President Gordon B. Hinckley, bringing the 174th Semiannual General Conference to a close Sunday afternoon, encouraged families to gather together following the conference and talk about the messages they had heard. He also spoke about the importance of temple work.
"We have experienced another great conference," he said. "What remarkable meetings these are. What a great purpose they serve. We gather together in a spirit of worship and with a desire to learn. We renew our relationships as members of this large family of Latter-day Saints who live in many lands, who speak a variety of languages, who come out of difficult cultures, who even look different. And we recognize that we are all one, each a son or daughter of our Father in Heaven."
Among those around the world listening intently to his final remarks were the 21,000 gathered in the Conference Center.
He said, "In a few minutes this great Conference Center in Salt Lake City will be emptied. The lights will be dimmed and the doors locked. It will be so with thousands of other halls across this broad world. We shall return to our homes, greatly enriched I hope. Our faith will have been strengthened. Our resolve fortified. Where we have felt defeated and beaten, I hope that a new courage has come into our lives. Where we have been wayward and indifferent, I hope that a spirit of repentance has taken hold of us. Where we have been unkind, or mean and selfish, I hope that we have determined that we will change. All who walk in faith will have had that faith strengthened."
President Hinckley noted that the day following general conference would be Monday, a day designated by the Church as the time to hold family home evening. He said, "On that occasion I hope that fathers and mothers will gather their children about them and talk of some of the things they have heard in this conference. I would wish they might even write down some of these things, reflect on them, and remember them."
Then President Hinckley turned his remarks to the temple. He said, "Now as we conclude I wish to remind you of another matter. It is that we might go to the house of the Lord a little more frequently. As I indicated at the opening session, we have done all that we know how to do to bring temples closer to our people. There are still many who have to travel long distances and, I hope they will continue to make that effort until such time as a temple is justified in their midst.
"Most of our temples could be much busier than they are. In this noisy, bustling, competitive world what a privilege it is to have a sacred house where we may experience the sanctifying influence of the Spirit of the Lord. The element of selfishness crowds in upon us constantly. We need to overcome it, and there is no better way than to go to the house of the Lord and there serve in a vicarious relationship in behalf of those who are beyond the veil of death. What a remarkable thing this is. In most cases, we do not know those for whom we work. We expect no thanks. We have no assurance that they will accept that which we offer. But we go and in that process we attain to a state that comes of no other effort. We literally become saviors on Mount Zion. What does this mean? Just as our Redeemer gave His life as a vicarious sacrifice for all men, and in so doing became our Savior, even so we, in a small measure, when we engage in proxy work in the temple, become as saviors to those on the other side who have no means of advancing unless something is done in their behalf by those on earth.
"And so, my brothers and sisters, I encourage you to take greater advantage of this blessed privilege. It will refine your natures. It will peel off the selfish shell in which most of us live. It will literally bring a sanctifying element into our lives and make us better men and better women.
"Every temple, large or small, has its beautiful celestial room. This room was created to represent the celestial kingdom. When the Mesa Arizona Temple was extensively renovated some years ago and was opened for public tours, one visitor described the celestial room as God's living room. So it well might be. It is our privilege, unique and exclusive, while dressed in white, to sit at the conclusion of our ordinance work in the beautiful celestial room and ponder, meditate, and silently pray.
"Here we can reflect on the great goodness of the Lord to us. Here we can reflect on the great plan of happiness which our Father has outlined for His children. And so I urge you, my brothers and sisters, do it while you have strength to do it. I know that when you get old, it becomes extremely difficult to get up and down. But what a great blessing it is."
President Hinckley then concluded, "Now, my brothers and sisters, I express to you again my love. May heaven smile upon you. This work is true. Never doubt it. God our Eternal Father lives. Jesus is our Redeemer, our Lord, the Son of the living God. Joseph was a prophet, the Book of Mormon is of divine origin, and this is God's holy work in the earth. I leave you my witness, my love, my blessing, as we separate to go to our homes. May God be with you till we meet again is my humble prayer, in the sacred name of Jesus Christ, amen."