Episode 104: October 2022 general conference recap — Overcoming the world through covenants with God
This episode includes a recap of messages from Church leaders during the October 2022 general conference
Episode 104: October 2022 general conference recap — Overcoming the world through covenants with God
This episode includes a recap of messages from Church leaders during the October 2022 general conference
Latter-day Saints across the globe tuned in to the October 2022 general conference for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to receive council, direction and invitations from the First Presidency, Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and other Church leaders.
They shared messages of hope, faith and peace amid turbulent times — decrying abuse, announcing a new “For the Strength of Youth” guide and calling for members to amplify their level of discipleship to Jesus Christ while progressing along the covenant path. This episode of the Church News podcast features highlights from the Church’s 192nd Semiannual General Conference.
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President Russell M. Nelson: As we strive to live the higher laws of Jesus Christ, our hearts and our very natures begin to change. The Savior lifts us above the pull of this fallen world by blessing us with greater charity, humility, generosity, kindness, self-discipline, peace, and rest.
My plea to you this morning is to find rest from the intensity, uncertainty, and anguish of this world by overcoming the world through your covenants with God. Because Jesus Christ overcame this world, you can too.
Sarah Jane Weaver: I’m Sarah Jane Weaver, editor of the Church News. Welcome to the Church News podcast. We are taking you on a journey of connection as we discuss news and events of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Sarah Jane Weaver: Latter-day Saints across the globe tuned in to the October 2022 General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to receive council, direction and invitations from the First Presidency, Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and other Church leaders. Amid turbulent times, leaders shared messages of hope, faith and peace — decrying abuse, announcing a new “For the Strength of Youth” pamphlet, and calling for members to amplify the level of their discipleship to Jesus Christ. This episode of the Church News podcast features highlights of the churches 192nd Semiannual General Conference.
Saturday morning session
President Dallin H. Oaks, first counselor in the First Presidency, opened the Church’s general conference. He spoke of helping the poor and distressed, highlighting not just what the Church is doing, but what has been done worldwide.
President Oaks: My subject today concerns what The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and its members give and do for the poor and distressed. I will also speak of the similar giving by other good people. Giving to those in need is a principle in all Abrahamic religions, and in others as well.
A few months ago, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints reported for the first time the extent of our humanitarian work worldwide. Our 2021 expenditures for those in need in 188 countries worldwide was $906 million — almost a billion dollars. In addition, our members volunteered over 6 million hours of labor in the same cause.
Those figures are, of course, an incomplete report of our giving and helping. They do not include the personal services our members give individually as they minister to one another in called positions and voluntary member-to-member service. And our 2021 report makes no mention of what our members do individually through innumerable charitable organizations not formally connected with our Church.
Sarah Jane Weaver: Also speaking Saturday morning, Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles announced a new “For the Strength of Youth” pamphlet for the Church. In his message, he reminded youth and young adults that Jesus Christ is their strength.
Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf: When you have important choices to make, Jesus Christ and His restored gospel are the best choice. When you have questions, Jesus Christ and His restored gospel are the best answer. When you feel weak, Jesus Christ is your strength. He gives power to the weary; and to those who feel powerless, He increases strength.
They who wait upon the Lord will be renewed by His strength (Isaiah 40:29–31).
To help you find The Way and to help you make Christ’s doctrine the guiding influence in your life, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has prepared a new resource, a revised version of For the Strength of Youth.
For over 50 years, “For the Strength of Youth” has been a guide for generations of Latter-day Saint youth. I always keep a copy in my pocket, and I share it with people who are curious about our standards. It has been updated and refreshed, to better cope with the challenges and temptations of our day. For the Strength of Youth will be available in multiple languages this month and will be a significant help for making choices in your life. Please embrace it as your own and share it with your friends. Get your own copy, and copies for your friends. It is also available online.
This new version of “For the Strength of Youth” is subtitled “A Guide for Making Choices.”
To be very clear, the best guide you can possibly have for making choices is Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is the strength of youth.
So the purpose of For the Strength of Youth is to point you to Him.
Sarah Jane Weaver: Sister Tracy Y. Browning, second counselor in the Primary general presidency, also spoke Saturday morning. In her first general conference address, she invited Latter-day Saints to see more of Jesus Christ in their lives. She is the first black woman in the history of the Church to speak at general conference.
