President Gordon B. Hinckley
President of the Church
President Hinckley opened the conference by chronicling the amazing growth of the Church. He said, “In 1982, some 24 years ago, I noted in my journal: ‘There will be in place for the October general conference more that 300 downlinks in our satellite service. This means we will have more than 300 stake centers, where our people may gather across the nation and participate in the conference.’
He then went on to draw the picture of growth in the Church: “I am now advised that there are 6,066 Church-owned satellite receiving sites in 83 countries. How grateful I am that with our growth in numbers there is also an increased ability to reach out and communicate with the Latter-day Saints throughout the world.”
President Hinckley also referred to using the satellite system to reach out to the Saints: “Though there are limitations on our ability to travel where we might, there is compensation in the ability of the First Presidency, members of the Twelve, and the Seventy, to speak by satellite to large numbers of stakes throughout to world.”
“Circumstances change,” he went on, “but our message does not change. We bear testimony to the world that the heavens have been opened, that God our Eternal Father, and His Son, the Risen Lord, have appeared and spoken. We offer our solemn witness that the priesthood has been restored with the keys and authority of eternal blessings.”
He Heals the Heavy Laden
Elder Dallin H. Oaks
Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
“Many carry heavy burdens. Some have lost a loved one to death or care for one who is disabled. Some have been wounded by divorce. Others yearn for an eternal marriage. Some are caught in the grip of addictive substances or practices like alcohol, tobacco, drugs, or pornography. Others have crippling physical or mental impairments. Some are challenged by same-gender attraction. Some have terrible feelings of depression or inadequacy. In one way or another, many are heavy laden.
“To each of us our Savior gives this loving invitation:
Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light (Matthew 11: 28-30).
“The scriptures contain many accounts of the Savior’s ‘healing’ the heavy laden…
“Jesus healed many from physical diseases, but he did not withhold healing from those who sought to be ‘made whole’ from other ailments. Matthew writes that He healed every sickness and every disease among the people (see Matthew 4: 23; 9: 35). Great multitudes followed him and he ‘healed them all’ (Matthew 12: 15). Surely these healings included those whose sicknesses were emotional, mental or spiritual. He healed them all…
“The Savior teaches that we will have tribulation in the world, but we should be of good cheer because he has ‘overcome the world’ (John 16: 33). His atonement reaches and is powerful enough not only to pay the price for sin, but also to heal every mortal affliction…
“He knows of our anguish, and He is there for us. Like the Good Samaritan in His parable, when He finds us wounded at the wayside, He binds up our wounds and cares for us (Luke 10: 34). Brothers and sisters, the healing power of His atonement is for you, for us, for all.”
The Temple is About Families
Elder Richard H. Winkel
Of the Seventy
“When you come to the temple you will love your family with a deeper love than you ever felt before. The temple is about families. As my wife Karen and I have increased our temple service, our love for each other and for our children has increased. And it doesn’t stop there. It extends to parents, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins, our forebears and especially to our grandchildren!
“This is the spirit of Elijah, which is the spirit of family history work; and when inspired by the Holy Ghost it prompts the turning of the heart of the fathers to the children and the heart of the children to the fathers. Because of the priesthood husbands and wives are sealed together; children are sealed to their parents for eternity, so the family is eternal and will not be separated at death…
“Like you, I don’t want to lose any of my children. I want to be together forever with all my family. The temple gives all of us extra hope of continuing and improving these relationships even after this life.
“Sealings bestowed in the temple promise additional blessings.
“The Prophet Joseph Smith declared — and he never taught a more comforting doctrine — that ‘the eternal sealings of faithful parents and the divine promises made to them for valiant services in the Cause of Truth, would save not only themselves, but likewise their posterity. Though some of the sheep may wander, the eye of the Shepherd is upon them, and sooner of later they will feel the tentacles of Divine Providence reaching out to them and drawing them back into the fold.
“Either in this life or the life to come, they will return. They will have to pay their debt to justice; they will suffer for their sins; and may tread a thorny path; but if it leads them at last, like the penitent Prodigal, to a loving and forgiving Father’s heart and home, the painful experience will not have been in vain. (Orson F. Whitney quoting the Prophet Joseph Smith in Conference Report, April 1929, 110.)
“Isn’t this statement encouraging news for parents whose children are sealed to them?”
