SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced plans Sunday for four new temples on the final day of a church conference in Salt Lake City.
LDS temples will be built in Zimbabwe, Ecuador, Brazil and Peru, Thomas S. Monson said during a brief sermon.
Monson also spoke to thousands of the faith’s members about choices and accountability, the Salt Lake Tribune reported (http://bit.ly/1RSYuu6 ).
“Our goal is to obtain celestial glory,” Monson said. “And the choices we make will, in large part, determine whether or not we reach our goal.”
The 88-year-old, considered a prophet, also reminisced about becoming an LDS apostle in 1963 at 36. He has offered fewer sermons at the bi-annual General Conferences in the last year. According to church officials, Monson has been feeling the effects of advancing age.
Other Mormon leaders sought to promote a message of optimism for members participating in temple covenants. Elder Quentin L. Cook, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, urged those who have not received temple to not give up, according to the Standard-Examiner (http://bit.ly/1qhuoaY).
“Please don’t see the temple as some distant and perhaps unachievable goal,” Cook said. “Working with their bishop, most members can achieve all righteous requirements in a relatively short period of time if they have a determination to qualify and fully repent of transgressions.”
More than 100,000 Mormons were estimated to be attending the two-day conference. Millions more were watching live broadcasts from their homes.
The conference did not go into detail about politics or the issue of children of gay parents.
Mormon leaders don’t endorse candidates or parties, but they sometimes weigh in on what they consider crucial moral issues.
This presidential cycle, the church has defended religious liberty after Republican front-runner Donald Trump suggested banning Muslims from entering the U.S. It also renewed calls for an end to culture wars where people stake out extreme positions.
The church came under fire last November when it announced new rules banning baptisms for children living with a gay or lesbian parent.
Those children are still welcome to attend church services. Church leaders have said the rules were intended to prevent children from being caught in a tug-of-war between teachings at home and church.