“Trust in the Lord,” President Uchtdorf Tells California Stake
By Sarah Jane Weaver, Church News assistant editor
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA
The Church is growing worldwide because of the goodness and faith of Latter-day Saints, said President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency.
“It is amazing how the Church is growing,” he said during the Inglewood California Stake conference on September 15. “You are part of this great work. The gospel is a wonderful thing.”
President Uchtdorf, in Southern California on a public affairs assignment, was accompanied to the stake conference by his wife, Sister Harriet Uchtdorf. She also addressed the congregation.
President Uchtdorf spoke of the diversity of members of the stake.
“This stake represents a ‘United Nations’ of the Church in many ways,” he told the Church News. “It was marvelous to see so many different ethnic groups and nationalities in this wonderful stake. Sister Uchtdorf and I enjoyed being there with them. We heard from many new converts who spoke at the meeting. It was impressive to see how strong they are.”
During his remarks to the congregation, President Uchtdorf said after receiving the assignment to visit Southern California, he looked at the schedule of local stake conferences and felt he should visit their stake.
Maybe, he said, he was attracted to the stake because of its close proximity to the airport.
“Someone once said, ‘For most people the sky is the limit.’ To those who love aviation, the sky is home,” said President Uchtdorf. “That is the same with the gospel and with religion.
Many people view religion, commandments, and faith as limitations, he said. “For those who know the gospel, who know truly why our Heavenly Father has established His Church on the earth, they will learn this is home.”
He called active membership in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints an opportunity to go forward and build something great and accomplish what the Lord has in store for Latter-day Saints “not only in this life, but also in the life to come.”
“This is just the beginning,” President Uchtdorf explained.
That doesn’t mean that life is easy, he said, making reference to a family that has recently dealt with the tragic loss of loved ones.
Sister Harriet Uchtdorf tells Latter-day Saints in Southern California that it is wonderful to live in a diverse stake and encourages members to welcome all into the Church with open arms.
“We don’t always have the answers for why things happen,” he said. “There will be a time when we will know.”
Until then, Latter-day Saints can help those around them through difficult times. “The answer is trust in the Lord. Trust in the Lord,” he said.
With the Lord’s help, Church members can overcome challenging times, he promised.
President Uchtdorf recounted meeting with a beautiful, optimistic young woman in her early 30s who is fighting cancer. Although he went to give her comfort, he realized when he got home that he had received hope and comfort from her. “Her testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ, her knowledge that the plan of salvation is true, made me leave the hospital room strengthened,” he said. “Yes, the gospel of Jesus Christ helps us.”
He asked the congregation to look around them to members of their wards and branches and to those of other faiths who are going through difficult situations in life. “Strengthen them with your love and your faith.”
He said the Church worldwide grows and grows because of faithful members.
“The strength of your faith will be a wonderful power to those around you,” he said. “So never neglect your faith. … Stand up and bear witness of the truth. Never be ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ. This gospel of Jesus Christ is something that is so wonderful to have.
“I leave you my testimony, my witness of this truth.”
Sister Uchtdorf said she, like many members of the diverse congregation, understands what it is like to move to a new country and learn a new language.
It is “wonderful for you to live in such a diverse stake,” she said. “You can learn from each other.”
She said it is a wonderful opportunity for Latter-day Saints to embrace different nationalities and welcome all members into the Church with open arms.
Sister Uchtdorf then spoke of her own conversion.
“Coming into the Church was a great opportunity,” she said, noting that her family “learned about where we came from, what the purpose of our life is and where we are going and that families are forever. We had never heard this from another church.”
She said there are still billions of people on the earth who don’t know the purpose of life. “Just tell people why they are here on the earth and where they are going,” she said, asking the members to be good missionaries.
“I am such a happy member of the Church of Jesus Christ,” she said. “Be wonderful representatives of our Lord Jesus Christ. I hope you will all strive to be better.”