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3 leaders are grateful for new callings, church

They bear their testimonies during session

Three newly sustained leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints were called on to bear testimony during the afternoon session of general conference on Sunday.

Sister Bonnie Parkin
Sister Bonnie Parkin

Sister Bonnie Parkin, the new Relief Society general president, said that embracing opportunities beyond ourselves is how we grow. She acknowledged she was certainly about to grow in accepting the helm of the LDS women's organization, with 4.9 million members worldwide.

Elder Gerald N. Lund, called to the Second Quorum of the Seventy, said he and his wife had decided three years ago to "set our feet on different paths in life," adding their feet were now on a much different path than expected.

In his remarks, Elder William R. Walker, also called to the Second Quorum of the Seventy, expressed his love for the Lord, the church and the "faithful saints throughout the world."

The three were sustained on Saturday afternoon by church members, who also voted thanks for the outgoing Relief Society presidency.

Sister Parkin first offered her gratitude to her predecessors — a sentiment that would later be echoed in the remarks of Elder M. Russell Ballard and President Gordon B. Hinckley. Mixing humor with humility, she told of the astonishment of one of her sons that she had been asked to lead the Relief Society sisters of the world.

Elder Gerald N. Lund
Elder Gerald N. Lund

"Aren't children wonderful?" she said. She also told of a son who remembered a scripture tacked to the family refrigerator: "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." He'd seen it often, he said, because he was in and out of the fridge a lot. She also quoted the late Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Wallace Stegner. "The women of the church," Stegner said. "They are incredible."

Sister Parkin bore testimony that the Savior lives and "loves the women of the church." In closing, she recalled a sister missionary who said, "I came on a mission for Heavenly Father to let him know I love him and appreciate him, and I am leaving more indebted than I ever was before I came."

Elder Lund said he remembered a priesthood lesson delivered by Elder F. Enzio Busche that stressed the Lord may grant the desires of our hearts, even when they lead to our destruction. Elder Lund said he that his desires weren't necessarily wrong, but "they were mine."

"At that time," he said, "I began to let the Lord know I'd like to fulfill his desires." And that, he said, "Is an easy thing to say but a difficult thing to do."

Elder William R. Walker
Elder William R. Walker

Elder Lund closed his testimony by saying "I have always loved the Prophet Joseph Smith" and has come to know that "he is the prophet of prophets, one who is worthy to bring about the Restoration."

Elder Walker remembered singing the hymn "I'll Go Where You Want Me to Go" as a young man in Alberta, Canada, and said the text seemed especially appropriate to him now. He expressed gratitude for the sustaining vote of the church and reiterated his sustaining vote for the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve.

"I bear witness that God lives and that Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer," he said. "I want to serve him and bear witness to the truthfulness of these things."

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