Conference at a Glance

October 2015


General Women’s Session

Discovering the Divinity Within

Rosemary M. Wixom
Primary General President

We come to this earth to nurture and discover the seeds of divine nature that are within us. …

Our divine nature has nothing to do with our personal accomplishments, the status we achieve, the number of marathons we run, or our popularity and self-esteem. Our divine nature comes from God. It was established in an existence that preceded our birth and will continue on into eternity.

We identify with our divine nature as we feel and give the love of our Father in Heaven. We have the agency to nurture it, let it flourish, and help it grow. Peter said we are given “precious promises” that we “might be partakers of the divine nature” [2 Peter 1:4]. As we understand who we are—daughters of God—we begin to feel those precious promises. …

President Dieter F. Uchtdorf said, “God sent you here to prepare for a future greater than anything you can imagine.” That future, a day at a time, comes alive when you do more than just exist; it comes alive when you live your life to fill the measure of your creation. This invites the Lord into your life, and you begin to let His will become yours.
Full Address  |  News Summary

Worthy of Our Promised Blessings

Linda S. Reeves
Second Counselor, Relief Society General Presidency

Satan has raised a Korihor-like banner in our day with increasing success. What are some of his tools? Seductive romance novels, TV soap operas, married women and old boyfriends connecting on social media, and pornography. We must be so careful, dear sisters! We cannot play with Satan’s fiery darts and not get burned. I know nothing that will qualify us for the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost as much as virtue.

Many in today’s world are looking for instant gratification and instant knowledge on the Internet. In contrast, we will be exceedingly blessed if we exercise faith and patience and go to our Heavenly Father, the source of all truth, with our concerns. So many answers and assurances can come through daily searching and studying the scriptures and with sincere and pleading prayer, but there are no such promises for the Internet. The prophet Jacob testifies: “For the Spirit speaketh the truth and lieth not. Wherefore, it speaketh of things as they really are, and of things as they really will be” [Jacob 4:13]. …

… I believe that if we could daily remember and recognize the depth of the love that our Heavenly Father and our Savior have for us, we would be willing to do anything to be back in Their presence again, surrounded by Their love eternally.
Full Address  |  News Summary

Here to Serve a Righteous Cause

Carole F. McConkie
First Counselor in the Young Women General Presidency

The righteous cause we serve is the cause of Christ. It is the work of salvation. The Lord taught, “This is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man” [Moses 1:39]. We are the cause for which Jesus Christ suffered, bled from every pore, and in perfect love gave His life. … We choose to serve the Lord in His righteous cause that we may become one with the Father and the Son. …

Here in mortality we have … covenanted to serve the Savior in the work of salvation. By participating in sacred priesthood ordinances, we pledge that we will embark in the service of God with heart, might, mind, and strength. We receive the Holy Ghost and seek His promptings to guide our efforts. Righteousness emanates out to the world when we understand what God wants us to do and then we do it. …

In the strength of the Lord, we “can do all things” [Alma 26:12]. We continually seek His guidance in prayer, in the scriptures, and in the whisperings of the Holy Ghost. … Whatever our circumstances, wherever we are along the path toward salvation, we unite as one in our commitment to the Savior. We sustain one another in His service.
Full Address  |  News Summary

A Summer with Great-Aunt Rose

Dieter F. Uchtdorf
Second Counselor in the First Presidency

“There is enough that doesn’t go right in life, so anyone can work themselves into a puddle of pessimism and a mess of melancholy. But I know people who, even when things don’t work out, focus on the wonders and miracles of life. …

“… God didn’t design us to be sad. He created us to have joy! So if we trust Him, He will help us to notice the good, bright, hopeful things of life. And sure enough, the world will become brighter. No, it doesn’t happen instantly, but honestly, how many good things do? …

“… Now is part of eternity. It doesn’t only begin after we die! Faith and hope will open your eyes to the happiness that is placed before you now. …

“… Everything … in the gospel—all the shoulds and the musts and the thou shalts—lead to love. When we love God, we want to serve Him. We want to be like Him. When we love our neighbors, we stop thinking so much about our own problems and help others to solve theirs.” …

As you walk along your own bright path of discipleship, I pray that faith will fortify every footstep along your way; that hope will open your eyes to the glories Heavenly Father has in store for you; and that love for God and all His children will fill your hearts.
Full Address  |  News Summary


Saturday Morning Session

It Works!

President Dieter F. Uchtdorf
Second Counselor in the First Presidency

What is the difference between those whose experience in the Church fills their souls with songs of redeeming love and those who feel something is lacking? …

… All of us, as members of the Church, we need to make a conscientious effort to devote our energy and time to the things that truly matter, while uplifting our fellowmen and building the kingdom of God. …

Brothers and sisters, if you ever think that the gospel isn’t working so well for you, I invite you to step back, look at your life from a higher plane, and simplify your approach to discipleship. Focus on the basic doctrines, principles, and applications of the gospel. I promise that God will guide and bless you on your path to a fulfilling life, and the gospel will definitely work better for you. …

God will take you as you are at this very moment and begin to work with you. All you need is really a willing heart, a desire to believe, and trust in the Lord. …

As you exercise a little faith and begin your walk as a peaceable follower of our Lord Jesus Christ, your heart will change. Your whole being will be filled with light.