Sister Tracy Y. Browning: Friends, Jesus Christ is both the purpose of our focus and the intent of our destination. To help us to remain fixed and heading in the right direction, the Savior invites us to see our lives through Him, in order to see more of Him in our lives. …
When we bring our offering to the Savior, we are being invited to see more of Jesus Christ in our lives, as we humbly submit our will to Him in recognition and understanding of His perfect submission to the will of the Father. When we fix our sight on Jesus Christ, we recognize and we understand that He is the only source and way to receive forgiveness and redemption, even unto eternal life and exaltation.
Sarah Jane Weaver: Elder Dale G. Renlund of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles also addressed Latter-day Saints in the Saturday morning session. Using an airplane analogy, he gave elements of the framework of personal revelation.
Elder Dale G. Renlund: With the help of the Holy Ghost we can transform our divine nature into our eternal destiny.
The promise of personal revelation through the Holy Ghost is awe-inspiring, much like an airplane in flight. And like airplane pilots, we need to understand the framework within which the Holy Ghost functions to provide personal revelation. When we operate within the framework, the Holy Ghost can unleash astonishing insight, direction, and comfort. Outside of this framework, no matter our brilliance or talent, we can be deceived and crash and burn.
Sarah Jane Weaver: Elder Rafael E. Pino, a General Authority Seventy, encouraged Latter-day Saints worldwide to consider their customs and traditions, and how those influence their families to stay on the covenant path.
Elder Rafael Pino: We all have customs and traditions that are personal, from our family, or come from the community in which we live, and we hope to keep all those that align with the principles of the gospel. Edifying customs and traditions are fundamental to our efforts to stay on the covenant path, and those that are an obstacle, we ought to reject. … It does not matter whether we are poor or rich, educated or uneducated, old or young, sick or healthy. He invites us to let the “normal” things in our lives be those which help keep us on the covenant path.
No country contains the totality of what is good or admirable. Therefore, as Paul taught, “if there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things (Article of Faith 13).
We all have customs and traditions that are personal from our family, or come from the community in which we leave. And we hope to keep all those that aligned with the principles of the gospel. A defined customs and traditions are fundamental to our efforts to stay on the governing path, and those that are an obstacle we ought to regret. It does not matter whether we are poor or rich, educated or uneducated, all on young, sick or healthy. He invites us to let the normal things in our lives be those which keep us on the governing path. No country contains the totality of what is good or admirable. Therefore, as Paul taught, if there is anything made to us, lovely, are of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after the things.
Sarah Jane Weaver: Elder Hugo Montoya, a General Authority Seventy, spoke about following the eternal principles of love as manifested in the two great commandments to love God and love your neighbor.
Elder Hugo Montoya: The eternal principle of love is manifested by living the two great commandments: Love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength and love your neighbor as yourself. We are willing to help each other because we love each other, and my brother’s needs become my needs and mine become his. No matter what language my brother speaks or what country he comes from, we love each other because we are brothers, children of the same Father.
It is not enough to avoid being a stumbling block for others; it is not enough to notice the needy on the road and pass by. Let us take advantage of every opportunity to help our neighbor, even if it is the first and only time we meet him in this life.
Why is love for God the first great commandment I think is because of what he means to us. We are His children he oversees or welfare. We are dependent on him. He’s love protect us. His plan includes agency, therefore, we will likely make some mistakes. Why is love for God the first great commandment?
I think it’s because of what He means to us. We are His children, He oversees our welfare, we are dependent on Him, and His love protects us. His plan includes agency; therefore, we will likely make some mistakes.
Sarah Jane Weaver: Also, Saturday morning, Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, invited Latter-day Saints to flood the earth with the Book of Mormon.
Elder Ronald A. Rasband: Pressing upon me “this day” is the importance of renewing our commitment to the Book of Mormon, which Joseph Smith called “the most correct of any book on earth.”
Think of all those who could be blessed by the gospel in their lives and then send to them a copy of the Book of Mormon from your phone. Remember to include your testimony and how this book has blessed your life.
My dear friends, as an Apostle of the Lord, I invite you to follow our beloved prophet, President Nelson, in flooding the earth with the Book of Mormon. The need is so great; we need to act now. I promise you will be participating in “the greatest work on earth…the gathering of Israel” as you are inspired to reach out to those who have been “kept from the truth because they know not where to find it” (Doctrine and Covenants 123:12). They need your testimony and witness of how this book has changed your life and drawn you closer to God, His peace and His “tidings of great joy.” (1 Nephi 13:37).
I testify that by divine design the Book of Mormon was prepared in ancient America to come forth to declare God’s word, to bring souls to Jesus Christ and His restored gospel “this day.”
