General Conference: Saturday Afternoon Session
Presiding: Pres Monson
Conducting: Pres Eyring
Hymn: Sing Praise to Him
Pres Uchtdorf presents leaders for sustaining vote. Many Area 70s released and sustained.
Primary presidency released. Sustained as new Primary presidency: Pres Joy D Jones, 1C Jean Beham, 2C Cordon.
Annual reports for finances and statistics.
Hymn: Israel, Israel God is Calling
We have just sustained Prophets, Seers and Revelators in these latter days. I am humbled by your sustaining vote.
Went to Pakistan and visited with the few members there. Brother Arshad later sent him a note, thanking him for visiting.
January broadcast with youth and leaders. Hundreds of thousands joined in. Leaders answered questions of youth about the theme “Press forward with steadfastness in Christ”. Questions asked showed faith of youth, and their desire to learn more and be more resolute. The Restoration began with a question from Joseph Smith. We need to help each other find God’s answers to those questions.
Listen to righteous warning voices of today. Bad voices attack Sunday worship, faith, and modern day revelation and teachings. Many years ago, stake president Child interviewed a young Thomas Monson, preparing him to be ordained an elder, not knowing that one day he would become the prophet of God.
The growing question today is clear. Are you standing in the light with your leaders, so you know you are doing what is right?
The Lord is here for us, just as he was for Peter when he faltered and sank, while walking on water. We do not have to do it alone. He often reaches out to us through family and leaders. Listen to and respond positively to come unto Christ. Listen for His call to come.
God loves children. He loves all children.
Children today find themselves in many complex family configurations. Many families not unified in following God and his commandments. Family responsibilities from the Proclamation on the Family noted.
I speak to those youth that do not come from picture perfect families, and those who embrace the gospel without family joining them. We will continue teaching the best family system, but also recognize the needs of many children in less than ideal family settings. We sometimes embarrass children with believing hearts that do not have strong, active parents.
While one’s mortal experience may not be ideal, the spiritual experience is perfect – for we are all sons and daughters of a loving Heavenly Father and Mother. Reach out to those from struggling families and strengthen them. Bring them into your homes, so they can see what they can hope for in their own future families.
A less active young man felt moved upon to attend Church. As he approached the chapel, the new bishop was at the door. He was scared of entering. However, the bishop called him by name and said it was great to have him there. This calmed all his fears.
Many young people must wait for baptism, as they do not have parental permission (due to divorce, etc). However, they can stay strong in the Church as their friends embrace them and help them to feel part of the group.
At a large meeting in Africa in an outdoor area, we noted many children watching from outside the gates. I approached the district president and we invited the children in. They came running in, excited to be a part of the group, even though many wore tattered clothing.
Hymn: Now Let Us Rejoice
Elder Mervyn B. Arnold, 70
My Mom usually visit taught the less active and struggling. In her last months, homebound, she wrote letters to encourage and bless them. The Lord tells us we can rescue others.
1. Do not delay going to the rescue. Two boats struggling in a big storm called for rescue. The official rescue groups wasted time discussing who was going to do what. By the time the rescuers were ready, the boats had sunk.
2. It is never too late to join the rescue. Less active can take many years to someday be ready to come back.
3. How great shall be your joy if you bring but one soul to Christ. A young man named Fernando was rescued by a bishop who went into the water to bring him back. He has now been bishop 3 times.
4. We are called to the work by Jesus Christ to rescue others. Some use social media, sharing Mormon messages, etc. Others invite friends to baptisms, share conference talks, etc.
Elder Jairo Mazzagardi, 70
I listened to missionaries about eternal families at a temple open house. I prayed if God would answer me on which Church was true. I was baptized in 1978, the night before the Sao Paulo Brazil temple dedication. We enjoyed the dedication, and an Area Conference right after that. Each week’s meetings were wonderful. We looked forward to having our family sealed, 1 year and 7 days after baptism.
I wondered why the Church was restored in the USA and not in Brazil, Italy or elsewhere. I asked, and no one could give me an answer. Some suggested it was because the Constitution guaranteed religious freedom. However, I traveled around Palmyra to see what I could find. A man I met explained the Erie Canal was built, and Palmyra was in the area, needing workers and skilled laborers. Many moved to the area to work the construction. I saw how God prepared the area with many people with skills and ideas to join the Church, and why God would have the plates buried in that area.
