SALT LAKE CITY — President Russell M. Nelson announced eight new temples, including historic ones in Shanghai and Dubai, during the final session of the 190th Annual General Conference on Sunday afternoon.
The eight temples are in Bahía Blanca, Argentina; Tallahassee, Florida; Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of the Congo; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Benin City, Nigeria; Syracuse, Utah; Dubai, United Arab Emirates; and Shanghai, People’s Republic of China.
“The plan for a temple in Dubai comes in response to their gracious invitation, which we gratefully acknowledge,” President Nelson said.
“Context for the plan for Shanghai is very important,” he said. “For more than two decades, temple-worthy members in the People’s Republic of China have attended the Hong Kong China Temple. But in July 2019, that temple was closed for long-planned and much-needed renovation.
“In Shanghai, a modest multipurpose meeting place will provide a way for Chinese members to continue to participate in ordinances of the temple — in the People’s Republic of China — for them and their ancestors.
“In every country, this church teaches its members to honor, obey and sustain the law. We teach the importance of the family, of being good parents and exemplary citizens. Because we respect the laws and regulations of the People’s Republic of China, the church does not send proselyting missionaries there; nor will we do so now.
“Expatriate and Chinese congregations will continue to meet separately. The church’s legal status there remains unchanged. In an initial phase of facility use, entry will be by appointment only. The Shanghai Temple will not be a temple for tourists from other countries.”
President Dallin H. Oaks, first counselor in the First Presidency, said he is convinced, because of letters he has received from members and requests he’s reviewed from people wanting to return to the church, that many members do not fully understand the plan of salvation.
“We who know God’s plan and who have covenanted to participate, have a clear responsibility to teach these truths and do all that we can to further them for others and in our own circumstances in mortality,” he said.
He said God’s plan provides four assurances.
“All are given to us through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, the centerpiece of the plan,” he said. First, the Atonement can cleanse each person from sin. Second, it took on all other mortal infirmities. Third, all will be resurrected. Fourth, progress does not end with death.
He said those assurances allow each person “to receive divine help and strength to bear the inevitable burdens of mortality, personal and general, such as war and pestilence.”
“Even in the midst of unique trials and challenges, we are truly blessed,” he added. “This general conference has given us an outpouring of the riches and joy of the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ. We have rejoiced in the vision of the Father and the Son that commenced the Restoration.”
The church “is structured to provide opportunities to practice the fundamentals of discipleship,” the effort of a lifetime, said Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.
He said, “When God appeared to Joseph Smith, He introduced His Son, Jesus Christ, and said, ‘Hear Him.’ Joseph spent the rest of his life hearing Him and following Him. As with Joseph, our discipleship begins with our decision to hear and follow the Savior, Jesus Christ.
Elder Uchtdorf invited all people to “come and belong” to the church.
“Come and see,” he said. He added, “We invite you to come and help. Come and serve with us, ministering to God’s children, following in the footsteps of the Savior and making this world a better place. Come and belong. You will make us stronger. And you will become better, kinder and happier as well.”
Elder Uchtdorf is the chairman of the church’s missionary executive committee. He told those who want to know more about the church that missionaries are available.
“Even during this challenging time of coronavirus, meet with us online,” he said. “Meet with our missionaries online. Find out for yourselves what this church is all about! When this difficult time has passed, meet with us in our homes and in our worship places!”
Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Twelve also spoke about missionary work. He told church members that compelling invitations to learn about the gospel require three things: “First, your love; second, your example; and third, your use of the Book of Mormon.”
“Perhaps it goes without saying that despite genuine love and sincerity, many, if not most of our invitations to share the message of the Restoration will be declined,” he said. “But remember this: everyone is worthy of such an invitation.”
Elder Uchtdorf also addressed people who have left the church, inviting them back.
“Your Savior, our Savior, tears of love and compassion in His eyes, awaits your return,” Elder Uchtdorf said. “Even when you feel far away from God, he will see you, He will have compassion for you and run to embrace you. Come and belong.”
The church does indeed want to be reunited with those struggling with their faith or who have left the church, said Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.
“We need you,” he said. “The church needs you. The Lord needs you. Our heartfelt prayer is that you will join with us in worshipping the Savior of the world. We know that some of you may have received offense, unkindness or other conduct that is not Christlike. We also know that some have had challenges to their faith that may not be fully appreciated, understood or resolved ...
“Regardless of your situation, please know that the church and its members will welcome you back.”
He also spoke about revelation and the guidance available to the church and to individuals. He said guidance for the church comes only to the prophet, the rest of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.
But each individual can obtain personal revelation, which he said comes through prayer and inspiration provided by the Holy Ghost
President Henry B. Eyring, second counselor in the First Presidency, conducted the Sunday afternoon session.
Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square provided prerecorded music due to restrictions caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Selections included “Praise to the Man,” “The Day Dawn Is Breaking” and “I Know That My Redeemer Lives.”
The prayers were provided by Elder Kevin R. Duncan and Elder Lynn G. Robbins, each a General Authority Seventy.