President Nelson opened this session of the 190th semi-annual General Conference noting how technology enables us to gather as a world-wide church, even with a pandemic, fires, storms, and other natural disasters heaped upon us this year. Last General Conference was the most widely “attended” conference ever and he expects this one to reach even more people. President Nelson hopes that we are using this season of difficulties to increase spiritually.
Elder David A. Bednar was the next speaker. His talk focused on the tests we face in mortality. As a teacher, he learned that testing was a necessary tool for learning. Tests in the school of mortality are a vital element of our eternal progression. Faithfulness is not foolishness or fanaticism—it is trusting and placing our confidence in Jesus Christ as our Savior, on His name, and in His promises. Choose, prepare, and become devoted disciples of the Savior during the tests of mortality.
Elder Scott D. Whiting then spoke about becoming more like Christ. What level of effort would we be willing to give to invite His miraculous power into our lives so that we can change our very nature? There is no other way to heal the wounds of broken relationships or of a fractured society than for each of us to more fully emulate the Prince of Peace. We can choose an attribute of Christ to focus on and pray to grow in that attribute. Our entire mortal experience is about progression, trying, failing, and succeeding.
Sister Michelle D. Craig talked about waiting and trusting in the Lord’s timing in opening our eyes to that which we cannot see. The more we grow to understand our true identity as children of God with divine potential, the more the Lord will open to us. Through the power of the Holy Ghost, Christ will enable us to see ourselves and see others as He does. We can begin to see the hand of the Lord working in and through the ordinary details of our lives—we will see deeply.
Quentin L. Cook spoke about respect for and love of diversity. Although our history with this is imperfect, we can strive now to be a force to lift and bless society as a whole. The culture of the gospel of Jesus Christ is not a Gentile culture or a Judaic culture [as it was in ancient times]. It is not determined by the color of one’s skin or where one lives. While we rejoice in distinctive cultures, we should leave behind aspects of those cultures that conflict with the gospel of Jesus Christ. We can be one.
Ronald A. Rasband focused on temples. Temples, no matter where they are, rise above the ways of the world. Your temple recommend reflects a deep, spiritual intent that you are striving to live the laws of the Lord and love what He loves. Our work in the temple is tied to our eternal reward. When the Lord calls for us to “redouble” our efforts He is asking that we increase in righteousness.
Dallin H. Oaks was the final speaker. As followers of Christ, we must forego the anger and hatred with which political choices are debated or denounced in many settings. We move toward loving our adversaries when we avoid anger and hostility toward those with whom we disagree. Knowing that we are all children of God gives us a divine vision of the worth of all others and the will and ability to rise above prejudice and racism.