Sunday afternoon session: See photos and read summaries of April 2021 conference

Many elements of the 191st Annual General Conference April 3-4 were conspicuously different than preceding, pre-COVID-19 conferences. 

Throngs of people didn’t flood the streets and sidewalks around Church headquarters in downtown Salt Lake City between sessions on Saturday and Sunday. Instead, Church leaders spoke to an empty auditorium in the Conference Center Littler Theater on Temple Square.

This conference the speaker wasn’t framed by the matching outfits of the Tabernacle Choir members or the towering pipes of the organ. Instead, musical numbers were prerecorded from prior conferences and, for one of the first times in a general session, several selections originated from locations around the world.

In lieu of gatherings full of hugs, handshakes and well wishes, Church leaders sat 6-feet apart with faces partially obscured by medical masks.

Even though COVID-19 continues to disrupt “normal” conference customs, the Prophet, President Russell M. Nelson, in a powerful act of faith in the future, announced 20 new temples to be built throughout the world.

“We are building now for the future,” President Nelson said prior to announcing temples in the following locations:

  • Oslo, Norway
  • Brussels, Belgium
  • Vienna, Austria
  • Kumasi, Ghana
  • Beira, Mozambique
  • Cape Town, South Africa
  • Singapore, Republic of Singapore
  • Belo Horizonte, Brazil
  • Cali, Colombia
  • Querétaro, México
  • Torreón, México
  • Helena, Montana
  • Casper, Wyoming
  • Grand Junction, Colorado
  • Farmington, New Mexico
  • Burley, Idaho
  • Eugene, Oregon
  • Elko, Nevada
  • Yorba Linda, California
  • Smithfield, Utah

Currently, 41 temples are presently under construction or renovation. Despite the pandemic, ground was broken for 21 new temples last year, he noted.

“We want to bring the house of the Lord even closer to our members, that they may have the sacred privilege of attending the temple as often as their circumstances allow.”

President Dallin H. Oaks began the Sunday session by testifying of the divinely inspired Constitution of the United States and encouraged members to uphold and defend its principles.

President Dallin H. Oaks, first counselor in the First Presidency, speaks during the Sunday afternoon session of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' 191st Annual General Conference in Salt Lake City on Sunday, April 4, 2021.
President Dallin H. Oaks, first counselor in the First Presidency, speaks during the Sunday afternoon session of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ 191st Annual General Conference in Salt Lake City on Sunday, April 4, 2021. Credit: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Because of the many threats that undermine the Constitution’s inspired principles, Latter-day Saints have a responsibility to learn and advocate its principles, he taught. “We should seek out and support wise and good persons who will support those principles in their public actions (Doctrine and Covenants 98:10). We should be knowledgeable citizens who are active in making our influence felt in civic affairs.” 

Three Apostles offered remarks: Elder Ronald A. Rasband, Elder D. Todd Christofferson and Elder David A. Bednar

Elder Rasband taught that miracles are expressions of God’s limitless power and abound among followers of Jesus Christ today.

“The Lord performs miracles to remind us of His power, His love for us, His reach from the heavens to our mortal experience, and His desire to teach of that which is of most worth,” he said.

Elder Christofferson taught that following the covenant path leads to heaven, happy living and the comforting companionship of the Holy Ghost and fellow Latter-day Saints.

Elder D. Todd Christofferson, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, speaks during the Sunday afternoon session of the 191st Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City on April 4, 2021.
Elder D. Todd Christofferson, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, speaks during the Sunday afternoon session of the 191st Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City on April 4, 2021. Credit: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

“Following the principles and commandments of the gospel of Jesus Christ day by day is the happiest and most satisfying course in life,” he said.

Telling listeners that they have been “blessed abundantly” to learn about eternal principles from the Lord’s authorized servants, Elder Bednar invited Latter-day Saints to “learn, live and love principles of righteousness.”

“Only gospel truths can enable us to ‘cheerfully do all things that lie in our power’ to press forward on the covenant path and to ‘see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed,’” Elder Bednar said.

General Authority Seventy Elder Timothy John Dyches testified that the Savior’s spiritual light is equally as important as sunlight is for all life on Earth. 

The light of Christ, frequently called a conscience, leads to receiving the Holy Ghost’s influence, which is the greatest source of light from Heavenly Father in mortality, Elder Dyches said. 

Prior to President Nelson’s announcement of new temples, Elder Alan R. Walker, a General Authority Seventy serving in Guatemala, said in a prerecorded message that the ongoing Restoration includes an increase in the number of temples as the work of gathering Israel continues.

Elder Alan R. Walker, a General Authority Seventy, speaks during the Sunday afternoon session of the 191st Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on April 4, 2021.
Elder Alan R. Walker, a General Authority Seventy, speaks during the Sunday afternoon session of the 191st Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on April 4, 2021. Credit: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

“As we gather on both sides of the veil, as we make sacrifices to serve and make the temple pivotal in our lives, the Lord is truly building us — He is building His covenant people,” he said.

President Henry B. Eyring conducted the session and Elder Randy D. Funk, General Authority Seventy, and Sister Sharon Eubank, first counselor in the Relief Society general presidency offered prayers, respectively.

Prerecorded musical selections performed by the Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square with directors Mack Wilberg and Ryan Murphy included “Christ the Lord Is Risen Today,” “He Sent His Son” and “Let Us All Press On.”