Below is coverage of the October 3, 2014, Morning session of the LDS General Conference. Jump to hyperlinked list of participants
Presiding – President
Conducting – President Henry B. Eyring
Mormon Tabernacle Choir – Guide us, Oh Thou Great Jehovah
Opening Prayer – Sister [missed the announcement, will need to rewatch the first few minutes…]
Choir – I Know My Savior Loves Me
It’s a joy to be with you today. We miss President Packer, Elder Perry, and Elder Scott and pray for their families.
During this conference weekend we will be privileged to sustain three who will be called to fill the role of apostle.
Tell a man their are millions of stars and they will believe it. Tell them there is wet paint on the wall, and they will touch it to make sure.
As a patient, I was not patient. Frustrated, I took to the internet to discover a cure, thinking that there was something there that my trained doctors did not know. Then I realized my error.
Sometimes things are so plain, we cannot believe it is true. When we chase after shadows, we are pursuing that which has little substance or value.
Let us ask the right questions:
Does my life have meaning?
Do I believe in God,
Am I truly happy?
Are my efforts leading me to a meaningful life?
People around the world search for truth, and often that search leads them to the Church.
We who are in the Church may also ask us if our worship allows us to still feel the mighty change the gospel brings to the lives of those who believe.
There are those would will testify that their involvement in the Church is bringing great meaning to their lives. They are filled with a radiant joy, their lives are immeasurably enriched. But I recognize there are some who have a less than fulfilling experience. This saddens me, because I know firsthand how the gospel can fill our lives with light, I know firsthand how the gospel can transform our lives from the ordinary to the extraordinary and sublime.
What is the difference?
Let me share two.
First, are we making our discipleship too complicated? The gospel is so simple a child can grasp it, yet so profound that it will take a lifetime to fully grasp it. Yet are we gilding the gospel, creating a mound of sediment that it kills the flower of love we held so dear.
We must protect the purity and plainness of the gospel and avoid placing extra burdens on our members. As members, we need to do those things that matter.
One time a sister decided to prepare a beautiful quilt to illustrate her lesson. But in the mean time, life intervened. So the quilt was not ready, and she worked all night to complete the quilt. Exhausted, she delivered her lesson and the quilt that at its center bore the word exemplifying the theme of her lesson: “Simplify.”
The more we walk in the path of discipleship, the more we desire to learn the word of God, each step leading to the next.
If you feel the gospel isn’t working so well for you, I invite you to step back and simplify your discipleship. The gospel will definitely work better for you.
Second, start where you are.
Sometimes we are discouraged because we are not better. There is nothing wrong with wanting to improve. But remember that our weaknesses can become strengths.
Satan will use our weaknesses to discourage us from trying.
God will take you as you are and work with you. All you need is a willing heart and a desire to believe. Saul was from one of th esmallest tribes of Israel and tried to talk the prophet out of selecting him. Moses felt unequal to the task and wanted to give up and die.
We may see ourselves as not good enough, but God sees us as His sons and daughters, with a divine destiny. The Savior’s sacrifice opens up access to the kingdom. Because of his sacrifice, we will all be saved in a kingdom of glory. Even the lowest will be saved in the Telestial Kingdom, which is more sublime than anything we can imagine.
But we strive for the Celestial Kingdom, where we will partake of God’s fullness and glory. Exaltation is our goal.
Discipleship is our journey.
As you walk in the peaceable way of the Savior, you will be filled with light. You will discover that the gospel of Jesus Christ is indeed working in your life. Let us focus on the simplicity that is in Christ to carry us from where we are right now to the glory of Our Father’s presence.
If we do so, we will be able to say with pride and humility, “It works! Would you like to know more?”
Last General Conference in October, I counseled that we stay on the Old Ship Zion. Since then I am happy to know that some of my friends and family were listening and asked, “What is in the Old Ship Zion that I should hold on?”
If we will not forsake our God, He will guide us right.
Here are some of these great and simple truths:
The Church has always been led by prophets and apostles. They are inspired to help us avoid dangers that would keep us from reaching eternal glory. Though these individuals were not perfect, they were dedicated to God and have moved His work forward. We cannot separate God from His disciples. Without the witness of Christ’s original disciples and apostles, we would not have a record of the miraculous life of the Savior.
