Those who believe in and worship Jesus Christ “have always experienced trials, tribulation and adversities,” Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said. It is part of the journey in Heavenly Father’s plan of salvation that “we are blessed with agency and subject to the trials of mortality. This is the time allotted for us to prepare to meet God.”
He shared that Church leaders are often asked why God allows bad things to happen to good people. “We do not know all the answers,” Elder Cook said, “however we do know important principles that allow us to face trials, tribulation and adversities with faith and confidence in a bright future that awaits for each of us.”
During the October 2023 general conference, several Church leaders taught how relying on Jesus Christ will give one the peace and strength to endure to the end.
President M. Russell Ballard, Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, offered a powerful testimony of the Savior Jesus Christ, His restored Church and of the “glorious responsibility” of Joseph Smith.
“My beloved brothers and sisters, my testimony to you this morning is how abundantly blessed we are to know all that we know because we have Joseph Smith, the prophet of this last dispensation of time.”
President Ballard spoke without a text or use of the teleprompter. “My eyes aren’t what they used to be,” he said. “I went and saw the eye doctor, and I said, ‘I can’t see the teleprompter.’
“And she said, ‘Well, your eyes are old. They’re not going to change.’”
Speaking of President Ballard’s over coming the trial of his limited eyesite, Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles added before giving his remarks in the same session, “President Ballard, you don’t have 20/20 eyesite anymore, but you have 20/20 spiritual vision.”
Trials and tribulations
When Sister Amy A. Wright, first counselor in the Primary general presidency, first learned that she had cancer, she asked Heavenly Father two questions: “Am I going to die?” and “Am I going to live?” The Holy Ghost gave her the same answer to both questions: “Everything is going to be OK.”
She was then filled with peace as she was reminded that she and her family already had “spiritual preparation for the coming of the Lord” through family home evening lessons, scripture studies, Sabbath days observed and covenants made and kept.
In this moment, she faced the “end” of “endure to the end.”
“It was too late to put oil in our lamps,” Sister Wright said, referring to the parable of the Ten Virgins. “We needed every single drop, and we needed it right now.
“Because of Jesus Christ and His restored gospel, if I died, my family would be comforted, strengthened and one day restored. If I lived, I would have access to the greatest power on this earth to help succor, sustain and heal me. In the end, because of Jesus Christ, everything can be OK.”
Elder Joaquin E. Costa, General Authority Seventy, spoke about challenges members of the Church have faced, from a widow losing her husband while they served in Bolivia, to members in Chile losing their homes just before Christmas 2022.
“What gives them the power to go through hard things?” he asked. “What gives an extra layer of strength to go on when everything seems lost?
“I have found that the source of that strength is faith in Jesus Christ as we intentionally seek to come unto Him each and every day.”
Efforts of members to endure to the end
The pioneers in the last wagon of a wagon train crossing the Plains are not in a glamorous position. They choke on the dust from the wagons before them, all the while enduring the same obstacles and challenges.
“I am grateful for millions of Church members who today are coming unto the Savior and pressing forward on the covenant path in the last wagons of our contemporary wagon trains — and who truly are no less serviceable,” Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said in his address.
These Latter-day Saints “who offer their ‘whole souls’ unto God are found in Christ-centered homes and in Church units around the world,” he said. As they press forward and endure to the end, they are “the strength of the Savior’s restored Church.”
These members are seasoned in the Church and a “remarkable force for good,” he said.
“We are grateful to you seniors, for the lives you have led and the examples you have been in your homes, wards and stakes. I now invite you to take your know-how, coupled with your time-honored testimonies and go on a mission. I pray that the next time I sit down to assign senior couples there will be hundreds of you waiting anxiously for your call.”
The Apostle’s invitation for many, many more seniors in the Church to serve a mission or two is just one way to endure to the end. A mission, Elder Rasband said, “might be the greatest chapter in a couple’s life.”