177th Annual General Conference
Sunday Afternoon Session
April 1, 2007
“The Message of the Restoration”
Elder L. Tom Perry
Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
The dispensation of the fullness of times was ushered in by a very special vision to a young man not quite fifteen years of age, who went to the woods to pray for answers to the questions he had in his mind concerning religion….
The vision revealed unto us that God, our Father, and Jesus Christ, His Beloved Son, are two separate personages. Each has a body of flesh and bones that is glorified and perfected. This cleared up the misconception that had been in existence for many centuries concerning the concept of God…
Knowing that doubt, disbelief, and misinformation would immediately follow the Prophet as he recounted the First Vision, the Lord brought forth the Book of Mormon, another testament of our Lord, Jesus Christ…
Joseph and Oliver were thrilled with the doctrines contained in this book. They were particularly impressed with the doctrine of baptism as taught by the resurrected Savior during His visit to the inhabitants of the Western Hemisphere.
President Hinckley has said concerning the Restoration:
After many generations had walked the earth — so many of them in conflict, hatred, darkness, and evil — there arrived the great, new day of the Restoration. This glorious gospel was ushered in with the appearance of the Father and the Son to the boy Joseph. The dawn of the dispensation of the fullness of times rose upon the world. All of the good, the beautiful, the divine of all previous dispensations was restored in this most remarkable season.
Our message is unique. We declare to the world that the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored to the earth. We declare with boldness that the keys of the priesthood have been restored to man, with the power to seal on earth and in the heavens…
We declare to the world that this is the day referred to by biblical prophets as the latter days. It is the final time, just before the second coming of Jesus Christ to rule and reign over the earth.
Elder Henry B. Eyring
Of the Quorum of the Twelve
There is a danger in the word, “Someday,” when what it means is, “Not this day.” “Someday I will repent.” “Someday I will forgive him.” “Someday I will speak to my friend about the Church.” “Someday I will start to pay tithing.” “Someday I will return to the temple.” “…someday.”
The scriptures make the danger of delay clear. It is that we may discover that we have run out of time. The God who gives us each day as a treasure will require an accounting. We will weep, and He will weep, if we have intended to repent and to serve Him in tomorrows which never came or dreamt of yesterdays where the opportunity to act was past. “This day,” is a precious gift of God. The thought, “Someday I will,” can be a thief of the opportunities of time and the blessings of eternity…
A morning prayer and an early search in the scriptures to know what we should do for the Lord can set the course of a day. We can know which task, of all those we might choose, matters most to God and therefore to us. I have learned such a prayer is always answered if we ask and ponder with childlike submission, ready to act without delay to perform even the most humble service…
We also knew some reassuring facts about what it would take to receive the purifying which we would need. Everything that cleansing would require … baptism by authority, receiving the Holy Ghost under the hands of authorized priesthood bearers, remembering Him and therefore having His Spirit to be with us, and then keeping His commandments … all would be possible for the humblest of us. It would not take superior intellect, nor would it take wealth, nor long life. And we knew that the Savior would draw us to Him and would have the power to help us when the test would be hard and the temptation to procrastinate great…
All of us will need His help to avoid the tragedy of procrastinating what we must do here and now to have eternal life. For most of us the temptation to delay will come from one or both of two feelings. They are polar opposites: one is to be complacent about what we have already done; and the other is to feel overwhelmed by the need to do more…
The Lord can help you see the danger in taking a rest because you feel you have done enough. He helped me by letting me have a conversation with one of His aged servants. He was feeble, his body weakened by decades of faithful labors and by illness. His doctors no longer allowed him to leave his home. At his request, I reported a trip I had taken in the Lord’s service across several nations, in dozens of meetings, and in many private interviews, helping individuals and families. I told him of the gratitude people expressed to me for him and his many years of service. He asked me if I had another assignment soon. I told him about another long trip to come. He surprised me, and he gave me an inoculation against complacency which I hope will last forever, when he grabbed my arm and said: “Oh, please, take me with you.”
