#LDSconf 184th General Conference, Sunday afternoon session

imageBelow is coverage of the October 5, 2014, afternoon session of the LDS General Conference. Jump to hyperlinked list of participants

Presiding – President Thomas S. Monson
Conducting – President Henry B. Eyring

Mormon Tabernacle Choir – Lo, the Mighty God Appearing

Opening Prayer – Elder David F. Evans

Elder M. Russell Ballard, Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

A friend and his son were planning to travel on the Colorado River. At the beginning the guide reviewed the safety rules.

1) Stay in the boat.
2) Wear a life jacket.
3) Hold on with both hands.

The guide the stressed the first rule – “Stay in the boat!”

This is like our life. The Lord in his goodness has provided rules and guides to help us make it safely down the river of life to our final destination.

1) Stay in the Boat. Brigham Young frequently used the metaphor of a ship in relation to the gospel. He told a parable of one in the ship in the midst of the ocean who decides to leave, only to drown. He warned people against leaving the old ship Zion. He also warned of the dangers of calm. President Young again said, “We are on the Old Ship Zion, and God is at the helm.”

How do we stay in the Old Ship Zion? We need to experience a continuing conversation, increasing faith in Jesus Christ. As Alma asked, if you have felt to sing the song of redeeming love, do you feel so now?

I counseled mission presidents. Keep focused on the leaders of the Church. Teach them to never follow those who think they know better than those who have the priesthood keys to preside.

Those who become lost are most often those who forget that when the First Presidency and Quorum of the twelve speak in unity, it is the voice of The Lord. These then leave the Old Ship Zion and often suffer tragic consequences. Our local Church leaders have been tutored by life’s experiences, by leaders, and by The Lord Himself.

Some assert that Church leaders live in a bubble. They forget that we have lived in many different places, our current assignments take us around the world, to meet with leaders and the humble around the earth. Because of these experiences, we live less in a “bubble” than most people.

Remember rules #2 and #3. Wear a life jacket and hold on with both hands. The scriptures and words of the prophets will act as a spiritual life jacket and teach us how to hold on with both hands. We can become men and women of sound understanding, that we might know the will of God.

As I reflect on the lives of those who have left the ship of the gospel. The reasons they were fully committed and active have slipped away from them. They have lost their focus on the fundamental principles of the testimony of Jesus Christ. That He died, rose again the third day and ascended to heaven.

We must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ. If we feast on the words of Christ and endure to the end, we will have eternal life.

Sometimes people begin to focus on the peripherals, losing sight of the precious fundamentals of the gospel. Others focus on questions and doubts. We understand that from time to time members will have questions about church history and practices. The important questions focus on what matters most – Heavenly Father’s plan and the atonement.

We must focus on bearing one another’s’ burdens, caring for the sick, the seekers, the troubled, and others among the faithful.

Avoid distractions. If any have fallen out of the boat, we will seek you, find you, and minister to you, to pull you back onto the Old Ship Zion. Amen.

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Elder Richard G. Scott, Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

Adam and Eve in the garden had not faced hardship, so they did not know how blessed they were. Eventually they partook of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. They were subject to evil and hardship. And so we also life in a life where we know both happiness and sadness.

We are able to feel peace, because we know turmoil. Because of Christ’s atonement, we can overcome all difficulties. It is not possible to list all the challenges and heartaches that are part of mortality. But our purpose in coming here is to be tested and tried, to be stretched.

We knew we would be tested by the adversary. Sometimes we are more aware of the negative than the positive. But we must take time to actively exercise our faith in the atonement of Jesus Christ.

Our Heavenly Father has given us tools to focus on Christ and the peace the atonement brings. I will talk of four of these tools.

First is prayer.

Choose to converse with your Father in Heaven often. Take time every day and tell Him every thing that concerns you, the full range of your experiences. He will never force you to pray to Him, but as you exercise your agency to speak to him, your heart will begin to experience buoyant peace.

Parents, safeguard your children by praying with them morning and night, fortifying them with the blessings that result from family prayer. This should be a non-negotiable priority.

Second is studying the word of God in the scriptures and the words of the holy prophets.

Read His words, to know what the voice of the divine sounds like. Make them an integral part of everyday life. If you want your children to understand the promptings of the spirit, read the scriptures with them. Take the time to study them – this is more important than other priorities. There are many prophetic promises of the blessings of daily study of the scriptures. If you take time every day to study the word of God, peace will prevail in your life. This peace will radiate out from you to influence those around you, bringing peace to the world.

You will still have challenges. Adam and Eve in the garden did not have challenges, but they did not have happiness and joy, because of the lack of opposition. Your challenges will help you develop faith in Jesus Christ.

Third, conduct weekly family home evening.