The Restoration truly occurred, with the Book of Mormon as a witness of Jesus Christ. Temples and eternal families are a part of that restoration. If any lack wisdom, ask God. God did raise up Seers and Revelators in our day.
King Benjamin’s sermon shares the glory of God and His love, and “always retaining a remission of sins.”
In mortality, we have physical birth and can experience spiritual rebirth, becoming new creatures in Christ. We need to be able to stand spotless before God. Being born again comes through the ordinances and the Spirit. The Holy Ghost is a Comforter, Sanctifier, and Testifier.
Ordinances are sacred acts with spiritual importance. One with keys must authorize saving ordinances and the Sacrament. Blessings and powers of heaven flow into our lives through the ordinances, including the “mystery of the knowledge of God” (DC 84).
We may obtain and retain a remission of sins based on 3 ordinances. Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins, the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and the Sacrament.
Baptism is a sign and commandment to enter God’s kingdom. It provides an initial necessary cleansing of our soul. Three promises: Take upon us his name, always remember him, keep his commandments.
Baptism by Spirit must follow water baptism for baptism to be complete. Baptism prepares us for the Holy Ghost. Baptism by water is half a baptism without the baptism of the Holy Ghost. It is of no use without baptism by the Spirit. There is a connectedness between repentance, baptism, the Holy Ghost, and remission of sins.
Laying on of hands for the Gift of the Holy Ghost creates the possibility of continuing cleansing of our souls from sin. A farmer considers all issues in sowing and reaping throughout the year. The guidance of the Holy Ghost should also affect all our decisions in life.
The Sacrament water and bread are both blessed AND sanctified. To sanctify is to make pure and holy, in remembrance of Christ’s purity. It is so we can repent sincerely, renewed spiritually and become spotless before God. Partaking of the Sacrament does not remit sins. But the humble actions to prepare for it and the sanctifying power of the Holy Ghost give a remission of sins.
Obtaining and retaining a remission of sins is a point of departure from our mortal experience. They are not isolated, discreet events. They are elements in a series of successive ordinances to perfect us and take us line upon line to our eternal destiny. God’s plan is glorious, merciful and rigorous. We often may feel inadequate, but with the help of Christ and His Spirit, we can be blessed to realize our spiritual possibilities.
We can become increasingly worthy and spotless in the blood of the Lamb, as we seek to always retain a remission of our sins.
Elder M. Russell Ballard
The importance of Church councils. God created all things through a heavenly council. The most important council is the family council. They have always been needed and are eternal. When conducted with love family councils will counteract the modern world. This is different from FHE.
1. General council consisting of family
2. Executive – Father and Moter
3. Limited Family Council – Parents and one child
4. One parent and one child
Turn off electronic devices so all can hear each other. Use a basket to deposit them during the council, without a poke on Facebook.
Full family council to discuss family problems, discuss finances, pray for the family, work on problems. Start with prayer, with a set time every week. May not always have a formal beginning or ending. When all are involved, the family is truly working. Recognize unique circumstances, struggles and abilities of each member in seeking solutions. Like a bishop can use his council and ward members to help others, so a family council can use the strengths of each member.
College students can gather together as roommates to discuss and plan. It can be adapted to whatever our family situation. Even an expanded family council that includes grandparents, adult children, etc. They can be included using Skype, etc. Consider using it on Sundays to plan for the coming week, and keep the Sabbath a delightful experience.
Executive council – parents can review the needs and progress of kids. Also talk about personal relationships as husband/wife.
Limited Family Council – spend time with child in a formal/informal activity. Make decisions in advance on what he/she will or will not do in the future. Listen to child’s serious concerns, including abuse, lack of confidence, fear.
One on one – Often informal, as in the car or on an outing. Builds bonding time. Calendar these, so kids can look forward to the special time with Mom or Dad.
The home walls used to protect the family from the outside world. Those days are now gone. Physical doors cannot protect from electronic invasions. There is a counter from negative technology that distracts us from spending quality time together. Parents need to listen to their kids, and family councils provide that. With such councils, we can make our homes a heaven on earth.
Invite the Lord to be part of your family councils. Family councils held regularly will help you spot problems and root them out more quickly. It gives family members more self worth.
Hymn: I’ll Go Where You Want Me To Go