Notes on the Saturday morning session of General Conference
Presiding: President Monson
Conducting: President Uchtdorf
Speakers: Pres Eyring, Pres Packer, Sister Burton, Elder Oaks, Elder Clayton, Elder Perry
Opening Hymn: Glory to God on High
Invocation: Elder Timothy J. Dykes, Quorums of 70
President Eyring: In a future day, we will see the Savior, and he will say to those on his right hand, “Come into my Father’s kingdom. I was hungry and ye fed me, thirsty and ye gave me to drink….” We will ask him when we did these things? “In as much as ye have done it unto others, ye have done it unto me.”
The numbers of needy grow every day. How can we help them? There is a commandment that each of us can do to help. The Law of the Fast. In following the law of the fast, the Lord will answer when we call to Him. A simple commandment with an amazing promise.
The Lord’s servants receive our fast offerings, and prayerfully consider whom to help. Those who do not live this commandment commit a sin of omission with a major loss of blessings. Our fast offerings helped those who suffered from hurricane Pam in the island of Vanuatu. He remembered visiting them prior, and the tiny homes they had which were now destroyed. The people had to flee for refuge to our cement chapels. Our fast offerings, given far away from Vanuatu, helped them. I took my fast offering to my bishop, knowing some of it could reach as far as Vanuatu.
Part of our offering will help people. It will do more than clothe bodies. It will heal broken hearts. Sister Ture in Sierra Leone struggled through a civil war. Two million refugees and tens of thousands dead. The Church grew there, and her husband was the first branch president. A bundle of clothing was sent by the Church. She received a shirt and blanket that got them through the cold winter. Later, a visitor looked in her scriptures and found a tithing slip. Even in her poverty, she paid one dollar tithing, one dollar missionary fund, and one dollar fast offering for the poor.
The short time we fast and the little we give, does change us for the better. The Lord promises great blessings (Isaiah 58:1-12
Choir: Have I Done Any Good?
President Boyd K Packer: The main concept of the Church is for a man and woman, with their children, to be happily sealed together for time and all eternity.
Adam and Eve were given the commandment to multiply and replenish the earth. That commandment has never been rescinded. Through this, we find the plan of happiness. It is the key to happiness.
A young couple begin to romance and feel joy for the possibilities. Married couples are tried by temptation, misunderstanding, financial issues, and other problems. But love can grow stronger through the trials. The procreative powers must only be used after a legal and lawful marriage, and preferably after a sealing in the temple. The spiritual component of love cannot be compared with any other physical emotion.
From such love comes forth children, who are in the image of their physical parents. There are laws decreed in heaven regarding the proper use of the creative powers. Alma said to bridle all our passions, that we may be filled with love. Our passions must be controlled, so that love may bless and sanctify. Satan would have us abuse and misuse such powers, bringing sorrow in the world.
As a scar may remain after a serious injury, we may have spiritual scars that remain until we fully repent. Only then can Jesus fully erase the spiritual wounds.
God is our Father. His judgments are just. His mercies are without limit. The sacred temple ordinance is much more than a wedding. The Holy Spirit of Promise seals us up to receive powers, principalities, thrones, dominions and kingdoms.
Many do not know how to escape sin. You escape by accepting the atonement of Christ. I am grateful for the power of procreation, the power of the redemption and for the atonement. The atonement can make you free.
Sister Burton, RS President:
She quotes living prophets and apostles showing love for their wives. Today I wish to honor husbands, sons and brothers, who seek to care for their families and honor their priesthood.
I recognize many families are broken, and many are hurting. But today, I speak about the great pattern. Priesthood have the power to protect their homes. Uncle Don could not afford a fence, so he put some stakes in the ground and put string around it. He told his children to stay within the string, and it would protect them. One day, a ball went outside the string, the kids stayed within the string. One went to get their father to help them get it.
Satan hates the priesthood, and seeks to make men miserable. We must work together to lift the rising generation and help them see what their true purpose is. Help meet means a “helper suited to the work”. Male and female spirits complete each other. They do not compete with each other.
We need to focus more on what matters most, than on the to-do lists. One sister noted how it is sad how many of her RS sisters speak poorly of their husbands, particularly in front of their children. How often do we intentionally speak kind words to each other?
When was the last time I praised my companion in front of the children? When did I last pray for him or her? When was the last time I asked for forgiveness without a “but”? When was the last time I did not insist on being right?
“Thee lift me, and I’ll lift thee, and we’ll ascend together.”
Congregational Hymn: High on a Mountain Top
Elder Dallin H. Oaks:
Subjects are assigned for General Conference by the Spirit. Jesus usually inspires modern servants on how to prepare ourselves to return to our heavenly home.
