Saturday afternoon session
The Saturday afternoon session of the 189th Semiannual General Conference featured considerable changes to the church’s youth programs.
Elder David A. Bednar
Elder David A. Bednar talked about the behavior of African wildlife. The lesson of the stories dealt with the challenge of detecting and avoiding sin.
Spiritually dangerous ideas can appear desirable, he says.
Elder Bednar warned against “the improper use of the human body.”
As we are blessed with eyes to see and ears to hear, the Holy Ghost can increase our capacity to look and listen when we may not typically think we need to look or listen or when we may not think anything can be seen or heard.
Spiritual safety is found in living the gospel covenants, Elder Bednar says.
Elder Rubén A. Alliaud
Elder Rubén A. Alliaud shared his story of how he came to join the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Though he felt his parents would be opposed to his joining the church, his mother supported to live the standards of the church, he says.
Jesus Christ Himself is the Lord of lost things. He cares for lost things. … In the end, nothing is truly lost to Him.
He spoke of learning about Christ and learning from Christ.
True conversion requires experience with the power of the truths contained in the Book of Mormon, he says.
President Russell M. Nelson
The president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints told the members that recent policy changes will greatly enhance family participation in church ordinances.
He says the greatest cause for the youth of the church is the gathering of Israel. The bishop is the leader of this greatest cause, Pres. Nelson says.
He says coming changes that would be explained on Saturday.
Elder Quentin L. Cook
Sweeping changes were announced by Elder Quentin L. Cook. The changes pertained to the Young Men’s and Young Women’s organizations.
We are confident that more young men and young women will rise to the challenge and stay on the covenant path with this laser-like focus on our faith.
Elder Cook says that the changes will cause the bishops of the church to take on the primary role of caring for the young women and young men of the church.
The “Come, Follow Me” curriculum and the new Children and Youth program paved the way for these changes, Elder Cook says.
Elder Mark L. Pace
Sunday School general president Mark L. Pace says that members of the church need a firm, sure foundation in their lives.
As Latter-day Saints, we seek a similar firm and sure foundation in our lives — a spiritual foundation needed for our journey through mortality and back to our heavenly home. That foundation is established on the bedrock of our conversion to the Lord Jesus Christ.
He explained how the cold soil conditions in Canada necessitated that the Winnipeg Manitoba Temple be built with an extensive steel-girded foundation. This foundation allows the temple to endure significant changes in the local environment.
Elder Pace says, “As you diligently work to remodel your home into a center of gospel learning … the influence of the adversary in your life and in your home will decrease.”
Elder L. Todd Budge
Elder L. Todd Budge of the Seventy explained how he believes a person can afflictions and sorrow prepare a person to experience joy. This joy, he says, comes to those who put trust in Christ and His plan.
The good news of the gospel is not the promise of a life free of sorrow and tribulation but a life full of purpose and meaning — a life where our sorrows and afflictions can be ‘swallowed up in the joy of Christ.
He used a story to illustrate this principle of trust. He says characters of the Book of Mormon who successfully traveled great distances by trusting in God. A journey through life will lead to God’s presence for those are faithful in keeping their covenants.
Elder Jorge M. Alvarado
Elder Jorge M. Alvarado, a general authority Seventy, says parents should set an example for their children. Parents set the Elder Alvarado example mentioned when they trust the Lord and follow Him.
No matter the obstacles we face in life, we can trust that Jesus Christ will prepare a way forward as we walk with faith.
Trials are inevitable, Elder Alvarado says, but obstacles can be overcome when people exercise faith and follow Christ.
Parents also have the responsibility to teach their children to love the gospel, Elder Alvarado says.
Elder Ronald A. Rasband
Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles says that each person must live true to his or her promises to walk the covenant path back to Heavenly Father.
I invite you to consider the promises and covenants you make with the Lord, and others, with great integrity, knowing that your word is your bond.
Half-hearted commitments are casually made and easily broken, Elder Rasband says.
