Photos show the final session of October 2019 general conference

Next year, general conference in April will be different than any previous conference experienced by members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, President Russell M. Nelson said as he addressed Church members during the final session of the 189th Semiannual General Conference on Sunday, Oct. 6. 

The year 2020 will mark the bicentennial of the First Vision of the Prophet Joseph Smith, President Nelson noted, adding: “I hope that every member and every family will prepare for a unique conference that will commemorate the very foundations of the restored gospel.”

Read more: 2020 a ‘bicentennial year,’ with April conference ‘different from any previous conference’

President Nelson urged Church members to prepare for the upcoming conference by pondering questions they may have about the restoration and immersing themselves in the light of the Restoration through diligent study of the gospel, including the Book of Mormon and “Come, Follow Me.”

Members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles Elder Gerrit W. Gong, Elder Dale G. Renlund, Elder Ulisses Soares, Elder Gary E. Stevenson and Elder Ronald A. Rasband talk prior to the Sunday afternoon session of the 189th Semiannual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City on Oct. 6, 2019.
Members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles Elder Gerrit W. Gong, Elder Dale G. Renlund, Elder Ulisses Soares, Elder Gary E. Stevenson and Elder Ronald A. Rasband talk prior to the Sunday afternoon session of the 189th Semiannual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City on Oct. 6, 2019. Credit: Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

In addition to building anticipation for next year, President Nelson’s closing remarks highlighted changes to the questions bishops ask when assessing the readiness of members to attend the temple. 

See the list of revised temple recommend questions shared by President Nelson

“The crowning jewel of the Restoration is the holy temple,” he said. “Its sacred ordinances and covenants are pivotal to preparing a people who are ready to welcome the Savior at His Second Coming.”

Striving to be more holy and to share the blessings of the temple with others are key components of helping move the work of the restored gospel forward, President Nelson noted.

President Henry B. Eyring, first counselor in the First Presidency, opened the final session of the conference by speaking about the importance of individual holiness and the plan of happiness. 

Sisters Marisol De Anda and Andrea Iguodala attend the Sunday afternoon session of the 189th Semiannual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City on Oct. 6, 2019.
Sisters Marisol De Anda and Andrea Iguodala attend the Sunday afternoon session of the 189th Semiannual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City on Oct. 6, 2019. Credit: Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

Increasing in holiness is the only path to happiness, President Eyring said. “Only by faith in Jesus Christ, continuing repentance, and keeping covenants are we able to claim the lasting happiness we yearn to experience and retain.”

President Eyring shared his own personal experience of entering the temple for the first time and the great feeling of peace and happiness he felt there and how such feelings continue to bless his life. 

Others speakers from the session touched on the importance of the things that help bring about greater holiness.

Daily repentance, service and love for one’s fellow men, continually striving to become more like Christ by following His example and making and keeping covenants with the Lord were some of the themes that speakers touched on during the Sunday afternoon session.

Affirming the eternal nature of every individual and child of God, President M. Russell Ballard, acting president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles stated, “This is who you really are, and who you have always been: a son or daughter of God, with spiritual roots in eternity and a future overflowing with infinite possibilities. You are — first, foremost and always — a spiritual being.”

See all the talk summaries, photo galleries from October 2019

In closing his opening address, President Eyring said, “God the Father lives and loves us. He wants us to come home to Him in families. Our loving Savior invites us to follow Him on our journey there. They have prepared the way.”

Attendees leave the Sunday afternoon session of the 189th Semiannual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City on Sunday, Oct. 6, 2019.
Attendees leave the Sunday afternoon session of the 189th Semiannual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City on Sunday, Oct. 6, 2019. Credit: Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

President Nelson added, as he concluded the conference, “I leave with you my love and my blessing that each of you may become happier and holier with each passing day.” 

Other speakers from the Sunday afternoon session included Elder Neil L. Andersen and Elder Ulisses Soares of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles; and Elder Hans T. Boom and Elder Peter M. Johnson, General Authority Seventies.

Prayers were offered by Elder Jack N. Gerard, General Authority Seventy, and Brother Douglas D. Holmes, first counselor in the Young Men general presidency. Music for the session was provided by the Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square under the direction of Mack Wilberg and Ryan Murphy with Richard Elliott on the organ.