The First Generation
Elder Paul B. Pieper
Of the Seventy
“First generation members occupy a special and important place in the Church and their families. Did you know that first generation members constitute more than half the membership of the Church? Perhaps not since the early days of the Church has the first generation constituted such a high percentage of total Church membership as today. Your faith and testimonies are a great strength and blessing to other Church members. Through you, we gain a deeper understanding of gospel principles and our testimonies are strengthened.
“You add great strength to the Church when you use your testimony, talents, abilities, strengths and energy to build the kingdom in your wards and branches. You are great examples of sharing the gospel, serving missions, sending children on missions and welcoming new members. You reach out in kindness to those around you, lifting and blessing them through inspired service. So much of what is done in the Church could not be done without your efforts.
“More importantly, as a first generation member, you occupy an important place in your family. You are an example to your family of a true disciple of Jesus Christ. As you live the gospel at home, those around you feel the Savior’s love through you.
They know that you are engaged in something good, even if they do not understand it or have enough faith to accept it.
Be patient and kind, pray each day to know how you can serve them and the Lord will help you influence your family for good. By being consistently good and upright, you will establish patterns of faithfulness and righteousness. Those patterns will shape your life, but more importantly will become a standard for your family and posterity…
“Please never underestimate who you are and the power you have to affect others.”
Faith, Service, Constancy
Elder David S. Baxter
“Thirty-nine years ago, two of the Lord’s missionaries knocked on my family’s door in Glasgow, Scotland…
“…A few weeks later we were baptized and confirmed…
“…So began a gospel journey which has enriched and blessed every aspect of our lives, bringing a deep, abiding, calming sense of purpose and direction. In the hope that it may prove helpful to those new to Church membership, I will share today just three gospel fundamentals learned along the way.
“First, is the motivating, transforming power of faith in Jesus Christ. Such faith is like spiritual oxygen. As we allow faith to freely flow within us, it awakens and enlivens our spiritual senses. It breathes life into our very souls…
“Second, as we serve we grow. President George Albert Smith taught, ‘It is not what we receive that enriches our lives, it is what we give.’
“Selfless service is a wonderful antidote to the ills that flow from the world-wide epidemic of self-indulgence…
“Stretching our souls in service helps us to rise above our cares, concerns and challenges. As we focus our energies on lifting the burdens of others, something miraculous happens. Our own burdens diminish. We become happier. There is more substance in our lives.
“Third, discipleship does not guarantee freedom from the storms of life. Even as we are wending our way carefully and faithfully along the straight and narrow path, we encounter obstacle and challenge. There are days, perhaps even months and years when life is just hard. We experience our fair share of adversity, heartache, loneliness, pain, grief. Sometimes, it seems, more than our fair share…
“The truth is that our only safety, our only security, our only hope is to hold fast to that which is good. As the mists of darkness gather around us, we are only lost if we choose to let go of the iron rod, which is the word of God.”
The Power of Patience
Elder Robert C. Oaks
Of the Presidency of the Seventy
“The Book of Mormon provides insight into the relationship between patience and charity. Mormon, after pointing out that if a man, ‘have not charity he is nothing; wherefore he must needs have charity,’ goes on to name the thirteen elements of charity, or the pure love of Christ. I find it most interesting that four of the thirteen elements of this ‘must have’ virtue relate to ‘patience.’ (Moroni 7: 44-45)
“First, ‘charity suffereth long.’ That is what patience is all about. ‘Charity is not easily provoked’ is another aspect of this quality, as is ‘charity beareth all things.’ And finally, charity ‘endureth all things’ is certainly an expression of patience. From these defining elements it is evident that without patience gracing our soul we would be seriously lacking with respect to a Christ-like character (Moroni 7:45)…
“The greatest scriptural examples of patience are found in the life of Jesus Christ. His long suffering and endurance is best demonstrated on the excruciating night in Gethsemane as He uttered, in His atoning agony, ‘…O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt.’ (Matthew 26: 39)
“He truly suffered, and bore, and endured all things.
“While nailed on the cross on Calvary, Christ continued in His perfect example of patience as He uttered the singular words, “…Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.’ (Luke 23: 34)
“These examples of patience have greater meaning for us when we consider the challenging admonition found in 3 Nephi, ‘…Therefore, what manner of men ought ye to be? Verily I say unto you, even as I am.’ (3 Nephi 27: 27)…
“Is patience important and worthy of our pondering and pursuit? It certainly is if we would avoid the demeaning classification of ‘nothing’ used to label those without charity. It is if we desire to be less a natural-man enemy to God. It is if we would be heavenly. It is if we would seek to become, ‘after the manner of Christ.’”
