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Elder Paul V. Johnson: ‘Be Perfected in Him’

‘Our perfection is only possible through God’s grace’

Elder Paul V. Johnson of the Presidency of the Seventy spoke during the Saturday afternoon session of October 2022 general conference. He taught that perfection and changing one’s heart come only through the Savior and His Atonement. The following is a summary of what he said.

Elder Johnson’s conference talk summary 

Like a cancer patient who needs the help of a bone marrow donor to save his or her life, no one is capable of cleansing himself or herself from sin. “It is only possible through the Savior Jesus Christ and His infinite Atonement.”

The bone marrow recipient must do what doctors require of them for the transplant to work. “Although we can’t save ourselves, when we submit to the Lord’s will and keep our covenants, the way is open for our redemption.”

Like the recipient’s blood cell’s DNA changing to match the donor’s DNA, “we can have our hearts changed, have His image in our countenances and become new creatures in Christ.”

The people of Zarahemla experienced a mighty change of heart (Alma 5:7) because they “were willing to open their hearts and exercise faith, and then the Lord changed their hearts.”

It can feel daunting to fulfill the Savior’s command that “ye should be perfect even as I” (3 Nephi 12:48). Remember, “We should not assume we need to do what only the Savior can do in the miraculous process of our perfection.”

The process of change takes time “and will not be completed until after this life, but the promise is sure.” 

Notable quotes

“Although we can’t save ourselves, when we submit to the Lord’s will and keep our covenants, the way is open for our redemption.”

“We should not assume we need to do what only the Savior can do in the miraculous process of our perfection.”

“There is no question that this process of change takes time and will not be completed until after this life, but the promise is sure.” 

See the full text of Elder Johnson’s talk: ‘Be Perfected in Him’

Who is Elder Paul V. Johnson?

Elder Paul V. Johnson, a General Authority Seventy, will return to serve as Commissioner of the Chur
| Intellectual Reserve, Inc.
  • Elder Paul V. Johnson has served as a General Authority Seventy since April 2005 and has been a member of the Presidency of the Seventy since August 2021. He previously served as commissioner of the Church Educational System and in the Chile and Europe area presidencies.
  • Following his service as a missionary in the Norway Oslo Mission, his mission president asked him to consider teaching Norwegian at the Language Training Mission at then-Ricks College in Rexburg, Idaho. He accepted the opportunity.
  • He met his wife, Sister Jill Washburn Johnson, when they were high school students during a basketball tournament at BYU. They were married in August 1976 and are the parents of nine children.
  • In April 2016 general conference, Elder Johnson spoke about how the Resurrection of Christ is pivotal to the plan of salvation.

Read more about the Christ’s Atonement and perfection in the Church News

Read more of Elder Johnson’s general conference addresses

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October 2022 general conference: Talk summaries and session highlights
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