President Dieter F. Uchtdorf: We extend our greetings to all who are participating! The music will be provided from a youth choir from Midvale, Utah.
Choir: Come, Ye Children of the Lord
Opening Prayer: Elder Lawrence E. Corbridge
President Henry B. Eyring – Sustaining of General Authorities and General Auxiliaries of the Church: The sustainings, releasings and new calls appeared to be sustained or appreciated with quiet respect. Any who might disagree with any of the proposals were encouraged to contact their local Stake President
Choir: I’m Trying to Be Like Jesus
Elder Gary E. Stevenson: This past year President Monson had his 90th birthday, and event that was celebrated around the world. That same day a total solar eclipse passed across the United States.
A solar eclipse is a marvel. If the sun were the size of a bicycle tire, that would make the moon the size of a pebble. Even through the sun is 400 times as large as the moon, but because of the greater distance we are from the sun, the moon was able to completely block the sun.
A spiritual eclipse can occur when we allow minor issues to block the brilliant warmth and greatness of God’s love. When we draw other things close, we obscure our view of heaven.
How can we prevent spiritual eclipse?
Remember the protective glasses many wore to see the eclipse? In a similar manner we can look at the way minor things eclipse God by looking through the eyes of the spirit. Satan attempts to take away our agency, distracting us from the love of God. I’m suggesting we look at challenges through the eyes of the gospel. With the gospel perspective, our sight is expanded to an eternal view. You will see brighter light than you can see without the spirit. It is not only the negative that can eclipse our perception of God’s good. Any thing, if taken to an extreme, can separate us from the brightness and warmth of the gospel.
Social media can be wonderful. But too much focus on the internet can stifle our ability to interact with people around us. The images we see on social media are often idealized, failing to show the entire truth [shows a picture of muffins, then expands the view to the mild chaos of a kitchen in use and a child being a child]. Let us use social media to lift and teach, rather than to portray our idealized selves. Viewing social media through the lens of the gospel can prevent it from becoming a stumbling block.
Pride is competitive, leading us to think we are better than others. It encourages anger. Pride can be swallowed in the Christ-like attribute of humility. But without humility, pride can stifle family relationships. One man quipped, “The meek shall perish.” I responded, “Actually, it is ‘The meek shall inherit the earth.'” None is acceptable but the meek and lowly in heart.
A solar eclipse is a remarkable phenomenon of nature, where the light and warmth of the sun can be blocked by a relatively insignificant item. Let us not let the light and warmth of the gospel be blocked by life’s distractions. No matter the obstruction that may block our view of gospel light, the light is still there, God’s son, Jesus Christ. Amen.
President Stephen W. Owen: A few years ago President Hinckley visited a football team. Inspired by the visit, that team went on to win their game.
In our lives, we may feel we cannot win. All fall short of the glory of God, but God gives us the gift of repentance.
Too often we think of repentance of something depressing. But it is sin that brings unhappiness. Repentance is the escape route. It is only through repentance that we gain access to the saving redemption offered by Jesus Christ.
Without the Redeemer, ‘repentance’ becomes merely miserable behavior modification. The joy of repentance is more than the joy of a decent life. It is the joy of drawing closer to God. True repentance inspires us to keep our commitments to retain the joyful influence of the Holy Spirit.
The prodigal son came to the realization that he had wasted not only the inheritance he had received from his father, but his own life. I have often wondered about the son’s long walk home. How would the story have been different if he had given up? But he continued, and when he was a great way off, his father saw him and ran to him, rejoicing. He was clothed in the best robe and a ring was put on his finger and shoes put on his feet. He was lost but was not found.
We are all prodigals. Repentance is for everyone, not merely those who have committed grievous sins. Repentance brings us to the right path and keeps us on the right path. The atonement is also for Saints, men and women who are worthy yet striving to be better.
Enos had his own moment of coming to himself. When the joy of Christ filled him, his thoughts turned to others, that they might also feel that joy. I had a friend who had been less active. He was an excellent missionary. After a glorious parting testimony, his mission president warned that he could come to deny all of which he had just testified, if he failed to continue feeding his testimony.
Just as a bicycle will fall if the rider stops pedaling, we can lose our precious testimony if we do not continue in the path of repentance. God’s arms are outstretched all the day long for you. You must press forward with a brightness of hope, feasting on the word of God.
Sometimes the journey may seem long. But it will be joyous if we pursue that journey inviting the redeeming power of Christ into our lives. Until the day when the Father proclaims, “Well done.” Amen
Elder Quentin L. Cook: I was a missionary in Britain, and I love British humor.
Describing summer, one wit wrote, “Summer is the best day of the year.”
The scriptures are clear that our mortal life is as fleeting as a British summer.
The prophet Moses was given an overview of the world and all the men and women who would live in it. Moses expressed, “Now I know that man is nothing, which thing I had never before supposed.”