O Be Wise
Elder M. Russell Ballard
Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
“I have met with members of the Church in many nations of the world. I’m impressed with the spirit and energy of so many of our members. Hearts are being touched and lives are being blessed. The work is moving forward in dynamic ways, and for that I am profoundly grateful. But I see many ways that Church members must be so very wise in all that we do…
“May I suggest six ways in which we can serve both wisely and well?
“First, focus on people and principles — not on programs. One of the most important things we do through the gospel of Jesus Christ is to build people. Properly serving others requires effort to understand them as individuals — their personalities, their strengths, their concerns, their hopes and dreams — so that correct help and support can be provided…
“Second, be innovative. As we work to magnify our callings, we should seek the inspiration of the Spirit to solve problems in ways that will best help the people we serve…The instruction to magnify our callings is not a command to embellish and complicate them. To innovate does not necessarily mean to expand; very often it means to simplify…
“Third, divide the work and delegate responsibility. There is a difference between being responsible for getting the work done and doing the work yourself. For example, gone should be the days when an elders quorum president feels he needs to personally finish the home teaching visits that others have missed. The same is true for Relief Society presidents with respect to visiting teaching. Not only is this unwise, it isn’t home or visiting teaching. Home teaching isn’t about numbers or reporting visits to a home; visits and numbers are just a measuring stick. Home teaching is about love of people and service to and watch care over our Heavenly Father’s children…
“Fourth, eliminate guilt. I hope it goes without saying that guilt is not a proper motivational technique for leaders and teachers of the gospel of Jesus Christ. We must always motivate through love and sincere appreciation, not by creating guilt. I like the thought ‘catch others doing something right.’…
“…we need to remember that Christ came to remove guilt by forgiving those who repent (see Alma 24: 10). He came to bring peace to the troubled soul…
“Fifth, we need to thoughtfully allocate our time, income, and energy. I would like to let you in on a little secret. Some of you have already learned it.
If you haven’t, it’s time you knew. No matter what you family needs are or your responsibilities in the Church, there is no such thing as ‘done.
’ There will always be more we can do. There is always another family matter that needs attention, another lesson to prepare, another interview to conduct, another meeting to attend. We just need to be wise in protecting our health and in following the counsel President Hinckley has often given — to just ‘do the best we can.’…
“Sixth, a word to you leaders about extending responsibilities to members, and especially to recent converts. President Hinckley said that every new member of the Church needs a responsibility. Whatever responsibility may be extended should not overwhelm new members but should give them ample opportunity to become comfortable in the Church by learning its doctrine and by rubbing shoulders with friendly members. It should anchor them to the restored gospel through increasing their testimony and giving meaningfully service.”
President James E. Faust
Of the First Presidency
“The word for disciple and the word for discipline both come from the same Latin root — discipulus; which means pupil. It emphasizes practice or exercise. Self-discipline and self-control are consistent and permanent characteristics of the followers of Jesus, as exemplified by Peter, James, and John, who indeed ‘forsook all, and followed him.’
“What is discipleship? It is primarily obedience to the Savior. Discipleship includes many things. It is chastity. It is tithing. It is family home evening. It is keeping all the commandments. It is forsaking anything that is not good for us. Everything in life has a price. Considering the Savior’s great promise for peace in this life and eternal life in the life to come, discipleship is a price worth paying. It is a price we cannot afford not to pay. By measure, the requirements of discipleship are much, much less than the promised blessings.
“The disciples of Christ receive a call, to not only forsake the pursuit of world things, but to carry the cross daily. To carry the cross means to follow His commandments and to build up His church on the earth. It also means self-mastery. As Jesus of Nazareth instructed us, ‘If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.’ ‘And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.’…
“The blessings of discipleship are readily available to all who are willing to pay the price. Discipleship brings purpose to our lives so that rather than wandering aimlessly, we walk steadily on that straight and narrow way that leads us back to our Heavenly Father. Discipleship brings us comfort in times of sorrow, peace of conscience, and joy in service, all of which help us to be more like Jesus.”