Featured Speakers
Elder Russell M. Nelson
Elder Robert D. Hales
Elder Bradley D. Foster
Elder James B. Martino
Elder Gregory Allan Schwitzer
Elder Francisco J. Vinas
Elder Neil L. Andersen
President Thomas S. Monson

Generations Linked in Love

Elder Russell M. Nelson
Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

Consider the spiritual connections that are formed when a young woman helps her grandmother enter family information into a computer, or when a young man sees the name of h is great-grandfather on a census record.  When our hearts turn to our ancestors, something changes inside us.  We feel part of something greater than ourselves.  Our inborn yearnings for family connections are fulfilled when we are linked to our ancestors through sacred ordinances of the temple.

Because of the importance of this work, the Church has built temples closer to the people, and family history research is being facilitated as never before.  Methods to find and prepare names for temple ordinances are also improving.  At the October 2005 conference, President Gordon B. Hinckley announced an exciting step forward in family history and temple work.  He said, “One of the most troublesome aspects of our temple activity is that as we get more and more temples.across the earth there is duplication of effort in proxy work.We, therefore, have been engaged for some time in a very difficult undertaking.The solution lies in complex computer technology.”

Since then, not only has duplication been reduced, but procedures have been simplified so that virtually every member of the Church can participate in temple and family history work.  Gone are the days that this sacred work was done only by specialists.  No matter your situation, you can make family history a part of your life right now.  Primary children can draw a family tree.  Youth can participate in proxy baptisms.  They can also help the older generation work with computers. Parents can relate stories of their lives to their posterity.  Worthy adult members can hold a temple recommend and perform temple ordinances for their own kin.

The Prophet Joseph Smith said, “The greatest responsibility in this world that God has laid upon us, is to seek after our dead.”  New technology makes it easier than ever to fulfill that responsibility.  Temple and family history work is now facilitated by a system known as the “New FamilySearch.”  This Internet-based system helps members identify their ancestors, determine what ordinance work needs to be done for them, and prepare their names for the temple.  It can be accessed from home, a Family History Center, or wherever the Internet is available.  The steps are easy to follow.

You first identify individuals for whom you desire to do temple work.  Then you print out a Family Ordinance Request.  This document provides the information needed at the temple and eliminates the need to take computer discs with you.

From the Family Ordinance Request, ordinance cards are printed at the temple. After an ordinance is performed, it is recorded and entered into New Family Search on that very day.


Our Duty to God:  The Mission of Parents and Leaders to the Rising Generation

Elder Robert D. Hales
Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

For all of us, doing our duty to God as parents and leaders begins with leading by example-consistently and diligently living gospel principles at home. This takes daily determination and diligence.  For youth, there is no substitute for seeing the gospel lived in our daily lives.  The stripling warriors did not have to wonder what their parents believed.  They said, “We do not doubt our mothers knew it” (see Alma 56:47-48).  Do our children know what we know?

I have a grandson who once asked me to go with him to a popular but inappropriate movie.  I told him I wasn’t old enough to see that film.  He was puzzled until his grandmother explained to him what I meant.  “I get it now, Grandpa, you’re never going to be old enough to see that movie, are you?”  And he was right!

Besides showing youth the way by example,we lead them by understanding their hearts and walking alongside them on the gospel path.  To truly understand their hearts, we must do more than just be in the same room or attend the same family and church activities.  We must plan and take advantage of teaching moments that make a deep and lasting impression upon their minds and hearts.

For example, Church leaders regularly plan scouting  pow-wows and encampments-but do those activities always accomplish their most important purpose?  I have learned that what makes a scout activity most meaningful to a boy is not just getting a merit badge but having the opportunity to sit and talk with a leader who is interested in him and his life.

Similarly, mothers, as you drive or walk children to school or their various activities, do you use the time to talk with them about their hopes and fears and joys?  The more I live, the more I recognize that the teaching moments in my youth, especially those provided by my parents, have shaped my life and made me who I am.

It is impossible to overestimate the influence of parents who understand the hearts of their children.  Research shows that during the most important transitions of life-including those periods when youth are most likely to drift away from the Church-the greatest influence does not come from an interview with the bishop but from the regular, warm, friendly, caring interaction with parents. 

With that in mind, when we sit down at the dinner table, is our whole family there?  I remember as a young man asking permission to play baseball through dinnertime.  “Just put my meal in the oven,” I said to my mother.  She responded, “Robert, I really want you to take a break, come home, be with the family for dinner, and then you can go out and play until dark.”  She taught all of us that where family meals are concerned, it’s not the food but the family interaction that nourishes the soul.  My mother taught that the greatest love we give is within our homes.


Mother Told Me

Elder Bradley D. Foster
Of the Second Quorum of Seventy

My good friend, Don Pearson shared an experience that highlights [the] influence [of mothers].  One night, his four-year-old son, Eric, asked him to read a bedtime story.  Eric had picked out his favorite book The Ballooning Adventures of Paddy Pork, a story about a family who lived on the isles of the sea and traveled from island to island by hot-air balloon.  It was a picture book that had no words, so Brother Pearson made up words to the story.