We are all equal before God. All are alike unto God. All are invited to come to the Lord. Anyone who claims superiority in the eyes of the Lord is morally wrong and does not understand the Lord’s true purpose. Much of society has lost its moorings and does not understand why we are on this earth.
It is foolish to underestimate the necessity of striving for humility and the other attributes of God. This life is the time for men [and women and children] to prepare to meet God. Christ’s sacrifice for all mankind is the singular and most important event in all human history. This act of love and humility on behalf of every man and woman God has or will create.
When we contemplate God the Father and God the Son, it fills us with awe and humility.
If you have felt to sing the song of redeeming love, do you feel so now? Alma clearly had a profound testimony of Jesus Christ. He gave up status and position because he knew it was more important to serve God.
Joseph Smith called Heber C. Kimball to Britain to preach the gospel. Heber was overwhelmed by the magnitude of the calling. But he went forward in faith.
Sometimes humility is embracing the calling we are given even though we feel we ought to have a more high profile calling. “Be thou humble, and the Lord shall lead thee.” This counsel, given to a rebellious Thomas Marsh, occurred on the same day Heber Kimball was preaching in Britain, bringing souls rapidly into the gospel.
We gratefully see today how members, young and old, make sacrifices to preach the gospel. Church service requires humility. At every level of the Church it is important to understand the Christ-like attribute of humility.
Today’s world has been described as a “post-Christian” world. The Christian virtues of the past are being rejected in favor of “bring real” and independent of others.
Yet we are urged to be humble, meek, and full of love. We can celebrate our individual differences without using “authenticity” to justify abusive or prideful behavior.
The level of discourse in society is declining. Let us be humble as we interact with others. As often as we repent, the Lord will forgive our trespasses. But if we do not forgive others their trespasses, we are rejecting the redemption of Jesus.
Let me caution against any form of arrogance. Fools mock, but they shall mourn. God’s grace is sufficient for the weak. God’s grace is sufficient for all who humble themselves before Him. Humility isn’t some grand achievement. It is a sign if spiritual strength.
I pray that we will continuously strive for humility in this contentious world. I testify of the overwhelming importance of serving God every day. Amen.
Choir and Congregation: There is Sunshine in My Soul
Elder Ronald A. Rasband: I cannot help but think of the words of the Apostle Peter, “It is good to be here.”
This is not what Alma thought when he first preached to the people of Ammonihah.
As Alma returned to Ammonihah, which had rejected him, he encountered a man, a Nephite who had received a vision prompting him. Was it a coincident that Alma met Amulek?
Coincident is not an appropriate word to describe the workings of an omniscient God. God moves us from one place to another. Looking back, we can see the hand of God in our lives.
We can see this in the tale of Nephi returning to obtain the brass plates from Laban, who had refused their request, stolen their goods, and then sought to have the sons of Lehi killed. Was it coincidence that Nephi returned and found the drunken Laban?
There is a guiding hand above all things. When we look back at the seeming coincidences of our lives, we will realize they were not coincidences after all.
No calamity can derail God’s plan of happiness. We are come into the world to do the work of the Lord. What we may perceive as random chance is ordered by our God. Those incidents and opportunities are to help us build our families to bless others. God’s hand is over us.
God placed me in a home with loving parents. By the standards of the world they were ordinary people. My father was a truck driver, my angel mother a stay at home mother. My wife introduced me to a business man. In time I was called to serve. And eventually I was called as an apostle. This was not coincidence.
Think of the times God has been involved in our lives. He can make more of us that we might ever think possible.
There are times when we think our lives are going off the path we had planned. But perhaps that is the first step of an errand for the Lord.
My daughter was on a trip and happened to pass through a town where her brother was serving a mission. As the bus drove down the street, she saw two missionaries. The bus stopped so she could greet her brother, who was merely passing and had not been on the street for more than a few moments.
When I was on Temple Square, I encountered a young woman, Aida, who I had met five years earlier in Florida. I was asked to visit a woman’s home and it became clear that God wished us there for the woman’s daughter. A year later this daughter was baptized. Was it coincidence that I was asked to visit the home of Aida’s mother or that I then met her again on Temple Square five years later?
We are God’s sons and daughters, we are brothers and sisters.
We have a choice to follow or not follow. When the Nephites had turned away from the gospel, Mormon lamented because the Lord had ceased to preserve them because of their unbelief and wickedness.
Saul was going the wrong direction in his life. But he later embraced the gospel and became a great missionary for God. In the same way we can be righteous, willing, able and progress to places we never imagined. Each of us has divinity in us.
May we be encouraged for God’s guidance as we assist him in His work and glory, to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man. He is in the small details of our life, as well as the major milestones. He will bless you, sustain you, and bring you peace. Amen.
