With thousands of people gathered in the Conference Center in downtown Salt Lake City, and hundreds of thousands watching via satellite broadcast and internet streaming, the opening session of the 189th Annual General Conference began on a brisk spring morning on Saturday, April 6.
In his remarks, President Henry B. Eyring, second counselor in the First Presidency, noted that the Church was formally organized on this day in 1830 by the Prophet Joseph Smith in the Whitmer home in Fayette, New York, with six members and about 50 interested people in attendance.
“Although I don’t know what the Prophet Joseph said or how he looked when he stood before that little group, I know what those people with faith in Jesus Christ felt. They felt the Holy Ghost, and they felt that they were in a holy place. They surely felt that they were united as one.”
President Eyring addressed spiritual decline in the home and how to prevent it.
“Building faith in Jesus Christ is the beginning of reversing spiritual decline in your family and in your home. That faith is more likely to bring repentance than your preaching against each symptom of spiritual decline.”
Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles shared five guilt-free ways to participate in gathering Israel: first, draw close to God; second, fill your heart with love for others; third, strive to walk the path of discipleship; fourth, share what is in your heart; and fifth, trust the Lord to work His miracles.
“His gospel and His Church are an important part of your life and of who you are and what you do. Therefore, invite others to come and see and come and help, and God will do His saving work, and they will come and stay.”
Every person has the divine mandate to seek, learn and teach one another the gospel of Jesus Christ, Elder Ulisses Soares of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said in his remarks. Oftentimes, understanding the gospel requires the help of faithful and inspired teachers, as well as the need to teach.
“When we earnestly, heartily, firmly, and sincerely teach the gospel of Jesus Christ, with real purpose, and under the influence of the Spirit, these teachings may transform hearts and inspire a desire to live according to the truths of God.”
Sister Becky Craven, second counselor in the Young Women general presidency, Elder Brook P. Hales, General Authority Seventy, and Bishop W. Christopher Waddell of the Presiding Bishopric also spoke in the session.
Elder Steven E. Snow and Elder Wilford W. Andersen, General Authority Seventies, offered the opening and closing prayers respectively.
Music was provided by the Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square with Mack Wilberg and Ryan Murphy directing and Richard Elliott and Andrew Unsworth on the organ.