…That assurance from the Master can help those of us feeling overwhelmed by circumstances. In the hardest trials, as long as you have the power to pray, you can ask a loving God: “Please let me serve, this day. It doesn’t matter to me how few things I may be able to do. Just let me know what I can do. I will obey this day. I know that I can, with thy help.”
…For those who are discouraged by their circumstances and are therefore tempted to feel they cannot serve the Lord this day, I make you two promises. Hard as things seem today, they will be better in the next day if you choose to serve the Lord this day with your whole heart. Your circumstances may not be improved in all the ways which you desire. But you will have been given new strength to carry your burdens and new confidence that, when your burdens become too heavy, the Lord, whom you have served, will carry what you cannot. He knows how. He prepared long ago. He suffered your infirmities and your sorrows when He was in the flesh so that He would know how to succor you now.
The other promise I make to you is that by choosing to serve Him this day, you will feel His love and grow to love Him more.
“Mom, Are We Christians?”
Elder Gary J. Coleman
Of the Quorum of the Seventy
Growing up in my family, we lived as devout members of another Christian faith.
I was baptized a member of that church shortly after my birth. Our family went to church each week. For many years my brothers and I assisted the pastors who conducted our Sunday services. I was taught the importance of family prayer as our family prayed together each day. I thought that someday I would enter the full-time ministry in my church. There was no question in our minds that we could define ourselves as devout Christians.
When I was a university student, however, I became acquainted with the members and teachings of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a Christian faith centered on the Savior. I began to learn about the doctrine of the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ in these latter days. I learned truths that I had now known before that changed my life and how I viewed the gospel. After much studying, prayer, and faith, I chose to embrace beautiful restored truths found only in this Church…
When I was introduced to the glorious truths of the First Vision experienced by the Prophet Joseph Smith, it was a stunning awakening for me to finally understand the truth about the nature of God the Eternal Father and His Only Begotten Son. Joseph declared: “I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other — This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!”
This heavenly vision restored the wondrous yet plain and precious knowledge of God and His Son to the earth again, dispelling at once the teachings I had learned about the Trinity. I know that heaven-sent revelations have replaced the gross errors of manmade doctrines regarding the Godhead. I know that God is our Heavenly Father. His Son, Jesus Christ, is my Savior. The Holy Ghost testifies of the Father and the Son. I express my profound gratitude to God for introducing the resurrected Lord Jesus Christ to mankind in these last days. The Savior lives; He has been seen; He has spoken; He directs the work of His Church through apostles and prophets today. What magnificent truths He has taught as the Good Shepherd who continues to look after His sheep.
…I first read the Book of Mormon at the age of twenty-one. I then asked God if it was true. The truth of it was manifest unto me by the comforting power of the Holy Ghost. I know that the Book of Mormon is a second testament of Jesus Christ. I join my testimony with the prophets of this sacred book to declare that “we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ.” I am deeply grateful for every word that He has spoken, and for every word He continues to speak as He quenches our thirst with living water…
I testify that this is the Church of Jesus Christ — the only church authorized with true priesthood authority to exercise the keys of salvation through sacred ordinances.
“Who’s on the Lord’s Side?”
Brother Charles W. Dahlquist, II
Young Men General President
Today I speak particularly to the young men and young women of the Church, as well as to their parents and leaders of youth. I speak also to the great young single adults — who have such marvelous talents and capabilities and potential for service in the Kingdom.
President Hinckley has said of this generation: “There never was a time such as this. What a season in the history of the world to be alive! Never before has there been such a generation of youth…You really are ‘a chosen generation.’”
You, as the youth of Zion, have a great work to do — and have been given all the talents and opportunities, regardless of where you live to do just exactly what your father in Heaven expects of you. I pray that my comments this afternoon will help you in that quest.
