General Conference: Saturday morning session
Presiding: Pres Monson
Conducting: Pres Uchtdorf
Hymn: Come Ye Children of the Lord
Prayer: Sister Linda K. Burton, General Relief Society President
Hymn: I Feel My Savior’s Love
We are under covenant to remember and serve Christ. We gather together in His name. Even with millions of disciples, he is close to each of us and in our midst, by the power of His Spirit. Call upon Christ while he is near. Seek him diligently and you will find him.
Received 2 letters from converts, who had a strong testimony. However, both were now struggling to feel God’s love. Parable of the Sower, many grow, but then wither. All of us have much in common with those who wrote, that we all have seeds to nurture. All have had faith tested, by attacks from those wishing to destroy our faith, delayed answers/blessings, sorrow, etc. Some do not see the withering of their faith. Satan is clever, and attempts to have us believe our testimonies were just delusion.
The talks and hymns of this Conference will hopefully bless us with a more fertile ground, where the word of God can grow and be fruitful. As we join in prayer, we can grow closer to Him. D&C 50 preach and receive by the Spirit of God, any other way is not of God.
Pray while listening to hymns and speakers, and the Spirit can lift our hearts and strengthen us. Listen carefully to the testimonies given in this Conference, as they convey the Spirit of the Lord. “I leave my sure witness” that God loves everyone, Jesus is the Son of God. “The prophets and apostles you will hear in the Conference speak for the Lord.”
Sister Durham, 2nd Counselor Primary
We find ourselves in desperate situations where we need help to survive. We live in a noisy and busy world that can drown out the Spirit. At age 8, children receive baptism, making a covenant with God. Then they receive the unspeakable Gift of the Holy Ghost. “Receive the Holy Ghost” is not a passive phrase, but an injunction to act upon.
How can parents instill greater spirituality in their children?
1. We can point out to them when they are feeling the Spirit, so they can learn to recognize it.
2. We can prepare our homes and children to feel the still small voice. Like learning a new language, immersion works best. Spiritual immersion must start in the home.
3. Help children understand how Spirit speaks to them. Children learn differently, so the Spirit can touch them in different ways.
Elder Halstrom, Presidency of 70
Most important doctrine is we are children of a Living God. 1995, the apostles testified that we are all God’s children. This doctrine is so basic that it can seem ordinary, when it is the most extraordinary information to our salvation. It helps us trust God and have faith in the First Born, Jesus Christ.
“I believe in God” is one of our most sung hymns. But do we “know” it? We identify with nation, culture, occupation, etc. These are not bad, unless they interfere with our eternal identity as children of God. His daughter’s teacher gave the class a Halloween project. “You have drunk the witches brew. What happened to you?” His daughter wrote, “I died. And I went to heaven.” She understood her true identity.
Our first response to the trials in life is that we are His children. Mortal life is agonizing, but especially if we do not understand our eternal selves. We can have something else, or have something better. We live in a world that helps us forget who we are and our connection with God. Saints in Liberia have little materially, but spiritually have much. In a recent meeting with Elder Bednar, they recited the scriptures quoted by speakers. Then sang How Firm a Foundation: “I’ll never, no never, no never forsake”.
Congregational Hymn: Secret Prayer
Elder Gary E Stevenson, 12 apostles
Without keys, a car cannot perform its main functions. I am grateful for the restoration of priesthood authority and keys today. Without keys, we would be locked out of the vehicle that takes us back to the Presence of God. Keys restored today by John the Baptist, ancient apostles, Moses, Elias and Elijah.
Never again do we have to ask, “where are the keys?” New visitor’s site in Pennsylvania, where the Aaronic and Melchizedek priesthoods were restored. Keys control the exercise of priesthood authority. All keys are held by Christ, whose priesthood it is. He delegates keys to mortals.
Young men and women, you can enjoy the blessings of these keys by preparing for missionary service, currently numbering 75,000. It is never too early to prepare. Also, you can receive the blessings of these keys by attending the temple. Young men and women should research their ancestors and be baptized for them in the temple. Baptisteries in many temples are filled from morning to night.