This commission has been renewed in our day, with modern prophets and apostles commissioned to proclaim the Gospel of Christ in these last days.
Too many people think Church leaders and members should be perfect, or nearly perfect. Our leaders have the best intentions, but sometimes make mistakes. But we can see God’s hands working through those he has called, despite their humanity.
A second truth is the doctrine of the plan of salvation. Through Joseph Smith, God gave the Book of Mormon, Doctrine & Covenants, the Pearl of Great Price, and other great revelations to help us know Our Father and our relationship to Him.
Every time I hold a newborn child, I wonder who they are. We also wonder about our loved ones who have died – where are they now? What does our future hold for being with them again?
Our family has endured the loss of two grandchildren. We have been comforted to know we will be able to be with them again.
Because God loves His children, He sends heavenly messengers to teach, warn, and watch over His children.
Twenty years ago the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles issued the Proclamation on the Family. We then warned of the dangers for those who fail to keep covenants, and of the disintegration of the family. We affirm this proclamation.
Let us keep the Sabbath Day holy. This will refresh us each Sabbath. It is a sign for our love for God and Jesus Christ. Let us remember that Sacrament Meeting is the Lords, and should be rooted in His teachings. This spirit of worship should permeate our Testimony Meetings. It is a time to share brief inspirational thoughts and our testimony. It is not a time to give a speech.
All of us are blessed when the Sabbath is filled with love at Church and in the home. When we feel the spirit of the Lord, we will desire to come to Church on the Sabbath.
Christ is always near it we need comfort, or need to repent.
Let us stay onboard. The purpose of a vehicle is to take us to a destination. The Church’s destination is to take us to eternal glory, salvation, and exaltation. We cannot reach there by jumping out of the boat and attempting to swim there ourselves. No one gets there but through the atonement of Christ and the ordinances of the Church.
It is within the Church that we enter into covenant. It is within the Church that we form eternal covenants to bind families together.
Hold tight, sail on. Together we will reach our eternal destination.
The world teaches us to lower our standards. Yet as we stand in holy places, we will be strengthened.
Elder Aoba taught the youth about standards by demonstrating how to make pottery. The youth thought they’d be able to succeed merely by watching.
When they failed, they attributed their failure to inexperience. But Elder Aoba explained that they had not centered their clay. When he placed their clay in the center of the wheel, they were able to succeed.
The world in which we live is like the potter’s wheel, it is spinning ever faster. If we are not centered on Jesus Christ, our lives will spin away from the beautiful form He would have us achieve.
I was born into a multi-generation LDS family. It was not until I went on my mission that I understood the great blessing the gospel can be, as I saw the great benefit it brought to those who had not be raised in the gospel.
In Alma 20, Ammon and Lamoni traveled to free Ammon’s brothers. The King of the Lamanites was angered and ordered Lamoni, his son, to kill Ammon. Lamoni protected Ammon and the King of the Lamanites feared for his life. In this fear, he offered up to half of his kingdom to save his life. But all that was asked was that the imprisoned men be freed.
Later, learning the gospel, the King of the Lamanites said he would give up all he possessed and forsake his kingdom, if required, to have this great peace and joy associated with living the gospel.
My wife is a convert the the Church. She has expressed many times the joy she has felt in learning and accepting the gospel.
Early in her life, she felt adrift, without purpose. Occasionally she said prayers, and felt God listened. But when she would attend traditional Christian churches, she did not feel right. But when she found the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, she felt the joy, peace, and purpose she had been seeking.
When Lehi and his family arrived in the promised land, a great rift arose between those who centered themselves on Christ and those who did not. At some point the danger from the conflict became so great that Nephi and his people had to leave. Then they were able to find peace and God’s joy.
I pray we may live Christ-centered lives and find His joy and peace.
Congregation and Choir: We Thank The, Oh God, For a Prophet
I come from the deep south, and the words of old Protestant hymns taught me about discipleship.
“Thou art the potter, I am the clay. Mold me, shape me.”
How do we make the Lord’s ways our ways?
As we love Him and trust Him, we will feel His love.
When I was twelve, I began my search for God and Christ. I sought for ten years.
