SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints presented a new proclamation and announced the opening of eight new temples during its annual conference.
Church President Russell Nelson unveiled the developments Sunday during the 190th Annual General Conference.
The proclamation outlines core beliefs of the faith. President Dallin Oaks, first counselor in the First Presidency, said the church has “a clear responsibility to teach these truths.”
There was no public attendance at the conference as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Church leaders spoke from a room on Temple Square rather than in the church’s 21,000-seat Salt Lake City Conference Center. Sessions can be viewed online and on television.
The proclamation was only the sixth in the church’s history, with the previous one coming in 1995.
Nelson said he and other church leaders chose to release the new proclamation in honor of the 200th anniversary of Joseph Smith’s First Vision, during which the church says God and Jesus Christ spoke with the church founder.
In the U.S., the church plans to open new temples in Pittsburgh, Tallahassee, Florida, and Syracuse, Utah, Nelson said. Other temple locations will be Shanghai; Bahía Blanca, Argentina; Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of the Congo; Benin City, Nigeria; and Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
In Shanghai, a multipurpose meeting place will provide a way for members to participate in the church. Expatriate and Chinese congregations will continue to meet separately, Nelson said.
“Because we respect the laws and regulations of the People’s Republic of China, the church does not send proselyting missionaries there; nor will we do so now,” he said.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.