Welcome to our live discussion thread of the Sunday afternoon session of the 184th General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Once again, Brian Whitney will be reporting on the proceedings for Approaching Justice live from the Conference Center. Check out the amazing work he did this morning.
Please leave your thoughts, comments, or observations about the session in the comments below. Disagreement is welcome. Agreement is welcome. As is humor, joy, and the occasional snark…but in moderation. Also, feel free to respond to the other comments on the thread. If you disagree, explain why.
Welcome and thanks! If you are looking for an online feed of the session, it can be found here.
We will be updating highlights from the session speakers here in the main post.
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, conducting
Bishop Dean M. Davies, Presiding Bishopric, opening prayer
President Boyd K. Packer
While stations on the island of le Shima just north of Okinawa, Japan, I struggled with doubt and uncertainty.
During one sleepless night, I left my tent and entered a bunker . . . I crawled in, looked up at the star-filled sky, and knelt to pray.
Almost mid-sentence it happened. I could not describe to you what happened if I were determined to do so. It is beyond my power and expression.
I wish to share with you those truths which are most worth knowing, the things I have learned and experienced in nearly 90 years of life and over 50 years as a General Authority.
One eternal truth I have come to know is that God lives. He is our Father. We are His children.
Parenthood is a sacred privilege and, depending on faithfulness, it can be an eternal blessing. The ultimate end of all activity in the Church is that a man and his wife and their children can be happy at home.
Those who do not marry or those who cannot have children are not excluded from the eternal blessings they seek but which, for now, remain beyond their reach. . . the promise of eternal increase will not be denied any faithful individual who makes and keeps sacred covenants.
Another truth I have come to know is that the Holy Ghost is real.
A supernal truth that I have gained in my life is my witness of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Each of us must come to our own personal testimony of the Lord Jesus Christ.
In all of this, let us remember that there is an adversary who personally seeks to disrupt the work of the Lord.
Our protection is as simple as deciding individually to follow the Savior, making certain that we faithfully remain on His side.
I believe and I am sure that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God. He lives.
I know the Lord. I am His witness. I bear my special witness in all humility but with absolute certainty.
Elder William R. Walker
Of the Quorum of the Seventy
“Live True To the Faith”
I love Church History. Perhaps like many of you my own faith is fortified when I learn of the remarkable dedication of our forefathers who accepted the Gospel and lived true to the faith.
It would be a wonderful thing of every Latter Day Saint knew the conversion stories of their forefathers.
[Story of Elder Wolford Woodruff’s mission in England]
My Great Great Grandmother, Hannah Mariah Harris, was one of the first to listen to Wolford Woodruff.
Responding to the call to “gather to Zion”, they left behind their home in England, crossed the Atlantic and gathered with the Saints in Nauvoo, Illinois.
They were broken hearted at the news of the death of their beloved Prophet, Joseph Smith, and his brother, Hyrum.
With six children, they slogged through mud as they crossed Iowa on their way west.
Robert Harris, Jr. was one of over 500 Mormon pioneer men who responded to that call from Brigham Young. He enlisted [in the Mormon Battalion], even though it meant he would leave behind his pregnant wife and six little children.
The more connected we feel to our righteous forefathers, the more likely we are to make wise and righteous choices.
Each of us will be greatly blessed if we know the stories of faith and sacrifice that led our forefathers to join the Lord’s church.
We must not forget that we are led by a Prophet of God. I testify that we ARE led by a Prophet of God.
We must not forget that we have been led by an unbroken chain of Prophets of God from Joseph to Brigham and thru each succeeding President of the Church to our prophet today – Thomas S. Monson.
Elder L. Tom Perry
“Obedience Through our Faithfulness”
During my boyhood, we interacted with members of our extended family fairly and shared special moments of working, playing, and visiting together. . . . Our world is different now – the members of most families spread out.
When I was growing up I had a special relationship with my grandfather. As the oldest son in my family, I removed snow in the winter and cared for the lawn in the summer for our home and my grandfather’s home and the homes of two of our aunts.
He taught me about breaking in a team of horses so that they would work together. He explained that a team of horses must always know who is in charge. One key to asserting control and directing a horse is a harness and bit.
Now let us examine the lesson my grandfather taught me using this example. Who is the driver of the team of horses? My grandfather believed it is the Lord.
In his mind’s eye, the harness and bit were spiritual. An obedient horse . . . needs little more than a gentle tug from the driver to do exactly what he wants it to do. This gentle tug is the equivalent of the still small voice with which the Lord speaks to us.
We must be sensitive to our spiritual bits. Even with the slightest tug from the Master, we must be willing to completely alter our course.
I recognize the alleges associated with having faith in Jesus Christ and obedience will be more difficult for some than others. I have enough years experience to know that while the personalities of horses can be very different, and, therefore, can be easier or more difficult to train, that the variety of people is far greater.
Accordingly, there are very few one-size-fits-all solutions.
It is also true that during the time which my grandfather lived was a simpler time, especially regarding the choices between right and wrong.
What I offer today is a simple formula. It might not work for everybody, but I can testify about how well it works for me.
Too often we think of of obedience as a passive and thoughtless following of orders or dictates of a higher authority. Actually, at its best, obedience is an emblem of our faith in the wisdom and power of the highest authority, even God.
Those who rely solely on themselves and follow only their own desires and self-inclinations are so limited when compared to those who follow God and tap into His insight, power, and gifts.
Strong, proactive obedience is anything but weak or passive.