In 1970 when the missionaries taught me about Jesus, my waiting ended and I was baptized. My husband and children chose as our motto “It will all work out.”
When our daughter was injured in a bike accident, I held those words close as I flew from our mission in Brazil to be at her bedside. Yet she passed away before my plane arrived. Despite our anguish, we had faith that she went right on living as a spirit, that we will be able to be with her eternally through our temple covenants.
Faith in our covenants allowed us to be comforted.
Our motto doesn’t say, “It will all work out now.”
All things will work together for your good, we are promised. It is not that all things are good, but that even in our suffering, God can make us whole and heal our hearts.
When we open ourselves to the spirit, we learn His way and His will.
Perhaps I have a carefully hoarded resentment. When I pray, God can bring this to my attention and let me see how yielding to His way and His love will free me from bitterness. The healing of our heart begins when we submit ourselves in worship to God.
What is our heart condition today? Ironically, to heal our heart, we must allow it to break, coming before God with a broken heart and contrite spirit. Then, yoking ourselves to Jesus Christ, we receive new hope.
When we give up insisting on having our way and let God have His way, we find happiness.
Some may feel they have failed too many times to change. But as covenant Israel, we don’t just try and try on our own. God will take us as we are and make of us more than we ever imagined.
Then we can say, “I’ll do thy will with a heart sincere, I’ll be what Thou wants me to be.
When I was young, I was drawn to the Church because of my friends. But soon I was drawn to the doctrines of the Church.
After baptism, I realized that Christ taught the plan of salvation in the New Testament, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as I and My Father in Heaven are perfect” (Matt 5:48?)
We need to ask the Lord directions along the way. Questions like, “What do I need to change?”
The rich young ruler was already keeping the commandments. He asked Jesus, “What lack I yet?”
Jesus gave individual counsel to that young man, urging him to give up all and follow Him. The young man was stunned. He had had faith to ask, but did not have faith to follow through on the answer.
One woman asked, “What more can I do?” The answer came, “Stop complaining.” Surprised (for she didn’t think she was a complainer), she focused on what she was doing, and stopped her complaining. And she was blessed.
A young man was told, “Stop cursing.”
A young woman was told, “Stop interrupting people.”
Another felt that he needed to focus on keeping the Sabbath day holy.
One day a young woman fell to her knees, asking how to improve her live. The answer was, “Get off your knees and clean your room.”
The Holy Ghost doesn’t ask us to improve everything at once. But to everyone who receiveth, God will give more.
Like you, I have received many messages over the years of what I should improve. Some of these have been “Don’t raise your voice, increase temple attendance, ponder before you pray, ask your wife for her counsel, don’t exceed the speed limit when driving.”
Most of us understand the atonement is for sinners. But the atonement is also for Saints, to help them be better. (Bednar)
Ask, “What is keeping me from progressing?” The answer will be revelation just for you. The possibilities are endless.
The spirit can also help us know our strengths and our divine potential. He rejoices every time we take a step forward.
Be persistent. Never be discouraged. It is our duty to be better today than we were yesterday. Better tomorrow than we are today.
Spencer W. Kimball said, “I have learned that where there is a prayerful heart and a forsaking of sins,… the Lord will pour out heavenly light and permit us to penetrate the veil.”
May we allow the Holy Ghost to lead us home.
Christ will give us strength that we may endure all manner of affliction, swallowed up in His joy.
The death of our loved ones causes us to mourn. When our children let go of the gospel, we mourn. When we are not able to form the family we had dreamed of, we mourn. And we may ask, “Oh God, Where are thou?”
Then we, as Joseph, may hear God say, “Peace be unto thy soul.”
Those who are faithful in tribulation will be blessed. And if we did not have an opportunity for some blessing in live, we will be able to have those blessings in eternity.
The suffering and distress endured by the people of this earth are the result of unrepented sin. (Marion G. Romney)
Why does lack of repentance result in pain? We are the ones who condemn ourselves (Joseph Smith). It is this disappointment in ourselves that makes it like a lake of fire and brimstone. When we seek to justify ourselves, we will only feel more pain and grief, making it more difficult to obtain remission of our sins.
Just like the remission of sins, repentance is a process. It requires consistency in each step. When we take the sacrament, we promise to remember Him and keep His commandments. As we remember Him, repentance begins.
