#LDSConf General Conference – 1 Apr ’17 – Priesthood Session

President Dieter F. Uchtdorf will be conducting this Session. President Thomas S. Monson presides.

Music is provided by a Priesthood Choir of YSA from Holliday and Murray Utah

President Uchtdorf : Welcome to Priesthood Session

Choir: Rise Up O Man of God

Opening Prayer: Vern P. Stanfill of the Seventy:

“We pray that our hearts may be changed, that we may use this moment to minister unto others.”

Choir: Jesus Once of Humble Birth

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President Thomas S. Monson:

I am honored by the privilege to address you in this gathering of priesthood holder of God.

Mormon outlined one of the key characteristics of the Savior.

“If a man be meek and lowly of heart and confesses that Jesus is the Christ, he must have Charity.”

If you have not charity, ye are nothing. Cleave unto charity.

We do not honor the priesthood if we are not kind to others

Elder Wirthlin – “Kindness is the essence of a celestial life. It should pervade all our actions, at work, at school, and especailly in the home.”

Priesthood power is dependant on living kindness, charity, and love.

D&C 121: “Only by persuasion, by gentleness, by meekness and love unfeigned.”

Let us examine our lives and determine to follow the Savior’s example of being kind, loving, and charitable.

Then we will be able to call down the powers of heaven for ourselves, our families, and our fellow travelers on this difficult journey.

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David A. Bednar: Principles Related to preaching the Gospel.

Thousands await their mission call with eagerness. Call letter is signed by President and reads “You are hearby called to serve as a missionary … you are assigned to labor in _____.

The first sentance is a called to serve as a full time missionary, the second is an assignment to labor.

We must understand the difference. We often speak of being called to serve in a particular country. But a missionary is not called to a place, rather called to serve.

“If ye have desires to serve God, you are called to the work.”

Each assignment is made through revelation. There are 400 missions in the world. A member of the quorum of the twelve is involved with each call. All calls are made with the spirit of prophecy and revelation.

Section 80 of the D&C is a mission call. It helps us understand distinction between being called and being assigned. It also helps us appreciate our individual responsibility to preach the Gospel

Verse 1: Call to serve
Verse 2: Companion
Verse 3: Assignment. (Go where you want, because you cannot go amiss).

God cares deeply where we serve. But because it is the Lord’s work, he inspires and guides his servants.

With God’s help we cannot go amiss wherever we serve.

Assignment to labor in a particular place is important but secondary to the call to the work.

Next verse: qualifications

Final Verse: Behold this is the will of him who called you, your redeemer even Jesus Christ.

You may be wondering why I have chosen to discuss this in the Priesthood session. These principles are not well understood among the members. Many missionaries who were reassigned during a mission feel concerned about it. There are a lot of circumstances that can lead to a reassignment.

When there is a reassignment the process is precisely the same as with the initial call.

After a meeting, someone spoke to Elder Bednar and explained that learning the distinction lifted an enormous burden.

Teaching these principles across the world, Elder Bednar has found that this is something that a lot of people are concerned about.

No one should bear guilt or anguish about a mission assignment. “Ye cannot go amiss.”

Invite the Holy Ghost to cary the understanding, healing, and restoring you may need to your heart.

One more reason to speak on this is my personal experience. Nothing affirms the reality of latter-day revelation than seeking the Lord’s will as assigning missionaries.

The Lord knows and is mindful of each of us, one-by-one and name by name.

Often forgotten aspect of preparing to be called to the work.

Three steps: Priesthood, Temple, and Mission

We may focus on the mission call so much that we don’t pay enough attention to the other steps. Missionary service is one block in a strong foundation of lifetime service.

As young men live worthy of the lower priesthood, they are showing worthiness for the higher priesthood. Prepare now by rendering meaningful service. Love to be and remain worthy.

We become armed with power through the temple. Having the spirit of the temple go with us precedes meaningful service.

Young men: Enter the temple throughout teenage years to strengthen love to temple ordinances. i

Find your own names and bring them to the temple.

You are being prepared to be a missionary now. You need not and should not wait for the official call. Share the gospel with friends through conversations and tweets.

Priesthood, Temple, and call work together to prepare a young man to be an authoritative representative of Christ. Helps one become firm, steadfast in the faith, and rooted and built up in Christ.

Give balanced emphasis to all of the aspects of progression for sons of God.

All three require us to love being and remaining worthy.

Promise: Spirit of revelation will accompany both your call and your assignment. As you prepare your witness of the reality of the Lord will be strengthened. You will become a mighty instrument in the hands of the Lord. “I witness that Heavenly Father and his beloved son Jesus Christ lives. To be engaged in their service is the greatest blessing we can receive.”

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Bishop Gérald Caussé:

His boss at a french business asked him about how he could be a priest without formal theological training. He later offered him a promotion. Boss said he knew the principles that Bishop Caussé had and the things he learned through service and that qualified him.