In February 1852, a young girl by the name of Hannah Last Cornaby was baptized in Yarmouth, England. It was the quiet, reverent experience most have, but was described by her in these words: “We found the house surrounded by a mob, through which we with difficulty made our way…Before we reached the water’s edge, the whole horde was upon us; and my husband baptized me amid a shower of stones and shouts…and, although the stones whizzed around us thick as hail, not one touched us, and we reached home in safety, thanking God for our miraculous deliverance.” Her life that followed was not an easy one. Years later she wrote these words:
Who’s on the Lord’s side? Who? Now is the time to show.
We ask it fearlessly: Who’s on the Lord’s side? Who?
Although these are the words of a song we do not sing very often, it has become one of my favorite hymns because of the commitment to truth and right. In fact, it is a question that should be in the mind of each young man and each young woman the world over: “Who’s on the Lord’s Side?” And our resounding answer should be, “I AM!”
…Not a day goes by that we are not asked, in one form or another, “Who’s on the Lord’s side? Who?” I have two simple suggestions to help you prepare your answer to that question.
First, never forget who you are. The simple truth is in the children’s hymn many of us learned in Primary: “I am a child of God.”
…My second suggestion: Learn to control your thoughts. A part of the Plan of Happiness that our Heavenly Father has given us is that we were sent here to be tested. Therefore, there will always be temptations. Our work As Latter-day Saints is to keep the commandments of God, in spite of the temptations that Satan sends our way.
“Will a Man Rob God?”
Elder Yoshihiko Kikuchi
Of the First Quorum of Seventy
A few years ago, I received an assignment to reorganize the Carey Idaho Stake. The plane landed at Twin Falls and President Roy Hubert, who had served so well, met me and drove me to his home. While we were riding, I asked, “Besides reorganizing the stake presidency, is there anything I can do for you and your Saints?” He said, “Oh, we have had a serious drought for the last few years. This year, however, the drought is particularly severe and many farmers have left town to find employment elsewhere.”
I was so disturbed for our faithful members who love the Lord and the Church so much, yet were losing their farms. A young bishop, R. Spence Ellsworth, was called to serve as the new stake president. During the Sunday general session, results of the drought weighed heavily on my mind. As I was speaking, a strong impression came. I was prompted to ask them to do the following:
- Faithfully pay an honest tithe, both young and old.
- Humbly hold regular individual and family prayers.
- Devotedly have daily personal and family scripture study.
- Thankfully keep the Sabbath day holy.
- Gratefully go to the temple often, there offering thanksgiving and do temple worship.
- Willingly sustain and follow the new leaders.
- Hold a stake-wide fast, and include everyone in the affected communities who would like to participate and earnestly ask for blessings from heaven.
For the next couple of days, following the stake conference, many members planted their crops, with complete faith, even though there was no forecast of rain.
On Wednesday, under the direction of President Ellsworth, the entire stake fasted. That same week, many members, the leaders and their spouses went to the Boise Idaho Temple and prayers of thanksgiving were offered. While these faithful Saints were in the temple, rain began to fall on the entire area. Though the weather forecast in indicated no moisture for the next few days, the following Saturday, good rain fell again for a few days.
This happened late in the month of April. Sufficient snow also fell in the mountains, providing enough moisture. In the Dietrich and Richfield communities, their reservoir was under 30 percent, but after fasting, the reservoir was nearly full. The Carey water supply increased from about 44 percent to more than 100 percent.
Through the rest of the growing season, as members of the Carey Stake increased their faith by fasting a few more times, paying an honest tithe, and attending the temple more frequently and — the Lord heard and answered their prayers. Frost came late that year, so the farmers were able to harvest grain, sugar beets, alfalfa, potatoes, and other crops. From that day, and each year since, they have offered their thanksgiving prayers and “Because of … His tender mercies,” the Lord continues to bless them.
