General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints began with the Saturday morning session with President Russell M. Nelson presiding and Dallin H. Oaks conducting. The following are summaries of the addresses delivered by leaders of the Church.
Elder Soares of the Quorum of the Twelve focused on how we can teach the gospel. “I testify to you that when we earnestly, heartily, firmly, and sincerely teach the gospel of Jesus Christ, with real purpose, and under the influence of the Spirit, these teachings may transform hearts and inspire a desire to live according to the truths of God.”
Elder Soares began with the story of the Ethiopian eunuch and how he requested to be guided in learning the gospel at the hand of Phillip. “…we are sometimes like the Ethiopian, we need the help of a faithful and inspired teacher; and we are sometimes like Philip, we need to teach and strengthen others in their conversion…. Our purpose as we seek to learn and to teach the gospel of Jesus Christ is to increase faith in God and in His divine plan of happiness, and in Jesus Christ and His atoning sacrifice, and to achieve lasting conversion.”
Elder Soares encouraged us to undergo a spiritual transformation, to become a new creature, and then to raise our families in light and truth. He urged us to be patient when our guidance seems not to work, when our good example is rejected, and when we struggle to establish peace at home.
Sister Becky Craven
Sister Craven talked about being exacting and careful in following gospel principles: “If we are not careful in living our covenants with exactness, our casual efforts may eventually lead us into forbidden paths or to join with those who have already entered the great and spacious building.”
She cautioned us not to lower our standards to make others comfortable. “We are disciples of Jesus Christ and as such we are about elevating others, lifting them to a higher, holier place where they, too, can reap greater blessings….Deep and lasting happiness comes by intentionally and carefully living the gospel of Jesus Christ.”
One profound image used by Sister Craven was of the river in Lehi’s dream of the tree of life. It ran along the path and by the tree but never to it.
Elder Brook P. Hales
Elder Hales reminded us that the Lord always hears and answers our prayers according to the time table and in the way that is most beneficial to us. He gave examples of how prayers that seemed to bring a no answer turned out for the best later on. When we see the whole picture, we realize that not getting what we originally wanted prepared the way for greater blessings.
“He blesses us not only according to our desires and needs but also according to His infinite wisdom….The Father is aware of us, knows our needs, and will help us perfectly ….sometimes, our righteous desires are not granted in this life.”
“…with time we learn that God had greater blessings prepared for us than we initially anticipated…. I know that God hears our prayers. I know that as an all-knowing, loving Father, He answers our prayers perfectly, according to His infinite wisdom, and in ways that will be to our ultimate benefit and blessing.”
Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf
Elder Uchtdorf spoke about missionary work and how to do it successfully. He encouraged us to realize that even if others seem to reject us now, our example and witness might make a huge difference to them in the future.
“Wherever you are on this earth, there are plenty of opportunities to share the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ….But remember, the Lord has never required expert, flawless missionary efforts. Instead, the Lord requires the heart and a willing mind.”
“Strive to see everyone around you as a child of God….strive to walk the path of discipleship….look for opportunities to bring up your faith….If someone asks about your weekend, don’t hesitate to talk about what you experienced at church.”
Bishop W. Christopher Waddell
Elder Waddell talked about ministering. “A minister is more than a friend and that friendship is magnified as we minister….The Lord knows and, through His Spirit, we will be directed in our efforts.
“It isn’t necessary for someone to be suffering from a life-threatening disease to be in need
of ministering service. Those needs come in a variety of shapes, sizes and conditions. A single parent, a less active couple, a struggling teen, an overwhelmed mother, a trial of faith, financial, health, or marriage issues…the list is almost endless.”
“As we seek the guidance of the Spirit and trust the Lord, we will be placed in situations and circumstances where we can act and bless…in other words, minister….minister by giving what we are capable of giving… trust that the Lord will magnify our efforts….small and simple things are powerful.”
President Henry B. Eyring
President Eyring talked about the few generations after Christ’s personal visit to the Book of Mormon peoples that experienced perfect peace and love and how that all went away with people identifying with classes, judging and then hating each other.
“Building faith in Jesus Christ is the beginning of reversing any spiritual decline in your family and your home. …You will best lead by example. Family members and others must see you growing in your own faith in Jesus Christ and in His gospel. …Even when family members are not living in the home, prayer can build bonds of love. Prayer in the family can reach across the world.”
“Because none of us is perfect and feelings are easily hurt, families can become sacred sanctuaries only as we repent early and sincerely. …You just live worthy of the celestial kingdom, and the family arrangements will be more wonderful than you can imagine.”