During the Saturday morning session of general conference Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles spoke about Christ’s parable of the sower. "My message concerns those of us who have committed to be followers of Christ,” he said.
The first principle Elder Oaks taught from the parable of the sower was about the seeds that fell on stony ground, sprang up but had no roots and were scorched by the sun and their roots withered away (Mark 4:5-6).
"If we are not rooted in the teachings of the gospel and regular in its practices, any one of us can develop a stony heart, which is stony ground for spiritual seeds,” he said. “Spiritual food is necessary for spiritual survival, especially in a world that is moving away from belief in God and the absolutes of right and wrong.”
Another destroyer of spiritual roots is the keyhole view of the gospel, said Elder Oaks. This limited view, he explained, focuses on a particular point of doctrine or deficiency in a leader and ignores the fullness of the gospel plan and the personal and communal fruits of its harvest.
The second part of the parable Elder Oaks spoke about described the seeds that fell among the thorns. The thorns [cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches] grew up and choked the growing seeds so they bore no fruit (Mark 4:7).
“When attitudes or priorities are fixed on the acquisition, use, or possession of property, we call that materialism,” said Elder Oaks. “Whoever has an abundance of material things is in jeopardy of being ‘sedated’ by riches and other things of the world.”
Those who are overcome by the cares of this life are those who are paralyzed by fear of the future, which hinders going forward in faith and trusting in God and His promises, said Elder Oaks.
“We surrender to the ‘pleasures of this life’ when we are addicted, which impairs God’s precious gift of agency; when we are beguiled by trivial distractions, which draws away from things of eternal importance; and when we have an entitlement mentality, which impairs the personal growth necessary to qualify us for our eternal destiny,” said Elder Oaks.
The final principle he taught was the Savior’s description of the seed that “fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit” in various measures (Matthew 13:8). “It is up to each of us to set the priorities and to do the things that make our soil good and our harvest plentiful,” said Elder Oaks.
“We achieve this conversion by prayer, by scripture-reading, by serving, and by regularly partaking of the sacrament to always have His Spirit to be with us,” he said. “We must also seek that mighty change of heart (Alma 5:21-14) that replaces evil desires and selfish concerns with the love of God and the desire to serve Him and His children.”