Sarah Jane Weaver: In his opening address, President Russell M. Nelson, President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, affirmed that abuse is an abomination to the Lord and testified that God is the source of all truth.
President Russell M. Nelson: Abuse constitutes the influence of the adversary. It is a grievous sin. (See Matthew 18:6; Doctrine and Covenants 121:34–37.) As President of the Church, I affirm the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ on this issue. Let me be perfectly clear: any kind of abuse of women, children, or anyone is an abomination to the Lord. He grieves and I grieve whenever anyone is harmed. He mourns, and we all mourn, for each person who has fallen victim to abuse of any kind. Those who perpetrate these hideous acts are not only accountable to the laws of man, but will also face the wrath of Almighty God.
For decades now, the Church has taken extensive measures to protect — in particular — children from abuse. There are many aids on the Church website. I invite you to study them. These guidelines are in place to protect the innocent. I urge each of us to be alert to anyone who might be in danger of being abused and to act promptly to protect them. The Savior will not tolerate abuse, and as His disciples, neither can we.
Dear brothers and sisters, God is the source of all truth. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints embraces all truth that God conveys to His children, whether learned in a scientific laboratory or received by direct revelation from Him.
From this pulpit today and tomorrow you will continue to hear truth. Please make notes of thoughts that catch your attention and those that come into your mind and stay in your heart. Prayerfully ask the Lord to confirm that what you have heard is true.
Saturday afternoon session
Sarah Jane Weaver: President M. Russell Ballard, Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles opened the Saturday afternoon session. He spoke about pioneers, pioneers of the past and present and talked about ways they have shown faith in Jesus Christ.
President M. Russell Ballard: My great-grandparents and other early pioneers faced many obstacles as they came by wagons, handcarts, and walking to the Salt Lake Valley. We too will face challenges in our individual journeys through our lives. We are not pushing handcarts or driving covered wagons over steep mountains and through deep snow drifts; we are trying as they did to spiritually overcome the temptations and challenges of our day. We have trails to walk, we have hills — and sometimes mountains — to climb. Although the challenges today are different than those of the early pioneers, the ones they had are no less challenging for us.
It is important to follow the prophet and keep our feet firmly planted on the covenant path of faithfulness as it was for the early pioneers.
Sarah Jane Weaver: President Ballard was followed by Sister Kristin M. Yee, second counselor in the Relief Society general presidency. She encouraged forgiveness as part of emulating the Savior.
Sister Kristin M. Yee: To all who are brokenhearted, captive, bruised, and perhaps blinded by hurt or sin, He offers healing, recovery, and deliverance. I testify that the healing and recovery He offers is real. The timing of that healing is individual, and we cannot judge another’s timing. It is important to allow ourselves the necessary time to heal and to be kind to ourselves in the process. The Savior is ever merciful and attentive, and stands ready to provide the succor we need (Alma 7:11-12). On the path of forgiveness and healing lies a choice not to perpetuate unhealthy patterns or relationships in our families or elsewhere. To all within our influence, we can offer kindness for cruelty, love for hate, gentleness for abrasiveness, safety for distress, and peace for contention.
To give what you have been denied is a powerful part of divine healing possible through faith in Jesus Christ. To live in such a way that you give, as Isaiah has said, beauty for the ashes of your life (Isaiah 61:3) is an act of faith that follows the supreme example of a Savior who suffered all that He might succor all.
Sarah Jane Weaver: Elder Paul V. Johnson of the Presidency of the Seventy also spoke during the Saturday afternoon session. He taught that perfection and changing one’s heart comes only through the Savior and His Atonement.
Elder Paul V. Johnson: 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. (3 Nephi 27:20) Like the remarkable process of the very DNA of Aaron’s blood cells changing, we can have our hearts changed, (See Alma 5:7), have His image in our countenances, (See Alma 5:14) and become new creatures in Christ (See Mosiah 27:25-27).
Alma reminded the people of Zarahemla of the previous generation that had been converted. Speaking of his father, Alma explained that “according to his faith there was a mighty change wrought in his heart” (Alma 5:12). He then asked, “Have ye experienced this mighty change in your hearts” (Alma 5:14)? It wasn’t the people who changed their own hearts. The Lord performed the actual change. Alma was very clear about this. He said, “Behold, he changed their hearts” (Alma 5:7). They “humbled themselves and put their trust in the true and living God ... [and] were faithful until the end ... [and] were saved” (Alma 5:13). The people were willing to open their hearts and exercise faith, and then the Lord changed their hearts.