Do not allow this to be a mere afterthought. Do not let anything else become more important than the time you spend together at home with your family. The structure of this evening is not as important as the time invested.

This is a time to bear testimony, to strengthen family bonds, develop family traditions, and add protection to our homes. This closeness will reduce stress.

Fourth, attend the temple.

There is no more peaceful place than the temple of God. When you have a recommend, use it often. Schedule a regular time to attend the temple. Listen to the words of the ordinances. Ponder them, pray about them, seek to understand their meaning. This will bring to you the power of the atonement.

Christ is the Prince of Peace, which comes from His atoning sacrifice. If we do these four things, we are actively following His invitation to follow Him. These tools will lessen the power of Satan to harm us.

Not all life’s struggles if we do these things – challenges help us. As we actively come to Christ, we can endure every temptation and hardship. Amen.

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Carlos A. Godoy (Portuguese)

What a privilege to participate in this historic meeting, when we can speak in our own language. Before I worried about my English. Now I worry I will speak to quickly for the subtitles.

I have learned that the difference between happiness and misery can be an error of only a few degrees.

In the 1980s my family lived in Sao Paolo, Brazil. Everything seemed as it should be until a friend came to visit. My friend said, “Everything seems to be going well, but if you continue to live as you are living, will the promises in your patriarchal blessings be filled?”

After this visit, I thought about my patriarchal blessing. After pondering, I felt some changes were necessary, particularly regarding my education and profession. It was not a choice between good and evil, but between good and something better.

1) We need to consider our options with the end in mind. Making decisions without a vision of the broader consequences, we will not be able to choose the best paths. The broader vision will give us clarity, as it did those we read about in the scriptures, like Moses. God commission Moses with a work, and was able to lead his people to their home. Lehi was able to lead his family to a promised land. Joseph Smith was able to fulfill the charge to restore all things.

2) We need to be prepared for the challenges that will come. The best paths are rarely the easiest. Moses, Lehi, and Joseph Smith did not have easy journeys. Are we prepared to sacrifice and leave our comfort zones to reach a better place?

I was guided to seek a scholarship to study in the United States, which would require me to leave my home and work for years to reach my goal. I eventually was one of three finalists, but the other two candidates were sons of VIPs. Luckily, that year the decision was not based on earthly parentage.

Each of us has the opportunity to grow.

3) We need to share this vision with the people we love. Lehi attempted to share his vision with his sons. Laman and Lemuel did not understand and murmured. But Nephi sought to experience his father’s vision. When the time came, Nephi was able to continue and lead his family.

Ideally our family will see what we see. This is not always possible, but when it happens, our journey will be much easier. My wife understood my vision. Our children were too young. Monica shared my vision, and she became an essential part of our success.

Consider from time to time if there is not something better, even if things seem to be going well. Amen.

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Rest Hymn – Count Your Many Blessings

Elder Allen F. Packer

As a youth I went about chopping wood with my new hatchet. It didn’t seem to be working well. By the light of someone else’s fire, I discovered my problem – I hadn’t removed the cover. I had become distracted by other things.

As we work towards heaven, we must not get distracted by other things. Frequent small corrections will be easier than large course corrections.

Recently my wife and I went to another country, where we had many requirements, between passports, visas, and vaccinations. Entering the Kingdom of Heaven similarly requires pre-requisites. The Church helps, but cannot do it for us. Qualifying for exaltation is the quest of a lifetime.

God sets the requirements, not our earthly leaders. The Church focuses on divinely appointed responsibilities: strengthening the saints, spreading the gospel, caring for the poor and needy, and performing saving ordinances for the departed are the four parts of the great saving plan of salvation.

The activity of the Church is focused on the home, that a man, woman, and their children may have happiness at home. The focus on family history should be an individual pursuit, and it will add to our happiness. Let us present a book of our dead that will be worth of all acceptation.

We, without our ancestors, cannot be made perfect, just as they, without us, cannot be perfect. Family history also shapes the future, as we share the stories of faith with our children and future generations. Family history and temple work should be a part of our personal devotion.

Doing the work now is much easier. It is only limited by the number of members who make this a priority. All can do it with relative ease, compared to a few years ago. Much of the research work can be done in our own homes. It is different now. But there is one obstacle the Church cannot remove – the individual’s reluctance to do the work. Just a little time on a consistent basis will yield progress.

We find that relatively few members are regularly involved in finding their family and performing ordinances for these family members. We and our deceased ancestors need the spiritual stamps in our heavenly passports. The steps are simple. In time you will be able to help others as well. With few exceptions, everyone can do this work.

As we learn about our families, we will be safeguarded in our youth and throughout our lives. It is time to take the cover off our hatchets and get to work. This is the work of God, to be done by young and old, male and female. Rise up o Saints of God to serve the King of Kings. Amen.

