Press forward with “a steadfastness in Christ,” taught leaders during the 193rd Semiannual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles began the Saturday morning session by expressing appreciation for millions of Church members who are pressing forward on the covenant path — serving diligently and faithfully but receiving little or no public acknowledgment or acclaim.
“Your strong faith in Heavenly Father and the Lord Jesus Christ and your unpretentious, consecrated lives inspire me to be a better man and disciple,” said Elder Bednar.
All those who serve in so many righteous ways are the strength of the Savior’s restored Church, he said. And he promised that the Lord will keep His promises to them.
Faith and spiritual preparedness
Driving home, she prayed to know if she would die or if she would live. The answer came to her that either way, it would be OK.
“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,” she said. “In the end, because of Jesus Christ, everything can be OK.”
His infinite and eternal sacrifice can give everyone hope as they have faith in Him. Quoting 2 Nephi 31:19-20, Sister Wright said, “Therefore we ‘must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if [we] shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: [We] shall have eternal life.’”
Sister Wright said she learned from personal experience that spiritual preparation is not only essential but the only way to find true peace and happiness.
Building faith in Jesus Christ
In the Saturday morning session, Elder Robert M. Daines, General Authority Seventy, spoke about building faith in the Savior by coming to know Him.
“Open the Gospels at random; on almost every page we see Him caring for people who suffer — socially, spiritually and physically. He touches people considered polluted and unclean and feeds the hungry,” Elder Daines said.
He invited listeners to try to write down every time Jesus praises or heals or eats with an outsider. They will see countless examples.
As Elder Daines tried this, he said, “My heart leapt in loving recognition, and I began to feel that He might love me.”
He shared how in 2 Corinthians 1:3, the apostle Paul said, God is the “Father of mercies and the God of all comfort.”
“If you see Him differently, please keep trying,” Elder Daines said.
Faith in paying tithing
Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles shared an example in the Saturday afternoon session of meeting 12-year-old Charlotte Hlimi while serving as a mission president in France in 1990.
“I asked Charlotte if she paid an honest tithe. She responded, ‘Yes, President Andersen. My mother has taught me that there are temporal blessings and spiritual blessings that come from paying our tithing. My mother taught me that if we always pay our tithing, we will want for nothing. And President Andersen, we want for nothing.’”
Charlotte has now grown, and told Elder Andersen, “My testimony of tithing was very real at the time, and it is even stronger now. I am deeply grateful for this commandment. As I live it I continue to be abundantly blessed.”
Elder Andersen said the world speaks of tithing in terms of money, but the sacred law of tithing is principally a matter of faith.
“Being honest in our tithes is one way we show our willingness to put the Lord first in our lives, above our own cares and interest. I promise you that as we trust in the Lord and the blessings of heaven follow,” Elder Andersen said.
Faith to serve a senior mission
A desire to serve may be the most important qualification for a mission, taught President Nelson in October 2004 general conference. First comes the desire and then the calling, says Doctrine and Covenants 4:3. This work is all about the law of the harvest, taught Elder Rasband.
“As I have visited missions around the world, I have seen the remarkable service of our legion of senior missionaries,” he said. “It is clear they are happy doing ‘the will of the Lord’ and being about ‘the Lord’s business’” (Doctrine and Covenants 64:29).
Elder Rasband encouraged people to pray to know what the Lord would have them do.
As he has called many couples to serve, he has watched “as the light of Christ has filled their countenances.” And when they returned, they described growing closer to the Lord and closer to one another.
“I also promise that as you serve you will feel the love of the Lord in your life, you will know Him, He will know you and “how great shall be your joy” (Doctrine and Covenants 18:15).
Faith is a source of strength
“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,” he said.
Elder Costa said that at times, having faith in Jesus Christ may seem like something impossible or almost unattainable. People may think that coming unto Christ requires a strength or perfection they don’t have.
“But what I have learned … is that faith in Jesus Christ is what gives us the energy to begin the journey,” Elder Costa said. “...We don’t come to Jesus because we are perfect. We come to Him because we are flawed and in Him we can ‘be perfected’” (Moroni 10:32).
For Elder Costa, exercising a little bit of faith every day begins in the morning — instead of looking at his phone, he says a prayer and reads a scripture. This helps him to always remember Jesus Christ.
Faith provides an eternal lens
Sister Tamara W. Runia, first counselor in the Young Women general presidency, shared in the Saturday evening session how faith can help people view their family relationships through an eternal lens.
In her Saturday evening remarks, Sister Runia said God sees the grand overview of the universe.
“Is it possible to begin to see as God sees while living on the surface of this planet—to feel this overview feeling? I believe we can, through the eye of faith, zoom out and view ourselves and our families with hope and joy,” she said.
Moroni speaks about those whose faith was so “exceedingly strong” that they “truly saw … with an eye of faith, and they were glad” (Ether 12:19).
With an eye focused on the Savior, they knew everything would work out.
“Everything you and you and you are worried about—it’s all going to be OK,” Sister Runia said. ‘ And those who look with an eye of faith can feel it’s going to be OK now.
Building faith through bearing testimony
When one bears testimony of the Lord through word and action, “the Holy Ghost confirms to those with real intent, open hearts and willing minds that Jesus is indeed the Christ,” said Elder Adilson de Paula Parrella, General Authority Seventy, in the Sunday morning session.
He gave an example of a Church member who invited friends of other faiths to the Feather River California Temple open house. A woman in the group expressed her gratitude that her friend was not shy about his faith and always lived what he believed.
Elder Parrella spoke about his own faith being strengthened after attending a fast and testimony meeting in a new ward.
“The meeting was centered on Jesus Christ, and we could palpably feel the Spirit. We were edified, and our faith was strengthened,” Elder Parrella said.
Faith in Jesus Christ as ‘the mark’
In the Sunday afternoon session, Elder Dale G. Renlund of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles outlined how Jesus Christ is the advocate with the Father.
“We need to, in the words of the prophet Alma, ‘cast about [our] eyes and begin to believe in the Son of God, that he will come to redeem his people, and that he shall suffer and die to atone for [our] sins; and that he shall rise again from the dead, which shall bring to pass the resurrection’” (Alma 33: 21-22), Elder Renlund said.
He encouraged Church members to use the messages from general conference to help them remember and always focus on Jesus Christ.
“He is our Savior and Redeemer, the ‘mark’ to whom we should look, and our greatest treasure. As you come to Him, you will be rewarded with strength to face life’s challenges, courage to do what is right, and the ability to fulfill your mission in mortality.”