God will help you become something greater than you ever thought possible. And you will discover that the gospel of Jesus Christ is indeed working in your life.

Full Address  |  News Summary

God Is at the Helm

Elder M. Russell Ballard
of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

Clearly, our Heavenly Father and the Lord Jesus Christ have outfitted the Old Ship Zion with clear and simple eternal truths that will help us stay the course through the troubled waters of mortal life. Here are just a few. …

… Make no mistake about it: the Lord directs His Church through living prophets and apostles. This is the way He has always done His work. …

A second truth is the doctrine of the plan of salvation. … [It] is a map of where we came from, our purpose here on earth, and where we are going when we die. …

Another key truth in the Church is that Heavenly Father created Adam and Eve for a lofty purpose. It was their charge—and, subsequently, the charge of their posterity—to create mortal bodies for God’s spirit children so they could experience mortality. By this process, Heavenly Father sends His spirit children to earth to learn and grow through the experiences of earth life. …

Another important doctrine that we should cling to is to observe the Sabbath day. …

God’s plan is in place. He is at the helm, and His great and powerful ship flows toward salvation and exaltation. Remember we cannot reach there by jumping out of the boat and trying to swim there by ourselves.

Full Address  |  News Summary

The Joy of Living a Christ-Centered Life

Elder Richard J. Maynes
of the Presidency of the Seventy

The world in which we live is putting great pressure on good people everywhere to lower or even abandon their standards of righteous living. However, despite the evils and temptations that surround us each day, we can and will find true joy today in living a Christ-centered life. …

The world in which we live is similar to the potter’s spinning wheel, and the speed of that wheel is increasing. Like the clay on the potter’s wheel, we must be centered as well. Our core, the center of our lives, must be Jesus Christ and His gospel. Living a Christ-centered life means we learn about Jesus Christ and His gospel and then we follow His example and keep His commandments with exactness. …

If our lives are centered in Jesus Christ, He can successfully mold us into who we need to be in order to return to His and Heavenly Father’s presence in the celestial kingdom. The joy we experience in this life will be in direct proportion to how well our lives are centered on the teachings, example, and atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

Full Address  |  News Summary

Yielding Our Hearts to God

Neill F. Marriott
Second Counselor in the Young Women General Presidency

How do we, a modern, busy, competitive people, become yielded and still? How do we make the Lord’s ways our ways? I believe that we begin by learning of Him and praying for understanding. As our trust in Him grows, we open our hearts and seek to do His will, and wait for answers that will help us understand. …

When we open ourselves to the Spirit, we learn God’s way and feel His will. During the sacrament, which I call the heart of the Sabbath, I have found that after praying for forgiveness of sins, it is instructive for me to ask Heavenly Father, “Father, is there more?” When we are yielded and still, our minds can be directed to something more we may need to change—something limiting our capacity to receive spiritual guidance or even healing and help. …

When we offer our broken heart to Jesus Christ, He accepts our offering. He takes us back. No matter what losses, wounds, and rejection we may have suffered, His grace and healing are mightier than all. Truly yoked to the Savior, we can say with confidence, “It will all work out.”

Full Address  |  News Summary

The Course of Steady Improvement

Elder Larry R. Lawrence
of the Seventy

The journey of discipleship is not an easy one. It has been called a “course of steady improvement.” As we travel along the strait and narrow path, the Spirit continually challenges us to be better and to climb higher. The Holy Ghost makes an ideal traveling companion. If we are humble and teachable, He will take us by the hand and lead us home.

However, we need to ask the Lord for directions along the way. We have to ask some difficult questions—questions like “What do I need to change?” “How can I improve?” “What weakness needs strengthening?” …

I would like to suggest that each of you participate in a spiritual exercise sometime soon, perhaps even tonight while saying your prayers. Humbly ask the Lord the following question: “What is keeping me from progressing?” In other words: “What lack I yet?” Then wait quietly for a response. If you are sincere, the answer will soon become clear. It will be revelation intended just for you. …

If spiritual growth is not a priority in our lives, if we are not on a course of steady improvement, we will miss out on the important experiences that God wants to give us.

Full Address  |  News Summary

The Pleasing Word of God

Elder Francisco J. Viñas
of the Seventy

Many of us who are meeting to participate in this conference have come “to hear the pleasing word of God, yea, the word which healeth the wounded soul” (Jacob 2:8). That word can be found in the scriptures and in the messages from our leaders, bringing us hope and comfort in the darkness of affliction. …

The pleasing word of God invites us to use the power of the Atonement of Christ to apply it to ourselves and become reconciled with His will—and not with the will of the devil and the flesh—so we, through His grace, can be saved (see 2 Nephi 10:24–25). …

It is my prayer that we may experience the joy that comes from striving to live in righteousness and that we may keep the companionship of the Holy Ghost in our lives through sincere and continuous repentance. We will become better people, and our families will be blessed.