Elder O. Vincent Haleck: I have had the privilege of serving amongst the people of the Pacific for many years.
I am reminded of the widow’s mite. Christ pointed her out to his disciples. Even though her two mites were of meager objective worth, she gave everything she had. She gave, knowing that her want would be supplied.
I have seen that same faith among the saints in the Pacific. As one humble group prayed to know if the gospel was true, they were filled with a testimony. Embracing the gospel caused them to lose jobs, lose their friends. But they knew the gospel was true, and their burdens were lightened. Eventually they were able to be sealed in the temple.
A while ago I had a conversation with a chief in a village where the missionaries had been forbidden to teach for many years. Then the chief opened up the village to the missionaries. The chief I talked with said that the leader was willing to relinquish years of tradition that his people might be blessed. He gave away the concerns of the world to follow the example of the Savior.
When the First Presidency announced in 1997 that a temple would be built in American Samoa, there was great rejoicing. Travel to the temples then open was expensive and time consuming. The people contributed that the temple might be constructed, consacrating all that they could. Their gifts manifested their widow’s heart, which could see with the eye of faith the blessings that would come for their families.
The heart of the widow who gave her two mites is the heart that will give all and bear many burdens to embrace the light of truth. The heart of the widow is willing to give all to build up the kingdom of God on the earth. I plea you will have the will to do and to give that you may be blessed and filled with thanksgiving.
Christ will lift us up if we are willing to come into the light of the gospel. I testify of the great love we can feel as we embrace the gospel and come unto Jesus Christ, of whom the Book of Mormon testifies. Amen.
President Russel M. Nelson: Once, when visiting a foreign land, I was speaking and my address was being translated.
After my address, the King came up and asked me what I knew of Christ. He spoke in perfect English. And the King was a serious student of the Bible.
After I explained about the Book of Mormon and Christ’s visit to America, the King rejoiced. He said that this additional knowledge about Jesus Christ was worth more than precious gems. And he suggested that if he converted, he would bring his whole people with him.
I replied that each must make their own decision.
President Monson pleaded with us to read the Book of Mormon. Riley and I didn’t know someone was taking our pictures (showing each studying the Book of Mormon in strikingly similar poses). I have made lists of what the Book of Mormon affirms, what it refutes. It has been an insightful and inspiring exercise. I have invited various groups, including my fellow apostles, missionaries, and others to consider these things:
- What would your life be like without the Book of Mormon?
- What would you not know?
- What would you not have?
Enthusiastic answers came back.
“I would not know there is continuing progress after this life.”
“I would not know the purpose of life.”
When I worked at the hospital, it was my responsibility at times to inform families that their loved one had passed away. The hospital had a padded room where families could react. Some beat their heads against the wall. I so wished they could know that their loved one still lived.
“I would not know that God could heal my pains and sorrows.”
Immersing ourselves in the Book of Mormon can be a life-changing experience. One student was promised that if he read the Book of Mormon while at University that his test scores would improve. He did [read], and his scores did [improve].
The Book of Mormon teaches what it really means to be born again. We learn of the scattering of Israel. We learn the full power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the Book of Mormon. The Book of Mormon exposes the tactics of the adversary. The Book of Mormon exposes the flaws in erroneous practices such as baptism of infants. The Book of Mormon shatters the false belief that wickedness is happiness, or that the heavens are sealed today.
When I think if the Book of Mormon, I think of the word “power.” The Book of Mormon has power to heal our souls and console us. It can help us make better decisions every day. The windows of heaven will open and you will receive answers for your own life. You can be immunized against the evils of the day such as pornography and other addictions of the world.
We need to feel deep within the inmost parts of our hearts that we would not want to live a single day without it. Brigham Young said he wished he had the voice of a thousand thunders to wake up the people to the Book of Mormon.
I testify that Joseph Smith was and is the prophet of this dispensation. This is the book that will help prepare the world for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, our Savior, Redeemer, Exemplar, and Advocate with the Father.
I know that President Thomas S. Monson is the prophet of God on the earth today. Amen.
Choir: Rejoice, the Lord is King
Closing Prayer: Elder Allan F Packer
Presiding – President Monson watching from home
Conducting – President Dieter F. Uchtdorf
Choir – Come, Ye Children of the Lord
Opening Prayer – Elder Lawrence E. Corbridge
Sustaining of Officers – President Henry B. Eyring
Talk – Elder Gary E. Stevenson – Spiritual Eclipse
Talk – President Stephen W. Owen – The Glory of Repentance
Talk – Elder Quentin L. Cook – Be Thou Humble
Rest Hymn – There is Sunshine in my Soul
Talk – Elder Ronald A. Rasband – God is in the Details
Talk – President Russell M. Nelson – The Power of the Book of Mormon
Choir – Rejoice, the Lord is King
Closing Prayer – Elder Allan F. Packer