The 189th Semiannual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints took place in Salt Lake City over the weekend, bringing with it inspiration for members, announcements and changes.
Here are five highlights from the conference you should know about.
In Saturday evening’s Women’s Session, President Russell M. Nelson announced that eight new temples would be built — including one in Orem.
The Orem temple will be one of two new temples in Utah. The other will be located in Taylorsville.
The exact location of the future temple has not been released.
The Orem temple will become the sixth temple in Utah County. Four are currently in operation — the Provo Temple, the Provo City Center Temple, Mount Timpanogos Temple and the Payson Temple — and another in Saratoga Springs was announced in April 2017.
Temples will also be located in Freetown, Sierra Leone; Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea; Bentonville, Arkansas; Bacolod, Philippines; McAllen, Texas and Cobán, Guatemala.
New changes to youth organizations
Saturday, Nelson also announced that changes would be made to both of the church’s youth programs — the Young Men and Young Women organizations.
The details of the changes were then announced by Elder Quentin L. Cook, of the church's Quorum of the Twelve, who spoke Saturday afternoon, and Sister Bonnie H. Cordon, Young Women's General President, who spoke in Saturday evening's Women's Session.
The Young Women's program will have a new theme, which is typically recited by Young Women in the program around the world in their classes.
The program will also see changes to the way that Young Women's classes are organized, based on specific needs of the individual wards and will see the names of classes — Beehives, Mia Maids and Laurels — retired.
For Young Men, the announcement stated that bishoprics would directly oversee the Young Men's program, and that all Young Men's presidencies would be released.
Young Women presidencies will still be in place, and, according to the new announcement, will now report directly to the bishop.
Announcement of upcoming bicentennial celebration
In the final session of the conference, Nelson announced that 2020 would be a “bicentennial year” for the church, celebrating the 200th anniversary of Joseph Smith's experience known as the "First Vision."
He said that in celebration, April will yield a general conference different from those in previous years.
“In the next six months, I hope that every member and every family will prepare for a unique conference that will commemorate the very foundations of the restored gospel,” Nelson said. “… general conference next April will not only be memorable, it will be unforgettable.”
Announcement of change to temple recommend interviews
Nelson informed members that temple recommend questions -- the questions asked of members to determine worthiness to enter the church's temples -- were being amended. The questions, Nelson said, were edited for clarity purposes.
The revised temple recommend questions will be distributed to Church leaders throughout the world.
Highlights of church's humanitarian work
Sunday morning, Nelson highlighted some of the humanitarian work the church and its members have done and the impacts made worldwide by that work.
Some of his highlights included:
- More than $2 billion in aid since the launch of the Church’s humanitarian outreach program in 1984.
- Money donated as fast offerings (money saved and donated by members going without food for one day a month).
- Operation of 124 bishops’ storehouses, serving about 400,000 food orders.
- Providing clean water in hundreds of communities in 76 countries.
- Providing aid and emergency supplies to refugees, including supplies to refugees in 56 countries in 2018 alone.
- Donation of clothes worldwide through Deseret Industries.
- Providing vision care for more than 300,000 people in 35 countries in 2018.
- Providing newborn care for thousands of mothers and infants in 39 countries in 2018.
- Providing wheelchairs for more than 50,000 people living in dozens of countries in 2018.
- Carrying out more than 100 disaster-relief projects around the world in 2018— helping victims of hurricanes, fires, floods, earthquakes and other calamities.