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Speakers Share Messages of Hope and Faith

Speakers at this weekend’s general conference for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints focused on subjects such as faith, strengthening families and fostering righteous traditions.

“Do not try to control your children,” Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles encouraged parents. “Instead, listen to them, help them to learn the gospel, inspire them, and lead them toward eternal life.”

Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Presidency of the Seventy spoke about the special experiences individuals and families have. “In these days of worldly intrusions into our lives, when trials and difficulties may seem to engulf us, let us remember our own special, spiritual experiences,” he said. “These building blocks of faith and testimony will bring us conviction and reassurance of a caring, loving Father in heaven, of our Savior the Lord Jesus Christ, and of their restored true and living Church.”

Sister Cheryl C. Lant, Primary General President asked parents, “Are we consciously creating righteous traditions, or is life just happening to us?” She added, “Are our traditions being created in response to the loud voices of the world, or are they influenced by the still small voice of the Spirit?”

Speaking of the need to restore faith in the family, Elder Kenneth Johnson of the Seventy reflected on his own upbringing. “I realize how I gained an appreciation for the core values that are necessary for the development of a sound character.” He continued: “Where did I learn loyalty, integrity and dependability? I learned these qualities in the home from the example of my parents.”

Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles encouraged attendees at conference to have: “more compassion for those who are different from us.” He added that if we were to do that: “it would lighten many of the problems and sorrows in the world today.”

Elder Henry B. Eyring, first counselor in the First Presidency noted that: “Families across the Church are searching for ways to strengthen and protect their children against the evils around them.” He added that he was: “confident that there will be, increasingly, a reward given by God for their efforts. Those who never give up will find that God never gave up and that He will help them.”

“There has never been a greater need for us to profess our faith, privately and publicly,” said apostle, Elder Dallin H. Oaks. “Though there are some who profess atheism, there are many who are open to additional truths about God.”

Elder Robert D. Hales, also of the Quorum of the Twelve, reflected on his youth when he: “reflected on thirteen prophetic statements called the Articles of Faith written by Joseph Smith to describe the basic beliefs of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.”

Elder Gerald N. Lund of the Seventy said: “The heart is a tender place. It is sensitive to many influences, both positive and negative. It can be hurt by others. It can be deadened by sin. It can be softened by love.” He added: “the condition of our hearts directly affects our sensitivity to spiritual things,” and encouraged attendees to: “make it a part of our everyday striving to open our hearts to the Spirit.”

“I know that God loves us,” declared Elder Carlos H. Amado of the Seventy. “He allows us to exercise moral agency even when we misuse it. He permits us to make our own decisions.”

Speaking of the way that presidencies work together in the Church, Elder William R. Walker of the Seventy said: “As a deacon’s quorum president and later as a bishop and stake president, I knew that whatever wisdom, understanding or capacity I had, it would be magnified considerably when I included my counselors in any decision that needed to be made.”

“If you are currently being abused or have been in the past, find the courage to seek help,” encouraged Apostle Elder Richard G. Scott. “Have the courage to act now. Seek the support of someone you can trust. Get help now. The Lord will help you, but you must reach out for that help.”

Elder L. Tom Perry invited attendees to imagine eternal life: “When we think of eternal life, what is the picture that comes to mind?” he asked. “I believe that if we could create in our minds a clear picture and true picture of eternal life we would start behaving differently.”

Speaking to the young men of the Church, President Thomas S. Monson said: “My young friends, be strong. The philosophies of men surround us. The face of sin today often wears the mask of tolerance.” He added the caution: “Do not be deceived; behind that façade is heartache, unhappiness and pain. You know what is right and what is wrong, and no disguise, however appealing, can change that.”

President Monson continued: “There is no friendship more valuable than your own clear conscience, your own moral cleanliness — and what a glorious feeling it is to know that you stand in your appointed place clean and with confidence that you are worthy to do so.”