Growing up he was very involved in his small branch with service, passing the sacrament, etc. Serving and leading seemed natural. Helped build testimony and anchor his life in the Gospel.

Fathers coming to priesthood meeting with sons should inseperable link between the higher and lower priesthoods. The Perfect model of the closeness of priesthoods is found in the interaction between Jesus and John the Baptist. We can’t imagine John the Baptist without Jesus, or the Savior’s mission without Christ. John had a novel mission, he prepared people to receive the savior. He was aware of the importance and limits of his mission. He was honored and revered as a man of God, but when Jesus came John humbly deferred.

What would occur if our relationship in our quorums resembled that of John and Jesus. Youth prepare the way for the higher ordinances of the higher priesthood. Administering and serving is important, needed, and sacred.

We can follow the Savior’s example by turning to our brothers that hold the lesser priesthood and inviting them to labor with us. We can do so even without a formal calling to do so. This helps them prepare to hold the higher priesthood.

Alex was a quiet and thoughtful priest. One Sunday his bishop found him sad because his dad was not attending. He told the bishop it would be better if he were not in the Church. Bishop used ward council to plan how to keep Alex active and grow his testimony. Ward rallied around him. Bishopric and home teaching companion helped to keep him busy. Gave him lots of chances to use his priesthood. Became someone the bishop could rely on completely.

Alex gained confidence in the power of the priesthood. Went into the mission field extremely prepared.

Bishops are called to serve as Aaronic Priesthood President. Make duty to young men one of highest priorities. Do not neglect or delegate. Reflect on each young priesthood holder. Make sure they do not feel left out or useless. Invite them to serve. Do not relegate to a spectator role. Can be developed by magnifying priesthood.

Aaronic Priesthood is great power to serve. Lets put it in its right place, a choice place of preparation. Strengthen the link between the two priesthoods of God. Tell the youth we need them.

Hopes the youth will know that they were sent forth to prepare the way even as John was.

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Rest Hymn: Redeemer of Israel

President Uchtdorf:

We sustain President Monson. He is a prophet of God.

He and his wife were involved with preparing for the dedication of the Spain, Madrid Temple. He was area president and had been heavily involved. But he had not yet received an invitation to the dedication.

Wondered what he had done wrong and why he had been forgotten.

Realized it wasn’t about them or their feelings or sense of entitlement, but about dedicating a holy edifice as a temple of the most high God. Had he been invited he would have done so gratefully but regardless his joy would have not been diminished.

James and John were called “sons of thunder.” They were fisherman, probably a bit rough around the edges. They were men of action. They approached him with a special request, to be on his right and left hand in his glory.

Can’t get honor by campaigning for it. Can’t power lunch your way to glory.

Other apostles were not happy. Jesus saw contention and knew his time was short. He must have been troubled. He talked to them about the influence of power. People in the world use position of authority to exercise power over others. But in God’s kingdom the greatest shall be the greatest servants.

Greatness and leadership means seeing others as they truly are and reaching out and ministering to them. We must rejoice with those who are happy and grieve with those who grieve. We must love our neighbor as Christ loves us.

God loves all regardless of socioeconomic status, race, origin, political affiliation, nationality, or any other grouping, and so should we.

His greatest reward comes to those who serve without expectation of reward and go about quietly seeking opportunities for service, motivated out of love.

Shortly after call he went with President Faust to reorganize a Southern Utah Stake. Comment with regard to praise of the members of the Church: “Always be thankful, but don’t inhale it.”

Applies to all of us in this Church. President Clark: “Do not forget Rule #6” – “Don’t take yourself so darn seriously.”

There were no rules #1-#5.

Leadership in the Church is not so much about directing others as it is being directed by the Lord.

We must remember the poor and the needy and the sick and afflicted of God. We must find opportunities to go about and do good and serve. Such opportunities are endless. We can find them in communities, ward, and certainly in homes.

We also have formal opportunities to serve. Name “calling” should remind us who it is who calls us to serve.

Elder Bednar’s talk focused on that for the young men.

If we serve with faith and humility every act of service will be a step on the pathway of discipleship. Church is designed to help transform us. This happens when we get out and serve others. We become great in the Kingdom of God by serving with grace, humility, and gratitude. No calling is more or less important than another. Our service, great or small, refined our spirits and releases the blessings of heaven not only upon those we serve, but upon us.

God acknowledges our service with approval. We can know that. He smiles upon us as we offer acts of compassion – especially ones that remain unseen and unknown. When we give ourselves to others, we take a step closer to becoming good and true disciples of Christ.

150th Anniversary of pioneer arrival to the valley. During the celebration there was a reenactment of the passage of the pioneers through the town. President Richards was very involved in planning, but his stake was reorganized shortly before the event. Leaders asked for volunteers for the celebration and he volunteered to bring truck and shovel. He volunteered even though he had been a key player in planning. That day, he followed horses and cleaned up after them. He did so gladly and joyfully. He understood that one kind of service is not above another.