“Paddy is in a hot-air balloon.  He is landing on an island now.  He is dropping a line over the side of the balloon.”

Eric stopped him.  “Dad, that is not a line,” he said.  “It’s a rope.”

Brother Pearson looked at Eric and back at the picture book, and then he continued:  “Paddy is getting out of the balloon and climbing down the tree.  Oh, no!  His coat is caught on a limb!”

Again Eric stopped him. “Dad, that’s not a coat.  It’s a jacket.

By now Brother Pearson was somewhat perplexed.  “Eric,” he said, “There are no words in this book, just pictures.

  Why do you insist that it’s a jacket?”

Eric answered, “Because mother told me.”

His father closed the book, and said, “Eric, who do you think is the last word, the ultimate authority in this house?”

This time Eric thought carefully before he answered, “you are, Dad.”

Brother Pearson beamed at his son. What an exceptional answer!  “How did you know that?” he asked.

Eric quickly responded, “Mother told me.”

A President James E. Faust said:  “There is no greater good in all the world than motherhood.  The influence of a mother in the lives of her children is beyond calculation.”

.In my profession as a farmer and a rancher, I’ve had a front-row seat to observe how a mother’s natural affection manifests itself even in nature.  Each spring we take a herd of cows and their new calves up along Idaho’s Snake River, where they graze in the foothills for a month or so.  Then we round them up and bring them down a road that leads to the corral.  From there they are loaded onto trucks that carry them to their summer pastures in Montana.

On one particularly hot spring day, I was helping with a roundup by riding at the back of the herd as it moved down the dusty road toward the corral.  My job was to gather any calves that had wandered from the road.  The pace was slow and provided me some time to think.

Because it was so hot, the little calves kept running off into the trees to find shade.  My thoughts turned to the youth of the Church who sometimes are distracted from the straight and narrow path.  I also thought of those who have left the Church or who may feel the Church has left them, while they were distracted.  I thought to myself that a distraction doesn’t have to be evil to be effective-sometimes it can just be shade.

After several hours of gathering up stray calves, and with sweat running down my face, I yelled to the calves in frustration, “Just follow your mothers! They know where they’re going!  They’ve been down this road before!”  Their mothers knew that even though the road was hot and dusty now, the end would be better than the beginning.

As soon as we get the herd into the corral, we noticed that three of the cows were pacing nervously at the gate.  They could not find their calves and seemed to sense that they were back on the road somewhere.  One of the cowboys asked me what we should do.  I said, “I bet I know where those calves are.  Back a quarter of a mile or so there’s a stand of trees.  I’m sure we’ll find them there.”

Sure enough, just as I had suspected, we found our lost calves taking a nap in the shade.  Our approach startled them, and they resisted our efforts to round them up.  They were frightened because we were not their mothers!  The more we tried to push them toward the corral, the more stubborn they became, until finally I said to the cowboys, “I’m sorry guys, I know better than this.  Let’s ride back and let their mothers out of the corral.  The cows will come and get their calves, and the calves will follow their mothers.”  I was right.  The mother cows knew exactly where to go to find their calves, and they led them back to the corral as I had expected.


All Things Work Together for Good

Elder James B. Martino
Of the Quorum of the Seventy

When I was young I looked forward to the spring of the year.  As the weather warmed, I was ready for baseball to begin.  Like most young boys I would wish that I could become a great baseball player.  I am reminded of a story about a very young boy with similar dreams.  With the desire to become the next mighty ball player he decided to go outside and practice.  He held the baseball in his hand and threw it into the air, and with a wish to hit the ball as far as he could, he took a great swing but the ball fell to the ground without even touching the wood of the bat.  Not to be denied, he went at it again.  As he was about to throw the ball in the air, his determination grew as the thought of a powerful hit came into his mind.  But alas, the results were the same.  The ball lay on the ground.  But as, any good ball player knows, you have three strikes before you are out.  He concentrated even more, threw the ball in the air, and he gave the mightiest swing he had ever attempted.  As the ball again fell the ground, the tears began to swell in his eyes, then, all of a sudden a great smile appeared, and he said, “What a pitcher.”

Each of us will face trials and tests and as in this simplistic example, it is how we react to those difficulties that will determine our success and happiness.  Each of us will face adversity no matter where we are.  We are taught in the scriptures that there “must needs be.an opposition in all things.”  We will each face times of difficulty and the question is not when we will face them but how we face them.


Developing Good Judgment and not Judging Others

Elder Gregory Allan Schwitzer
Of the Quorum of the Seventy

As a young physician, I learned a great lesson about making quick judgments.  While I was working a midnight shift in an emergency department, a young man and his wife came in because she was suffering from some severe pain.  From their dress and hygiene, it was easy to see that theirs had been a rough life.  His hair was ill kempt and very long.  Their clothing had not been washed for some time and the effects of a rough life were written on their faces.

