184th General Conference, Saturday afternoon session

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Below is coverage of the October 4, 2014, afternoon session of the LDS General Conference. Jump to hyperlinked list of participants

The Choir is comprised of members from the areas of Grantsville, Stansbury Park and Tooele, Utah.
Presiding – President Thomas S. Monson
Conducting – Dieter F. Uchtdorf

Choir – Arise, O God, and Shine

Opening Prayer – Elder Wilford W. Andersen

Sustaining of Officers – Elder Henry B. Eyring
Elders Carlos H. Amado and William R. Walker of the First Quorum of Seventy were released and designated emeritus General Authorities, and two area seventies were also released. No major organizational changes were made.

Choir – I Know that My Redeemer Lives

Elder Dallin H. Oaks, Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

At the end of his mortal ministry, Jesus gave his disciples a new commandment – to love one another as He had loved them.

Jesus had taught his disciples to love one another and even to love their enemies. But to love one another as He has loved us is a unique challenge. It is difficult because we live among those who do not share our covenant obligations.

Jesus prayed: The world has hated them because they are not of the world, as I am not of the world. I pray not that thou take them out of the world, but that they be not of the world.

Jesus’ kingdom is like leaven, which is to raise the whole mass by their influence. Jesus’ followers cannot lift others if they only associate with others who are already faithful.

Jesus said, “He that hath the spirit of contention is not of me, but is of the devil. Behold, this is my doctrine, that such things should be done away.”

He did not just condemn contention on the part of those detracting from the gospel, but also condemned wrath and contention on the part of the righteous. Modern revelation teaches us to be meek and mild, reviling not against revilers.

The covenants we have made inevitably cast us as combatants in the contest between good and evil. In the story of the woman taken in adultery, Jesus defended her, challenging he who was without sin to cast the first stone. All were ashamed and left, but Jesus did not excuse the woman, urging her to go and sin no more.

Of the various changes on the front between God’s way and the way of the world is the move towards same sex marriage, as well as many other ways in which individuals and families are not regarded by the world in the way God has laid out.

On the subject of public discourse, we should follow the Lord’s commandment and love one another, even if we disagree. Our stands and communications on controversial subjects should not be contentious. In doing so, we ask that others not be offended by our sincere statements regarding our position.

We should be persons of good will toward all, rejecting persecution of all kinds, including differences in beliefs regarding sexual orientation.

Surely we can teach our children values and standards of behavior without disrespecting others, such as refusing to allow our children to be friends with those of other religions, as has happened in Utah. We reject bullying, abuse, and any other behavior that harms others.

Regarding government and policy. All of us should banish hateful communications and practice civility.

The most important are where we must practice civility is in our homes and family. Consider a situation where a family member is cohabiting without benefit of marriage. This puts our love of family and our beliefs in conflict. But surely there is a way to show love as well as acknowledging our beliefs.

A sister whose husband had not been baptized for 12 years practiced being kind. He was baptized in a month. She continued to be kind, and he has recently been called as bishop in their ward.

As followers of Christ we must live peaceably with those who do not believe or accept the basis for our belief. We must love all, despite the turmoil surrounding us. May we seek to live this commandment, to love all as Jesus loves them. Amen.

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Elder Neil L. Andersen, Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

The Angel Moroni appeared to Joseph Smith. The angel told the boy that his name would be had for both good and evil.

As love for Joseph grew, so did the evil circulated regarding him. Eventually he was murdered when only 38 years old.

Should we be surprised, therefore, when we continue to hear these evil stories?

Why does The Lord allow evil speaking? One reason is that opposition against the word of God sends seekers of truth to their knees, to ask God the truth.

Many who reject the restored gospel simply do not believe that heaven can speak to individuals in our day. Studying the gospel through the eyes of defectors is like asking Judas about Jesus. The words of defectors always tell more about themselves than the gospel.

How should we respond to a sincere inquirer who is concerned about negative things they have read or heard about Joseph Smith? We might share the words of thousands who knew Joseph personally. John Taylor testified that Joseph was a good and honorable man, that he lived and died as an honorable man of God.

The internet does not have a truth filter. Some of the information published there is simply not true. For example, there was a letter purporting to be from Martin Harris that contradicted Joseph’s own record. Some left the Church. Months later the letter was discovered to be a forgery.

An individual attending a government function in Atlanta was returning home and took a moment to relax on the green lawn before returning to wintery Utah. A photographer captured the image, publishing the picture of relaxation with the caption “Government official attending National Conference.” The picture was true, the caption was true. But combined, they portrayed an untruth.

Every generation needs to obtain their own answer regarding Joseph Smith.