Sometimes we desire positions of prominance. There is nothing wrong with wanting to serve the Lord. But when we seek influence for our own sake in order to gain praise and admiration of man, we have our reward. When we inhale the praise of others, that praise will be our compensation.

What is the most important calling in the Church? It is the one you currently have, no matter how humble or important it is. The calling you have now will allow you to not only lift other but also become the man of God you were intended to be. Lift where you stand.

Paul taught Philipians to not be motivated by selfish ambition or vanity but to treat others as more important than oneself.

Seekig reward for self is the trait of Essau. We may be rewarded but it comes at a great cost, the loss of heavenly aprobation. Savior always sought not the praise of man, but to do the will of the father. Let us serve with gratitude. One day, we will know the value of our service by the eternal grace of God.

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Speaker 5: President Eyring:

I hope to convey both approval and motivation to do better.

Rich young man was asked to sell all he had and follow savior. Our progress probably will not require that but it will require some measure of sacrifice.

Hopes we will not go away sorrowing but rejoicing. God has asked us to do a lot.

If we think we are fully capable of fulfilling duties we might not really understand them. But we also should not feel overwhelmed like we need to give up.

God will strengthen and inspire priesthood holders. True for President Eyring’s calling and for ours. We can’t simply rely on our own talents. This is not our work but the Lord’s.

Whoever we are we can feel overwhelmed. Deacons or new fathers seeing their children grow up too fast.

Few people truly understand priesthood, even those that can recite a definition.

The spirit can convey to us a greater sense of awe of the duty and responsibility of the priesthood.

As priesthood holders we can enjoy communion with God the Father and with his son Jesus Christ. Our priesthood is after the order of the savior.

We should have power by faith to break mountains, divie the seas, etc.

We can assume the verses do not apply to us. Or we can ask ourselves if we have seen that power in our service. Have we ministered like angels. Have we seen miracles? Such introspection should make us feel we can do better but also motivate us to do better.

Enoch was a mighty prophet, but before that he saw himself as but a lad unable to speak well. God promised him that he would be there and give him utterance. He promised that he would justify all of Enoch’s words.

God invited Enoch to walk with him. Our priesthood is an invitation to walk with God. What does that mean? To live like God does. The savior served at the expense of his comfort, he served those outcast by society, he taught doctrines even if unpopular, he invited all to come unto him. We must do the same. As priesthood holders we are his representatives. We speak not our own words, but his. People should come to know him better through our service.

Our services becomes higher and nobler but also more achievable when we know we are not alone.

President Eyring when called by President Monson was told that who received him would receive the Lord. God promised he will be with us. President Eyring has repeatedly relied on those promises throughout his life: as a teacher, a bishop etc. Two Stories: First, being told not to give certain answers to a question and to invite others to learn for herself. Second, dealing with a convert that had been arrested for a bank robbery. As he was about to scold the person, he felt the Lord’s love for him and his perspective changed).

Three lessons

1) No matter how small our calling the Lord is mindful of us.
2) Lord’s work is not just to solve problems but to help people. Most efficent solution may not alwasy be the Lord’s way. God’s work and glory is not to run an effective organization but to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man. He gives opportunities to flawed mortals because our progress is his goal.
3) God will help us see past appearances and into the heart. That is how God sees us. Christ was able to see leadership potential in future apostles even as others saw them as fishermen or corrupt tax collectors. If we walk with the savior we will learn to see everyone as a child of God with limitless potential. If we keep walking, we will develop the ability to help others see that potential in themselves and to help them repent.

We are like the two disciples on the road Emmaus. They trusted in Christ but were slow of heart to believe what the scriptures taught about the resurection. Christ drew near and taught them. When we walk the path of Priesthood service, Christ goes with us. His light is before us and his angels are round about us. As we pay close attention when our heart burns within us, we will see his hand in my service.

We come to know him best by working with him and serving to bring others the message of salvation. We can only know God if we are close to him and are not strangers. This is his church and he is our master. We hold his priesthood. May we walk with him and recognize how he walks with us. I give you my solemn witness that he is the Christ. He has given us the power to speak and act in his name. Christ strengthens us in every responsibility we can receive. Keys of the priesthood are with President Monson who exercises them today.

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Speaker 6:

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Choir: Hope of Israel

Closing Prayer: Elder Carlos A. Godoy

Presiding – President Thomas S. Monson
Conducting – President Dieter F. Uchtdorf
Choir – Rise Up O Men of God
Opening Prayer – Vern P. Stanfill of the Seventy
Talk – Speaker 1 – President Thomas S. Monson
Talk – Speaker 2 – Elder David A. Bednar
Talk – Speaker 3– Bishop Gérald Caussé
Rest Hymn – Redeemer of Israel
Talk – Speaker 4 – President Dieter F. Uchtdorf
Talk – Speaker 5 – President Henry B. Eyring

Choir – Hope of Israel
Closing Prayer – Elder Carlos A. Godoy