“Record Number of Temple Presidents and Matrons Attend Seminar,” Ensign, Nov. 1987, 104–5
Referring to temples as “truly the gateway to heaven,” President Ezra Taft Benson greeted twenty new temple presidents and their wives at the annual Temple Presidents’ Seminar August 18–20. The seminar, which was held in the Salt Lake Temple, hosted the largest group of temple presidents and matrons ever assembled for instruction.
President Benson and his Counselors, President Gordon B. Hinckley and President Thomas S. Monson, spoke at the opening session of the seminar.
Members of the Council of the Twelve also attended the seminar, as did members of the Presidency of the First Quorum of the Seventy, members of the First Quorum of the Seventy, members of the Presiding Bishopric, and several Emeritus General Authorities.
“I am grateful to the Lord for temples,” President Benson said. “It is in temples where we obtain God’s greatest blessings.”
“Area presidencies will be given increased responsibilities for temples,” President Hinckley announced at the seminar. The new responsibilities include the care and maintenance of the temples and their grounds, correlating temple work through the temple president and local priesthood leaders, and encouraging temple work.
“Never have there been so many temples,” he said, adding, “We do not have a shoddy or unkempt temple anywhere in the world.” The Church currently has forty-one temples in operation worldwide.
President Hinckley noted that the First Presidency would continue to call and set apart temple presidents, matrons, recorders, and sealers; approve new temple sites and building plans; and handle matters pertaining to ordinances.
Speaking of those who have died without the benefit of receiving temple endowments, President Monson said that when they hear in the spirit world of the work done here, they will rejoice.
“You are men and women of faith,” he told the temple presidents and their wives. “You are men and women of talent … [and] humility. You know that this is God’s work, and we are his servants.”
“As we serve, the veil may become very thin between this world and the other,” President Benson noted. “It is not too important which side we are working on as long as we serve with all our hearts and strength.
“We will not fail in this work,” he added. “The Lord will not permit us to fail.”