Full Address  |  News Summary

Shipshape and Bristol Fashion

Elder Quentin L. Cook
of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

In order to overcome the challenges and temptations that each of us inevitably face, it will require righteous preparation and the use of divinely provided protections. We must determine to be temple worthy regardless of what befalls us. If we are prepared, we shall not fear. …

How, then, do we prepare in such a difficult time? In addition to being temple worthy, there are many principles that contribute to righteousness. I will emphasize three.

First: Righteous Self-Control and Conduct …

A principle of eternal progression is that exercising self-control and living righteously strengthens our ability to resist temptation. …

Second: Honoring the Sabbath Will Increase Righteousness and Be a Protection for the Family …

… Honoring the Sabbath is a form of righteousness that will bless and strengthen families, connect us with our Creator, and increase happiness. …

Third: Divine Protections Are Provided When We Are Righteous

As part of God’s divine plan, we are blessed with the gift of the Holy Ghost. … The Spirit will help us avoid temptations and dangers, and comfort and lead us through challenges.

Full Address  |  News Summary


Saturday Afternoon Session

Meeting the Challenges of Today’s World

Elder Robert D. Hales
of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

I would like to speak specifically to the youth, the noble youth and young adults. …

I testify that if you are there for the Lord, He will be there for you. If you love Him and keep His commandments, you will have His Spirit to be with you and guide you. …

… Pay your tithing and then save! When you earn more, save more. Don’t compete with others to have expensive toys. Don’t buy what you can’t afford. …

Education prepares you for better employment opportunities. It puts you in a better position to serve and to bless those around you. It will set you on a path of lifelong learning. …

… None of us marry perfection; we marry potential. The right marriage is not only about what I want; it’s also about what she wants ... and needs me to be. …

… Begin exercising your faith in every area of your life. …

… Prayerfully select mentors who have your spiritual well-being at heart. Be careful about taking advice from your peers. If you want more than you now have, reach up, not across!

Remember, no one can reach upward for you. Only your faith and prayers will cause you to lift yourself and have the mighty change of heart. Only your resolve to be obedient can change your life.

Full Address  |  News Summary

Behold Thy Mother

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland
of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

No love in mortality comes closer to approximating the pure love of Jesus Christ than the selfless love a devoted mother has for her child. …

You see, it's not only that they bear us, but they continue bearing with us. It's not only the prenatal carrying but the lifelong carrying that makes mothering such a staggering feat. Of course, there are heartbreaking exceptions, but most mothers know intuitively, instinctively that this is a sacred trust of the highest order. The weight of that realization, especially on young maternal shoulders, can be very daunting. …

To all of our mothers everywhere, past, present, or future, I say, “Thank you. Thank you for giving birth, for shaping souls, for forming character, and for demonstrating the pure love of Christ.” To Mother Eve, to Sarah, Rebekah, and Rachel, to Mary of Nazareth, and to a Mother in Heaven, I say, “Thank you for your crucial role in fulfilling the purposes of eternity.” To all mothers in every circumstance, including those who struggle—and all will—I say, “Be peaceful. Believe in God and yourself. You are doing better than you think you are. In fact, you are saviors on Mount Zion, and like the Master you follow, your love ‘never faileth [Moroni 7:46; see also 1 Corinthians 13:8].’” I can pay no higher tribute to anyone.

Full Address  |  News Summary

It’s Never Too Early and It’s Never Too Late

Elder Bradley D. Foster
of the Seventy

Brothers and sisters, we are engaged in a battle with the world. In the past, the world competed for our children’s energy and their time. Today it fights for their identity and their mind. Many loud and prominent voices are trying to define who our children are and what they should believe. We cannot let society give our family a makeover in the image of the world. We must win this battle. Everything depends on it. …

I know I can’t turn back time, but this I now know—that it’s never too early and it’s never too late to lead, guide, and walk beside our children, because families are forever. It is my witness that our Heavenly Father loved us so much that He sent His Only Begotten Son to live the life of a mortal so that Jesus could say to us, “I’ve been where you are, I know what comes next, and I’ll help you through it.” I know He will.

Full Address  |  News Summary

Tested and Tempted—but Helped

Elder Hugo Montoya
of the Seventy

Once we reach the age of accountability, trials and temptations are universal. Sometimes they can become heavy burdens, but they also give us strength and growth as we successfully overcome them.

Fortunately, these burdens are not to be carried alone. Alma taught, “Ye are desirous to come into the fold of God, and to be called his people, and are willing to bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light” [Mosiah 18:8]. These words indicate that we have the responsibility to help each other. That responsibility can come from a Church calling, an assignment, a friendship, or as part of our divine duty as parents, spouses, or family members—or simply from being part of God’s family.