…Let us demonstrate our faith. Let us show our willingess to obey and sacrifice. I promise you, in the name of the lord, Jesus Christ, when you show your faith and pay your tithing, the Lord will open the windows of heaven.
“Point of Safe Return”
Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf
Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
During my training to become an airline captain, I had to lean how to navigate and airplane over long distances. Flights over huge oceans, crossing extensive deserts, and connecting continents need careful planning to ensure a safe arrival at the planned destination. Some of these nonstop flights can last up to 14 hours and cover almost 9,000 miles.
There is an important decision point during such long flights commonly known as the point of safe return. Up to this point the aircraft has enough fuel to turn around and return safely to the airport of departure. Having passed the point of safe return, the captain has lost this option and has to continue on. That is why this point is often referred to as the point of no return.
Satan, “the father of all lies” (2 Nephi 2:18), “the father of contention” (3 Nephi 11:29), “the author of all sin” (Helaman 6:30) and the “enemy unto God” (Moroni 7:12) uses the forces of evil to convince us that this concept applies whenever we have sinned. The scriptures call him the “accuser’ because he wants us to feel that we are beyond forgiveness (see Rev 12:10_).
Satan wants us to think that when we have sinned we have gone past a “point of no return” — that it is too late to change our course. In our beautiful but also troubled world, it is a sad reality that this attitude is the source of great sorrow, grief, and distress to families, marriages, and individual lives…
The Atonement of Jesus Christ is the gift of God to His children to correct and overcome the consequences of sin. God loves all of His children, and He will never cease to love and to hope for us. The plan of our Heavenly Father is clear, and His promises are great: “For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world … might be saved” (John 3:17).
Christ came to save us. If we have taken a wrong course, the Atonement of Jesus Christ can give us the assurance that’s it is not a point of no return. A safe return is possible if we will follow God’s plan for our salvation.
We have received this plan from the highest authority in the universe, even God, our Heavenly Father.
“Repentance and Conversion”
Elder Russell M. Nelson
Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
What does it mean to repent? We begin with a dictionary’s definition that to repent is “to turn from sin…to feel regret and sorrow.” To repent from sin is not easy. But the prize is worth the price. Repentance needs to be done one step at a time. Humble prayer will facilitate each essential step. As prerequisites to forgiveness, there must first be recognition, remorse, then confession…
The next step is restitution — to repair damage done — if possible. Then come steps to resolve to do better and refrain from relapse — to repent “with full purpose of heart.”
The doctrine of repentance is much broader than a dictionary’s definition. When Jesus said “repent,” His disciples recorded that command in the Greek language with the verb metanoeo. This powerful word has great significance. The prefix meta means “change.” The suffix relates to four important Greek terms: nous, meaning “the mind”; gnos, meaning “knowledge”; pneuma, meaning “spirit” and pnoe, meaning “breath.”
Thus, when Jesus said “repent,” He asked us to change — to change our mind, knowledge, and spirit, even our breath…
Yes, the Lord has commanded us to repent, to change our ways, to come unto Him, and to be more like Him. This requires a total change…
To repent fully is to convert completely to the Lord Jesus Christ and His holy work…
The fruits of repentance are sweet. Repentant converts find that the truths of the restored gospel govern their thoughts and deeds, shape their habits, and forge their character. They are more resilient and able to deny themselves of all ungodliness.
President Gordon B. Hinckley
My beloved brethren and sisters, we have enjoyed a wonderful conference. We have rededicated the Salt Lake Tabernacle, as we put it back to use after extensive renovation. We have filled this Conference Center to capacity for every session. Our words have gone across the world to members of the Church scattered far and wide…
We hope that you will use the May edition of the Church magazines as a text for your family home evenings, to review that which has been spoken in this conference…
May there be peace and harmony in your homes. Husbands, love and treasure your wives. They are your most precious possessions. Wives, encourage and pray for your husbands. They need all the help they can get. Parents, treat your children with great kindness. They are the coming generation who will bring honor to your name.