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New temples and presidencies are among the many highlights of April’s General Conference

A girl, wearing a white shirt underneath a cheetah-print dress, standing in front of a projector in the Aloha Center Ballroom, which is playing conference. Other students dressed in formal wear can be seen in the background.
Some BYUH students gathered in the Aloha Center Ballroom to watch conference together.

Apart from 17 new temples being announced, the April 2022 General Conference advised members to serve wherever they can, make and keep covenants with God and rely on Jesus Christ to heal from abuse and mental health difficulties.

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland advised conference listeners to commit to aiding those who “are at risk of giving up [the] sacred gift” of life itself. Speaking to leaders, advisers, friends and families, he said people must heed signs of depression, despair or self-harm and offer their help and intervention as appropriate. “Life is the most precious of all gifts, a gift which is obtained eternally only through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.”

He spoke directly to those struggling, advising them suicide will not relieve the pain they are experiencing. He advised them to not minimize their eternal light nor to destroy the life Christ gave his life to preserve, but to seek help.

“Someone who faced circumstances far more desperate than you and I ever will once cried, ‘Go forward [my beloved young friends]. Courage, … and on, on to the victory! Let your hearts rejoice and be exceedingly glad.’” We have so much to be glad about. We have each other, and we have him. Don’t deny us the chance to have you, I plead.”

Elder Patrick Kearon, of the Presidency of the Seventy, reminded members and those who’ve been abused that through Jesus Christs’ Atonement, they can learn to let go of their pain by allowing him to help them heal. “He came here to make the impossible possible, the irredeemable redeemable, to heal the unhealable, to right the unrightable, to promise the unpromisable.”

Of one of the many new temples announced, Cris Wilson, a sophomore from California majoring in vocal performance, said he was touched and felt gratitude and joy when the Cusco Perú Temple was announced. Having served in the Peru Arequipa Mission, he said the closest temple was in Lima, Peru. “I love the people of Peru. Part of my heart is still there. My heart leaped for joy to know that there will be five temples in that blessed land.”

New temple projects

During the Sunday Afternoon Session, President Russell M. Nelson announced the construction of 17 new temples, making it so Nelson has announced 100 new temples since the beginning of his presidency in January 2018.

The new temples will be constructed in the following areas:

  • Wellington, New Zealand
  • Brazzaville, Republic of the Congo
  • Barcelona, Spain
  • Birmingham, United Kingdom
  • Maceio, Brazil
  • Santos, Brazil
  • San Luis Potosi, Brazil
  • Mexico City Benemerito, Mexico
  • Tampa, Florida
  • Knoxville, Tennessee
  • Cleveland, Ohio
  • Wichita, Kansas
  • Austin, Texas
  • Missoula, Montana
  • Montpelier, Idaho
  • Modesto, California

Keonalani Hansen, a sophomore English major from Austin, Texas, said she is excited for the upcoming Austin Texas Temple. When living in Texas, she said the nearest temple to her was San Antonio, which was two hours away. She said although the long drive helped her appreciate the temple visit, having a temple closer to home will allow her to perform temple work in her home ward.

Numia Kennerley, a junior biology major from Auckland, New Zealand, said he was shocked when President Nelson announced the Wellington New Zealand Temple. He shared he has memories of attending the temple and viewing Christmas lights with his family when he was younger. “To know those kinds of blessings will be more accessible to so many more families, just makes me really happy.”

Rachel Moore, a freshman from Salem, Oregon, majoring in intercultural peacebuilding, said she was so happy to hear about the Birmingham United Kingdom temple. A returned missionary of the England Leeds Mission, she said the new United Kingdom temple isn’t within her mission boundaries, however, people in her mission will be able to attend it because it is closer. “It’s exciting to think about the people you love, member or non-member there, getting another radiating house of the Lord!”

Jonah Crandall, a freshman biology major from Colorado, said he teared up a little upon hearing the Brazzaville Republic of Congo Temple being announced. In response, he said he shared he said a prayer of thanks in his heart.

A call to serve

During the Saturday morning session, Elder M. Russell Ballard’s talk “Missionary service blessed my life forever” emphasized the importance of serving a mission.

Elder Ballard said preparing and being called to serve in Great Britain amidst the Great Depression prepared him for marriage and a lifetime of service in the Church.

“The Lord knows you. When you are serving your mission, you will have experiences that will help you come to know Him better. You will grow spiritually in serving Him. In his name, you will be sent on errands to serve others.”

After being called to serve over the Canada Toronto Mission, Elder Ballard said President Spencer W. Kimball gave a talk called “When the world will be converted,” which emphasized the growth of missionary work and “that every man should … lift a warning voice unto the inhabitants of the Earth.” He said the topic of missionary work has spread and continues to be relevant today.

Elder Ballard invited young men and young women who have a desire to serve to begin preparing now for missionary service by maintaining purity in their hearts, hands and minds and developing a strong testimony of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.

A boy wearing a dark green hoodie and grey shorts sits on a desk chair in front of his bed, which has grey sheets, holds an iPad with an Apple pen to take notes while watching General Conference. A white fan and a photo of the Savior can be seen in the background.
A BYUH student watches conference from the comfort of his room.