I will illustrate four ways our burdens are lightened as we help each other. …

First—go the second mile.

Second—please smile. Your smile will help others.

Third—express compassion.

Fourth—invite others to come to church.

Full Address  |  News Summary

Choose the Light

Elder Vern P. Stanfill
of the Seventy

We live in a world in which we will experience challenges to our faith. We may feel confident that we are ready to face these challenges—only to find that our preparations have been insufficient. … Apostolic voices urge us to prepare ourselves with the powerful light of spiritual strength. …

I learned some important lessons … . I’ll share just a few of them.

First, no matter how intense the darkness of doubt, we choose how long and to what extent we allow it to influence us. …

Second, we must trust in the Lord in order to develop spiritual strength within ourselves. …

Third, there is no darkness so dense, so menacing, or so difficult that it cannot be overcome by light. …

Brothers and sisters, we have not been left alone to be influenced by every whim and change in the world’s attitude, but we have the power to choose belief over doubt. In order to access the promised compensatory spiritual power, we must choose to heed prophetic counsel, recognize and act upon spiritual promptings, be obedient to God’s commandments, and seek personal revelation. We must choose. May we choose the light of the Savior.

Full Address  |  News Summary

Turn to Him and Answers Will Come

Elder James B. Martino
of the Seventy

If you have been tempted to murmur, if you have had doubts that lead to unbelief, if trials seem more than you can bear, turn to Him. If you are one who has turned away or rationalized your behavior, turn to Him. Can you remember when He did “speak peace to your mind … ? What greater witness can you have than from God?” [D&C 6:23]. Ask yourself, “Am I as close to living like Christ now as I was before?” Please, turn to Him. …

Brothers and sisters, remember Nephi and the sons of Mosiah, who had spiritual experiences and then acted in faith so that answers came and their faithfulness grew. Contrast this with Laman and Lemuel, who doubted and murmured. Even though they sometimes acted in worthwhile ways, work without faith is dead. We must have faith with works to receive answers.

Full Address  |  News Summary

Strengthened by the Atonement of Jesus Christ

Elder Dallin H. Oaks
of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

Our Savior … knows our struggles, our heartaches, our temptations, our suffering, for He willingly experienced them all as an essential part of His Atonement. And because of this, His Atonement empowers Him to succor us—to give us the strength to bear it all. …

… Sometimes His power heals an infirmity, but the scriptures and our experiences teach that sometimes He succors or helps by giving us the strength or patience to endure our infirmities. …

… Our Savior’s Atonement does more than assure us of immortality by a universal resurrection and give us the opportunity to be cleansed from sin by repentance and baptism. His Atonement also provides the opportunity to call upon Him who has experienced all of our mortal infirmities to give us the strength to bear the burdens of mortality. He knows of our anguish, and He is there for us. Like the good Samaritan, when He finds us wounded at the wayside, He will bind up our wounds and care for us (see Luke 10:34). The healing and strengthening power of Jesus Christ and His Atonement is for all of us who will ask. I testify of that as I also testify of our Savior, who makes it all possible.

Full Address  |  News Summary


General Priesthood Session

Faith Is Not by Chance, but by Choice

Elder Neil L. Andersen
of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

Faith does not fall upon us by chance nor stay with us by birthright. … The future of your faith is not by chance, but by choice. …

How we live our lives increases or diminishes our faith. … There is an adversary who delights in destroying our faith! Be relentless in protecting your faith.

Addressing honest questions is an important part of building faith, and we use both our intellect and our feelings. … Not all answers will come immediately, but most questions can be resolved through sincere study and seeking answers from God. Using our mind without our heart will not bring spiritual answers. …

Faith never demands an answer to every question but seeks the assurance and courage to move forward, sometimes acknowledging, “I don’t know everything, but I do know enough to continue on the path of discipleship.”

Immersing oneself in persistent doubt, fueled by answers from the faithless and the unfaithful, weakens one’s faith in Jesus Christ and the Restoration. …

The guidance of the First Presidency and the Twelve helps protect our faith. …

… I promise you that your faith, through the grace of Jesus Christ, will one day allow you to stand with those you love, clean and pure in the presence of God.

Full Address  |  News Summary

Your Next Step

Elder Randall K. Bennett
of the Seventy

Because “no unclean thing can dwell with God” [1 Nephi 10:21], in order to live with Him again, we will need to be cleansed of sin and sanctified. If we had to do this alone, none of us would make it. But we are not alone. In fact, we are never alone. …

Consider … three principles that will help us on our journey back to our Heavenly Father. …

The Savior taught that to inherit the kingdom of God, we must become as a little child. So, spiritually speaking, the first principle is that we need to do what we did as children.

