President Nelson presided at this session, with President Eyring conducting. President Dallin H. Oaks led the sustaining of leadership. Area Seventies were released and new general authority seventies and area seventies called. The Sunday School presidency was released and a new presidency sustained. Follow this link to see the new callings.
President M. Russell Ballard
President Ballard reminisced about his service. He explained that Heavenly Father wants all His children to find peace, joy, and happiness in their lives. Poverty, war, ill health, poor family relationships can interfere but we can find peace, joy, and happiness in spite of the troubles that surround us. All Heavenly Father asks is that we do the best we can, and we’ll come to realize that He knows and loves us. Real happiness will come.
We must take upon us Christ’s name. Satan’s every effort is to shut out the light and truth from Christ to make us miserable—to bring to pass misery and endless woe. There have been a number of wonderful adjustments in the last 18 months. President Ballard worries that they will distract us from our simple devotion to Christ. We should focus on the true, pure, simple gospel of Jesus Christ. Apply the Savior’s two great commandments—loving God and loving our neighbors. Don’t complicate things with additional requirements and meetings.
“When we love and serve the Lord and love and serve our neighbors, we will naturally feel more happiness that comes to us in no better way.”
Elder Mathias Held
Although Elder Held and his wife are from Columbia, he and his wife were working in Germany when they were introduced to the gospel. Searching for something, Sister Held welcomed everyone who came to their front door, even encyclopedia and vacuum salesmen. Two young men in dark suits had knocked at the door, and Sister Held felt something special. The Helds wanted to know everything before being baptized, but the Lord helped them learn to seek spiritually.
Relying on reason alone is like using one eye. Another dimension to gaining knowledge can give us understanding and that is the spiritual dimension. Using both can give us true vision. “We can receive light and understanding not only through the logical reasoning of our minds, but also through the guidance and inspiration of the Holy Ghost.”
Elder Neil L. Andersen
Pilate asked Christ a question: “What is truth?” Doing a Google search for that phrase yields a million responses. We are suffering from information and opinion overload. Many attitudes about truth existed anciently. You can find that evidence in Greek philosophy and the Book of Mormon.
Real truth looks backward and forward, shows us the way to eternal life and comes through the Savior, Jesus Christ. Our mortal quest is to strengthen our faith, choose good from evil, and keep the commandments. We can know the things of God…they are spiritually perceived. But they are foolishness to the natural man.
The family: A Proclamation to the World is a prophetic warning. We sometimes put too much emphasis on the here and now. We have a preexistent nature, an eternal nature. Prophets see ahead the dangers and privileges that are possible. There are many whose lives don’t align with the Proclamation. They may be childless, single, or same-sex attracted but they have faith in spite of those things. Christ will fulfill all promised blessings to those who keep His commandments.
“There is One who does understand. There is One who, because of His sacrifice made in the garden and on the cross, knows your burdens.”
Elder Takashi Wada
What it means to feast upon the words of Christ. Feasting is more than eating food. It includes sweetness and joy, sharing with family, hearts filled with gratitude, experimenting and tasting. Three things we should apply when we feast on the word of Christ include that the words of Christ help us receive revelation; that the words of Christ help us know who we really are and give us strength beyond our own; that the words of Christ help us to bless others.
“Feasting upon the words of Christ will bring life-sustaining revelation, reaffirm our true identity and worth before God as His child, and lead our friends unto Christ and everlasting life.”
Elder David P Homer
We are constantly bombarded with the voices of the world and seek the voice of the Spirit. Which voices should we trust? We can receive mixed signals. Learning the many ways the Spirit speaks to us is a life-long quest. God has promised that if we heed, He will give us more through the Spirit.
“If we spend too much time in faithless places, seemingly well-intended voices deprive us of the spiritual oxygen we need. …Will we follow the unreliable voices advocated by the world, or will we do the work required to allow our Father’s voice to guide us in our decisions?…The more diligently we seek His voice, the easier it becomes to hear. It is not that His voice gets louder but that our ability to hear it has increased.”
Elder Jeffrey R Holland
When John the Baptist was baptizing, he beheld Jesus approaching him. He uttered with admiration “Behold the Lamb of God.” John didn’t call Him by other names. He chose to refer to Christ as the sacrificial lamb offered in atonement of a fallen world.
Adam and Eve closed the door to immortality for themselves as they opened the door to mortality for the rest of us. Adam was taught to sacrifice a lamb and he was taught this sacrifice was a similitude. We should have reverence for the sacrament. We should make partaking of the sacrament the center of our Sunday worship. We need to restore the tradition of dress and grooming, punctuality, and quiet.
Elder Holland acknowledged that sometimes everything can go wrong while you are trying to get to church and that sometimes people are late, but every Sunday is the ox in the mire? Sell the ox or fill the mire. He encouraged us to visit less with others as the meeting is getting underway with less noise and more reverence.
“When the sacred hour comes to present our sacrificial gift to the Lord, we have our own sins and shortcomings to resolve. But we might be more successful in such contrition if we are mindful of the other broken hearts and sorrowing spirits that surround us.”
Other than the statements from church auditors and the sustainings and releasings from callings, there were no announcements during this session.