A Mormon church leader is encouraging missionaries to stay strong amid the inevitable personal abuse they will encounter.

The message from Jeffrey Holland of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' Quorum of the Twelve came during one of the opening speeches of a two-day general conference that began Saturday in Salt Lake City.

Holland called on the record number of young missionaries to defend their beliefs with courage and courtesy.

The nearly 85,000 missionaries around the world are more than ever before.

Church president Thomas Monson opened the morning session by talking about the progress of temple construction around the world. He said a new one in Gilbert, Ariz., became the 142nd temple and that there will be 172 when construction is completed on all the current projects.