With childlike humility and willingness to focus on our Heavenly Father and our Savior, we take steps toward Them, never giving up hope, even if we fall. Our loving Heavenly Father rejoices in each faithful step, and if we fall, He rejoices in each effort to get back up and try again. …

A second principle is … the Lord more than matches our willingness to act in faith. Our willingness to take a step is not just met—it is exceeded—by His promised blessings. …

Whenever we willingly act with faith in Jesus Christ and take another step, especially an uncomfortable step requiring change or repentance, we are blessed with strength. …

A third principle is this: we must counter the natural man’s tendency to procrastinate or give up.

As we progress along the covenant path, we will make mistakes, some multiple times. … But faith in Heavenly Father and in Jesus Christ is a principle of action and power. If we are willing to act, we will be given the strength to repent and change.

Full Address  |  News Summary

Be Not Afraid, Only Believe

President Dieter F. Uchtdorf
Second Counselor in the First Presidency

Satan, our adversary, wants us to fail. He spreads lies as part of his effort to destroy our belief. He slyly suggests that the doubter, the skeptic, the cynic is sophisticated and intelligent, while those who have faith in God and His miracles are naive, blind, or brainwashed. Satan will advocate that it is cool to doubt spiritual gifts and the teachings of true prophets. …

Heavenly Father has prepared for His children a spiritual feast, offering every kind of exquisite food imaginable—and yet, instead of enjoying these spiritual gifts, the cynics content themselves with observing from a distance, sipping from their cups of skepticism, doubt, and disrespect. …

… Another of Satan’s deceptions [is] that belief is available to some people but not to others. There is no magic to belief. But wanting to believe is the necessary first step! …

Brethren, let me be clear: there is nothing noble or impressive about being cynical. Skepticism is easy—anyone can do it. It is the faithful life that requires moral strength, dedication, and courage. …

We can choose to believe. …

Because of our belief, we will never hunger, never thirst. … We will experience true and lasting joy. …

I pray that each one of us—young and old—will find renewed strength, courage, and desire to believe.

Full Address  |  News Summary

You Are Not Alone in the Work

President Henry B. Eyring
First Counselor in the First President

Any calling we receive in the Lord’s kingdom requires more than our human judgment and our personal powers. Those calls require help from the Lord, which will come. Even the new deacon will learn that is true, and he will go on learning over the years. …

As you move from one priesthood service to another, you will see the Lord is in the work with you. …

… The Lord’s servants are inspired to know the Lord’s will. And … the prophet of God, as the president of the priesthood, is inspired of God to watch over and care for the Lord’s servants and to call them.

Whatever your calling in the priesthood, you may have at times felt Heavenly Father was unaware of you. You can pray to know His will, and with the honest desire to do whatever He asks you to do, you will receive an answer. …

It is my prayer that every priesthood holder will reach out in faith to rescue every soul for whom he is responsible. God will add His power to His servant’s efforts. Hearts of people will be touched to make the choices that will bring them along the gospel path toward happiness and away from sorrow.

Full Address  |  News Summary

Keep the Commandments

President Thomas S. Monson

My message to you tonight is straightforward. It is this: keep the commandments. …

I am confident that each of us has as his ultimate goal life everlasting in the presence of our Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. It is imperative, therefore, for us to make choices throughout our lives that will lead us to this great goal. We know, however, that the adversary is committed to our failure. He and his hosts are relentless in their efforts to thwart our righteous desires. They represent a grave and constant threat to our eternal salvation unless we are also relentless in our determination and efforts to achieve our goal. …

… We are surrounded by persuasive voices, beguiling voices, belittling voices, sophisticated voices, and confusing voices. I might add that these are loud voices. I admonish you to turn the volume down and to be influenced instead by that still, small voice which will guide you to safety. Remember that one with authority placed his hands on your head after you were baptized, confirming you a member of the Church and saying, “Receive the Holy Ghost.” Open your hearts, even your very souls, to the sound of that special voice which testifies of truth. … May we ever be in tune, that we might hear this comforting, guiding voice which will keep us safe.

Full Address  |  News Summary


Sunday Morning Session

Be an Example and a Light

President Thomas S. Monson

Each of us came to earth having been given the Light of Christ. As we follow the example of the Savior and live as He lived and as He taught, that light will burn within us and will light the way for others. …

The words we use can lift and inspire, or they can harm and demean. … May we follow the example of the Savior, who spoke with tolerance and kindness throughout His ministry.

… The Savior brought hope to the hopeless and strength to the weak. … As we emulate His example, we will bless lives, including our own.

Next, we are to be an example in spirit. To me that means we strive to have in our lives kindness, gratitude, forgiveness, and goodwill. …

To be an example of faith means that we trust in the Lord and in His word. …

Finally, we are to be pure, which means that we are clean in body, mind, and spirit. …

… As the world moves further and further away from the principles and guidelines given to us by a loving Heavenly Father, we will stand out from the crowd because we’re different. … These things which make us different from most of the world also provide us with that light and that spirit which will shine in an increasingly dark world. …

… As we make Christ the center of our lives, our fears will be replaced by the courage of our convictions.

