Following are some brief excerpts from talks by President Boyd K. Packer, Elder David A. Bednar, Elder David F. Evans, Elder Wolfgang H. Paul, Elder Russell M. Nelson and Elder L. Tom Perry.

President Boyd K. Packer
Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve
“The Worth of Souls is Great in the Sight of God”

“My message is about a father and a son.  Alma, the father, was a prophet, his son, Corianton, a missionary.

“Three of Alma’s sons — Helaman the oldest, Shiblon, and Corianton the youngest — were on a mission to the Zoramites.  Alma was greatly disappointed a the failure of his son, Corianton, to live the standards of a missionary.  Corianton forsook his ministry and went to the land of Siron after the harlet Isabel…

“Alma told him that his iniquity was great, because it turned investigators away.  ‘When they saw your conduct they would not believe in my words.

“’And now the Spirit of the Lord doth say unto me:  Command thy children to do good, lest they lead away the hearts of many people to destruction; therefore I command you, my son, in the fear of God, that ye refrain from your iniquities.’

“After this severe rebuke, Alma the loving father became Alma the teacher.  He knew that ‘the preaching of the word had a great tendency to lead the people to do that which was just—yea, it had more powerful effect upon the minds of the people that the sword, or anything else.’  So Alma taught Corianton.

“He spoke first of Christ:  ‘And now, my son, I would say somewhat unto you concerning the coming of Christ.  Behold, I say unto you, that it is he that surely shall come to take away the sins of the world; yes, he cometh to declare tidings of salvation unto his people.’…

“Alma taught Corianton about justice and mercy:  ‘According to justice, the plan of redemption could not be brought about, only on conditions of repentance of men.’

“He explained that ‘the plan of mercy could not be brought about except an atonement should be made; therefore God himself atoneth for the sins of the world, to bring about the plan of mercy, to appease the demands of justice, that God might be a perfect, just God, and a merciful God also.’

“He taught Corianton about the unwavering standard of eternal law…

“Alma knew personally the pain of punishment and the joy of repentance.  He himself had once greatly disappointed his own father, Corianton’s grandfather.  He rebelled and went about ‘seeking to destroy the church.’  He was struck down by an angel, not because he deserved it but because of the prayers of his father and others…

“The Prophet Joseph Smith was taught through revelation that ‘no power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood, only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned;

“’By kindness, and pure knowledge, which shall greatly enlarge the soul without hypocrisy, and without guile —

“’Reproving betimes with sharpness, when moved upon by the Holy Ghost; and then showing forth afterwards an increase of love toward him whom thou hast reproved, lest he esteem thee to be his enemy;

“’That he may know that thy faithfulness is stronger than the cords of death.’”

Elder David A. Bednar
Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
“That We May Always Have His Spirit to Be With Us”

“My message this afternoon focuses on the baptism of the Spirit and the blessings that flow from the companionship of the Holy Ghost…

“Following our baptism, each of us had hands placed upon our head by those with priesthood authority and was confirmed a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and the Holy Ghost was conferred upon us.  The statement ‘receive the Holy Ghost’ in our confirmation was a directive to strive for the baptism of the Spirit.

“The Prophet Joseph Smith taught:  ‘You might as well baptize a bag of sand as a man, if not done in view of the remission of sins and getting of the Holy Ghost.  Baptism by water is but half a baptism, and is good for nothing without the other half — that is, the baptism of the Holy Ghost.’  We were baptized by immersion in water for the remission of sins.  We must also be baptized by and immersed in the Spirit of the Lord, ‘and then cometh a remission of your sins by fire and by the Holy Ghost.’

“As we gain experience with the Holy Ghost, we learn that the intensity with which we feel the Spirit’s influence is not always the same.  Strong dramatic spiritual impressions do not come to us frequently…

“The influence of the Holy Ghost is described in the scriptures as a ‘still small voice’ and a ‘voice of perfect mildness.’  Thus, the Spirit of the Lord usually communicates with us in ways that are quiet, delicate, and subtle…

“We should also endeavor to discern when we ‘withdraw [ourselves] from the Spirit of the Lord, that it may have no place in [us] to guide [us] in wisdom’s paths that [we] may be blessed, prospered, and preserved.’  Precisely because the promised blessing is that we may always have His Spirit to be with us, we should attend to and learn from the choices and influences that separate us from the Holy Spirit.

