President Nelson presided at this session with President Oaks conducting.
Elder Gary E. Stevenson
Eleven-year-olds can now leave Primary, surprised (as are their parents) at suddenly being able to pass the sacrament. There are now nearly 80,000 new deacons. Welcome to the priesthood. This is the largest number ever to attend a priesthood session. Brother Stevenson addressed his comments to Aaronic priesthood holders. Many are competing in sports. Participating in sports takes talent, discipline and countless hours of practice, putting aside now for what they want in the future.
Elder Stevenson cited Latter-day Saint priesthood holders in various sports—Jeremy Guthrie and Bryce Harper in baseball; Jabari Parker and Jimmer Fredette in basketball; Taysom Hill and Daniel Sorensen in football, and William Hopoate and Ricardo Rojas in soccer. He interviewed these players to find out about their “spiritual playbook” as priesthood holders.
Athletes have plays in their playbooks. The playbooks contain specific assignments. They study and memorize where to go and what to do. A quorum can be equated to a team. The playbook equals scriptures and assignments. The quorum can choose the game plan with the best chance for victory. Our personal game plan? Come up with a game plan in the face of temptation with offensive and defensive strategies.
“With a game plan, a playbook, and a firm commitment to execute your role, you will find that temptation has less control over you.”
Elder Carl B. Cook
Andre Sabako was looking for something. He attended the Mochudi, Botswana branch with missionaries and was baptized. How to stay active? His priesthood quorum supported him. Establish a strong quorum, a place of belonging. Presidencies lead the way to establish love and brotherhood. A strong quorum can make all the difference in the life of a young man. A place where miracles can happen.
Sabako’s quorum grew to 12 young men who prostelyted, invited, and then sustained each other through the years into and beyond missionary service. They were a light to their families and friends, and their branch grew and strengthened as well.
“Wherever you are, your quorum can grow through activation and sharing the gospel.”
Elder Kim B. Clark
Elder Clark reminded us of the story of the woman who touched the hem of Christ’s garment. The Savior felt power go out of Him towards her and he stopped to encourage her even after He healed her. In the last year the Lord has placed responsibility squarely on the shoulders of the Elders. The Savior has shown us the way. Serve Christ as He served His father. “Here am I. Send Me.” I love the Father. I do only those things that please Him. Elder Clark issued a call to turn away from sin and the world. A call to trust Christ completely. Become like Him. He will bless us to be His Elders in Israel. A work for both sides of the veil.
Focus must be riveted on the Savior (fastened firmly). It’s work!— living a covenant life. God will help us, bless us with all things required to accomplish His purposes. Divine light gives us advantages. First of all, we can see! This light blesses us to love those we serve. It gives us priesthood power. As we use it, Jesus Christ goes with us. Have we not cause to rejoice? Elder Clark left his prayer that all of us will look unto Christ. Doubt not. Fear not.
“If we look unto Jesus Christ He will bless us to be His Elders in Israel—humble, meek, submissive, full of His love.”
President Henry B. Eyring
Priesthood leaders give thanks for the sustaining support of those whom they serve. Sustain others with your faith. You sustained the Father and the Savior in the preexistence when you knew so little of the challenges you would face in mortality. Then you had faith to be baptized; then you accepted the Holy Ghost; by serving faithfully, you sustain the person who conferred the priesthood upon you.
In sustaining them, you make a promise to God. What answers will you give when the Lord interviews you? In how you supported those you agreed to sustain? How do we sustain in the family, praying for our parents? Your fathers sometimes wonder how they will make things work. Sustain them.
“As we grow in that pure love of Christ, our hearts soften. That love will humble us and lead us to repent. Our confidence in the Lord and in each other will grow. And then we will move toward becoming one, as the Lord promises we can.”
President Dallin H. Oaks
Many people are only concerned with the present. Our present and future will be happier if we are always conscious of the future. There are different kinds of choices. One kind of choice is between doing something and doing nothing. When threats are creeping up, we can act or remain silent. Another type of choice is between one choice and another, and we should look into the future to determine where will it lead. Sometimes these choices are between two goods. Then we must figure out the “opportunity cost.” What is lost by failing to choose to invest in the best choice?
“The end is always on the covenant path through the temple to eternal life, the greatest of all the gifts of God.”
President Russell M. Nelson
Joseph Smith was commanded to ‘say nothing but repentance unto this generation.’ Everyone needs to repent. It’s not a penalty but a way to heal, cleanse, forgive, strengthen, and sanctify us. It can change our mind, our knowledge, our spirit, the way we serve, teach, and even care for our bodies. There is nothing so liberating and crucial. We should have a daily focus on repentance. It’s not an event, but a process. With faith, it opens the door to using the atonement. We can become a little better each day. We can use it to transform us into the best version of ourselves. It can help us avoid the misery inflicted by traps imposed by the adversary. Purity brings power.
We need to think about the way we treat our bodies. Obtaining a mortal body is a vital step toward becoming like Him. Satan has been permanently denied this privilege. His temptations cause us to abuse our bodies or the bodies of others. Your body is your personal temple. Your care of that temple is important. We must have reverence for our bodies and must consider how we groom them according to who we present them to. Are we grooming ourselves to earn the praise of the world? We must also examine how we honor our women. We must never be the one to demean or cause a woman to dishoner herself. The well-being of our wives should be our highest consideration.
“He is asking us to change the way we love, think, serve, spend our time, treat our wives, teach our children, and even care for our bodies.”