There has never been a time in the history of the world when “knowledge of the Savior is more personally vital and relevant to every human soul,” said President Russell M. Nelson during the 191st Semiannual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Oct. 2.
“Imagine how quickly the devastating conflicts throughout the world — and those in our individual lives — would be resolved if we all chose to follow Jesus Christ and heed His teachings,” said President Nelson.
Speaking from the Conference Center podium for the first time since the inception of the COVID-19 pandemic, President Nelson said general authorities and general officers of the Church would focus their conference messages on “the Savior, Jesus Christ, His mercy and His infinite redeeming power.”
“This is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,” said President Nelson. “We are His covenant people. The Lord declared that He would hasten His work in its time, and He is doing so at an ever-increasing pace. We are privileged to participate in His holy work.”
Millions of members gathered around the globe for the historic conference — the first held in the Conference Center in two years. A few invited guests seated in the lower plaza, filling less than 5% of the Conference Center capacity, attended each session. Conference proceedings have or will be shared in 98 languages and broadcast to more than 170 countries and territories. Proceedings were available via internet, cable television systems, and radio and television stations. Speakers and choir members (performing each day with 50% of its members) were vaccinated and tested for COVID-19.
“We are delighted to be speaking to you from the Conference Center once again,” said President Nelson. “Most of the seats remain empty, but the presence of some members of the Tabernacle Choir is a wonderful step forward. We welcome you all to this largely virtual conference, wherever you are.”
President Nelson, who offered three addresses, said Sunday morning that these are the latter days. “If you and I are to withstand the forthcoming perils and pressures, it is imperative that we each have a firm spiritual foundation built upon the rock of our Redeemer, Jesus Christ.”
Read more: What did President Nelson teach during general conference? Strengthen your foundation, make time for the Lord
During his remarks, President Dallin H. Oaks, first counselor in the First Presidency, affirmed that the scriptures, ancient and modern, clearly teach the origin and need for a Church directed by and with the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ. “We also testify that the restored Church of Jesus Christ has been established to teach the fulness of His doctrine and to officiate with His priesthood authority to perform the ordinances necessary to enter the Kingdom of God.”
President Henry B. Eyring, second counselor in the First Presidency, said the more Latter-day Saints have the doctrine of Christ in their lives and hearts, the more they will feel greater love and sympathy for those who have never had the blessing of faith in Jesus Christ or are struggling to maintain it. “It is my testimony that the rock upon which we stand is our witness that Jesus is the Christ, that this is His Church, which He leads personally,” he said.
Every member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles also bore testimony of the divinity of the Savior, Jesus Christ.
- “We cannot lose our love for and hope in Jesus, even if we face seemingly overwhelming challenges,” said President M. Russell Ballard. “Heavenly Father and Jesus will never forget us. They love us.”
- Elder Jeffrey R. Holland said, “When difficult things are asked of us, even things contrary to the longings of our heart, remember that the loyalty we pledge to the cause of Christ is to be the supreme devotion of our lives.”
- “We hope you can feel the sincerity of our testimony. Jesus Christ lives,” said Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf. “He is real. He is the Son of the living God, and He directs prophets on the earth in our day.”
- “Covenant promises and blessings are possible only because of our Savior, Jesus Christ,” said Elder David A. Bednar. “He invites us to look to Him, come unto Him, learn of Him, and bind ourselves to Him through the covenants and ordinances of His restored gospel.”
- “I testify and provide my personal apostolic witness that Jesus Christ, the Savior and Redeemer of the world, leads and guides His restored Church,” said Elder Quentin L. Cook. “His life and atoning mission are the true source of peace. He is the ‘Prince of Peace.’”
- Elder D. Todd Christofferson said, “I bear witness of the reality of our Heavenly Father and our Redeemer, Jesus Christ, and of Their constant, undying love.”
- “Now is our time to reestablish the revealed name of the Church,” said Elder Neil L. Andersen. “The destiny of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints requires that we be called by His name.”
- “‘All things in Christ’ (Ephesians 1:10) and ‘the things of my soul’ (2 Nephi 4:15) are what this Church, this gospel and this people are all about,” said Elder Ronald A. Rasband.
- “It has been said that the gospel of Jesus Christ is simply beautiful, and beautifully simple. The world is not,” said Elder Gary E. Stevenson.
- “We can rely on Jesus Christ, who is ‘our peace, who … hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; having abolished in his [atoning sacrifice] the enmity’” (Ephesians 2:14-15), said Elder Dale G. Renlund.
- Elder Gerrit W. Gong said, “With kindness, understanding and mutual respect, we each humbly seek the Lord and pray and welcome His restored gospel blessings for all.”
- “The expression of compassion for others is, in fact, the essence of the gospel of Jesus Christ and a marked evidence of our spiritual and emotional closeness to the Savior,” said Elder Ulisses Soares.