He adds that promises we make with each other should be kept with integrity.
Saturday morning session
The first session of the 189th Semiannual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints featured speakers who encouraged listeners to focus on priorities.
Elder Jeffery R. Holland
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland cited many aspects of church life that draw members’ attention. Elder Holland emphasized that Jesus Christ is the center of it all.
He said fundamental aspects of the church, such as temple worship and the Book of Mormon, have Christ at the center. He pointed members of the church to look for how Christ is the center of their lives.
“The prayer of every speaker, the hope of all who sing, the reverence of every guest — we are all are dedicated to inviting the spirit of Him whose Church this is, the living Christ, the Lamb of God, the Prince of Peace.”
Elder Holland says that finding Christ is a matter of a focus and not a physical location.
He says that people can find Christ at the center of their lives through faith and service.
Elder Terence M. Vinson
Elder Terence M. Vinson of the Presidency of the Seventy offered motivation to people who face difficulties.
He said that joy comes from exercising endurance through hard things.
We can feel enduring joy when our Savior and His gospel become the framework around which we build our lives.
He says sacrifices and committed efforts to follow Jesus Christ are more important than successes.
Elder Vinson told listeners to avoid distractions. He said that people should not ignore nor delay the more important tasks.
Elder Vinson says that the possibility of eternal life is through the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Nothing, he says, is of a greater value.
Stephen W. Owen
Young Men general president Stephen W. Owen suggested that people will benefit from disconnecting from the world and connecting with heaven.
By so doing, he says, people will find nourishment for their souls.
Many of the messages that bombard us in the information age are the spiritual equivalent of feeding hay to deer — we can eat it all day long, but it will not nourish us.
Sister Michelle Craig
Sister Michelle Craig, the first counselor in the Young Women General Presidency’ invited listeners to increase their spiritual capacity to receive revelation.
She, like other speakers, suggested members of the church to act without delay. She says that people should be as intentional as being connected to heaven as they are about being connected to WiFi.
As you use your agency to carve out time every day to draw close to God’s voice, especially in the Book of Mormon, over time, His voice will become clearer and more familiar to you.
Sister Craig says that God helps people by sending people to help each other.
Elder D. Todd Christofferson
Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles spoke to “the joy of the saints.”
He says that the joy of the saints comes from keeping God’s commandments. This joy includes overcoming sorrows and weaknesses through Christ.
God sees things in their true perspective, and He shares that perspective with us through His commandments, effectively guiding us around the pitfalls and potholes of mortality toward eternal joy.
Elder Christofferson says that obstacles to joy, such as sins, trials, and weaknesses, is part of the path of discipleship. This same path offers a remission of sins and a peace of conscience, he says.
Elder Dale G. Renlund
Elder Dale G. Renlund asked listeners to accept and stay on the life-long process of discipleship.
Just as we never forget our own name no matter what else we are thinking about, we never forget a commitment that is etched in our hearts.
He cited his visit to the Congo to explain commitment. Elder Renlund explained that the Congo River flows constantly throughout the year. He offered the benefits of a commitment to God that is as unwavering as the Congo River.
Elder Renlund also pointed to those in scripture who buried in their weapons of war. He asked people to bury their weapons of rebellion without leaving the handles “sticking out.”
President Dallin H. Oaks
Pres. Dallin H. Oaks, first counselor in the First Presidency, taught about unanswered questions. His address focused on questions about church doctrine and what happens after death.
He says that there are many questions of which the answers the Lord has yet to reveal.
Pres. Oaks says that instead of focusing on answers, he says member of the church should focus on living a righteous life.
The duty of each of us is to teach the doctrine of the restored gospel, keep the commandments, love and help one another, and do the work of salvation in the holy temples.
Answers to questions about life after death are limited, he says, because beyond what the scriptures say about the post-mortal life, “little else is revealed.”
Pres. Oaks says God “will surely do what is best for each of us.”
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