Recently a returned missionary talked with Elder Andersen regarding a friend who had lost his testimony of Joseph Smith. The missionary himself seemed to have questions. You will not be able to help others if you doubt yourself. It is like in the airplane. In the event of a loss of cabin pressure, place the oxygen mask on yourself first, before attempting to help others.

Negative commentary about Joseph Smith will increase. The half-truths and subtle deception will increase. Now is the time to adjust your won spiritual oxygen mask.

Your testimony of Joseph Smith may come in any of a variety of ways. With faith and real intent, your testimony will strengthen. Attacks need never extinguish your fire of faith.

Gain a testimony of the prophet, Joseph Smith. First, find scriptures in the Book of Mormon that you feel and know to be true. Share them with family and friends in seminary and young men/young women. Second, study Joseph’s own testimony of what happened. Record the testimony in your own voice and listen to it.

As President Monson said, This great cause will continue to go forth. No force in the entire world can stop this work.”

God chose Joseph Smith. I testify he was an honest and virtuous man. God the Father and Jesus Christ did appear to him. He did translate the Book of Mormon by the power of God. When we are beyond the veil of death, we will know Brother Joseph again. Amen.

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Tad. R. Callister, Sunday School General President

Ben Carson was not a good student. Once when asked how many he had gotten right on a test, he was forced to respond “None.”

Ben’s mother, Sonia, similarly faced challenges. She had 24 children and cleaned homes to earn money. She realized that the successful people whose homes she cleaned had many books. She came home and told her sons to turn off the TV and assigned them to read books.

Ben’s life turned around. By age 33, he was the head of pediatric surgery at Johns Hopkins University, a world-renowned expert. His success was entirely due to his mother.

As parents, we are responsible for our children. The home is the ideal place to teach the gospel of Jesus Christ. A family in Beirut lived for many years without any contact with the church. Sarah was not able to join the church until she was 12. At that time Sarah was able to answer a wide range of questions regarding the gospel. When asked how she knew these things, she answered that her mother had taught her.

President Callister’s father taught him to be a good man. His mother, when 90 years old, was taking food somewhere. When asked, she replied that she was taking food to the elderly.

We need to teach our children about prayer. Once after a prayer, my mother asked if I was praying for a good wife. When I said I hadn’t prayed for this, mother said that was the most important thing I could pray for. How many of us let our children march out in the most dangerous spiritual battlefield without the strength and protection of prayer?

There may be times when we will need to put our foot down, like the mother of Ben Carson, to ensure the success of our children. If we do not do this, who will? To they receive the leftovers of our time and attention, or do we ensure that we give time and attention to the only roles that will be with us for eternity?

As parents we can proceed with the assurance that God will never leave us to do this alone. As partners with God, we can be gospel teachers and examples to our children. Amen.

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Rest Hymn – Redeemer of Israel

Elder Jorg Klebingat

Have you had a witness that you have done enough to be confident in the presence of God?

Satan will tell you lies, trying to tell you everyone is better than you, that you are unworthy, or that God will never accept you.

Do not believe Satan. No matter what you do, Satan will always be able to find something if you let him.

1) Take responsibility for your own spiritual well being. Stop making excuses. Accept that you are free to choose liberty and eternal life. If you have made wrong choices, take responsibility, apply the atonement, and strive to do better.

2) Take responsibility for your physical well being. If you are not well and can do something about it, then do it. Control your diet and exercise. Our spirit and our body are combined, our body is an instrument for your spirit. Spiritual confidence increases when your spirit is in charge of your natural being.

3) Love God’s commandments. If you love God, keep His commandments. You can’t watch a bad movie and expect to feel virtuous merely because you didn’t watch a worse movie. God knows why you go to Church, whether you are there in truth or merely in body. Casualness in spiritual matters was never happiness. Choose this day in reality who you will serve.

4) Become really good a repenting. Make repentance your lifestyle of choice. Keep your eyes on the Savior and think of what He thinks of you.

5) Become really, really good at forgiving. Forgive everyone everything all the time. Don’t hold grudges, don’t be offended. Don’t think you are exempt from this commandment.

6) Accept trials, setbacks and surprises as part of your mortal experience. Do all that God commands in all circumstances. Trials come for a variety of reasons. Satan’s minions will attempt to persuade you it is because you are wrong or that God doesn’t love you. Ignore such thoughts. While presiding over the Ukraine mission, I asked a sister why she was always beating herself uf. She said, “So no one else will beat me to it.” Voluntarily choose honest, daily repentance. The Savior’s atonement will embrace you. You will be fully clean and acceptable before God every minute.