Elder Lawrence E. Corbridge
Of the Seventy
“The Prophet Joseph Smith”
A young boy reads his Bible and his eyes pause on a singular passage of scripture. This is a moment that will change the world.
Can it be this simple? Ask God and He will answer?
He is only fourteen, but in his haste to know, he is not hasty.
He decides where to go and when to make the attempt.
And then the day comes.
[1838 First Vision account]
Only 24 years later, Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum will die because of what began here.
Wherever the truth is revealed with regard to the purpose and destiny of man, there will always be a force to oppose it.
[Jesus Christ] is the Truth and the truth will always be opposed.
The revelations poured out upon Joseph Smith affirm that he was a prophet of God.
– God is a personal, exalted being
– God the Father , Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost are separate beings.
– You are more than human. You are a child of God.
– The Church of Jesus Christ today is fundamentally the same Church He organized during His mortal ministry.
– Priesthood authority . . . was restored again in our day.
– Revelation has not ceased
– There is more after this life than only heaven and hell.
– The billions who lived and die without the gospel and the ordinances necessary for salvation are not lost.
– Everything did not begin at birth.
– Marriage and family are not . . . only until death do us part.
There is no dispute about what Joseph Smith accomplished, only how he did what he did and why. He was either a pretender or prophet.
Elder Michael John U. Teh
Of The Seventy
“For Where Your Treasure Is”
In times of calamity or tragedy, the Lord has a way of refocusing us and our priorities. All of a sudden, all of the material things we worked so hard to acquire do not matter. All that matters is our family and our relationships with others.
Out of necessity, most of us are involved in earning money and acquiring some of the World’s goods to be able to sustain our families. . . . it is critical that we learn to recognize when we have enough.
Sadly, there appears to be a strong inclination to acquire more and more and to own the latest and the most sophisticated.
I hope that none of us spend money or that which is of no worth, nor labor for that which does not satisfy.
“For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf: “Why . . . do we devote so much of our time and energy to things that are so fleeting, so inconsequential, and so superficial? ”
We have been counseled to “[put] off the natural man . . . [and] become as a child.”
We need to put more quality time and effort in strengthening the family.
Serving others is a hallmark of a true follower of Christ.
Understanding the doctrine of Christ and strengthening our testimony is a labor that will ring real joy and satisfaction.
Elder Marcos A. Aidukaitis
Of the Quorum of the Seventy
“If Ye Lack Wisdom”
With so much available on the Internet, one must carefully consider where to apply his efforts. Satan can keep us busy, distracted, and infected by sifting through information, much of which can be pure garbage.
One should not roam through garbage.
In a real sense, we face the same dilemma that Joseph Smith faced in his youth. We, too, often find ourselves lacking in wisdom.
How can we recognize truth in a world that is increasingly more blunt in its attacks to the things pertaining of God?
First, we can know the truth by observing its fruits.
We invite all to study the fruits and the works of this Church.
Second, we can find truth by experimenting on the word itself.
There is yet a third way to know the truth, and that is by personal revelation.
I have a friend, not our faith, who indicated that to me e is not a spiritual person. He will not study or pray because he says he cannot understand the words of God nor is he sure that God exists. This attitude explains his lack of spirituality and will lead to the opposite of revelation, as explained by Alma.
We must ask in faith and with an honest heart. But that is not all; we must also believe that we will receive the revelation.
God will reveal truth to those who seek for it as prescribed in the scriptures. It requires more effort than to just searched Internet, but it is worth it.
Elder D. Todd Christofferson
“The Resurrection of Jesus Christ”
A crushing seen defeat and despair enveloped His disciples as Jesus suffered and died on the cross and his body was placed lifeless in the tomb.
Mary Magdalene and a few other faithful women came early to the Savior’s tomb that Sunday morning bringing spices and ointments to complete the anointing begun when the Lord’s body was hastily laid in the sepulcher before the approaching Sabbath.
As bidden by the angels, Mary Magdalene looked into the tom, but it seems all that registered in her mind was that the body of the Lord was gone.
Peter and John left, but Mary remained behind still in mourning.
And so, this blessed woman became the first mortal to see and speak to the resurrected Christ.
Beyond theses confirmed witnesses in Jerusalem, we have the incomparable ministry of the risen Lord to the ancient inhabitants of the Western Hemisphere.
Christ’s resurrection shows His existence is independent and everlasting. . . . He simply is, and ever will be.
If Jesus in fact resurrected, it necessarily follows that He is a divine being. No mere mortal has the power in himself to come to life again after dying.
Jesus cannot have been only a carpenter, a teacher, a rabbi, or a prophet.
Doubts about the omnipotence, omniscience and benevolence of God the Father . . . are groundless. Doubts about the meaning and purpose of life are unfounded.
Faith truly is more than imagination or psychological invention.
[story of Robert Blackford’s conversion, God and My Neighbor]
Did the Lord in reality die and rise again? Yes.
Some believe in the literal resurrection of the Christ, and many doubt or disbelieve. But some know. In due course, all will see and all will know.
President Thomas S. Monson
“Until We Meet Again”
As we ponder the messages we have heard, may we resolve to do a little better than we have done in the past. May we be kind and loving to those who do not share our beliefs and our standards. The Savior brought to this earth a message of love and goodwill to all men and women. May we ever follow His example.
May our homes be filled with love and courtesy and with the Spirit of the Lord.
May we realize how close to us [God] is willing to come, and how far He is willing to go to help us and how much He loves us.
End of Sunday Afternoon Session