In welcoming members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to the Saturday morning session of the church’s annual General Conference, President Russell M. Nelson called on the young men to prepare to make a full-time mission and young women, who also desire it.
For the first time since April 2020, approximately 10,000 people were able to attend the conference in person at the Conference Center in Salt Lake City.
“My missionary service prepared me to be a better husband and father and to succeed in business. It also prepared me for a life of service to the Lord in His Church,” said M. Russell Ballard, Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.
He continued, “As an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ, I ask you now, young men and young women who desire to serve a mission, to start talking with your parents now about the possibility of serving a mission. I also invite you to talk with your friends about serving a mission, and if any of your friends are unsure about serving, encourage them to talk with their bishop.
Speaking of her conversion, Sister Reyna I. Aburto, second counselor in the Relief Society general presidency, taught that the Church is the members—that she was welcomed by members who reached out.
Women have told Aburto that they fear they will not be active in Relief Society because they serve in Primary or Young Women. She said they were still active in Relief Society.
“Relief Society is more than a room in a building, a Sunday lesson, an activity, or a local or general presidency. Relief Society is the covenant women of the Church; it’s us — each one of us and all of us — it’s our “global community of compassion and service,” Aburto said. “Wherever and wherever we go, we are always part of Relief Society as we strive to fulfill its divine purpose, which is for women to do God’s work individually and collectively in bringing relief, “a relief from poverty, a relief from disease”. , relief from doubt, relief from ignorance – relief from all that hinders…joy and progress.
She added, “Our purpose in his kingdom should be to bring one another to Christ.
Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles highlighted the hymn that most influenced him, while acknowledging that he was not a good singer.
“An anthem that has blessed my life in a remarkable way is ‘Let Us All Press On’. Recently, I reflected and learned a specific phrase in the chorus of this anthem. say, but the Lord alone we will obey,” he said.
“The word ‘attention’ suggests noticing or paying attention to someone or something. So the lyrics of the anthem ‘Let Us All Press On’ urge us to make an affirmative decision to pay no mind to what the wicked may say,” Bednar added.
“Truly, ‘if we do what is right, we need not fear, for the Lord our helper will always be near.’ courage, for the Lord is on our side” and pay no heed to evil influences and secular mockery, Bednar added.
Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles encouraged members and listeners to be peacemakers.
“Recently, after a strongly worded opinion piece that criticized the Church, the Reverend Amos C. Brown, a national civil rights leader and pastor of the Third Baptist Church in San Francisco, responded, “I respect the experience and the perspective of the individual writing those words. Certainly, I do not see what he sees. … I consider it one of the greatest joys of my life to know these leaders [of the Church], including President Russell M. Nelson. They are, in my opinion, the epitome of the best leadership our country has to offer. He then added: “We can complain about the way things were. We can refuse to acknowledge all the good that is happening now. … But these approaches will not heal our national divisions. … As Jesus taught, we do not eliminate evil with more evil. We love generously and live mercifully, even to those we think are our enemies.'”
Andersen added, “Reverend Brown is a peacemaker. He calmly and respectfully cools the flaming darts. Peacekeepers are not passive; they are persuasive in the manner of the Savior.
He also cautioned that social media sounds like many voices and often against the church, but members should not respond in kind but be peacemakers.
“In February, a headline in the Arizona Republic read, ‘Bipartisan Latter-day Saint-backed bill would protect Arizona’s gay and transgender people,’” Andersen noted. “We as Latter-day Saints are ‘thrilled to be part of a coalition of religious, business, LGBTQ people, and community leaders who have worked together in a spirit of trust and mutual respect.’
Anderson went on to say, “President Russell M. Nelson once thoughtfully asked, ‘Can’t dividing lines exist without becoming battle lines?’ »
Eduardo Gavarret of the Seventy challenged those listening to change their minds and submit to the Lord.
“How can we achieve this mighty change of heart? asked Gavarret. It is initiated and ultimately occurs when:
- When we study the scriptures to gain knowledge that will strengthen our faith in Jesus Christ, which will create a desire for change.
- When we cultivate this desire through prayer and fasting.
- When we act upon the word studied or received, and we covenant to surrender our hearts to him, just as with the people of King Benjamin.
Gavarret also asked, “How do we know our hearts are changing?
- When we want to please God in all things.
- When we treat others with love, respect and consideration.
- When we see that the attributes of Christ become part of our character.
- When we more constantly feel the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
- When we observe a command that has been difficult for us to obey and then continue to live it.
Developing faith in Christ is like a ladder, according to Larry S. Kacher, General Authority Seventy.
“The simple faith we have in Jesus Christ when we begin to learn more about Him can stay in our hearts as we face life’s challenges. Our faith in him can and will guide us through the complexities of life,” Kacher said. ‘Indeed, we will find there is simplicity on the other side of life’s complexities as we remain'[steadfast] in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope.’”
Karcher invited those listening to reflect on the following questions posed by God’s holy prophets as you strive to climb your ladder of faith:
- Am I stripped of pride?
- Do I make room in my heart for the word of God?
- Do I allow my afflictions to be consecrated for my benefit?
- Am I ready to let my will be swallowed up in the will of the Father?
- If I felt the need to sing the song of redeeming love, can I feel it now?
- Am I letting God reign in my life?
In closing remarks for the Saturday morning session, President Henry B. Eyring, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, said his prayer was that he might help individuals to stand steady in the storms they face, with a peaceful heart.
“Anyone who has eyes to see the signs of the times and ears to hear the words of the prophets knows this to be true,” Eyring said. “The most dangerous perils come to us from the forces of wickedness. These forces increase. This will make it harder, not easier, to honor the covenants we must make and keep to live the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Eyring used lessons from King Benjamin in the Book of Mormon to teach that even if a person goes astray, there is hope in the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
“King Benjamin clearly explains how we can receive the hope of hearing these words if we find a way in this life to change our nature through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. It’s the only way to build on a secure foundation and stand firm through the storms of temptations and trials to come,” Eyring said. “King Benjamin describes this change in our nature with a beautiful metaphor that touches my heart. It has been used by prophets for millennia and by the Lord Himself. It is this: we have to become like a child — a little child.
“For some, it will not be easy to accept. Most of us want to be strong. We might well see being like a child as being weak,” Eyring added. “Most parents are waiting for the day when their children will act less childish. But King Benjamin, who understood as well as any mortal what it meant to be a strong and courageous man, clarified that to be like a child is not to be childish. It is to be like the Savior, who prayed to his Father for strength to do his Father’s will and to atone for the sins of all of his Father’s children, and then did it.
Our nature must be changed to become like a child, to gain the strength we need to remain stable and at peace in times of peril, Eyring noted.
“When the storms of life come, you can be stable because you are standing on the rock of your faith in Jesus Christ,” Eyring concluded.
Music for the Saturday morning session was provided in person by the Tabernacle Choir in Temple Square.