A highlight of the Saturday afternoon session of the 179th Annual General Conference on April 4, 2009, was the sustaining of new member of the Presidency of the Seventy, new members of the First Quorum of the Seventy, new members of the Second Quorum of the Seventy and 40 Area Seventies.
The First Presidency also announced the reorganization of the Young Men general presidency and the Sunday School general presidency.
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, second counselor in the First Presidency, conducted the Saturday afternoon session of conference and led in the sustaining of General Authorities and officers.
Presidency of the Seventy
Elder Donald L. Hallstrom, a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy since April 1, 2000, was sustained as a member of the Presidency of the Seventy.
First Quorum of the Seventy
Called as General Authorities to serve in the First Quorum of the Seventy were Elder Yoon Hwan Choi, Seoul, South Korea; Elder Brent H. Nielson, Twin Falls, Idaho; Elder Dale G. Renlund, Salt Lake City, Utah; Elder Michael T. Ringwood, Salt Lake City, Utah; and Elder Joseph W. Sitati, Nairobi, Kenya.
Also called to the First Quorum of the Seventy was Elder Mervyn B. Arnold, who had served as member of the Second Quorum of the Seventy since 2003.
Second Quorum of the Seventy
Called as General Authorities to serve in the Second Quorum of the Seventy are Elder Wilford W. Andersen, Mesa, Arizona; Elder Koichi Aoyagi, Chiba-ken, Japan; Elder Bruce A. Carlson, San Antonio, Texas; Elder Bradley D. Foster, Rigby, Idaho; Elder James B. Martino, Aubrey, Texas; Elder Kent F. Richards, North Salt Lake, Utah; and Elder Gregory A. Schwitzer, Salt Lake City, Utah.
Members of the Seventy have responsibility for administering the work of the Church throughout the world under the direction of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Some of them also have executive responsibilities in a number of Church departments. Members of the First Quorum of the Seventy usually serve to age seventy.
Young Men General Presidency
Brother David L. Beck was called as the general president of the Young Men, the Church's organization for young men ages 12 though 18. Brother Larry M. Gibson and Brother Adrian Ochoa will serve as first and second counselors. Brother Charles W. Dahlquist II, Brother Dean R. Burgess and Brother Michael A. Neider were released and received an expression of gratitude for their five years of leadership.
Sunday School General Presidency
Brother Russell T. Osguthorpe was called as the general president of the Sunday School. Brother David M. McConkie and Brother Matthew O. Richardson will serve as first and second counselors. Brother A. Roger Merrill, Brother Daniel K. Judd and Brother William D. Oswald were released and received an expression of gratitude for their five years of leadership.
Elder Spencer J. Condie of the First Quorum of the Seventy offered the invocation; Elder Douglas L. Callister of the Second Quorum of the Seventy gave the benediction.
Music for the session was by a combined choir from the Salt Lake Area Institutes of Religion. Stephen P. Schank and Richard T. Decker directed, while Bonnie Goodliffe and Linda Margetts accompanied on the organ.
Following are quotes from addresses delivered during the Saturday afternoon session of conference:
Elder Russell M. Nelson, Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
When should we pray? Whenever we desire! Alma taught, "Counsel with the Lord in all thy doings, and he will direct thee for good; yea, when thou liest down at night lie down unto the Lord, . . . and when thou risest in the morning let thy heart be full of thanks unto God; and if ye do these things, ye shall be lifted up at the last day" (Alma 37:37. See also Philippians 4:6; Alma 34:18-27) Doctrine and Covenants 10:5; 93:49). Jesus reminded His disciples "that they should not cease to pray in their hearts" (3 Nephi 20:1).
The practice of Church members is to kneel in family prayer each morning and evening, plus daily personal prayers and blessings on our food. President Monson said, "As we offer unto the Lord our family and our personal prayers, let us do so with faith and trust in Him" ("A Royal Priesthood," Ensign, November 2007, 61). And so, in praying for temporal and spiritual blessings, we should all plead, as did Jesus in the Lord's Prayer, "Thy will be done" (See Matthew 26:42; Jacob 7:14; Ether 12:29; Doctrine and Covenants 109:44; Moses 4:2).
Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world — He who ransomed us with His blood — is our Redeemer and our Exemplar (See 3 Nephi 27:13-15 and 3 Nephi 27:21-22). At the close of His mortal mission, He prayed that His will — as the Beloved Son — might be swallowed up in the will of the Father (Moses 4:2). In that crucial hour the Savior cried, "Father, thy will be done, and the glory be thine forever" (Doctrine and Covenants 65:5). So we should pray to God: "Thy will be done."
Elder M. Russell Ballard, Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
It is my message and testimony to you today, my young friends, that for the most important questions of your eternal lives, there are answers in the scriptures and in the words and testimonies of apostles and prophets. The fact that these words come largely from older men, past and present, doesn't make them any less relevant. In fact, it makes their words even more valuable to you because they come from those who have learned much through years of devout living.
There is a famous saying attributed to George Santayana. You've probably heard it: "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." There are, in fact, several different variations of this quote, including, "Those who do not remember the past are doomed to repeat it," but regardless of the exact language, the sentiment is profound. There are great lessons to be learned from the past, and you ought to learn them so that you don't exhaust your spiritual strength repeating past mistakes and bad choices.
Elder Richard G. Scott, Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
Each member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is blessed to live in a time when the Lord has inspired His prophets to provide significantly increased accessibility to Holy Temples. With careful planning and some sacrifice the majority of the members of the Church can receive the ordinances of the temple for themselves and their ancestors and be blessed by the covenants made therein.
Because I love you, I am going to speak to you heart to heart, without mincing words. I have seen that many times individuals have made great sacrifices to go to a distant temple. But when a temple is built close by, within a short time, many do not visit it regularly. I have a suggestion: When a temple is conveniently nearby, small things may interrupt your plans to go to the temple. Set specific goals, considering your circumstances, of when you can and will participate in temple ordinances. Then do not allow anything to interfere with that plan. This pattern will guarantee that those who live in the shadow of the temple will be as blessed as are those who plan far ahead and make a long trip to the temple.
Elder Quentin L. Cook, Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
At the time Joseph Smith received revelations and organized the Church, the vast majority of churches taught that the Savior's atonement would not bring about the salvation of most of mankind. The common precept was that a few would be saved and the overwhelming majority would be doomed to endless tortures of the most awful and unspeakable intensity (Frederic W Farrar, Eternal Hope, 1892, p. xxxvi). The marvelous doctrine revealed to the Prophet Joseph unveiled to us a plan of salvation that is applicable to all mankind including those who do not hear of Christ in this life, children who die before the age of accountability and those who have no understanding (Doctrine and Covenants 137:7-10 and Doctrine and Covenants 29:46-50).
Elder Kevin W. Pearson, First Quorum of the Seventy
Fear and faith cannot coexist. One gives way to the other. The simple fact is this: We all need to constantly build faith while at the same time avoid the sources of destructive disbelief. The Savior's teaching regarding faith as a grain of a mustard seed, recognizes this reality. Consider it this way: Our net usable faith is what we have left to exercise after we subtract our sources of doubt and disbelief. You might ask yourself this question: "Is my own net faith positive or negative?" If your faith exceeds your doubt and disbelief, the answer is likely yes. If you are allowing sources of doubt and disbelief to manage you, the answer might be no.
Elder Rafael E. Pino, First Quorum of the Seventy
The Savior said:
"Therefore whoso heareth these sayings of mine and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, who built his house upon a rock —
"And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not, for it was founded upon a rock.
"And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand —
"And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell, and great was the fall of it" (3 Nephi 14: 24-27).
It is interesting to notice that the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew against both houses! Because, living the Gospel does not mean that we will everlastingly escape adversity. Rather, it means that we will be prepared to face and endure adversity more confidently.