Without the obedience that comes with keeping the commandments, our hearts are removed from Him, even if our lips still profess faith.
What might be some of the vanities that interfere with obtaining a remission of our sins?
Arriving late without a valid reason?
Arriving without having previously examined ourselves
Arriving without having confessed our sins to those affect.
Paying more attention to our electronic devices than the meeting, or participating during the rest of the day in activities that are not appropriate to the Sabbath.
Oftentimes, our will shaped by desire, passion, and appetites of the natural man, is unable to submit to God. But when our will is to be swallowed up in the will of God, then we find eternal life.
Let us seek God’s will and not the will of the world. Only by submitting in this way can we retain the peace of God. It will take envy, strife, and evil from our lives. It will build up righteousness and strengthen the kingdom of God. We will be happier and our minds will be clear. We will be more willing to forgive and see others progress. May we feel this joy and keep the companionship of the Holy Ghost.
We will be better people and our families will be blessed. Amen.
Choir – Precious Savior, Dear Redeemer
There is a myth that the choice is between happiness now and happiness in the life to come. But this myth is wrong.
God seeks happiness for us now, while we strive for happiness in the life to come.
When I was a young missionary in Bristol in the UK, I didn’t understand the insistence on “Ship Shape in Bristol fashion.” Then I learned about the vastly different water levels in Bristol when it was a busy seaport, with the water levels varying so much that the ships at low tide would heel over. Only the strongest ships, the ones that were “ship shape” could withstand such variations.
Being ship shape is, for example, being temple worthy, even in hard times.
Jesus talked about moral behavior as a foundation. He emphasized righteous thoughts and conduct. He rejected the philosophies of men.
Righteousness and morality result in happiness and joy. The ways of the world are not resulting in happier families, less social injustice, or peace.
Despite the overwhelming happiness embodied in God’s plan, it may seem out of reach. The temptations of the world may seem alluring, and the benefits of remaining true may seem far away.
But wickedness never was happiness. Today is the day to prepare to meet God.
In addition to being temple worthy, there are other important points:
1) Righteous Self Control and Conduct. You’ll remember the research conducted by Stanford, where children were presented a marshmallow and told that they would receive a second marshmallow if they could control themselves and not eat the marshmallow immediately.
Exercising self control strengthens our ability to resist temptation. Our missionaries are an excellent example of this. They spend their day in service to others, dress conservatively, and conduct themselves with morality and courage. These missionaries develop remarkable self control. But if this self control is not continued, it will atrophy, like a muscle that is not used.
2) Honoring the Sabbath. Though early Christians shifted the day of worship from Saturday to Sunday, other aspects of Sabbath worship remained unchanged. We joined with Jewish friends in beginning their Sabbath. They blessed the family and sang, then read the word of God.The evening was one of love and devotion to God.
Honoring the Sabbath will connect us to the Savior and bless our families. It allows us to be in the world but not of the world. Many members realize that keeping the Sabbath Holy is a refuge, a protection. Let us continue to keep the Sabbath holy.
3) Seek Divine Protection. Gentleness, Goodness, and Faith will allow us to call on the protection of the Spirit.
In our lives, there will be times when we hit the bottom, put off-balance, like the ships in Bristol harbor. But by holding to God and Christ, we can survive through these times of trouble.
Choir – Come, Come, Ye Saints
Closing Prayer – Elder Adrian Ochoa
Presiding – President
Conducting – President Henry B. Eyring
Choir – Guide us, Oh Thou Great Jehovah
Opening Prayer –
Choir – I Know My Savior Loves Me
Talk – Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf – Finding Anew the Joy in the Gospel
Talk – Elder Russell M. Ballard – The Good in the Old Ship Zion
Talk – Richard J. Maynes – Centered in Christ
Rest Hymn – We Thank The, Oh God, For a Prophet
Talk – Neill F. Marriott – It Will All Work Out!
Talk – Larry R. Lawrence – What Lack I Yet?
Talk – Francisco J. Viñas – Peace in the Commandments
Choir – Precious Savior, Dear Redeemer
Talk – Elder Quentin L. Cook – Ship Shape in Bristol Fashion
Closing Prayer – Elder Adrian Ochoa