#LDSConf General Conference – 2 April ’17 – Sunday Afternoon Session

President Uchtdorf will be conducting this session.

President Uchtdorf : Welcome

Mormon Tabernacle Choir: Come Rejoice

Opening Prayer: Elder Gavarette of the 70

Choir: More Holiness Give Me

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Elder D. Todd Christofferson : In 597 BC, Ezekiel was carried off to Babylon. He was of the Aaronic Priesthood lineage, and at 30 became a prophet. He spoke of the watchman on the tower. If the watchman warns the people, and they are attacked, it is not on his hands. But if he doesn’t warn the people, the sin is on the watchman’s hands.

The wicked must be warned, or the sin is on the watchman’s hands. If the wicked repent, then his sins are cleansed and shall live. This warning also applies to the righteous. God has no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but only in their repentance. God seeks our happiness through repentance. All prophets since have warned people to repent and turn from Satan to Christ.

It is for all of us, who have been warned, to warn our neighbor. It makes a big difference here and in the eternities. Who shall we warn? The Parable of the Good Samaritan tells us who our neighbor is. Loving our neighbor is the second great commandment. The motivation is love: love of God and love of man.

Warnings can be urgent, like warning a small child of danger. It can include reproof. But it must always be based in love. We must teach the Doctrine of Christ: faith in Christ, repentance, baptism, and reception of the Holy Ghost.  We must teach not only the dangers of sin, but the joy of the gospel.

Jesus was not hesitant to warn, because of his love for the people. Not just any path leads to heaven, but only the narrow path. He came to call sinners to repentance. He was uncompromising against the hypocrites and scribes of his day. Yet, he loved the scribes and Pharisees, still could not allow them to continue in their sins. Love demands warning others of the dangers.

In a guilt culture, your conscience tells you whether you are doing good or bad. In a shame culture, your society tells you what is relatively right or wrong, no permanent standards. Better to have the unchanging law of God than the changing whims of society.

We cannot be neutral in these matters. We don’t need to stand in the doorway shouting, “Repent!”  Instead, it is a joyful noise we should usually make.

Many live good lives, but do not preach what they practice, especially about good parenting and living. We must stop feigning neutrality. Don’t let those who are floundering to remain in ignorance.

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Elder Joaquin E. Costa : I wish to share lessons I learned on my path to baptism.

First, meeting the missionaries.In my case, I fell in love with a girl named Renee. I asked her to marry me. She said no. I was confused. I thought I was quite a catch. However, she spoke of eternal family and the temple. I agreed to listen to the missionaries.I may not have paid much attention to the elders, as I was motivated by a girl. Today, my children serve missions. Now I wish I would have paid more attention to the missionaries.

Second, attend Church.  Many things I did not understand. What is a Beehive? Remember the new feelings of peace and joy. The Spirit whispered to me this is right.

Three: Read the Book of Mormon. I had not received a confirmation of the gospel after several meetings. I was listening to the missionaries, but not reading the Book of Mormon. I had to read, ponder, and then ask the Lord for a confirmation.

Fourth: Repentance. After the lessons, I still was not convinced I needed to change anything in my life. A young missionary read Alma 42 with me. It moved upon me a desire to repent. I expected to receive revelation without paying the price. Experience repentance. Nothing will draw you closer to Christ than a desire to change.

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Elder S. Mark Palmer: As mission president, one elder told me that he just didn’t like people. Others struggled with the mission rules. Listening to the New Testament’s story of the rich young man in Mark 10, the young man stated he kept the commandments. “Then Jesus beholding him, loved him…” and told him to sell he had and follow Christ.  As I heard the words of Jesus beholding the young man, penetrating into his soul, recognizing his goodness and potential, and his greatest need, then asked even more of him. Imagine the young man being enveloped by all this love, while being asked such a major task.

I realized that this struggling mission president needed to be filled with Christ-like love, seeing my missionaries for who they really are. How can I be more like the Savior?

Elder/Sister, if I didn’t love you, I wouldn’t care what you did on your mission. But I do care and these are the things you can do to become a greater disciple of Christ.

As we learn to see others as God does, we can help them more. We can see potential in them they cannot see themselves. We can speak with boldness and will not give up.

No teaching or learning can be done in frustration or anger, whether as parents, teachers, or leaders. It will lead to condemnation otherwise.

Love should never be withdrawn, when someone fails to live up to our expectations. After the rich young man left, Jesus still loved him perfectly. Perhaps later the young man returned.

Because Jesus loves us, he expects much of us. If we are humble, we will accept his call to repent and sacrifice, and to receive God’s gifts. Whom the Lord loveth, he chasteneth.

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Congregation and Choir: the Iron Rod

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Elder Gary E. Stevenson: Following the Holy Ghost. As a young boy, I hiked with my Dad. I jumped on the rocks. Suddenly, my Dad grabbed me and told me to stay on the trail. We later saw a rattlesnake on that rock. On the way home, Dad told me about how the Holy Ghost warned him.

The Holy Ghost is a member of the Godhead. He is a personage of Spirit. The Gift of the Holy Ghost comes by the laying on of hands, and promises the constant companionship if we are worthy.