Overcoming abuse

Elder Kearon spoke during the Saturday afternoon session on April 3. In his talk, he taught how people can survive and conquer their own pains, misery and anguish to achieve peace.

He said Jesus Christ is the rescuer because he performed the Atonement and suffered for our pains. Through this, he shared, he has given us “power to not only survive, but one day, through him, to overcome and even conquer- to completely rise above the pain, the misery, the anguish and see them replaced by peace.”

Elder Kearon spoke to victims and survivors of abuse and reminded them to remember the promises the Lord has made unto them. He emphasized their abuse doesn’t make them any less worthy or less loved as a daughter or son of God.

He added God doesn’t despise anyone for their mistakes, and people “are not defined by the terrible things that have been done to [them].” He shared the Savior descended below all things and comprehends what it feels to be broken or abandoned, thus allowing him to offer people the hope, strength and healing they need.

Any sort of abuse is not tolerated, he said, and no man, woman or child deserves to be beaten for any reason. He said the Lord does not condone violence and warns condemnation upon those that engage in such behavior. “Unrepentant abusers will stand before the Lord to account for their heinous crimes.”

However, the Lord is merciful and forgives those abusers who make resolve and restitution of their sin, he added.

Gaining positive spiritual momentum

During the Sunday morning session, President Nelson shared five different ways people can achieve spiritual momentum. “We have never needed positive spiritual momentum more than we do now, to counteract the speed with which evil and the darker signs of the times are intensifying.”

Five specific actions, President Nelson shared to can help people maintain positive spiritual momentum include:

1. Get on the covenant path. “The covenant path is the only path that leads to exaltation and eternal life,” he explained.

2. Discover the joy of daily repentance. Repentance is required for eternal glory and is a key to progress, said President Nelson. If someone has strayed off the covenant path and does not feel there is a way to return, he shared although it won’t be easy, it will “test and teach [them], refine [their] natures, and help [them] to become saints.”

3. Learn about God and how he works. It can be challenging to discern between God’s truth and Satan’s influence, he shared. He said to combat Satan’ influence, people need “daily experiences worshipping the Lord and studying his gospel.” He advised audience members to pray consistently to overcome “the hands of the servants of Satan that do uphold his work.”

4. Seek and expect miracles. The Lord will bless his children if they doubt nothing and do the spiritual work necessary to seek miracles. “Few things will accelerate your spiritual momentum more than realizing the Lord is helping you to move a mountain in your life.”

5. End conflict in your personal life. For his final suggestion, he advised members to end any conflict and find the strength to forgive and to seek forgiveness. He invited members to resolve any personal conflict as a way to show gratitude for the Atonement of Jesus Christ. “When the Savior atoned for all mankind, he opened a way for those who follow him to have access to his healing, strengthening and redeeming power. These spiritual privileges are available to all who seek to hear him and follow him.”

President Nelson promised members “greater strength to resist temptation, more peace of mind, freedom from fear” and greater family unity as they are obedient.

Healing from mental health difficulties

In Elder Holland's talk titled, “Fear not: believe only” during the Saturday afternoon session, he spoke about how the two-year pandemic and other global challenges amidst, has affected the youth of the Church. He said the youth are a “common wealth for the entire world” and “trustees into whose hands the destiny of the Church will be placed.”

Dr. Laurie Santos, Elder Holland shared, was a professor at Yale University who started a course called “Psychology and the good life.” According to David Marchese, a quarter of the entire undergraduate student population enrolled, with more than 64 million people tuning in to her podcast. He said one journalist wrote how painful it was to see students yearning for something they lost or never had.

Holland quoted President Nelson, who said this generation of young adults have the potential to make an impact on the world. He added, “You might sometimes want to run away from where we are, but certainly should never run away from who we are, children of the living God who loves us.”

The Lord has given his children the Light of Christ, Elder Holland said, which enables his children to be an influence for good.

By embracing the many blessings they have received, such as a Church that strengthens and binds families eternally, prophets, miracles, spiritual gifts and revelations, they can begin their search for happiness. He said there will be difficult issues disciples of Christ will face, but Christ promises to guide and “grant us the power to finish the course.”

Two girls, one wearing a white dress with blue flowers and the other wearing a blue dress with white paisley print, sit on red chairs and look upwards to a project screen to watch conference.
Two BYUH students enjoy conference with their ward.

New presidencies

On Saturday, April 2, President Dallin H. Oaks announced three new members of the Relief Society General Presidency, including Sister Camille N. Johnson as president, Sister J. Anette as first counselor, and Sister Kristin M. Yee as second counselor.

In addition, President Oaks announced three new members of the Primary General Presidency: Sister Susan H. Porter as president, Sister Amy Wright as first counselor, and Sister Tracy Y. Browning as second counselor.

President Oaks said the new Primary and Relief Societies will begin their service on Aug. 1.

According to the Church Newsroom, 45 new area seventies were sustained during the General Conference leadership session on Thursday, March 31. Their newly called members were sustained during the General Conference.

Names and biographies of the new area seventies can be read on the Church Newsroom website.