SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Utah) - On a rainy September morning the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints gathered for their 186th Semi Annual Conference of the world-wide church.
The broadcast originating in Salt Lake City and sent to millions of members around the world began Saturday morning with messages from Church leaders to members. But while today was about these messages, there was also a noticeable difference. The Prophet of the Church was not at the Conference Center.
President Thomas S. Monson will not attend any of General Conference in person this year. Back in May, the Church announced that the 90-year-old was no longer attending church meetings on a regular basis due to his age.
This is the first General Conference President Monson has missed in its entirety since he was called as Prophet in 2008.
The Saturday Morning meeting began with President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, second counselor in the Presidency, offering love to the Church from their Prophet.
The meeting went on with messages for each member of the church to look to God and to serve.
The church has been an example of grand service as they have sent millions of dollars' worth of food, financial assistance and service to people around the world dealing with disasters.
Bonnie L. Oscarson, Young Women General President, began her talk discussing the work of the Church. She said, "In recent days, we have witnessed a large number of natural disasters in Mexico, the United States, Asia, the Caribbean and Africa. It has brought out the best in people.”
She continued that while these grand acts of service are impressive and necessary, she reminded that the best service happens at home.
President Oscarson said, "What good does it do to save the world if we neglect the needs of those closest to us and those whom we love the most?”
There was a call to members to work to acquire what they desire. President Uchtdorf reminded that life, "Is not a self-driving car. It is not an airplane on autopilot.”
His message was to reach eternal goals, it requires daily effort.
President Thomas S. Monson was not the only leader of the Church missing during the Saturday morning session, Elder Robert D. Hales will not attend any of the weekend meetings. The 85-year-old has been hospitalized for several days.
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