How does the Holy Ghost help you? He can warn us against physical and spiritual dangers. A Japanese mission president called for a meeting with a few missionaries in the south. The Spirit told him to invite all missionaries, including those in Fukushima. When the earthquake and tsunami struck, the missionaries were safe assembled, miles from the devastation.

The Spirit is the Comforter. Life can be painful, but the Spirit can also bring peace and comfort. The Comforter witnesses of Christ., leading to a desire to follow Christ and know his peace.

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Elder C. Scott Grow: The Plan of Happiness teaches us who we are and why we are here on earth.  The joy comes from coming to know God.

Oliver Cowdery asked for a confirmation of the Restoration and his work in it. The Lord responded to him by reminding him of the peace he sent him before as a witness.

When you pray, God will not leave you alone. As you pray, you will come to know Him. In studying the scriptures, you can also come to know the Savior.  Elder Bruce R McConkie’s final testimony of knowing Christ, explaining why his testimony is so powerful, because scriptures he’d studied are now his personal words.

Teach children how to recognize the voice of the Spirit. Scripture study helps to recognize the Spirit and come to know God.  Doing God’s will also helps us to know God.

My father-in-law called as a young father to a mission. Later was called as the first stake president of the Missoula Montana stake, at the age of 34. He always was willing to do as called, seeking to know God. He is a great mentor for me.

God knows you and invites you to know Him.

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Elder Benjamin de Hoyos:  Christ said we are the Light of the World. In 1838, the Lord told Joseph Smith that the Church would be a light and standard for the nations.

Isaiah said that God would set up an ensign to the nations and gather Israel from the four quarters of the earth. Standards were a rallying point for soldiers in battle. One of the great standards of today is General Conference.  Our gathering for General Conference is evidence that we believe God will continue reveal His will to us through prophets and apostles.

Line upon line, precept upon precept, as we hearken to our leaders, we will have oil to give light to all others.

As we focus on Sabbath day observance,offer our sacrifices on that day, and partake of the Sacrament,  it gives us light and fills us with forgiveness from Christ.

Our light also grows as we do our family history work and take our ancestors to the temple. This work is moving forth on both sides of the veil.

As teachers, we hold up a light to others – children, students, home teaching families, etc. As we learn to teach as Christ did, our light shines brighter and becomes a standard for others to gather around.

Let our light shine like a city on the hill.

Choir: Keep the Commandments

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Elder Quentin L. Cook: We spend many hours and years developing skills and talents. Sadly, we often neglect the same efforts in spirituality. There is no replacement for spiritual growth, beginning with baby steps: Sacrament observance, scripture study, and prayer.  These establish a foundation of faith.

As a youth, I attended seminary, studied scriptures, etc. My older brother considered a mission, but my inactive father wanted him to continue his studies.  The question came down to whether the Jesus is the Christ, Joseph Smith a true prophet, and the Book of Mormon is true. I prayed about those things to find out for myself.

Effort is required in physical and mental things, and is true in spiritual things, too. Regular scripture study and Sacrament attendance can increase our spiritual strength.

Faith is a principle of power. The New Testament woman with a blood issue reached to touch the Savior’s garment. As many pressed against Jesus, he perceived virtue or power come out of him, as she touched him. Her faith was sufficient to draw upon the healing power of Christ, even though he didn’t see her until after.

Foundations of Faith should be the great desire of our hearts. Such blessings does not mean our problems will go away.  Church history shows many examples of foundational faith, accompanied by spiritual outpourings, but also trials. The Kirtland temple included spiritual visions, angels and miracles. Not long after came the financial collapse of 1837. Parley P. Pratt’s wife died at this time. With the financial collapse, Parley lost land and  money, and wrote a stinging criticism of Joseph, though he continued to believe in the Book of Mormon.  Parley left for Missouri and ran across other apostles. They persuaded him to return with them to Kirtland. Parley wept and plead Joseph’s forgiveness. His faith grew in Joseph, after going through this refiner’s fire.

Joseph in Liberty Jail received the revelation in D&C 122, “all these things shall be for thy good.” Fear not what man can do, for God is with us forever and ever.

Faith in Christ gives us communion with the Holy Ghost, and salvation through Christ’s atonement. Without faith, God can do no miracle. Faith in Jesus Christ is our sure foundation for eternal salvation.

Make the sacrifices necessary to strengthen the foundations of our faith.

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Choir: How Firm a Foundation

Closing Prayer: Elder Marcos A. Aidukaitis

Participants
Presiding – President
Conducting – President
Choir –
Opening Prayer –
Talk – Elder D. Todd Christofferson –
Talk – Elder Joaquin E. Costa –
Talk – Elder S. Mark Palmer –
Rest Hymn – The Iron Rod
Talk – Elder Gary E. Stevenson
Talk – Elder C. Scott Grow –
Choir: Keep the Commandments
Talk – Elder Benjamin de Hoyos –
Talk – Elder Quentin L. Cook –
Choir – How Firm a Foundation
Closing Prayer – Elder Marcos A. Aidukaitis