An inspiring conference

Jesus is the Christ, the Savior and Redeemer of the world, and is at the helm of His Church in these latter days. Such was the affirmation given during an Easter-weekend general conference of the Church that saw the sustaining of a new special witness of Christ to all the world.

Elder Robert Dean Hales was called and sustained as the 90th apostle in this dispensation, following the death on Feb. 25 of the much-beloved apostle, Elder Marvin J. Ashton.Elder Hales, who has served in many responsible Church callings, has been the Presiding Bishop of the Church since 1985. Only those closely acquainted with the work of the Presiding Bishopric understand the complexity and demands of administering the temporal affairs of the worldwide Church. Bishop Hales has filled this role with wisdom and diligence.

The training and preparation that Elder Hales has undergone since his first call as an Assistant to the Twelve in April 1975 have equipped him to be chosen by the Lord to be one of His special witnesses, and to be a prophet, seer, and revelator.

The calling of apostles was the first organizational act taken by the Lord Himself as He established His Church in the meridian of times.

Luke writes that ". . . he called unto him his disciples: and of them he chose twelve, whom also he called apostles;" (Luke 6:13.) Mark adds that they were called ". . . that they might be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach." (Mark 3:14.) Luke also tells us that those who were first called - Peter, Andrew, James, and John - immediately ". . . forsook all, and followed him." (Luke 5:11.)

The apostles of this dispensation continue to witness of Christ's atonement and resurrection. Such testimonies filled the sessions of this great Easter season conference. Each of the special witnesses of today bore fervent testimony that Jesus is the Christ and is guiding and directing the work of His latter-day Kingdom.

The personal presence of the chief apostle, President Ezra Taft Benson, was missed because of illness. But the two apostles who serve as his counselors, and a united Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, evidenced once again that the Church is being properly led and that the work of Christ's ministry is in good hands.

It is well to remember that when the first apostles of this dispensation were called, the Lord said to the world: ". . . they who will not hear the voice of the Lord, neither the voice of his servants, neither give heed to the words of the prophets and apostles, shall be cut off from among the people." (D&C 1:14.)

Much was said in this conference that we need to heed, but special attention was focused on the family. Families are under siege. Immorality and violence spawned by unrighteousness threaten to disrupt or destroy family living. Too many marriage relationships are crumbling under an avalanche of permissive behavior and broken vows. Too many children are growing up undisciplined and without spiritual moorings.

What are we to do? The speakers in this conference made it clear that love at home, family prayer, scripture study, and regular family home evenings are not just desirable, but are absolutely essential.

If families lose their spiritual moorings it is easy to see how they can be cut off from among the people of the Lord. It behooves all to study and ponder the counsel given in this conference to protect families from the onslaught of evil.

The path for peace was also stressed because wars and bloodshed are devastating to individuals and families. Through its missionary efforts the Church is striving to teach that only through the truths of Jesus Christ can real peace be achieved. There are nearly 50,000 full-time missionaries, who, with their leaders, are serving in 259 missions in 149 nations and territories of the world. But so many more are needed to reach a sick world that grows more evil and violent by the day.

The nearly 9 million members of the Church need continually to add their personal efforts to those of the apostles and prophets by speaking up to all who have listening ears. The present flow of truth must become a flood over the whole earth for true peace to be realized.

Another inspiring conference has concluded. The business of the Church has been transacted, and the truths of the gospel have been taught. The apostles and others have invited us to do good, to love God, and to serve Him. Now it is up to us to internalize the counsel given and order our lives so that we come to Christ with broken hearts and contrite spirits and invite all mankind to do likewise.

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