Full Address  |  News Summary

I Stand All Amazed

Elder Ronald A. Rasband
of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

If I could leave one small message with you today, it would be this: the Lord has said, “Love one another; as I have loved you” (John 13:34). I’m confident that there is no choice, sin, or mistake that you or anyone else can make that will change His love for you or for them. That does not mean He excuses or condones sinful conduct—I’m sure He does not—but it does mean we are to reach out to our fellowman in love to invite, persuade, serve, and to rescue. Jesus Christ looked past people’s ethnicity, rank, and circumstances in order to teach them this profound truth.

I have been asked many times when did I receive my testimony.

I can’t remember not believing in Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. I have loved Them since I learned of Them at the knees of my angel mother, reading scripture and gospel stories. That early belief has now grown into a knowledge and a witness of a loving Heavenly Father, who hears and answers our prayers. My testimony of Jesus Christ has been built from many special experiences where I have come to know His great love for each one of us.

I’m grateful for our Savior’s Atonement and wish like Alma to shout it with the trump of an angel. I know that Joseph Smith is God’s prophet of the Restoration and that the Book of Mormon is the word of God, and I know that President Thomas S. Monson is God’s true servant and prophet on the earth today.

Full Address  |  News Summary

Plain and Precious Truths

Elder Gary E. Stevenson
of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

Our loving Heavenly Father and His Son, Jehovah, with a knowledge of the end from the beginning, opened the heavens and a new dispensation to offset the calamities that They knew would come. The Apostle Paul described the forthcoming calamities as “perilous times” (2 Timothy 3:1). For me, this suggests that Heavenly Father’s generous compensation for living in perilous times is that we also live in the fulness of times.

As I agonized over my inadequacies this week, I received a distinct impression which both chastened and comforted me: to focus not on what I can’t do but rather what I can do. I can testify of the plain and precious truths of the gospel.

These are words which I have shared hundreds of times with both those who belong to the Church and many who are not members: “God is our loving Heavenly Father. We are His children. … He weeps with us when we suffer and rejoices when we do what is right. He wants to communicate with us, and we can communicate with Him through sincere prayer. Heavenly Father has provided us, His children, with a way to return and live in His presence. Central to Heavenly Father’s plan is Jesus Christ’s Atonement” (Preach My Gospel: A Guide to Missionary Service [2004], 31).

Heavenly Father sent His Son to the earth to atone for the sins of all mankind. …

Full Address  |  News Summary

Through God’s Eyes

Elder Dale G. Renlund
of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

To effectively serve others, we must see them through a parent’s eyes, through Heavenly Father’s eyes. Only then can we comprehend the true worth of a soul. Only then can we sense the love that Heavenly Father has for all of His children. Only then can we sense the Savior’s caring concern for them. We cannot completely fulfill our covenant obligation to mourn with those that mourn and comfort those who stand in need of comfort unless we see them through God’s eyes. This expanded perspective will open our hearts to disappointments, fears, and heartaches of others. But Heavenly Father will aid and comfort us. … We need to have eyes that see, ears that hear, and hearts that know and feel if we are to accomplish the rescue so frequently encouraged by President Thomas S. Monson.

Only when we see through Heavenly Father’s eyes can we be filled with “the pure love of Christ” (Moroni 7:47). Every day we should plead with God for this love. Mormon admonished, “Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ” (Moroni 7:48).

With all my heart I want to be a true follower of Jesus Christ. I love Him. I adore Him. I witness of His living reality. I witness that He is the Anointed One, the Messiah. I am a witness of His incomparable mercy, compassion, and love.

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A Plea to My Sisters

President Russell M. Nelson
President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

It would be impossible to measure the influence that … women have, not only on families but on the Lord’s Church, as wives, mothers, and grandmothers; as sisters and aunts; as teachers and leaders; and especially as exemplars and devout defenders of the faith. …

Sisters, do you realize the breadth and scope of your influence when you speak those things that come to your heart and mind as directed by the Spirit? …

My dear sisters, whatever your calling, whatever your circumstances, we need your impressions, your insights, and your inspiration. We need you to speak up and speak out in ward and stake councils. We need each married sister to speak as “a contributing and full partner” as you unite with your husband in governing your family. Married or single, you sisters possess distinctive capabilities and special intuition you have received as gifts from God. We brethren cannot duplicate your unique influence. …

… We need women who have a bedrock understanding of the doctrine of Christ and who will use that understanding to teach and help raise a sin-resistant generation. We need women who can detect deception in all of its forms. We need women who know how to access the power that God makes available to covenant keepers and who express their beliefs with confidence and charity.