In the Sunday morning session, President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, second counselor in the First Presidency said: “Our Heavenly Father loves His children. He hears the prayers of the humble and sincere of every nation, tongue and people.” He added: “He grants light to those who seek and honor Him and are willing to obey His commandments. We joyously proclaim that the faith of our Father is on the earth today.”

Newly called apostle, Elder D. Todd Christofferson expressed his love and gratitude for those he has served along side. He also spoke about the need to be spiritually reborn.

Elder Sheldon F. Child, of the Seventy, said: “We are living in challenging economic times.” He added: “Regardless of the circumstances in which we find ourselves if we first pay our obligation to the Lord and then use wisdom and good judgment: the Lord will help us manage the resources He has given us.”

“Right now I am exerting my faith and prayers and watching for little miracles in behalf of loved ones who are physically sick, emotionally bereft and spiritually astray,” said Sister Susan W. Tanner, released yesterday as Young Women General President. She added: “I delight in the Lord’s love for each of His children and in His wisdom to allow us individually tailored earthly experiences.”

President Boyd K. Packer, President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, speaking of the original and present-day apostles said: “Almost to a man, the Twelve come from humble beginnings, as it was when He was here.” He added: “The living Twelve are welded together in the ministry of the gospel of Jesus Christ. When the call came, each has put down his nets, so to speak, and followed the Lord.”

President Thomas S. Monson extended an invitation to Latter-day Saints who are not fully engaged in the Church. “Come back,” he offered. “We reach out to you in the pure love of Christ and express our desire to assist you and to welcome you into full fellowship. To those who are wounded in spirit or who are struggling and fearful, we say, let us lift you and cheer you and calm your fears.”

“Take literally the Lord’s invitation,” he continued. “‘Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.’”

Concluding the Sunday morning session, President Monson said: “I pledge my life, my strength — all that I have to offer — in serving Him and in directing the affairs of His Church in accordance with His will and by His inspiration.”

In the Sunday afternoon session, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, said: “Some Christians, in large measure because of their genuine love for the Bible, have declared that there can be no more authorized scripture beyond the Bible.”

He added: “In thus pronouncing the canon of revelation closed, our friends in some other faiths shut the door on divine expression that we in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints hold dear — the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, the Pearl of Great Price and the ongoing guidance received by God’s anointed prophets and apostles.”

Fellow apostle, Elder David A. Bednar said: “True faith is focused in and on the Lord Jesus Christ and always leads to righteous action.” He added: “Faith in Christ leads to righteous action which increases our spiritual capacity and power.”

Elder W. Craig Zwick of the Seventy said: “It requires courage to make good choices, even when others around us choose differently.” He continued: “As we make righteous choices day by day in little things, the Lord will strengthen us and help us choose the right during more difficult times.”

“To be at peace in these wonderful, yet challenging times,” said Elder Robert R. Steur of the Seventy, “we must learn true doctrine, gain pure testimony, and live the truths of the gospel courageously.”

Elder Dennis B. Neuenschwander of the Seventy said: “In all of life’s circumstances let us quietly and resolutely press forward to the Savior, having faith that He cares about us and has the power to heal and save us.”

Speaking of a visit to Vietnam recently, where he had served in the military many years earlier, Elder Lance B. Wickman of the Seventy drew lessons from that experience. “I am not quite sure what I expected to find after so many years,” he began. “What I did find was most unexpected.”

He added: “Instead of a war-ravaged people, I found a youthful, vibrant population. I guess I had half-expected to find Yesterday, but what I found was Today…and the promise of a bright Tomorrow. I was reminded that ‘weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.’”

Elder Craig C. Christensen of the Seventy spoke about the Book of Mormon in his remarks. “Ever since Samuel Smith set out to preach the gospel with a few first-edition copies, the Book of Mormon has blessed the lives of millions around the world,” he said.

Apostle Elder M. Russell Ballard said: “While women live in homes under many different circumstances — married, single, widowed, or divorced, some with children and some without — all are beloved of God.” He added: “He has a plan for His righteous daughters to receive the highest blessings of eternity.”

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