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Elder Hugo E. Martinez (Spanish)

He who serves in something is good for something. He who serves in no thing is good for nothing.

The Savior focuses on the individual and the family. He recognizes the great worth of every individual.

In the scriptures we read, “Remember the worth of souls.” Every soul is of great worth to God. We have the potential to become as He is. The love of Jesus Christ should be our guide, it will show us the way.

Discover needs and tend to them. Sister Linda K. Burton said, “First observe, then serve.” President Monson in 2005 served in Puerto Rico. He began to greet all the priesthood leaders, noticing someone observing from afar. President Monson went to the man. It was an answer to prayer. The man’s daughter was very ill, and the wife had wanted to deliver a letter to President Monson. But Brother Zayas had told his wife there would be no way to get the letter to President Monson, who is so very busy. President Monson read the letter and said he would see that the request was done.

Years ago a hurricane struck. We stayed safe in our home, but were without food or water for two weeks. A brother brought water, saying he knew we had small children who would need water. They filled every available container with water, and invited our neighbors to take water as well. Their ministry brought more than drinking water into our lives.

I testify that Heavenly Father and Jesus know us individually, and will provide us what we need to reach our divine potential. As we become instruments in Their hands, we will be able to help those they show us by revelation. The Good Shepherd will gather His sheep. They will recognize His voice and follow Him.

Being a good example of a disciple of Jesus Christ is our best letter of introduction, as we become His under shepherds, becoming the weak fishers of men. Our ministry is not limited to this life, but extends to the afterlife, to those who were not able to obtain the saving ordinances in life, linking generations in eternal bounds.

We have the opportunity to be instruments in His hands, our personal ministry as true disciples of Jesus Christ. In the final day he will separate the sheep from the goats, and will invite His true sheep to enter into His Father’s kingdom. When saw we thee an hungered, a stranger, sick or in prison? And He will answer, inasmuch as ye have done it unto the least of these, ye have done it unto me. May we so do, I pray, Amen.

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Choir – I Am a Child of God

Larry S. Kacher

We were relaxing on the coast of the Indian Ocean. Noticing choppy water, I decided to test the waters before letting my daughter get in. I got caught in a riptide, being pulled out to sea. My wife, trusting me, had followed me. I was concerned that I would perish, and my wife would die with me. But through some means, we were able to touch bottom and return.

There are currents such as these in life. We should be watchful.

I am a convert and wished to ski before my baptism. At a certain point I felt I should leave. I followed that prompting and ended up in Provo. I found myself drawn to the people, and began to embrace a different current, one that led me to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

This was not without its challenges. Everything was new to me. Family and friends had questions, and I wasn’t sure of the answers. Riptides threatened to tear me away from the peace I had found. I learned to importance of relying on myself, holding to the peace I knew I had found rather than heeding the questions. How could I address the uncertainty? I chose to set these questions aside for a season, trusting The Lord. I chose not to forsake what I knew to be true to follow a questionable riptide.

Does this meant here is no room for honest inquiry? Much that has been revealed was the result of a humble search for truth. By asking sincere questions and seeking divine answers we grow in light and knowledge. The question is not whether we may have questions, but where we should turn for our answers.

There is One we can turn to. Christ does not walk in crooked paths.

Recently a young man visited my home, and I could sense that he was struggling. His father had been unfaithful, which caused the children to be troubled and turn away. Another man I know had questions about certain doctrines. Rather than trust God, he turned to secular sources. His pride may have been gratified temporarily, but he was cut off and took with him many family members.

Conversely, I think of my wife’s parents, the Millers, who chose to life the Gospel and teach it, blessing their children. They established a pattern where the priesthood was respected. They lived lives patterned after Jesus Christ.

If we can create a steady current leading to eternal life, we will be able to weather the contrary winds of hardship and disappointment.

I think back to that September day on the beach. What if I had allowed my daughter to swim in th unknown waters, or if she had followed me? What if she had perished in that deadly riptide? So in spiritual things, let us protect others by making decisions firmly planted in the rich soil of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is our savior and redeemer. We must never trifle with sacred things. May we remain faithful, I pray. Amen.

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Elder David A. Bednar, Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

Why are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints so eager to tell non-members about their Church?

Devoted disciples will always be missionaries. We take seriously the commission to teach all people about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We believe that the Gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored.

We are not trying to sell you a product. We are not trying ti rack up bonus prizes in some heavenly contest. We are not attempting to coerce you to believe as we do. We are inviting you to hear the truths of the Gospel so you can determine for yourself if they are true.

Our invitations to you are not an attempt to diminish your religious tradition or life experience. We simply invite you to come and see if the Gospel of Jesus Christ will not enhance your life.