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Let the Clarion Trumpet Sound

Elder Gregory A. Schwitzer
of the Seventy

Christ was certainly our best example. He always demonstrated courage to stand up for what was right. … His words were not designed to confuse but to move the hearts of men. He clearly knew His Father’s will in all He said and did. …

True disciples of Christ are not looking to make excuses for the doctrine when it doesn’t fit the world’s current concepts. … True disciples represent the Lord when it may not be convenient to do so. True disciples desire to inspire the hearts of men, not just impress them. …

… Many find themselves today wandering the halls of the great and spacious building, not realizing that they're actually becoming part of its culture. They often succumb to the temptations and the messages. We eventually find them mocking or chiming in with those who criticize or mock.

… We, as disciples of Jesus Christ and members of His Church, must never let go of that iron rod. We must let the clarion trumpet sound from our own souls.

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That They Do Always Remember Him

Elder Claudio R. M. Costa
of the Seventy

I believe that starting a tradition of telling the stories of Jesus to our children and families is a very special way to keep the Sabbath day holy in our homes. …

I love to read the scriptural passages about His sinless life, and after reading the scriptures which tell about the events experienced by Him, I close my eyes and try to visualize these sacred moments that teach me and strengthen me spiritually. …

The Sabbath and the sacrament become much more enjoyable as we study the stories of Christ. In so doing, we create the traditions that build our faith and testimony and also protect our family. …

The sacrament is also a time for Heavenly Father to teach us about the Atonement of His Beloved Son—our Savior, Jesus Christ—and for us to receive revelation about it. It is a time … to request and to receive this knowledge. It is time for us to reverently ask God for this knowledge. And if we do, I have no doubt that we will receive this knowledge, which will bless our lives beyond measure.

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The Holy Ghost as Your Companion

President Henry B. Eyring
First Counselor in the First Presidency

My purpose today is to increase your desire and your determination to claim the gift promised to each of us after we were baptized. During our confirmation we heard these words: “Receive the Holy Ghost.” From that moment, our lives changed forever.

We can, if we live worthy of it, have the blessing of the Spirit to be with us, not only now and then but always. …

To always have the Spirit with us is to have the guidance and direction of the Holy Ghost in our daily lives. We can, for instance, be warned by the Spirit to resist the temptation to do evil.

… If we partake of the sacrament in faith, the Holy Ghost will then be able to protect us and those we love from the temptations that come with increasing intensity and frequency. …

… The Spirit … also gives us the power to discern truth from falsehood. The truth that matters most is verified only by revelation from God. …

As you obey, the impressions from the Spirit will come more frequently, closer and closer to constant companionship. Your power to choose the right will increase.

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Sunday Afternoon Session

Why the Church

Elder D. Todd Christofferson
of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

There are those who consider themselves religious or spiritual and yet reject participation in a church or even the need for such an institution. Religious practice is for them purely personal. Yet the Church is the creation of Him in whom our spirituality is centered—Jesus Christ. It's worth pausing to consider why He chooses to use a church, His Church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, to carry out His and His Father’s work … .

… A major reason the Lord has a church is to create a community of Saints that will sustain one another …

… As the body of Christ, the members of the Church minister to one another in the reality of day-to-day life. …

There's a second major reason the Savior works through a church, His Church, and that is to achieve needful things that cannot be accomplished by individuals or smaller groups. …

… We speak not just of immortality but also of eternal life, and for that the gospel path and gospel covenants are essential. And the Savior needs a church to make them available … .

The final reason I'll mention for the Lord to have established His Church is the most unique—the Church is, after all, the kingdom of God on the earth. …

Its destiny is to establish Zion in preparation for the return and millennial rule of Jesus Christ.

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My Heart Pondereth Them Continually

Brother Devin G. Durrant
First Counselor in the Sunday School General Presidency

I invite you to “ponderize” one verse of scripture each week. The word ponderize is not found in the dictionary, but it has found a place in my heart. So what does it mean to ponderize? I like to say it’s a combination of 80 percent extended pondering and 20 percent memorization. …

… Read or think of the verse several times each day and ponder the meaning of its words and key phrases throughout the week.

Imagine the uplifting results of doing this weekly for 6 months, a year, 10 years, or more.

As you make this effort, you will feel an increase in spirituality. You will also be able to teach and lift those you love in more meaningful ways.

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Blessed and Happy Are Those Who Keep the Commandments of God

Elder Von G. Keetch
of the Seventy

As you and I walk the paths of life and pursue our dreams, God’s commands and standards … can sometimes be difficult to understand. They may appear rigid and unyielding, blocking a path that looks fun and exciting and that is being followed by so many others. …

But He who “comprehend[s] all things” [D&C 88:6] knows exactly where [the] dangers lie. He gives us divine direction, through His commands and loving guidance, so that we may avoid the dangers. …

We show our love for God—and our faith in Him—by doing our best every day to follow the course that He has laid out for us and by keeping the commandments that He has given to us. We especially manifest that faith and love in situations where we don’t fully understand the reason for God’s command or the particular path He is telling us to take. …

As we submit ourselves to His will, we increase in peace and happiness. … God wants us to have joy. He wants us to have peace. He wants us to succeed. He wants us to be safe and to be protected from the worldly influences all around us.

