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Bishop W. Christopher Waddell: ‘More Than a Hero’

‘There is only One that is guaranteed to deliver — because He already has and always will.’

Bishop W. Christopher Waddell, first counselor in the Presiding Bishopric, spoke during the Sunday morning session of October 2023 general conference. Bishop Waddell talked about the importance of keeping focus on the Savior and not being distracted by worldly heroes. The following is a summary of what he said. 

Bishop Waddell’s talk summary 

Although admiring and respecting heroes — like bloggers, influencers, athletes or musicians — can be innocent, revering a hero in excess “can be the equivalent of the children of Israel worshipping a golden calf in the desert of Sinai.”

With the Israelites, “the challenge was not the gold that they brought with them on their journey to the promised land, but what they allowed the gold to become. ... Their focus on the calf impacted their ability to worship the true God.”

However, there is One — who is more than a hero — whom Latter-day Saints must not lose sight of: the Savior. “The hero, now and always, is Jesus Christ, and anything, or anyone, that distracts us from His teachings ... can negatively impact our progress on the covenant path.”

In perfect obedience and commitment, “Jesus Christ completed the supreme, heroic act in all of creation, culminating in His glorious Resurrection. ... No leader has shown more courage, no humanitarian more kindness, no physician has cured more disease and no artist has been more creative than Jesus Christ.”

This primary focus on the Lord cannot be dismissed by turning attention to worldly idols. “Choosing the right hero has eternal consequences.”

Notable quotes

“In our complex world, it can be tempting to turn to society’s ‘heroes’ in an effort to provide meaning or clarity to life when it may seem confusing or overwhelming. ... This might be fine for a temporary diversion, but we must be watchful that this form of hero worship does not become our golden calf.”

“It is by choosing Jesus Christ, the King of Kings, that we choose the Kingdom of God. Any other choice is the equivalent of choosing the arm of flesh, or a golden calf, and will ultimately fail us.”

“There is only One that is guaranteed to deliver — because He already has and always will.”

See the full text of Bishop Waddell’s talk: ‘More Than a Hero’

Who is Bishop Waddell?

Bishop W. Christopher Waddell
Bishop W. Christopher Waddell | The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
  • Bishop W. Christopher Waddell was sustained as the first counselor in the Presiding Bishopric on Oct. 3, 2020. He had been serving as second counselor since October 2015. He also served as a General Authority Seventy from 2011 until his call to the Presiding Bishopric.
  • A former top volleyball player born in Los Angeles, California, the 6-foot-5-inch Bishop Waddell presided over the Spain Barcelona Mission — where he had served a full-time mission as a young adult — before serving as a general authority.
  • Previously, Bishop Waddell served as a counselor in the South America Northwest Area presidency in Lima, Peru, with his wife, Sister Carol S. Waddell.

What has Bishop Waddell done recently?

Read more of Bishop Waddell’s general conference addresses.

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October 2023 general conference: Announcements, talk summaries and session highlights
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