We have 88,000 missionaries throughout the world. These full-time missionaries help members everywhere share the Gospel.

We are so forthright because of how important these truths are to us.

By way of example, one of my boys was injured in an accident. But he was not seriously hurt, so we decided to wait and see if our teachings regarding brotherly kindness had sunk in. The older brother carefully helped the younger boy into the house. We stood by, in case additional bodily harm or other accident seemed imminent. The older boy turned on the water and proceeded to pour a large quantity of detergent on the scraped and injured arm. As the scriptures say, “They will have occasion to howl, to wail and weep and gnash their teeth.” Eventually the screaming stopped.

The older brother then found a tube of ointment and applied the contents of the entire tube, slathering it over his younger brother’s entire arm. The older brother then found a box of sterile bandages, and put bandages all up and down his younger brother’s arm. The two boys got down, smiling.

The younger brother then gathered up the bandages and ointment and proceeded to go outside and put the ointment and bandages on his friends. He intuitively wanted to give to his friends the thing that had brought him such comfort.

When we have been helped, it is not unusual to offer that help and comfort to others. In the Book of Mormon, the prophet Lehi had a dream of a tree with a desirable fruit. Having tasted the sweetness of this fruit, which represented the love of God, Lehi wished to share the fruit with his family. Similarly a man named Enos prayed to God for forgiveness. And when Enos was forgiven, he turned his prayer to his family, friends, and associates, that they might be saved.

Like Lehi, Enos, and my younger son sharing bandages, we have had experience with sorrow and sin. We have experienced the healing power of Christ and His atonement to clean and heal.

Jesus Christ is the only-begotten son of the Eternal Father. We witness that He lives and that the fulness of the gospel has been restored. We reach out because of this conviction because of our simple desire to share the truths that mean so much to us. I bear witness to the divinity and reality of Jesus Christ. Amen.

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President Thomas S. Monson

We have experienced two days of inspired messages. As we conclude, we thank our Heavenly Father for his many blessings to us. The music, talks, and prayers that have been given have drawn us closer to Heaven. We thank those of our brothers who have been released. There work has blessed many, and we will miss them.

Let us reach out to help each other, not just members of our Church, but all mankind. Let us extend kindness and a helping hand. Let us remember the elderly and the homebound. May we succor the weak and lift up the hands that hang down. May we attempt to do the right thing at all times and in all circumstances.

I think you for your prayers in my behalf. I invoke the blessings of heaven on each of you. May we all ponder the truths we’ve heard and become more valiant disciples. I ask the Lord’s blessings upon each of us in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, Amen.

Choir – We Ever Pray for Thee

Closing Prayer – Brother John S. Tanner, 1st Counselor, General Sunday School Presidency

Participants
Presiding – President Thomas S. Monson
Conducting – President Henry B. Eyring
Choir – Lo, the Mighty God Appearing
Opening Prayer – Elder David F. Evans, Seventy
Talk – Elder M. Russell Ballard – The Old Ship Zion
Talk – Elder Richard G. Scott – Gaining Peace despite Adversity
Talk – Elder Carlos A. Godoy – Choosing the better over the good
Rest Hymn – Count Your Blessings
Talk – Elder Allen F. Packer – Take the cover off your Hatchet
Talk – Elder Hugo E. Martinez – Serving the Individual, Precious to God
Choir – I am a Child of God
Talk – Elder Larry S. Kacher – The Riptides of Life
Talk – Elder David A. Bednar – Sharing Our Comfort
Talk – President Thomas S. Monson – Benediction
Choir – We Ever Pray for Thee
Closing Prayer – Brother John S. Tanner

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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.

4 thoughts on “#LDSconf 184th General Conference, Sunday afternoon session

  1. Meg, you must not have a two year old crawling all over you during conference. I could never have produced such a good summary. Reading it made me realize how much I missed while “parenting” my little one.

  2. One of the benefits of getting old is that the children also become older. As a matter of fact, my youngest was also taking notes on her iPad next to me, so we were able to trade questions about who was speaking and what had been said. I’m rather impressed with what she was doing, because she doesn’t use a keyboard, and was taking notes with the pop-up keyboard. If I had limited myself to the pop-up keyboard, these notes would have been much more concise…

    I was sad that this is yet another conference where no new temples are being announced. However the demand must justify the new temples. Not merely the demand, but the local area must have sufficient resources to staff the temple.

    And as stressed in many of the talks, we need to embrace family history work, both for our own well-being and for the salvation of our dead. That is the whole reason for the temples.

    My ward uses the conference addresses as the topics for sacrament meeting, so I look forward to having the chance to ponder these messages for the next many months, both in private study and in my congregation.

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