Sarah Jane Weaver: Also speaking Saturday afternoon was Elder Ulisses Soares of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, he taught about the unity that comes from true partnership and fulfilling divine responsibilities in marriage relationships.
Elder Ulisses Soares: The restored gospel of Jesus Christ proclaims the principle of full partnership between woman and man, both in mortal life and in the eternities. Although each possesses specific attributes and divinely appointed responsibilities, woman and man fill equally relevant and essential roles in God’s plan of happiness for His children. This was evident from the very beginning when the Lord declared that “it was not good that the man should be alone, wherefore [He would] make an help meet for him.” In the Lord’s plan, a “help meet” was a companion who would walk shoulder to shoulder with Adam in full partnership. In fact, Eve was a heavenly blessing in Adam’s life. Through her divine nature and spiritual attributes, she inspired Adam to work in partnership with her to achieve God’s plan of happiness for all mankind.
Let us consider two fundamental principles that strengthen the partnership between man and woman. The first principle is “We are all alike unto God.” According to gospel doctrine, the difference between woman and man does not override the eternal promises that God has for His sons and daughters. One has no greater possibilities for celestial glory than the other in the eternities. The Savior Himself invites all of us, God’s children, to come to Him, to partake of His goodness, and He denieth none that come unto Him. Therefore, in this context, we are all considered equal before Him.
When spouses understand and incorporate this principle, they do not position themselves as president or vice president of their family. There is no superiority nor inferiority in the marriage relationship, and neither walks ahead of or behind the other. They walk side by side, as equals, the divine offspring of God. They become one in thought, desire, and purpose with our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, leading and guiding the family unit together.
Sarah Jane Weaver: Elder Soares was followed by Elder James W. McConkie III, a General Authority Seventy. He spoke of several lessons learned from the account of the Savior healing the man with palsy.
Elder James W. McConkie III: With that telling of Mark 2 in mind, several important truths become clear about Jesus as the Christ. First, when we try to help someone we love come unto Christ, we can do so with confidence that He has the capacity to lift the burden of sin and to forgive. Second, when we bring physical, emotional, or other illnesses to Christ, we can do so knowing He has the power to heal and comfort. Third, when we make effort like the four to bring others to Christ, we can do so with certainty that He sees our true intentions and will appropriately honor them.
Whether as missionaries, ministers, Relief Society presidents, bishops, teachers, parents, siblings, or friends, we are all engaged as Latter-day Saint disciples in the work of bringing others to Christ.
Sarah Jane Weaver: Elder Jorge F. Zeballos, a General Authority Seventy, also spoke Saturday afternoon. Using a civil engineering analogy, he taught how to build a life that is resistant to the adversary.
Elder Jorge F. Zeballos: How blessed we are to count on a knowledge of the plan of salvation created by our Heavenly Father, to have the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, and to rely on the inspired direction of living prophets. All the former constitute the divinely designed “plans” and the “technical specifications” that teach us clearly how to construct happy lives, lives that are resistant to sin, resistant to temptation, resistant to attacks from Satan, who is desperately seeking to frustrate our eternal destiny to be together with our Heavenly Father and with our beloved families.
Sarah Jane Weaver: As the final speaker on Saturday afternoon, Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles outlined three parts of the doctrine of belonging.
Elder D. Todd Christofferson: I would like to speak about what I call the doctrine of belonging in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This doctrine has three parts, the role of belonging and gathering the Lord’s covenant people, the importance of service and sacrifice and belonging, and the centrality of Jesus Christ to belonging.
Having been given this privilege, we cannot permit any racism, tribal prejudice, or other divisions to exist in the latter-day Church of Christ. The Lord commands us, “Be one; and if ye are not one ye are not mine.” We should be diligent in rooting prejudice and discrimination out of the Church, out of our homes, and most of all out of our hearts. As our Church population grows ever more diverse, our welcome must grow ever more spontaneous and warm. We need one another.
Saturday evening session
Sarah Jane Weaver: Presiding Bishop Gérald Caussé was the first speaker on Saturday evening. He called care of the earth a sacred responsibility entrusted to all of God’s children.
Bishop Gérald Caussé: Brothers and sisters, our interactions with the beauties of nature around us can produce some of the most inspiring and delightful experiences in life. The emotions we feel kindle within us a deep sense of gratitude for our Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, who created this magnificent earth — with its mountains and streams, plants and animals — and our first parents, Adam and Eve.
The work of Creation is not an end in itself. It is an integral part of God’s plan for His children. Its purpose is to provide the setting in which men and women may be tested, exercise their agency, find joy, and learn and progress, so that they may one day return to the presence of their Creator and inherit eternal life.
