Mormon church president urges prayer, reaching out to others

SALT LAKE CITY — Mormon church President Thomas S. Monson urged his faith's followers to embrace the power of prayer and to reach out to people in need.

Monson said Sunday at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' 182nd semiannual General Conference in Salt Lake City that God hears the faithful and knows them.

"We can communicate with our Heavenly Father through prayer and those prayers will be heard and answered. Perhaps not how and when we expected they would be answered, but they will be answered," the 85-year-old leader said.

He also urged the church's more than 14 million members worldwide to be open to people in need.

"The opportunity to be a blessing in the life of another often comes unexpectedly," he said. "The Lord is in the details of our lives."

Other speakers Sunday emphasized the teachings and sacrifice of Jesus Christ, and his mandate to love and serve, The Salt Lake Tribune reported (http://bit.ly/Q5pwOe).

"For some, serving or ministering one by one, following the Savior's example, doesn't come easily," said Relief Society President Linda K. Burton. "But with practice, each of us can become more like the Savior as we serve God's children."

LDS apostle Jeffrey R. Holland told the faithful "the crowning characteristic of love is always loyalty."

LDS believers have "neighbors to bless, children to protect, the poor to lift up, and the truth to defend. We have wrongs to make right, truths to share, and good to do," he said. "In short, we have a life of devoted discipleship to give in demonstrating our love of the Lord."

The speeches on the general conference's final day also were broadcast on the Internet and beamed via satellite to millions of Mormons worldwide watching in LDS chapels.

On Saturday, Mormon apostle Dallin H. Oaks urged Mormons to protect children, denouncing abortion, divorce, abuse, cohabitation and single and same-sex parenthood as harmful to their welfare.

Abortion is "a great evil," he said, and it should be assumed that kids raised by same-sex couples or unwed mothers will be at a disadvantage.

"Children are also victimized by marriages that do not occur," Oaks said.

Mormon leaders have taught that viewing marriage as a mere contract easily entered into and broken "is an evil meriting severe condemnation," especially when children suffer as a result, he added.

"There are surely cases when a divorce is necessary for the good of the children, but those circumstances are exceptional," Oaks said. "In most marital contests the contending parents should give much greater weight to the interests of the children."

Fellow apostle Quentin L. Cook lamented the portrayal of violence and immorality in music, entertainment and media today as "unprecedented."


Photo: Sister Fabiola Chavarria of Bolivia, Fla. and her teaching companion Sister Hyuna Yoon of South Korea, talk with friends at Temple Square during the afternoon session of the182nd Semiannual General Conference for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Oct. 6, 2012. LDS Church President Thomas S. Monson announced Saturday that young women, who have not been eligible for full-time missionary service until age 21, may now begin their service at age 19. Sisters Chavarria and Yoon both were excited about the announcement and said what a privilege it was to serve the Lord. The two have been on their mission in Salt Lake City for less than a year. (AP Photo/The Salt Lake Tribune, Laura Seitz)