A mother took her children to do baptisms. As they were beginning to leave the temple, a man entered with many names to be done. A temple worker asked the youth if they would return to the baptistery and perform the baptisms. They did. As the work was done, the mother listened to the names, and discovered these were also their ancestors.
The Abrahamic covenant was restored by the prophet Elias. Through this restoration, we all have the blessings of Abraham, if we live faithful and worthy. Pamphlet, For the Strength of Youth, gives tips on how to be faithful and worthy.
Elder Kevin R Duncan, 70
In this world, sins and mistakes will be made. We will all be the victim of someone else’s bad behavior. God has prepared the way to navigate these trials. We can forgive. While being a victim once, we do not need to be a victim twice. We can forgive and be free.
When we apply the healing ointment of the Savior’s atonement, we can change and heal. Sometimes we think that if we forgive, the sinner will get away with what they did. But God will judge and repay. We are to forgive and be at peace.
Elder Wirthlin stated that God will repay the faithful a hundredfold.
We are all growing spiritually, but are at different places/levels. We need to see others as God sees them. God can help us see into the heart of the offender, and learn to love and forgive. God knows his children have an ability for good, if given the chance. Saul was Christianity’s worst enemy, until he converted. Imagine if our whole world saw each other as God sees us. We do not know all going on in a person’s life, their pains and struggles. To forgive is not to condone, however we can gain greater understanding and peace when viewing by God’s perspective. None of us should be judged solely on the worst thing we’ve done. Christ was unjustly accused and still said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
God does not look at the sports jersey or political party, but at the heart. If we win or lose, let us do it with grace. If we do so, grace shall be our reward in the last day.
Our receiving forgiveness is conditioned on us forgiving others. The Lord’s prayer, “forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.” If you are having trouble forgiving someone or yourself, ask God to help you to forgive. We do not have to be a victim twice.
Elder Steven E Snow, 70
Some of the greatest sermons preached are sung in hymns. The first LDS hymnal had 90 songs, with 26 being written by William W. Phelps. The 1985 hymnal now blesses us. The hymn “Be Thou Humble” was written based on DC 112:10 and Ether 12:27.
Our children need to learn to humbly enjoy the success of others, selflessness, and kindness. Humility should be something we all learn. It helps us strengthen marriages, family ties and friendships. Pride destroys those relationships.
All of us must pass through the valley of humility before receiving exaltation. His son was in an accident that caused a loss of short term memory, and most things after the accident. Over the years, he improved and now is married and growing. He continues to live in the same spirit of humility he gained. Alma said it is better to be humble without being compelled to be humble (Alma 32).
How does one get humble? We must remember upon whom we are truly dependent.
Hymn: The Lord My Pasture Will Prepare
Elder Dale G Renlund
While in Africa, sought the advice on how to best help the people. The greater the distance, the greater the feeling of entitlement by the receiver.
God and Jesus are the greatest benefactors. The more distant we are from them, the more entitled we feel.
Nephi had desire to know the mysteries of the Lord, and so prayed about it. He accepted assignments without complaint. Laman and Lemuel murmured and complained, and did not ask of the Lord. They had disgruntled entitlement. They felt the Lord was obligated to give answers without even asking.
Nephi recognized that life would be most unfair to Jesus Christ, who would suffer the most. The closer we are to God, the more we appreciate grace and forgiveness of Jesus. God is more pleased with repentant sinners than with Pharisees, who do not think they need to repent.
To draw closer to the Savior, we must make and keep covenants, listen to the Spirit, and follow Him. This is dealt with in the Sacrament, which we should prepare for each week. His sacrifice is just for each one of us individually. We need to recognize this, so we can draw closer to the Savior. The risen Savior walked with two men on the road to Emmaus. As they sat for dinner, he blessed and brake bread, and their eyes were opened and knew him. They returned to the apostles and told them that Christ was risen, and known to them by the breaking of bread.
If life were truly fair, we would never be resurrected or stand clean before God. In this sense, I’m glad that life is not fair. Through Christ’s compassion and love, we shall receive more than we deserve or hope for. There shall be no more sorrow or pain.
I invite you to draw near God and Christ, and partake of the Sacrament each week. As you do, you will feel nearer to God, and the atonement will be more active in our lives. We will find the Savior has been nearby all along.
Hymn: Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing