The following are excerpts from talks from the Saturday afternoon session of General Conference.
“What is a Quorum?”
Elder L. Tom Perry
Of the Quorum of the Twelve
“The Bible Dictionary states that apostle “…means ‘one sent forth…’” The calling of an apostle is to be a special witness of the name of Jesus Christ in all the world, particularly of his divinity and of his bodily resurrection from the dead. Twelve men with this high calling constitute an administrative council in the work of the ministry…Today twelve men with this same divine calling and ordination constitute the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints” (Bible Dictionary, p. 612).
“An apostle today continues to be one “sent forth.” The conditions we face are different from those of the early brethren as they made their journeys to fulfill their assignments. Our manner of travel to all corners of the earth is very different from that of the early brethren. However, our assignment remains the same as that which was given by the Savior as He instructed His called Twelve to, ‘Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world’ (Matthew 28: 19-20).
Faith and Keys
Elder Henry B. Eyring
Quorum of the Twelve
“Ancient apostles and prophets returned and conferred upon Joseph the keys they held in mortality. Mortal men were ordained to the holy apostleship in February of 1835. Priesthood keys were given to the Twelve in the winter of 1844.
“The Prophet Joseph Smith knew that his death was imminent. He knew that the precious priesthood keys and the apostleship must not and would not be lost again.
“One of the apostles, Wilford Woodruff, left us this account of what happened in Nauvoo as the Prophet spoke to the Twelve.
“’On that occasion the Prophet Joseph rose up and said to us: “Brethren, I have desired to live to see this temple built. I shall never live to see it, but you will. I have sealed upon your heads all the keys of the kingdom of God. I have sealed upon you every key, power, principle that the God of heaven has revealed to me. Now no matter where I may go or what I may do, the kingdom rests upon you”’ (Ensign, April 2004, p. 29).
“Every prophet that followed Joseph, from Brigham Young to President Hinckley, has held and exercised those keys and has held the sacred apostleship…”
“To keep ourselves grounded in the Lord’s Church, we can and must train our eyes to see the power of the Lord in the service of those He has called. We must be worthy of the companionship of the Holy Ghost. And we need to pray for the Holy Ghost to help us see that men who lead us hold this power.”
“Feed My Sheep”
Elder Ned B. Rouehe
Of the Quorum of the Seventy
“We all have a great responsibility that has been placed upon our shoulders by the Savior. He said, ‘feed my sheep’ (John 21:17). That includes searching out those that are not with us and extending to them our love and fellowship.
“They stood with us in our first estate. They have made sacred covenants. They now need our help. I pray that each of us can think about our families, our friends and acquaintances, who are not enjoying the full blessings of the gospel. Think about those over whom you have responsibility because of your calling. Ask yourself, what can I do? Heavenly Father will guide you as you seek his help. Then go and search them out and invite them to return and enjoy full fellowship and the wonderful message of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. Let them hear and feel your love and testimony. Help them to recall the feelings that they once knew of the eternal truths that will make their lives full of joy and happiness.”
“I Stand at the Door and Knock”
Elder Ronald T. Halverson
Of the Second Quorum of Seventy
“Our Father in Heaven will never take away our agency. We must seek after or desire to know our Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. There is a way by which all men can know whether or not the teachings of Jesus Christ are true. As Jesus answered the skeptics at the Feast of the Tabernacles, He said, “If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself’ (John 7:17).
“President David O. McKay said that this ‘is the most simple test to give knowledge to an individual of which the human mind can conceive. Doing a thing, introducing it into your very being will convince you of whether it is good or whether it is bad. You may not be able to convince me of that which you know, but you know it, because you have lived it’” ( David O. McKay, “What is Eternal Life?” Instructor, March, 1968, pg. 97.)
How Has It Blessed Your Life?
Sister Bonnie D. Parkin
Relief Society General President
“Visiting the Missionary Training Center in Brazil, I asked the missionaries, ‘tell me what you know about Relief Society?” One elder said, “casseroles!” Another added, “my mother and sister belong to it.” Finally, one declared, ‘it’s the Lord’s organization for women.” He was right, but there’s more. Relief Society “is a fundamental part of the gospel.’
“The year 1842 was extremely difficult for the Prophet Joseph Smith. Former friends had turned on him. Other enemies wanted to abduct him from Nauvoo and blunt the growth of the Church. That same year, he organized the Relief Society, “to care for the poor and needy, and to save souls.” President J. Reuben Clark, Jr. observed that amidst these trials, [Joseph Smith] ‘turned to the sisters for the consolation, for the uplift of which he soot in such sad need at that time.’ This is a moving and humbling thought: a prophet of God, seeking the solace of his sisters—women to whom he had given the charge, ‘charity never faileth.’ To me, this has echoes of those women who mourned with the Savior on Golgotha.
Securing Our Testimonies
Elder Donald L. Staheli
Of the Quorum of the Seventy
“Daily fervent prayers seeking forgiveness and special help and direction are essential to our lives and the nourishment of our testimonies. When we become hurried, repetitive, casual, or forgetful in our prayers, we tend to lose the closeness of the Spirit, which is so essential to the continual direction we need, to successfully manage the challenges of our everyday life. Family prayer every morning and night adds additional blessings and power to our individual prayers and testimonies.
“Personal sincere involvement in the scriptures produces faith, hope, and solutions to our daily challenges.
Frequent reading, pondering, and applying the lessons of the scriptures, combined with prayer, becomes an irreplaceable part of gaining and sustaining a strong, vibrant testimony.
“President Spencer W. Kimball reminded us of the importance of consistent scripture reading when he said:
I find that when I get casual in my relationship with divinity and when it seems no divine voice is speaking…if I immerse myself in the scriptures the distance narrows and the spirituality returns (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, ed. Edward L. Kimball , 135).
Elder M. Russell Ballard
Of the Quorum of the Twelve
“Simply stated, testimony—real testimony, born of the Spirit and confirmed by the Holy Ghost—changes lives. It changes how you think and what you do. It changes what you say. It affects every priority you set and every choice you make. To have a real and abiding testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ is to be “spiritually…born of God,” to “[receive] his image in your countenances,” and to experience a “mighty change in your hearts” (Alma 5:14).
“Like almost everything else in life testimonies grow and develop through experience and service. We often hear some members, and especially children, bear their testimonies, listing things for which they are thankful; their love of family, the Church, their teachers, their friends. For them, the gospel is something that they are grateful for because it makes them feel happy and secure. This is a good beginning, but testimonies need to be much more. They need to be anchored very early to the first principles of the gospel.
“A testimony of the reality of Heavenly Father’s love, of the life and ministry of Jesus Christ, and of the effect of His Atonement on every son and daughter of God brings about the desire to repent and live worthy of the companionship of the Holy Ghost. It also brings a confirmation to our soul of the restoration of the gospel in these latter days. Real testimony of these precious truths comes as a witness of the Holy Ghost after sincere and dedicated effort, including teaching in the home, prayer, scripture study, service to others, and diligent obedience to Heavenly Father’s commandments. To gain and forever hold on to a testimony of gospel truths is worth whatever price in spiritual preparation we may be required to pay.
“My experience throughout the Church leads me to worry that too many of our members’ testimonies linger on “I am thankful’ and ‘I love’ and too few are able to say with humble but sincere clarity ‘I know.’ As a result, our meetings sometimes lack the testimony-rich, spiritual underpinnings that stir the soul and have meaningful, positive impact on the lives of all those who hear them.
“Out testimony meetings need to be more centered on the Savior, the doctrines of the gospel, the blessings of the Restoration, and the teachings of the scriptures. We need to replace stories, travelogues, and lectures with pure testimonies. Those who are entrusted to speak and teach in our meetings need to do so with doctrinal power that will be both heard and felt, lifting the spirits and edifying our people.”