My dear brothers and sisters, it is with great joy that I stand here before you as we participate in this general conference together. Listening to the words of wisdom, counsel, comfort, and warning given in general conferences over many years has been an immeasurable blessing to Sister Teixeira, to our family, and to me.
In this special season of the year, especially on this Easter Sabbath, I cannot help but reflect on the significance of the Savior’s teachings and His kind and loving example in my life.
A deeper understanding of Jesus Christ will give us greater hope for the future and, despite our imperfections, more confidence in achieving our righteous goals. This will also grant us a greater desire to serve our fellowman.
The Lord said, “[Seek] me in every thought; doubt not, fear not.”1 Seeking the Lord and feeling His presence is a daily quest, a worthwhile effort.
Brothers and sisters, today more than in any other time, we have at our disposal exceptional opportunities and resources to deepen our understanding of the teachings of Jesus Christ and of His Atonement. Using these resources appropriately will help us live a fruitful life filled with joy.
In the Savior’s metaphor of the vine and the branches, He said: “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.”2
The more we understand the extraordinary role of Christ in our lives, the more conscious we become of our purpose here in mortality, which is to have joy. That joy, however, does not preclude us from experiencing trials and difficulties, even some so great and complex that they may lead us to think that happiness is not possible in such circumstances.
I know by personal experience that the joy of living in righteousness and abiding in Christ can continue despite the tribulations characteristic of mortality. Ultimately, these tribulations often enrich, refine, and guide us to a deeper understanding of the purpose of our existence here in mortality and of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Indeed, the fulness of joy can only be achieved through Jesus Christ.3
He said, “I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.”4
I believe that as we deepen our understanding of the Savior, we will have an increased desire to live joyfully and a conviction that joy is possible. Consequently, we will have a greater ability to go about each day with more enthusiasm for life and for keeping the commandments of God, even in challenging circumstances.
Let us not leave for tomorrow what we can do today. It is now that we must come unto Christ because “if [we] believe [Him], [we] will labor while it is called today.”5
Every day we should consider including frequent interactions with the teachings of Christ. Small and simple gestures and acts made daily will:
Deepen our understanding of the significance of the Lord in our lives, and
Help us share this understanding with the rising generations, who will surely feel the love of Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, when they see our example of sincerely living the gospel.
So what are some of the simple behaviors in this modern time that will become a balm for our souls in strengthening our testimony of Christ and His mission?
In 2014, the National Geographic photo contest received more than 9,200 submissions by professional photographers and enthusiasts from over 150 countries. The winning photo depicts a woman in the center of a train filled with passengers. The light coming from her mobile phone illuminates her face. She relays a clear message to the other passengers: despite being physically present, she is not truly there.6
Mobile data, smartphones, and social networks have profoundly changed our way of being in the world and how we communicate with others.
In this digital era, we can so rapidly transport ourselves to places and activities that can quickly remove us from what is essential for a life filled with lasting joy.
This networked life can, if left unchecked, give precedence to relationships with people whom we don’t know or have never met rather than with the people we live with—our own family!
On the other hand, we all know that we are blessed with excellent online resources, including those developed by the Church, such as text and audio versions of the holy scriptures and general conference, video productions of the life and teachings of Jesus Christ, apps to record our family history, and opportunities to listen to inspiring music.
The choices and priorities we make with our time online are decisive. They can determine our spiritual progress and maturity in the gospel and our desire to contribute to a better world and to live a more productive life.
For these reasons, today I would like to mention three simple habits that will establish healthy online activity. These habits will generate the daily self-reflections that are necessary for us to grow closer to the teachings of our Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ.
Often visits during the week to these resources will help us to always be sensitive to the teachings of the gospel and encourage our family and friends to think and reflect on what matters most.
This choice will bring to your screen the content that is essential to deepen your searching and seeking of the Lord and His teachings, and it will strengthen your desire to understand the gospel. More important, this will help you remember what Christ expects of each of us.
Just as “there is no good soil without a good farmer,”7 likewise will there be no good online harvest unless we prioritize from the very beginning that which is accessible to our fingers and our minds.
It is refreshing to put aside our electronic devices for a while and instead turn the pages of the scriptures or take time to converse with family and friends. Especially on the Lord’s day, experience the peace of participating in a sacrament meeting without the constant urge to see if you have a new message or a new post.
The habit of setting aside your mobile device for a time will enrich and broaden your view of life, for life is not confined to a four-inch (10-cm) screen.
The Lord Jesus Christ said, “As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.”8 God wants us to have joy and to feel His love. Christ makes such joy a possibility for each of us. We have the means to know Him better and to live His gospel.
I bear my testimony of the joy that exists when we keep the commandments and of the peace and safety that we feel when we abide in the love of Heavenly Father and His Son, our Savior. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.