“The standard is clear.  If something we think, see, hear, or do distances us from the Holy Ghost, then we should stop thinking, seeing, hearing or doing that thing.  If that which is intended  to entertain, for example, alienates us from the Holy Spirit, then certainly that type of entertainment is not for us.  Because the Spirit cannot abide that which is vulgar, crude, or immodest, then clearly such things are not for us.  Because we estrange the Spirit of the Lord when we engage in activities we know we should shun, then such things definitely are not for us.”

Elder David F. Evans
First Quorum of the Seventy
“Come and Be Happy”

A few years ago, I was interviewing missionaries.  A winter storm was blowing in as missionaries came and went through the day.  The storm changed from icy rain to snow and back again.  Some missionaries arrived by train from nearby cities and walked to the church through the storm.  Others rode their bicycles.  Almost without exception they were cheerful and happy.  They were he Lord’s missionaries.  They had his Spirit and felt joy in His service regardless of their circumstances.

“As each companionship concluded their interviews, I will never forget watching them go back out into the storm to preach the gospel and do what the Lord had called them to do.  I could see their commitment and dedication.  I could feel the love they had for the people and for the Lord.  As I watched them leave, I felt an overwhelming love for them and for what they were doing…

“As I watched these great young missionaries that evening, I had a remarkable experience.  In my mind’s eye, I saw missionaries throughout the mission going out into that winter night.


  Some were knocking doors and facing rejection as they sought to teach the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Some were in homes or apartments teaching individuals and families.  In spite of the conditions they faced, they were doing what they could to teach the gospel of Jesus Christ to those who would listen, and they were happy.  Into my heart came a feeling I cannot fully explain.

“By a wonderful gift of the Spirit, I felt His love, the pure love of Christ that He has for faithful missionaries everywhere and it changed my forever…

“To every young man I would say, ‘Do you want to be happy?’ If so, come and join us, 53,000 strong and counting, and serve your fellow man as a missionary for the Lord.  Make the commitment to give two years of your life to the Lord.  It will change everything.  You will be happy.  The fog will lift.  You will come to love the culture and the people you are called to serve.  The work will be difficult, but there will also be great satisfaction and joy as you serve…

“I say again, ‘Come and join with us.  Come and be clean.  Come and be happy.  Come and experience the very thing that the Lord has said is of “most worth” to you at this time in your life.  Come and be part of the greatest generation of missionaries the world has ever known.’”

Elder Wolfgang H. Paul
Of the Quorum of the Seventy
“The Gift of Agency”

“Some time ago, as I was driving I had to stop at a red light.  The vehicle in front of me caught my attention.  A sticker read:  ‘I do what I want.’

“I wondered, why someone would choose to place such a statement on his vehicle.  What was the message he wanted to send?  Perhaps the driver of this vehicle wanted to express publicly that he has achieved total freedom by just doing what he likes to do.  As I thought abut this I realized that our world would be quite chaotic if everyone would just do what he or she wants to do.

“It is obvious that there is some confusion in our society about this subject.  In the media, advertisement, entertainment and elsewhere we find the idea widespread that, when someone can do what he wants, he enjoys freedom and will be happy.  It suggests that the only criteria for our decisions are, what is pleasing to us, what is fun, or what matches our individual desires.

“Our Heavenly Father has given us a better concept.  It is His great plan of happiness, which gives us real freedom and happiness.  We read in the Book of Mormon, ‘And the Messiah cometh in the fullness of time, that he may redeem the children of men from the fall.  And because that they are redeemed from the fall they have become free forever, knowing good from evil; to act for themselves and not to be acted upon, save it be by the punishment of the law at the great and last day, according to the commandments which God hath given.’…

“…Our agency makes our life on this earth a test period.  If we did not have this wonderful gift of agency, we would not be able to show our Father in Heaven whether we will do all that he commanded us…

“Our great example, the Lord Jesus Christ set the perfect example for all of us as to how to use our agency.  In that council in heaven, when the plan of our Father was presented to us, that we would have the opportunity to come to this earth and receive a body, the Beloved Son, who was the Beloved and Chosen of the Father from the beginning, said to his Father, ‘Father, thy will be done, and the glory be thine forever.’”

