In beginning the Saturday morning session of the 187th Semiannual General Conference, President Dieter F. Uchtdorf discussed his belief that every man, woman and child experiences a yearning to return to his or her heavenly home.
“Deep within us is a longing to somehow reach past the veil and embrace Heavenly Parents we once knew and cherished,” the second counselor in the First Presidency taught.
And while some might suppress this yearning, President Uchtdorf noted, “those who do not quench this light within themselves can embark on an incredible journey — a wondrous migration towards heavenly climes.”
The “sublime message” of the Church is that God is a loving Father who prepared a way for His children to return to Him. “No matter your history — if you have faltered, failed, feel broken, bitter, betrayed, or beaten — know that you are not alone. God still calls to you,” President Uchtdorf said. “The Savior extends His hand to you.”
President Uchtdorf offered two reasons individuals should turn to the Lord. “First: Your life will be better. Second: God will use you to make the lives of others better.”
Even though individuals’ lives will be better, “this does not mean that our lives will be free from sorrow,” President Uchtdorf explained. “However, it will remove the barriers between you and the help your Heavenly Father wants to give you. God will be with you. He will direct your steps. He will walk beside you and even carry you when your need is greatest.”
Even in the midst of life’s storms, those who incline their hearts to God will be encircled by His peace, he continued. “Their joy will not be diminished. They will not be abandoned or forgotten. … Those who heed the inner call and seek God, those who pray, believe, and walk the path of discipleship — even if they stumble along that path at times — receive the consoling assurance that ‘all things shall work together for [their] good’” (Doctrine and Covenants 90:24).
President Uchtdorf asked listeners, “Do you yearn to feel within your heart the peace that passes understanding? Then turn your soul toward the light. Begin your own wonderful journey home. As you do so, your life will be better, happier, and more purposeful.”
The journey back to God inevitably leads individuals to bless the lives of others, President Uchtdorf explained, even if they don’t feel useful. “We might think we have to be ‘more’ of something for God to use us — more intelligent, more wealthy, more charismatic, more talented, more spiritual. Blessings will come not so much because of our abilities but because of our choices,” he taught. “And the God of the Universe will work within and through you, magnifying your humble efforts for His purposes.”
The history of God’s work is filled with people who considered themselves inadequate, President Uchtdorf said. “How encouraging it is to know, though we are imperfect, if our hearts are turned to God, He will be generous and kind and use us for His purposes.”
Those who love and serve God and their fellowmen will see wondrous things happen in their lives, President Uchtdorf promised. “Doors that seemed shut will open. Angels will go before them and prepare the way. No matter your position in your community or in the Church, God will use you if you are willing. He will magnify your righteous desires and turn the compassionate actions you sow into a bountiful harvest of goodness.”
All are “strangers and pilgrims” in this world and far from home. “But that doesn’t mean we need to feel lost or alone,” President Uchtdorf said.
Heavenly Father has given all the Light of Christ. “Deep within each one of us, a heavenly stirring urges us to turn our eyes and hearts to Him as we make the pilgrimage back to our celestial home.
“But this requires effort. You cannot get there without striving to learn of Him, understanding His instructions, earnestly applying them, and putting one foot in front of the other,” he said.
Life is not a self-driving car or airplane on autopilot, President Uchtdorf said. “You cannot just float in the waters of life and trust that the current will take you wherever you hope to be one day. Discipleship requires our willingness to swim upstream when needed. No one else is responsible for your personal journey.”
President Uchtdorf told listeners they must make the commitment to keep God’s commandments. “That is your sole burden, your sole privilege. This is your great adventure,” he said.
The Church’s purpose “is to encourage, teach, lift, and inspire. This wonderful Church provides opportunities for you to exercise compassion, reach out to others, and renew and keep sacred covenants,” President Uchtdorf explained. “It is designed to bless your life and improve your home, community, and nation.”
He then invited listeners to “come, join with us and trust the Lord. Lend your talents to His wonderful work. Reach out, encourage, heal and support all who desire to feel and heed the yearning for our supernal home. Let us join together in this glorious pilgrimage to heavenly climes.”