'Be partakers of divine nature,' prophet counsels

Be forgiving

Be kind- Focus on temple worship

"I have shed many tears and have sought my Father in Heaven in earnest prayer in a desire to be equal to this high and holy calling," said President Howard W. Hunter in his opening conference address after being sustained as Church president. (See article on solemn assembly on page 3.)

Speaking Saturday morning, the prophet remarked: "I have prayed to be worthy to bear this assignment which 13 other men in this dispensation have borne. Perhaps only they, watching from the other side of the veil, can fully understand the weight of responsibility and the deep dependence on the Lord that I feel in accepting this sacred calling.

"In assuming this responsibility, I acknowledge God's miraculous hand in my life. He has repeatedly spared my life and restored my strength, has repeatedly brought me back from the edge of eternity, and has allowed me to continue in my mortal ministry for another season.

"I have wondered on occasion," President Hunter continued, "why my life has been spared. But now I have set that question aside and ask only for the faith and prayers of the members of the Church so we can work together, I laboring with you, to fulfill God's purposes in this season of our lives."

President Hunter referred to when he was called to the Twelve in 1959 and said: "Each man who is ordained an apostle and set apart as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve is sustained as a prophet, seer and revelator. The First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, called and ordained to hold the keys of the priesthood, have the authority and responsibility to govern the Church, to administer its ordinances, to teach its doctrine and to establish and maintain its practices.

"When a president of the Church is ill or not able to function fully in all of the duties of his office, his two counselors, who, with him, comprise a Quorum of the First Presidency, carry on the work of the Presidency. Any major questions, policies, programs, or doctrines are prayerfully considered in council by the counselors in the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. No decision emanates from the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve without total unanimity among all concerned.

"Following this inspired pattern, the Church will move forward without interruption. The governance of the Church and the exercise of the prophetic gifts will always be vested in those apostolic authorities who hold and exercise all of the keys of the priesthood."

President Hunter reminded Church members: "At the time of my call, I issued two invitations to the members of the Church. I feel impressed to give these continued emphasis.

"First, I invite all members of the Church to live with evermore attention to the life and example of the Lord Jesus Christ, especially the love and hope and compassion He displayed. I pray that we will treat each other with more kindness, more patience, more courtesy and forgiveness.

"To those who have transgressed or been offended, we say come back. The path of repentance, though hard at times, lifts one ever upward and leads to a perfect forgiveness.

"To those who are hurt or are struggling and afraid, we say let us stand with you and dry your tears. Come back. Stand with us in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints."

The prophet then referred to a scripture in 2 Peter 1:3-4 wherein the Lord has "called us to glory and virtue" and has "given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these

weT might be partakers of the divine nature."

"I believe in those exceeding great and precious promises' and I invite all within the sound of my voice to claim them. We should strive tobe partakers of the divine nature.' Only then may we truly hope for `peace in this world and eternal life in the world to come.' " (D&C 59:23.)

Continuing, President Hunter said: "In that spirit I invite the Latter-day Saints to look to the temple of the Lord as the great symbol of your membership. It is the deepest desire of my heart to have every member of the Church worthy to enter the temple. It would please the Lord if every adult member would be worthy of - and carry - a current temple recommend. The things that we must do and not do to be worthy of a temple recommend are the very things that ensure we will be happy as individuals and as families.

"If proximity to a temple does not allow frequent attendance, gather in the history of your families and prepare the names for the sacred ordinances performed only in the temple. This family research is essential to the work of the temples, and blessings surely will come to those who do that work."

President Hunter said: "In the ordinances of the temple, the foundations of the eternal family are sealed in place. The Church has the responsibility - and the authority - to preserve and protect the family as the foundation of society. The pattern for family life, instituted from before the foundations of the world, provides for children to be born to and nurtured by a father and mother who are husband and wife, lawfully married. Parenthood is a sacred obligation and privilege, with children welcomed as a `heritage of the Lord.' " (Psalm 127:3.)

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