Jesus Christ — The Master Healer
Elder Russell M. Nelson
Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

I’ll never forget an experience that Sister Nelson and I had about three decades ago with President Spencer W. Kimball and his beloved Camilla.  We were in Hamilton, New Zealand for a large conference with the Saints.  I was not a General Authority at that time.  I had been invited to participate in this and similar meetings in other Pacific Islands while serving as general president of the Sunday school.  And as a doctor of medicine, I had attended President and Sister Kimball for many years.  I knew each of them very well — inside and out.

A Saturday evening cultural program had been prepared for this conference by local youth of the Church.  Unfortunately, President and Sister Kimball both became very ill, each with a high fever.  After receiving priesthood blessings, they rested at the nearby home of the president of the New Zealand Temple.  President Kimball asked his counselor, President N. Eldon Tanner, to preside at the cultural event and to excuse President and Sister Kimball.

Sister Nelson went with President and Sister Tanner and other leaders to the event, while President Kimball’s secretary, Brother D. Arthur Haycock, and I watched over our feverish friends.

While President Kimball was sleeping, I was quietly reading in his room.  Suddenly President Kimball was awakened.  He asked, “Brother Nelson, what time was this evening’s program to begin?”

“At seven o’clock, President Kimball.”

“What time is it now?”

“It’s almost seven,” I replied.

President Kimball quickly said:  “Tell Sister Kimball we are going!”

I checked President Kimball’s temperature.  It was normal!  I took Sister Kimball’s temperature.  It was also normal!

They quickly dressed and got into an automobile.  We were driven to the stadium of the Church College of New Zealand.  As the car entered the arena, there was a very loud shout that erupted spontaneously.  It was most unusual!  After we took our seats, I asked Sister Nelson about that sudden sound.  She said that when President Tanner began the meeting, he dutifully excused President and Sister Kimball because of illness.  Then one of the young New Zealanders was called upon to pray.

With great faith, he gave what Sister Nelson described as a rather lengthy but powerful prayer.  He so prayed:  “We are three thousand New Zealand youth.  We are assembled here, having prepared for six months to sing and dance for Thy prophet.  Wilt Thou heal him and deliver him here!”  After the “amen” was pronounced, the car carrying President and Sister Kimball entered the stadium.  They were identified immediately, and instantly, everyone shouted for joy!

I had witnessed the healing power of the Lord.  I had also witnessed revelation as received and responded to by His living prophet.


Preparations for the Restoration and the Second Coming:
“My Hand Shall Be Over Thee”
Elder Robert D. Hales
Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

Making the scriptures available and helping God’s children learn to read them was the first step to the restoration of the gospel.  Originally the Bible was written in Hebrew and Greek languages unknown to common people throughout Europe.  Then, about 400 years after the Savior’s death, the Bible was translated by Jerome into Latin.  But still the scriptures were not widely available.  Copies had to be written by hand, usually by monks, each taking years to complete.

Then through the influence of the Holy Ghost, an interest in learning began to grow in the hearts of the people.  This renaissance or “re-birth” spread throughout Europe.  In the late 1300’s, a priest named John Wycliffe initiated a translation of the Bible from Latin into English.  Because English was then an emerging, unrefined language, church leaders deemed it unsuitable to convey God’s word.  Some leaders were certain that if people could read and interpret the Bible for themselves, its doctrine would be corrupted; others feared that people with independent access to the scriptures would not need the Church and cease to support it financially.  Consequently, Wycliffe was denounced as a heretic and treated accordingly.  After he died and was buried, his bones were dug up and burned.  But God’s work could not be stopped …

In 1509, a young William Tyndale enrolled at Oxford University.  There he studied the work of the Bible scholar, Erasmus, who believed that the scriptures are “the food of [a man’s] soul; and must permeate the very depths of his heart and mind.”  Through his studies, Tyndale developed a love for God’s word and a desire that all God’s children be able to feast on it for themselves.

At about this time, a German monk named Martin Luther identified 95 points of error in the church of his day, which he boldly posted in the town of Wittenberg.  In Switzerland, Huldrych Zwingli printed 67 articles of reform.  John Calvin in Switzerland, John Knox in Scotland, and many others assisted in this effort.  A reformation had begun.

Meanwhile, William Tyndale had become a trained priest and was fluent in eight languages.  He believed a direct translation from Greek and Hebrew into English would be more accurate and readable than Wycliffe’s translation from Latin.  So Tyndale, enlightened by the Spirit of God, translated the New Testament and a portion of the Old Testament.  His friends warned him that he would be killed for doing so, but he was undaunted.  Once, while disputing with a learned man, he said, “If God spare my life ere many years, I will cause a boy that driveth the plough shall know more of the scriptures than thou dost.”

Eventually Tyndale, like others, was killed for his efforts — strangled and burned at the stake near Brussels.  But the belief for which he gave his life was not lost.  Millions have come to experience for themselves what Tyndale taught through his life:  “The nature of God’s word is, that whosoever read it, it will begin immediately to make him every day better and better, till he be grown into a perfect man.”

Sacrifice is Joy and Blessing
Elder Won Yong Ko
Of the Second Quorum of the Seventy

Occasionally there is a time gap between the sacrifice and the blessing.  The sacrifice may come according to our time schedule, but the blessing may not come by ours, but by the Lord’s calendar.  Because of this, the Lord comforts us by saying, “Wherefore, be not weary in well-doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great work” (D&C 64:33).

The blessings surely come to us.  Please remember that the sacrifice itself might be a form of blessing.  Let us make the sacrifice of small things.