These wonderful creations were prepared entirely for our benefit and are living proof of the love the Creator has for His children.
Sarah Jane Weaver: Sister Michelle D. Craig, first counselor in the Young Women general presidency, followed Bishop Caussé. She taught Latter-day Saints about keeping covenants, acting in faith and finding joy.
Sister Michelle D. Craig: When your faith, your family, or your future are challenged — when you wonder why life is so hard when you are doing your best to live the gospel — remember that the Lord told us to expect troubles. Troubles are part of the plan and do not mean you’ve been abandoned; they are part of what it means to be His.
He was, after all, “a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief.” The point of walking the covenant path is to approach the Savior. He is the point, not our perfect progress. It is not a race, and we must not compare our journey to others. Even when we stumble, He is there.
Sarah Jane Weaver: Elder Kevin W. Pearson, a General Authority Seventy, expounded on a phrase from the sacrament prayer. He asked whether people are willing to witness unto God that they are willing.
Elder Kevin W. Pearson: Partaking of the sacrament is not a passive religious ritual implying our mere consent. It is a powerful reminder of the reality of the Savior’s infinite Atonement and the need to always remember Him and keep His commandments. Willingness to focus on the Savior is so crucial, it is the central message of the two most quoted scriptures in the Church — the sacrament prayers.
Are we willing to put forth more than a superficial effort into strengthening our faith in Christ?
Heavenly Father loves us perfectly, but that love comes with great expectations.
Sarah Jane Weaver: Elder Denelson Silva, a General Authority Seventy, also spoke Saturday evening. Having been introduced to the gospel by a classmate, Elder Silva realized he too must proclaim the truth.
Elder Denelson Silva: To all who decide to serve Him I promise you that the 24 or 18 months of service will pass in the mission field just as they would pass if you stayed home, but the opportunities that await the worthy young men and young women of this Church in the mission field are unique. The privilege of representing the Savior Jesus Christ and His Church cannot be ignored.
Participating in countless prayers, developing and bearing your testimony several times during the day, many hours of scripture study, meeting people whom you would never meet if you had stayed home, are indescribable experiences. The same level of experience is reserved for the youth whom the Lord calls to serve on service missions. You are very welcome and necessary. Please do not minimize the importance of a service mission, for service missions also provide indescribable experiences. The worth of souls is great in the sight of God, including the worth of your soul.
Sarah Jane Weaver: The final speaker Saturday evening was Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. With the wheat growing amid the tares, he offered ways Latter-day Saints can strengthen faith in Jesus Christ.
Elder Neil L. Andersen: We realized that as evil increases in the world, our spiritual survival and the spiritual survival of those we love, will require that we more fully nurture, fortify and strengthen the roots of our faith in Jesus Christ. As we know very well, having faith in Jesus Christ and being a true disciple is more than a one time decision, more than a one time event. It is a sacred, ongoing process that grows and expands through the seasons of our lives, continuing until we kneel at His feet.
Sunday morning session
Sarah Jane Weaver: Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles opened the Sunday morning session of conference. He spoke about the religious symbol of the cross.
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland: “If any man [or woman] will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me” (Matthew 16:24). This speaks of the crosses we bear rather than the ones we wear. To be a follower of Jesus Christ one must sometimes carry a burden — your own or someone else’s — and go where sacrifice is required and suffering is inevitable. A true Christian cannot follow the Master only in those matters with which he or she agrees. No. We follow Him everywhere, including, if necessary, into arenas filled with tears and trouble, where sometimes we may stand very much alone.
I know people, in and out of the Church, who are following Christ just that faithfully. I know children with severe physical disabilities, and I know the parents who care for them. I see all working sometimes to the point of total exhaustion, seeking strength, safety, and moments of joy that come no other way. I know many single adults who yearn for, and deserve, a loving companion, a wonderful marriage, and a home full of children of their own. No desire could be more righteous, but year after year such good fortune does not yet come. I know those who are fighting mental illness of many kinds, who plead for help as they pray and pine for the promised land of emotional stability. I know those who live with debilitating poverty, but defying despair, ask only for the chance to make better lives for their loved ones and others, those in need around them. I know many who wrestle with wrenching matters of identity, gender and sexuality. I weep for them, and I weep with them, knowing how significant the consequences of their choices will be.
