"We love you and pray for you," said President Thomas S. Monson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as he opened Saturday morning's first session of the church's 180th Annual General Conference.
"Many messages, covering a variety of gospel topics, will be given during the next two days. Those men and women who will speak to you have sought heaven's help concerning the messages they will give," he said.
"It is my prayer that we may be filled with his spirit as we listen and learn."
President Monson encouraged members to reach out to new converts and those making their way back into the church, "to surround them with love and to help them feel at home."
He also acknowledged the church's humanitarian responses in the last three months alone — in French Polynesia, Mongolia, Bolivia, Peru, Arizona, Mexico, Portugal and Uganda as well as the devastating earthquakes and tsunamis in Haiti and Chile.
"We express our love to our church members who have suffered in these disasters," he said. "You are in our prayers. We express profound gratitude to all of you for your willingness to assist with our humanitarian efforts by sharing your resources and, in many cases, your time, your talents and your expertise."
President Monson did not announce any new LDS temples, similar to the total of 10 announced in the past two October general conferences. However, he mentioned recent announcements of a new temple in Payson and renovations to the Ogden Utah Temple.
He also mentioned that in the next three months, three new temples will be dedicated — Vancouver British Columbia, Gila Valley Arizona and Cebu City Philippines temples.
Acknowledging the presence of his wife, Sister Frances Monson, President Monson provided an update on her health following a serious October fall where she suffered a broken hip and a broken shoulder and required several weeks of hospitalization.
"You can't keep one of these Swedish girls down," he quipped.
"She is doing well and continues to make progress toward a full recovery," said President Monson, adding "she joins me in expressing our deep gratitude to our Heavenly Father and to you for your prayers and your well-wishes in her behalf."
To watch LDS General Conference go to www.lds.org