The President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and his two counselors, sustained by millions worldwide as prophets, seers, and revelators, addressed various gospel-oriented topics during the 181st annual general conference of the Church at the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on April 2-3, 2011. Here are some of the highlights.
“My brothers and sisters, I thank you for your faith and devotion to the gospel, for the love and care you show to one another, and for the service you provide in your wards, branches, and stakes and districts,” President Monson said in his opening remarks, recounting the temple and missionary work, as well as humanitarian service, that has been done in the Church over the past few months.
He announced plans to build three new temples in Fort Collins, Colorado; Meridian, Idaho; and Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. This will bring the number of temples announced or under construction to 26 and, once completed, will bring the Church’s worldwide total to 160.
To watch, listen to, or read messages from the prophets and apostles, visit the General Conference page.
President Monson spoke to priesthood holders about their responsibilities, saying, “What will protect you from the sin and evil around you? I maintain that a strong testimony of our Savior and of His gospel will help see you through to safety.”
In his Sunday morning address, he emphasized the importance of temples, declaring, “The saving ordinances received in the temple that permit us to someday return to our Heavenly Father in an eternal family relationship and to be endowed with blessings and power from on high are worth every sacrifice and every effort.”
At the conclusion of the conference, he said, “We face many challenges in the world today, but I assure you that our Heavenly Father is mindful of us. He loves each of us and will bless us as we seek Him through prayer and strive to keep His commandments.”
President Eyring related some of the guiding principles of the welfare program, now 75 years old, saying, “great temporal needs of the children of Heavenly Father have come again in our time as they have and as they will in all times. The principles at the foundation of the Church Welfare Program are not only for one time or one place. They are for all times and all places. Those principles are spiritual and eternal. For that reason, understanding them and putting them down into our hearts will make it possible for us to see and take opportunities to help whenever and wherever the Lord invites us.”
In the priesthood session, he promised priesthood holders that they would be rewarded for their diligence and obedience in the priesthood, saying, “Treasures of spiritual knowledge will be poured out upon you. You will grow in your power to resist evil and to proclaim the truth that leads to salvation. You will find joy in the happiness of those you lead toward exaltation. Your family will become a place of learning.”
A week earlier, addressing a general meeting of the Young Women, the Church’s organization for young women ages of 12-18, President Eyring stressed the need to develop a strong testimony. Telling the young women that they are “the bright hope of the Lord’s church,” he said, “If that belief can become a deep testimony from God, it will shape your daily and hourly choices. And then, from what might appear to you to be small choices, the Lord will lead you to the happiness you want.”
President Uchtdorf advised Church members not to “wait on the road to Damascus” by expecting “some dramatic event to compel them to believe.” Diligent seekers of Christ will eventually find Him as they take small steps of faith that allow them to draw closer to Him. As we do this, we will be given opportunities to share the gospel and to serve others, and these opportunities will, in turn, help us know the Savior. “Let us courageously move forward in faith, hope, and charity, and we will be blessed with the light we are all seeking upon the path of true discipleship.”
In the general priesthood session, he asked priesthood holders if they are living below their privileges regarding the “sacred power, gifts, and blessings” that accompany the responsibility of bearing God’s priesthood. He offered three ways that priesthood holders could live up to their privileges: study the doctrine of the priesthood, seek personal revelation, and find joy in priesthood service. “As bearers of the priesthood, let us never become hardened to the wonder and awe of what the Lord has entrusted to us,” he said.
The First Presidency, along with the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles who serve under their direction, are sustained by millions of Latter-day Saints worldwide as prophets, seers, and revelators who receive inspiration from God to direct the affairs of His Church today. Their messages are intended not only for members of the Church but for all of Heavenly Father’s children throughout the world.