Elder Russell M. Nelson
Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
“Nurturing Marriage”

“As we Brethren travel around the world, sometimes we see worrisome scenes.  ON a recent flight, I sat behind a husband and wife.  She obviously loved her husband.  As she stroked the back of his neck I could see her wedding ring.  She would nestle close to him and rest her head upon his shoulder, seeking his companionship.

“In contrast, he seemed totally oblivious to her presence.  He was focused solely upon an electronic game player.  During the entire flight, his attention was riveted upon that device.  Not once did he look at her, speak to her, of acknowledge her yearning for affection.

“His inattention made me feel like shouting:  ‘Open your eyes, man! Can’t you see?  Pay attention!  Your wife loves you!  She needs you!’…

“I know ‘that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children.’  I know that the earth was created wand that the Lord’s church was restored so that families could be sealed and exalted as eternal entities.  And I know that one of Satan’s cunning methods of undermining the work of the Lord is to attack the sacred institutions marriage and the family.

“Marriage brings greater possibilities for happiness than does any other human relationship…

“For those who are now or will be married, I suggest two steps you can take to have a more joyful marriage.

“The first step is to comprehend the doctrinal foundation for marriage.  The Lord declared that marriage is the legal wedding of one man and one woman:

“Marriage is ordained of God unto man…

“Worldly trends to define marriage in some other way would sadly serve to destroy the institution of marriage.  Such schemes are contrary to the plan of God…

“Marriage is the foundry for social order, the fountain of virtue, and the foundation for eternal exaltation…

“Marriage is both a commandment and an exalting principle of the gospel…

“With those doctrinal underpinnings in mind, let us consider the second step—specific actions that would strengthen a marriage…

“My suggestions use three action verbs:  to appreciate, to communicate, and to contemplate.

“To appreciate — to say ‘I love you’ and ‘thank you’ — is not difficult.  But these expressions of love and appreciation do more than acknowledge a kind thought or deed. They are signs of sweet civility…

“Suggestion number two — to communicate well with your spouse —  is also important.  Good communication includes taking time to plan together.  Couples need private time to observe, to talk, and really listen to each other…

“My third suggestion is to contemplate.  This word has deep meaning.  It comes from Latin roots:  con-, meaning ‘with,’ and –templum, meaning a space or place to meditate.  It is the root from which the word temple comes.  If couples contemplate often — with each other in the temple —

“I invite each married partner to consider these suggestions and then determine specific goals to nurture your own relationship.”

Elder L. Tom Perry
Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
“As Now We Take the Sacrament”

“Over the years I have participated in many sacrament meetings, and to me they really are more than just another meeting.  Partaking of the sacrament provides us with sacred moments in a holy place.


  We do it in accordance with the commandment the Lord gave us in section 59 of the Doctrine and Covenants:

“’And that thou mayest more fully keep thyself unspotted from the world, thou shalt go to the house of prayer and offer up they sacraments upon my holy day.’

“From the very beginning, before the world was organized, God laid out a plan whereby He would offer blessings to His children based on their obedience to His commandments.  He understood, however, that we would be distracted at times by the things of the world and would need to be reminded regularly of our covenants and His promises…

 “In the New Testament we have an account of the Lord administering the sacrament to His disciples.  This is found in Matthew, chapter 26, verses 26 to 28:

“’And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat: this is my body.

“’And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it:

“’For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.’…

“The purpose of partaking of the sacrament is, of course, to renew the covenants we have made with the Lord…

“The sacrament is one of the most sacred ordinances in the Church.  Partaking of the sacrament worthily gives us an opportunity for spiritual growth…

“Elder Melvin J. Ballard once said:

“’I am a witness that there is a spirit attending the administration of the sacrament that warms the soul from head to foot; you feel the wounds of the spirit being healed, and the load is lifted.  Comfort and happiness come to the soul that is worthy and truly desirous of partaking of this spiritual food.’

“When we partake of the sacrament worthily, we remember the sacrifice of our Lord and Savior, that He gave his life and took upon Himself the sins of the world that we may have the blessing of immortality.  We take upon ourselves the name of our Savior and promise to always remember Him and to keep His commandments—that is, to ‘live by every word that proceedeth forth from the mouth of God.’”