The Parable of the Sower was explained by Jesus. The seed is the word of God. How the seed fell, represents how people receive the gospel. What do we do with the seed we’ve received? Some seed fell on stony ground, withered because it had no root. Those heard the word and received it with gladness, but because they have no deep root, are easily offended and fall away. New members can fall away. But so can long term members who are not well rooted in the teachings of the doctrine. Spiritual food is necessary in a world that drifts further and further from belief in God.
If the emblems of the Sacrament are being passed, and you are texting or playing video games, you are severing yourself from spiritual roots, and going toward stony ground. This applies to youth and adults.
The “keyhole” view of the Church focuses on a perceived deficiency in a leader or event, rather than looking at the grand panorama of the gospel. Commenters “aflame with indignation” attack certain points. We need to seek the broader view of the majestic work of God.
Some hear the word, but the cares of the world and riches, choke the word so it becomes unfruitful. This is a warning we all need to heed. Beware of riches, as they tempt us. When priorities are focused on getting gain, we are busy with materialism or the theology of prosperity. The getting of wealth is not a mark of heavenly favor. The evil is in the attitude of following wealth, instead of Christ. The good Samaritan used the same coin to bless as Judas used to betray him.
In the Book of Mormon, the dangers occurred when people set their hearts on the riches of the world.
The most subtle thorns to choke out faith are the cares and pleasures of this life. Jesus once rebuked Peter for savoring the things of men, and putting them ahead of the things of God. This includes addiction, beguiled by trivial distractions, and an entitlement mentality. Being paralyzed by the future also hurts us.
Hugh Nibley spoke of the dangers of surrendering to the things of the world. Asked if we should accommodate the world, he said we have to be willing to offend and take the risk. Our commitment is supposed to be hard and impractical in this world.
We must be willing to really live what we believe in everything we do. We are to be a leaven in society. There’s a difference between being leaven in society and being digested by society.
We must seek to be firmly rooted and converted by scripture study, serving and regular Sacrament reception.
Elder L Whitney Clayton, presidency of the 70
A young girl, Saylor, was in a plane crash. All died, except her. She had to walk several miles until she saw a light from a cabin. She received help. We also need to seek spiritual light. We must have even a desire to believe and give place in our hearts for Christ’s words. We must awake and arouse our faculties (Alma 32).
We face a test every day. Will we allow the light of the gospel to grow in us, or will we refuse to believe? After the crash, Saylor could have stayed with the plane in the darkness. She climbed the hill and saw a light in the distance. She went towards it, even though there were times she could not see it. She kept walking towards it, based on what she knew. By so doing, she may have saved her life.
There are times when we cannot see any light on the horizon, but if we will just desire or choose to believe, the light will soon appear. Prophets over the ages have encouraged us, even implored us, to believe in Christ. We must choose to accept those spiritual invitations. The decision to believe is our most important choice. Belief and faith are not passive. We must actively choose to believe, just as we choose to keep other commandments. Our actions are the evidence of our belief. We choose to believe when we pray, read our scriptures, partake of the Sacrament, repent, and keep the commandments. The blessings of belief. God will reach out to us with his healing light.
Choir: Come Unto Jesus
Elder L Tom Perry:
I attended a meeting on Marriage at the Vatican. Many religions were invited to express their beliefs. We now live in a culture of temporary, where people are giving up on marriage as a commitment. It has brought spiritual devastation, especially to the poor, who always suffer the most. We must be revolutionaries against the culture of temporary and establish marriage. These leaders all agreed on the sanctity of marriage and family as the basic foundation of society. One Muslim scholar from Iran quoted from the LDS Proclamation on the Family.
The importance of marriage between a man and a woman. Pres Eyring gave the final testimony at the meeting. It was a fitting benediction to these important three days. If all these religions essentially agree on home and family relationships, then how are the LDS different from the rest of the world? Only the LDS have the eternal perspective of the restored gospel. The teachings on marriage is so large and relevant that it cannot be overstated. It is an issue of eternity, not just this life. Family began before this world and goes on eternally.
Families can be together forever, in Heavenly Father’s plan.
We believe in premortal life. We were and still are part of His familiy. Marriage and family can extend beyond the grave. Temple ceremonies eliminate “till death do you part” and state “through time and all eternity.”
The organization and government of heaven will be built on and around families. There is no better method for happiness, better economics, or success. NY Times’ David Brookes said that people are not better off in complete freedom, but when committed to God, Family and Country. Too much media and internet masquerades as the majority norm, rather than a minority stance. It makes traditional marriage look out of date and wrong. The majority of mankind still believes marriage should be between one man and one woman, in fidelity, and being committed to the marriage covenant. We are not alone in these beliefs.
We want our voice to be heard over all the counterfeits in the world. We must continue to project that voice throughout the world. Marriage and family do matter and always will. The gospel focuses on marriage and families. We find commonality with other faiths and most people in the world. It is where we can be a light on the hill. It is a key to eternal happiness.
Choir: I Believe In Christ