After an examination, I sat down with him to explain the problem and discuss the treatment.  This man looked at me with a deep clarity of love in his eyes that is rarely experienced and asked with all the love of a caring husband:  “Doctor, will my dear wife be all right?”  In that moment, I felt the Spirit testify that he was a child of God and saw in his eyes the evidence of the Savior.  This man truly projected love for another and I had misjudged him.  It was a lesson that left a lasting impression.

Good judgment is needed not only in understanding people, but also in facing decisions that lead us to or away from our Heavenly Father.  As I look back over my life, I can see many instances in which a slight change of course, based on poor judgment, would have lead me far from where the Lord would have wanted me to be.  Decisions like having a family while obtaining an education, being active in all aspects of the Gospel, paying tithes and offerings when income was severely limited, and accepting callings at difficult times, which helped me to learn more about sacrifice.  Many blessings in life are missed because worldly judgment was applied to what was really a spiritual decision.


Things Pertaining to Righteousness

Elder Francisco J. Vinas
Of the Quorum of the Seventy

We are told in the Doctrine and Covenants that after the testimony of the servants of God, the testimony of earthquakes, and the testimony of other events will follow:  “And all things shall be in commotion;  and surely, men’s hearts shall fail them;  for fear shall come upon all people” (D&C 88:88-91)

As a member of the Caribbean Area Presidency I was a personal witness to the faithful Saints who replaced fear with faith.  Lessons learned in Haiti may be likened to Book of Mormon illustrations.

The impressions of that terrible destruction brought to my mind the words in the twenty eighty chapter of Alma, “This was a time that there was a great mourning and lamentation heard throughout all the land” (Alma 28:4)

Forty-two members lost their lives while their families and friends, “mourn for the loss of their kindred, yet they rejoice and exult in the hope, and even know, according to the promises of the Lord, that they are raised to dwell at the right hand of God, in a state of never-ending happiness” (See Alma 28:12)

Immediate help was sent by the Church to members and non members and was distributed under the direction of the local priesthood and Relief Society leaders.  They not only received medical aid, food, water and other basic supplied, they also received counsel, guidance, and comfort from their local leaders. They have the support of the members of the Church in all the world that “mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort” (Mosiah 18:9)

Different prophets in different times warned us of another tragedy that is less perceptible but not less important, and that is the “awful death [that] cometh upon the wicked;  for they die as to things pertaining to things of righteousness;  for they are unclean, and no unclean thing can inherit the kingdom of God” (Alma 40:26).


Tell Me the Stories of Jesus

Elder Neil L. Andersen
Of the Quorum of the Twelve

President Monson has described the rising generation as “the very best ever” and has said to our youth:  “You have come to this earth at a glorious time.  The opportunities before you are nearly limitless.”  But then he warned, “We have been placed on earth in troubled times.”  “It is a time of permissiveness, with society in general routinely disregarding and breaking the laws of God.”  We are surrounded by so much that is designed to divert our attention. “The adversary is.using every means possible to ensnare us in his web of deceit.”

We hold in our arms the rising generation.  They come to this earth with important responsibilities and great spiritual capacities.  We cannot be casual in how we prepare them.  Our challenge as parents and teachers is not to create a spiritual core in their souls, but rather to fan the flame of their spiritual core already aglow with the fire of their pre-mortal faith.

This afternoon, I wish to emphasize the plea of a child from a Primary song.

“Tell me the stories of Jesus, I love to hear.”

In our world today, each child, each young man and young woman needs his or her own conversion to the truth.  Each needs his or her own light, his or her own “steadfast and immovable” faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, independent of parents, youth leaders, and supportive friends.

The stories of Jesus can be as a rushing wind across the embers of faith in the hearts of our children.  Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life.”  The stories of Jesus shared over and over bring faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and strength to the foundation of testimony.  Can you think of a more valuable gift for our children?

Are the life and teachings of Jesus Christ embedded in the minds and souls of our children?  Do they think about the Savior’s life when they wonder what to do in their own lives?”  This will be more and more important in the years ahead.

Have our visualized the premortal council, where Jesus-the greatest of all-declared, “Here am I, send me?”  Do they see their own willingness to serve as following His example?

Do they think about His humble birth?  The Savior of the world “lying in a manger.”  Do his circumstances help them better understand the proper place of material possessions?

Do they know that Jesus often taught, “ask and ye shall receive?”  Do His prayers of thankfulness and His pleadings to His Father, flow through our children’s minds as they kneel in prayer with their own concerns?


Closing Remarks

President Thomas S. Monson

My brothers and sisters, today as we look at the world around us, we are faced with problems which are serious and of great concern to us.  The world seems to have slipped from the moorings of safety and drifted from the harbor of peace.

Permissiveness, immorality, pornography, dishonesty and a host of other ills cause many to be tossed about on a sea of sin and crushed on the jagged reefs of lost opportunities, forfeited blessings, and shattered dreams.

My counsel for all of us is to look to the lighthouse of the Lord.  There is no fog so dense, no night so dark, no gale so strong, no mariner so lost but what its beacon light can rescue.   It beckons through the storms of life.  The lighthouse of the Lord sends forth signals readily recognized and never failing.