When we read the Book of Mormon while rubbing our sleepy eyes let us remember that we are following the counsel of our prophet and receive the joy that comes from that knowledge.  We have many bills to pay; but when we pay tithing, let us feel joy for having the opportunity to donate something to the Lord.

And then the greater blessing will be poured out on us.  It will be just like our surprise and joy when we receive an unexpected gift.

As President Spencer W. Kimball said, “As we give, we find that sacrifice brings forth the blessings of heaven and in the end, we learn it was no sacrifice at all.


Gospel Covenants Bring Promised Blessings
Elder Paul E. Koelliker
Of the Quorum of the Seventy

Giving careful attention to covenant making is critical to our eternal salvation.  Covenants are agreements we make with our Heavenly Father in which we commit our hearts, minds and behavior to keeping the commandments defined by the Lord.  As we are faithful in keeping our agreement, He covenants or promises to bless us, ultimately with all that He has. 

In the Old Testament we are taught the Lord’s covenant pattern in Noah’s experience with a wicked world and the Lord’s plan for cleansing the earth.  Because of Noah’s faithful and steadfast commitment, the Lord said to him, “but with thee I will establish my covenant; and thou shalt come into the ark, thou, and thy sons and thy wife, and thy sons’ wives with thee.”  “And Noah did all that the Lord commanded him.”

After 150 days the floods abated and they went forth out of the ark.

“And Noah builded an altar unto the Lord; … And God spake unto Noah and to his sons who were with him, saying, And behold, I establish my covenant with you and with your seed after you.”

We too have entered into sacred covenants with the Lord that we might be preserved from the adversary.  Just as in Noah’s time we live in a day of prophetic promise and fulfillment.  In the course of the past seven years, 71 new temples have been dedicated — a feat, under the direction of the Lord’s prophet, which may in some ways be like unto the building of the ark in Noah’s day.

Our living prophet, President Gordon B. Hinckley, has invited us to come through the door of the temple where we can enter into covenants with the Lord.

As in Noah’s day, our efforts to live these covenants may often be accompanied by a measure of sacrifice.  This sacrifice, regardless of how great or small, often determines how committed in mind and heart we are to be submissive to the will of our Heavenly Father.  The pattern of sacrifice often includes a season of struggle wherein we must evaluate and weigh the consequences of our decisions.  Choices may not always be clear or easy, so we struggle on.  When we finally determine to rid ourselves of the struggle and to sacrifice our will for the Lord’s we are lifted to a new level of understanding.

Elder Lowell M. Snow
Of the Quorum of the Seventy

During their journey, this Liahona, or compass, proved to be invaluable in helping Lehi’s family prosper and eventually arrive at their destination.  But it is important to note Nephi’s observation that it was only through the faith, diligence and heed they gave to the compass that it worked.  Of this marvelous helper that guided them through the wilderness Nephi simply observed:  “And thus we see that by small means the Lord can bring about great things” (1 Nephi 16:29).

Nephi’s conclusion was not lost on Alma 500 years later when he reminded his own son about the importance of the Liahona.  He explained to Helaman that the Lord prepared this compass to show their fathers the course they should travel in the wilderness, but because that miraculous device worked by small means their fathers were slothful and forgot to exercise their faith and diligence.  As a result this marvelous device ceased to work and they did not progress in their journey or travel a straight course, but tarried in the wilderness and were afflicted because of their negligence.

“O my son,” Alma continued, “do not let us be slothful because of the easiness of the way; for so was it with our fathers:  for so was it prepared for them, that if they would look they might live; even so it is with us.  The way is prepared, and if we will look we may live forever.  And now, my son, see that ye take care of these sacred things, yea see that ye look to God and live” (Alma 37:46,47).

The Lord provides guidance and direction to individuals and families today, just as He did with Lehi.  This very General Conference is a modern Liahona, a time and place to receive inspired guidance and direction that prospers us and helps us follow God’s path through the more fertile parts of mortality.  Consider that we are gathered to hear counsel from prophets and apostles who have prayed mightily and prepared carefully to know what the Lord would have them say.  We have prayed for them and for ourselves that the Comforter would teach us the mind and will of God.  Surely there is no better time or place for the Lord to direct His people than in this conference.

The teachings of this conference are the compass of the Lord.  In the coming days you may, as Lehi did, walk out your front door and find a Liahona, or other Church publication, in your mailbox and it will contain the proceedings of this Conference.  As with the Liahona of old, this new writing will be plain and easy to read and will give you and your family understanding concerning the ways and paths of the Lord.

“Feed My Sheep”
Elder Ulisses Soares
Of the Seventy

People are most receptive to our influence when they feel that we truly love them, and not only because we have a calling to fulfill.  As we express true love for people, they will be able to feel the influence of the Spirit and may feel motivated to follow our teachings.  It is not always easy to love people for what they are.  The Prophet Mormon explained what we should do if such challenges arise:

“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; that he may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure” (Moroni 7:48).

Christlike Attributes — The Wind Beneath Our Wings
Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf
Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

 

The Church with all its organizational structure and programs, offers many important activities for its members aimed at helping families and individuals to serve God and each other.  Sometimes, however, it can appear that these programs and activities are closer to the center of our heart and soul than the core doctrines and principles of the gospel.  Procedures, programs, policies, and patterns of organization are helpful for our spiritual progress here on earth, but let’s not forget that they are subject to change.

In contrast, the core of the gospel — the doctrine and the principles — will never change.  Living according to the basic gospel principles will bring power, strength, and spiritual self-reliance into the lives of all Latter-day Saints.