I testify of a loving Savior who expects us to love the commandments, who rejoices when we apply His atonement daily. I testify of a loving Savior who is anxious for your confidence to wax strong. Amen.

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Elder Eduardo Cabaret

In 1975 I was a young missionary serving in the Uruguay/Paraguay mission. We were blindfolded and told we would be lead to the cultural center, told to follow a voice we could trust. But we were warned there would be other voices that would attempt to lead us astray.

When we reached the cultural hall, I realized I was in the group that had followed the wrong voice! That experience had a lasting effect on me. I told myself I would never again follow the wrong voice.

The Savior invites us to follow Him, to know Him. The invitation to follow him is clear and pure. It is not a passive invitation. It is an invitation to act. Come unto me and have rest.

Those who are not members, heed the invitation of the missionaries. Please accept the invitation by agreeing to do as you are asked, to accept Jesus.

Normal was taking lessons with the missionaries. When she learned of the Word of Wisdom, she told her mother that she would no longer be drinking coffee. Norma’s entire family was baptized through her example. I grew up in that tiny branch with Norma, and when I returned from my mission, I married her.

By keeping the commandments, we are telling The Lord we will follow Him. The rich man asked Christ what more he could do. Christ said, Come, follow me. It was a simple request, but it caused the rich man sorrow.

The invitation to come and follow has changed the lives of many for good. Fifty years ago missionaries entered my father’s shop to have a watch repaired. They asked him to hear their message as well. He was baptized and my mother and family embraced the gospel.

Enoch was called to preach the gospel to a hard-hearted people. By taking the Savior’s arm, Enoch found he could become a great prophet. By walking with Christ, we can grow and be rewarded with the blessing we need.

The woman who touched the Savior’s garment or Bartimeaus, the blind man, reached out with faith and they were healed. Let us say that we have no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually.

Strive to be a better follower of Christ. Pray, then act. Finally, persevere in righteousness.

May we make the decision to increase the level of our commitment to God I pray, Amen.

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Elder Jeffery R. Holland, Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

From the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, He loved the poor and disadvantaged in an extraordinary way. He once said, “Foxes have holes and birds have nests, but the son of Man hath no where to lay his head.”

Poverty is one of the greatest and most widespread challenges. The great Redeemer has issued no more persistent call than to lift this burden from the people. He that oppresses the poor reproacheth His maker. His cry will not be heard.

The Church had not seen its first anniversary before God commanded the Church to care for the poor, commanding that “They shall not suffer.”

When Mary anointed Christ, Judas Iscariot object. Jesus defended Mary, saying, “She has done what she could.”

Mother Theresa was told her work was statistically insignificant. She shot back she could serve God and her neighbor by helping those within our reach. It may be a drop in the ocean, but if we did not do it, the ocean would be one drop more vast. The journalist replied that God must not be interested in statistics.

Let us not withhold our means because we believe the poor have brought their problems on themselves. Don’t we all beg for forgiveness? Don’t we all implore that grace will compensate for our weaknesses? We obtain a remission of our sins by pleading to God, but we retain a remission of our sins by responding to the poor who plead with us.

Zoramites who were termed filthy and dross were turned out of Church because their dress was shabby. Alma and Amulek taught these dispossessed that they could pray. But even to these poor, Alma and Amulek taught even these poor that they should reach out to the poor and needy. Rich or poor, we are to do what we can to alleviate the burdens of those around us.

Industry, thrift, and self-reliance are great virtues. We are always expected to help ourselves before we ask for help of others. I am not prescribing how you are to care for those around you. But God knows. He will guide you in compassionate discipleship for those around you.

I speak of difficult societal needs that go well beyond members of the Church. Within the Church, all are to observe the law of the fast. We are to deal bread to the poor and needy and welcome them into our house. I bear witness of the miracles of the fast. I have cried out to God in my fasting, and more that once God has answered, “Here I am.”

Be as generous as you can be. I promise God will be generous to you. Those who find relief at your hand will call your name blessed forever. More than 750,000 were helped by your fast offerings this past year.

I must acknowledge the many blessings I have enjoyed in my life. I have never been poor nor know how the poor feel. I do not know why circumstances and economic opportunities vary so widely. But I know that but for the grace of God, there go I. I am my brother’s keeper, my brother’s brother.

I am so grateful for President Thomas S. Monson. I recall him flying home from East Germany in his half-slippers, because he had given away his coat and even the shoes from his feet. Beautiful upon the mountains and shuffling through the airport are the feet of him.