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"If Ye Love Me, Keep My Commandments"

Carole M. Stephens
First Counselor in the Relief Society General Presidency

We can choose to see commandments as limitations. We may feel at times that God’s laws restrict our personal freedom, take from us our agency, and limit our growth. But as we seek for greater understanding, as we allow our Father to teach us, we will begin to see that His laws are a manifestation of His love for us and obedience to His laws is an expression of our love for Him.

If you find yourself figuratively parked on the side of the road, can I suggest a few principles that, if followed, will help you get safely back on the path of faith and obedience?

First, trust God. Trust in His eternal plan for you. …

Second, trust Jesus. The ultimate expression of obedience and love is the Atonement of Jesus Christ. …

Third, trust the whisperings of the Spirit. …

Fourth, trust the counsel of living prophets. …

There is safety in following the word of the Lord through His prophets.

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Remembering in Whom We Have Trusted

Elder Allen D. Haynie
of the Seventy

Although avoidance of sin is the preferred pattern in life, as far as the efficacy of the Atonement of Jesus Christ is concerned, it matters not what sins we have committed or how deep we have sunk into that proverbial pit. …

What does matter is that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, suffered “pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind” so “that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people” [Alma 7:11, 12]. … That is what really matters and what should give all of us renewed hope and a determination to try one more time, because He has not forgotten us. …

Repentance is real and it works. It is not a fictional experience or the product “of a frenzied mind” [Alma 30:16]. It has the power to lift burdens and replace them with hope. … Repentance, of necessity, is not easy. Things of eternal significance rarely are. But the result is worth it.

Full Address  |  News Summary

Eyes to See and Ears to Hear

Elder Kim B. Clark
of the Seventy

Our time is a dangerous time—a time of great evil and temptation, a time of confusion and commotion. … Whatever level of spirituality or faith or obedience we now have, it will not be sufficient for the work that lies ahead. We need greater spiritual light and power. We need eyes to see more clearly the Savior working in our lives and ears to hear His voice more deeply in our hearts.

This marvelous blessing comes when we open our hearts and receive, truly receive, the Lord Jesus Christ, His doctrine, and His Church into our lives. We do not have to be perfect, but we need to be good and getting better. We need to strive to live the plain and simple truths of the gospel. If we take upon us the name of Christ, act with faith in Him to repent of our sins, keep His commandments, and always remember Him, we will receive the companionship of the Holy Ghost through the mercy and grace of Jesus Christ. …

Life may get hard, confusing, painful, and discouraging. I bear you my witness that through the companionship of the Holy Ghost, the light of the gospel of Jesus Christ will cut through the confusion, the pain, and the darkness.

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Hold on Thy Way

Elder Koichi Aoyagi
of the Seventy

The Lord said the following to Joseph Smith:

“Know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good. …

“Therefore, hold on thy way …, for God shall be with you forever and ever” [D&C 122:7, 9; emphasis added].

The trials of this earth—including illness and death—are a part of the plan of salvation and are inevitable experiences. It is necessary for us to “hold on thy way” and accept our trials with faith.

However, the purpose of our lives is not merely to endure trials. Heavenly Father sent His Beloved Son, Jesus Christ, as our Savior and Redeemer so we could overcome the trials we face on this earth; in other words, He makes our weak things become strong, He atones for our sins and our imperfections, and He makes it possible for us to obtain immortality and eternal life. …

“Hold on thy way” is a key choice during times of trial. Turn one’s heart to God, especially when we face trials. Humbly obey the commandments of God. Show faith to reconcile one’s wishes with the will of God. …

Put God first, regardless of the trials you face. Love God. Have faith in Christ, and entrust yourself to Him in all things.

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“Chosen to Bear Testimony of My Name”

Elder David A. Bednar
of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

My purpose is to explain why indeed it is wonderful to have older men of great spiritual maturity and judgment serving in the senior leadership positions of the restored Church of Jesus Christ—and why we should “hear” and “hearken” (Mosiah 2:9) to the teachings of these men whom the Lord has “chosen to bear testimony of [His] name … among all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people” (D&C 112:1). …

… These men have had a sustained season of tutoring by the Lord, whom they represent, serve, and love. They have learned to understand the divine language of the Holy Spirit and the Lord’s patterns for receiving revelation. These ordinary men have undergone a most extraordinary developmental process that has sharpened their vision, informed their insight, engendered love for people from all nations and circumstances, and affirmed the reality of the Restoration. …

“Whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same” (D&C 1:38). May we hear and heed the eternal truths taught by the Lord’s authorized representatives. As we do so, I promise our faith in Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ will be fortified, and we will receive spiritual guidance and protection for our specific circumstances and needs.

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