction worldwide to 182, according to Mormon Newsroom.

“I, like all of you, recognize we are seeing the hastening of the Lord’s work through President Thomas S. Monson and his message this morning,” Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Quorum of the Twelve said in his General Conference address later on Sunday morning.

From left: Sister Sharon Eubank, Sister Jean B. Bingham and Sister Reyna I. Aburto take their places on the stand after being called as the new Relief Society General Presidency. (Mormon Newsroom)

A new Relief Society General Presidency was announced during the Saturday Afternoon Session, with Sister Jean B. Bingham as president, Sister Sharon Eubank as first counselor and Sister Reyna I. Aburto as second counselor.

Sister Bingham previously served as the first counselor in the Primary General Presidency. Sister Bonnie H. Cordon took her place as the first counselor and Sister Cristina B. Franco was sustained as the new second counselor in the Primary General Presidency.

Sister Eubank is currently the director of LDS Charities, the Church’s humanitarian organization that works with global volunteer partnerships and relief aid programs. Sister Eubank will stay on in this position as she serves in the Relief Society General Presidency. 

The outgoing Relief Society General President, Linda K. Burton, was called in April 2012.

Many speakers throughout the conference emphasized the importance of becoming better disciples of Christ.

“The church is designed to help us become true and faithful disciples of Christ, good and noble sons and daughters of God,” President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, second counselor in the First Presidency, said. “This happens not just when we go to meetings and listen to talks, but when we get outside ourselves and serve. This is how we become great in the kingdom of God.”

President Monson spoke about the blessings church members receive when they apply the teachings of the Book of Mormon.

“The importance of having a firm and sure testimony of the Book of Mormon cannot be overstated,” President Monson said.

President Monson also addressed the gospel’s power to protect the righteous in a “time of great trouble and wickedness.”

“I maintain that a strong testimony of our Savior, Jesus Christ, and of his gospel will help us through to safety,” President Monson said.

Elder Yoon Hwan Choi of the Seventy echoed the theme of relying on the gospel and the Savior in hard times.

“Look up to Christ for strength, balance and healing,” Elder Choi said.

Elder C. Scott Grow of the Seventy said saints develop a personal relationship with God when they serve others, read the scriptures and pray daily.

“The Savior tells us that the very best way to know God is to become like him,” Elder Grow said.

Elder Dale G. Renlund of the Quorum of the Twelve said God wants us to succeed.

“Our Heavenly Father desires that his children knowingly and willingly choose to become like him,” Renlund said.

President Henry B. Eyring, first counselor in the First Presidency, gave a message of hope to people on their quest to “become.”

“The Spirit not only comforts you, but he is also the agent by which the Atonement works a change in your very nature,” President Eyring said. “Then weak things become strong.” 

Sister Carol F. McConkie spoke about the importance of becoming holy.

“Those who become saints through the Atonement of Jesus Christ are those who are submissive, meek, humble, patient and full of love,” McConkie said.

President Monson didn’t attend all sessions of the conference in order to conserve his energy. However, he did address church members at both the General Priesthood Session on Saturday night and at the Sunday Morning Session.

All transcripts of talks and video coverage can be found at conference.lds.org.

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