SALT LAKE CITY (News4Utah) Thousands of LDS Church members gathered at the Conference Center in Salt Lake City and millions more around the world simultaneously sustained a new leader and new apostles for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
That happened this morning during the LDS Church’s general conference. Then this afternoon a new Young Women presidency was announced along with a half dozen members of the Presidency of the Seventy and eight new general authorities.
93-year-old President Russell M. Nelson – who has been an LDS Apostle for more than three decades – is now 17th leader of the Mormon Church. Today, he appointed the first Latin American apostle and the first Asian-American apostle in the LDS faith.
In addition to calling new leaders – messages of love, forgiveness, repentance, meekness, and service were shared with those in the center and watching around the world.
President Nelson was sustained as the prophet during a solemn assembly. Something started by Joseph Smith – the first Mormon prophet. For many members of the LDS faith – it was their first time participating in the event.
Julie Dyal – an LDS member from Michigan said. “I feel very grateful to sustain… we just had tickets to this session and feel grateful to attend.” Tito Momen – and LDS member from Utah echoed that. “I’m glad to witness the event for the first time in my life.”
They were also on hand to be the first to hear the names of the two newest apostles of the LDS church. Elder Ulisses Soares of Brazil and the first LDS Apostle from Latin America. And Elder Gerrit W. Gong – who is the first Asian American apostle.
For some LDS faithful – just being here and being part of the conference was a soul touching experience. Maira Luarca – a Mormon from California fought back tears to say “Since it is my first time here and not just watching it on TV it was wonderful. It was the best experience of my life.” And Johnny Duke – an LDS member in Utah said “When I walked in I felt blessed. I have never been where thousands of God’s people (are) assembled.”
Those on hand also say the messages they heard were on point. And one message they heard several times focused on repentance. Elder Lynn G. Robbins of the Presidency of the Seventy said, “So, amid a life full of stumbling blocks and imperfection, we all are grateful for second chances.” Even the youngest members of the LDS faith were listening. Zoey Vela – a 10-year-old from California said: “It doesn’t matter if you make a mistake – just repent.”
Another message was one of forgiveness. Elder Echo Hawk of the Quorum of the Seventy said “Are we letting pride keep us from forgiving and letting go? I invite all of us to forgive completely and let healing occur from within. ”
Some, like Joshua Dyal – an LDS member from Michigan said, “We need to be better at forgiving and let stuff. Need not to be so resentful, angry or pride and let it go.”
President Nelson did not speak during the Saturday morning or Saturday afternoon but is scheduled to speak during the Priesthood session Saturday evening.