SALT LAKE CITY — Mormons should cling to their faith and church teachings in order to weather the problems and temptations they face daily in a tumultuous world, the church's president said at the close of a two-day church conference Sunday.
"Permissiveness, immorality, pornography, dishonesty and a host of other ills cause many to be tossed about on a sea of sin and crushed on the jagged reefs of lost opportunities, forfeited blessings and shattered dreams," said Thomas S. Monson, the 16th president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
"My counsel for all is to look to the lighthouse of the Lord. There is no fog so dense, no night so dark, no gale so strong, no mariner so lost but what His beacon light can rescue," he said.
Monson's words closed the 180th installment of the faith's semiannual General Conference, a tradition started by Joseph Smith Jr., when he founded the church on April 6, 1830, with just six members.
Mormons now gather by the tens of thousands in Salt Lake City each April and October to hear words of inspiration and guidance for daily living from the church's highest leaders.
Millions more view the proceedings on satellite broadcasts, radio or via the Internet. The broadcasts are translated into more than 80 languages.
Also Sunday, the church's First Presidency — Monson and counselors, Dieter F. Uchtdorf and Henry B. Eyring — issued a joint Easter message to the faith's 13.8 million members, saying members can find comfort and hope in the Christian belief of Christ's resurrection.
"At this Easter season, as we contemplate our own mortality and remember loved ones who have passed from this life, our hearts turn to Him who promised: 'Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you,'" the First Presidency wrote.
Many of Sunday's speakers shared similar messages, calling on members to use Christ's examples of love and forgiveness as their blueprint for living.
Uchtdorf asked members to show particular concern for those in the church who feel disenfranchised.
"Let us lift those around us. Let us extend a welcoming hand," Uchtdorf said. "Let us bestow upon our brothers and sisters in the church a special measure of humanity, compassion and charity so that they feel at long last they have finally found a home."
On Saturday, conference messages were focused on common Mormon themes of strengthening marriage, family life, and the role of parents in helping their children live church principles. Members were also cautioned against engaging in immoral behaviors and urged to obediently live the commandments.
The church also named a new president of its Sunday school program for youths aged 3 to 11, known as Primary. Rosemary M. Wixom will serve as the general president of the program for the next five years. It is a volunteer position.