In 1831 Joseph had a vision of the kingdom of God coming with power and glory to relieve the suffering of the poor. May we do all we can to deliver any we can from the poverty and suffering that holds them captive. Amen.

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Elder L. Tom Perry, Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

The gospel of Jesus Christ provides a sure foundation.

We follow Christ. The scriptures provide an example of perfect righteousness for us to follow. My mother recorded her Relief Society lessons in notebooks, which I have quoted from here before. She wrote, “We may know him through the words he spoke, the deeds he did, and the silences he observed.”

The world is crying out for something. It is restless, unsatisfied, and bewildered. Christ is the bread of life, the living water, the Prince of Peace. He promised us power. He told us we would rejoice.

Those we look up to and try to emulate shape us. What of Jesus is most worthy of study? It is not the clothes he wore or the houses he lived in.

He is our savior. The redeemer of the world.

The parable of the wheat and tares. An enemy sowed tares amidst the wheat. When the servant suggested that they root out the tares, the master declined, concerned that in gathering the tares the wheat would be damaged. When both are mature, they can be separated and the tares may be burned without destroying the wheat.

A steward must nourish all together. The tares will not please the eye or ear.

If we will enter in by the way and receive the Holy Ghost, it will show us all things that we should do. We must not let the world overcome that still small voice by which God advises us. God will help us prepare us for the challenges that are sure to come.

We ave the responsibility to preserve and protect the family, the basic unit of society. We have been warned and forewarned about the destruction of the family. The greatest teaching of all must be by righteous example. All the blessings of The Lord come through the love and concern of righteous families.

Women who make a house a home contribute more than those who lead armies or stand at the head of large corporations. We cannot begin to measure the influence of women who build stable family lives and nurture for everlasting good the generations of the future. Mothers of today have not greater opportunity than to do all they can to strengthen the home.

Fathers give blessings and perform sacred ordinances. Fathers are personally involved in leading the family, building family traditions and memories. Fathers hold one on one visits to teach gospel principles and help their children understand the value of work. Fatherhood is a man’s most important calling, from which a man is never released.

One year we used a film as we traveled through the Church. One story in that film told of a woman who was attempting to finish bottling fruit. The boys wanted to have her help them pray. She wanted to finish the fruit. The boys responded, “Which is more important, prayers or fruit?”

A parent should never be so busy that they miss an opportunity where an important lesson may be taught. There has never been a time when children need faithful and devoted parents more than now. We must find within ourselves the determination to overcome our challenges with the spirit of sacrifice, ever relying on our Savior, our Redeemer. Let us build our foundation of our Redeemer (Helaman 5:12).

This is the gospel, of which I testify, Amen.

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Choir – Abide with Me, ‘Tis Eventide

Closing Prayer – Elder Edward Dube

Participants
Presiding – President Thomas S. Monson
Conducting – President Dieter F. Uchtdorf
Choir – Arise, O God, and Shine
Opening Prayer – Elder Wilford W. Andersen
Sustaining of Officers – President Henry B. Eyring
Choir – I Know that My Redeemer Lives
Talk – Elder Dallin H. Oaks – Love One Another
Talk – Elder Neil L. Andersen – The Leaven of the World
Talk – President Tad R. Callister – Teaching our Children
Rest Hymn – Redeemer of Israel
Talk – Elder Jorg Klebingat – Confident in the Lord
Talk – Elder Eduardo Cabaret – Trusting God’s Voice
Talk – Elder Jeffery R. Holland – Caring for the Poor and Needy
Talk – Elder L. Tom Perry – The Importance of the Family
Choir – Abide with Me, ‘Tis Eventide
Closing Prayer – Elder Edward Dube

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About Meg Stout

Meg Stout has been an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ (of Latter-day Saints) for decades. She lives in the DC area with her husband, Bryan, and several daughters. She is an engineer by vocation and a writer by avocation. Meg is the author of Reluctant Polygamist, laying out the possibility that Joseph taught the acceptability of plural marriage but may have privately defied the commandment for love of his wife, Emma.

6 thoughts on “184th General Conference, Saturday afternoon session

  1. Thank you so much for posting summaries of the talks. I am at work today and missing conference, but your summaries are wonderful.

  2. I really loved Elder Hollands talk. How powerful. When my dad was a bishop, he said it was astounding to him how often people in fire situations had made bad decisions, compounded by lore bad decisions, that led to the state they were in. (And he said this with compassion, not with disgust at what they were doing.)
    I loved how Elder Holland turned that around and said that we should not withhold our means because of weakness we see in others, that we are all imploring Christ for forgiveness and redemption because of our weaknesses.
    Something I already knew and believed, but it hit home more powerfully.

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