These are just a few of so many trying circumstances we may face in life, solemn reminders that there is a cost to discipleship. As we take up our crosses and follow Him, it would be tragic, if indeed the weight of our challenges did not make us more empathetic and more attentive to the burdens being carried by others. As the glorious Resurrection followed the agonizing crucifixion, so blessings of every kind are poured out on those who are willing, as the Book of Mormon prophet Jacob says, “to believe in Christ, and view his death, and suffer His cross” (Jacob 1:8).
Sarah Jane Weaver: Sister J. Anette Dennis, first counselor in the Relief Society general presidency, also spoke Sunday morning. She spoke about loving and caring for others like Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ do.
Sister J. Anette Dennis: How often do we judge others based on their outward appearance and actions, or lack of action, when, if we fully understood, we would instead react with compassion and a desire to help instead of adding to their burdens with our judgment?
Many talks have been given by our Church leaders on charity, unity, love, kindness, compassion, forgiveness and mercy. I believe the Savior is inviting us to live a higher, holier way — His way of love where all can feel they truly belong and are needed. We are commanded to love others, not to judge them. Let’s lay down that heavy burden; it isn’t ours to carry. Instead, we can pick up the Savior’s yoke of love and compassion.
Sarah Jane Weaver: Following Sister Dennis, Elder Gerrit W. Gong of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles addressed Latter-day Saints. He said that we can all find eternal happiness through the Atonement, repentance, forgiveness and temple covenants.
Elder Gerrit W. Gong: The holy scriptures and sacred experiences of personal healing and peace, including with those alive in the spirit world, underscore five doctrinal principles.
First: Central in God’s plan of redemption and happiness, Jesus Christ, through His Atonement, promises to unite our spirit and body, “never again to be divided, that we might receive a fulness of joy” (Doctrine and Covenants 138:17).
Second: Atonement — at-one-ment in Christ — comes as we exercise faith and bring forth fruits unto repentance. As in immortality, so in mortality. Temple ordinances do not of themselves change us or those in the spirit world. But these divine ordinances enable sanctifying covenants with the Lord, which can bring harmony with Him and each other.
Third: God knows and loves us perfectly. “God is not mocked” (Galatians 6:7)] nor can He be deceived. With perfect mercy and justice, He encircles in His arms of safety the humble and penitent.
Fourth: The Lord gives us divine opportunity to become more like Him as we offer proxy saving temple ordinances others need but cannot do for themselves … over time receiving the blessings promised Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
Finally, fifth: As the Golden Rule teaches, a sanctifying symmetry in repentance and forgiveness invites us each to offer others that which we ourselves need and desire.
Sarah Jane Weaver: Elder Joseph W. Sitati, who was announced Saturday afternoon as an emeritus general authority, spoke Sunday morning. In his talk, he said the patterns of faith, humility, love and service all mark joyful discipleship.
Elder Joseph W. Sitati: This morning our two children and three grandchildren in North America and about half of the world saw the brightness of the sun rising majestically in the east. The other three children and seven grandchildren in Africa and the other half of the world saw darkness gradually creep upon them as the sun sank over the horizon in the west.
This timeless constancy of the onset of day and night is one daily reminder of realities that govern our lives that we cannot change. When we respect and align what we do with these eternal realities, we experience internal peace and harmony. When we don’t, we are unsettled, and things do not work as we expect.
Day and night is one example of patterns that God has given to everyone who has ever lived on the earth, of things as they really are. It is an absolute truth of our human existence that we cannot negotiate around according to our own desires and get away with it. I am reminded of this every time I take a flight from Africa to come to general conference, re-setting the body clock backwards by 10 hours in one day.
Whenever we care to notice, we see that Heavenly Father has given us sufficient witnesses of truth to govern our lives so we will know Him and have the blessings of peace and joy.
Sarah Jane Weaver: President Steven J. Lund, Young Men general president, spoke Sunday morning about trusting in the Lord Jesus Christ and His covenant path to find spiritual confidence and peace.
President Steven J. Lund: I, too, was changed by this summer of FSY as I have seen the Spirit of God relentlessly responding to the righteous desires of the individual hearts of these young multitudes who each found the courage to “Trust Him,” with a week in His keeping.
Like brightly hulled steel ships at sea, we live in a spiritually corrosive environment where the most gleaming convictions must be mindfully maintained or they can etch, then corrode, and then crumble away.
Experiences like FSY conferences, camps, sacrament meetings, and missions can help to burnish our testimonies, taking us through arcs of growth and spiritual discovery to places of relative peace. But what must we do to stay there, and continue to “press forward with a steadfastness in Christ” (2 Nephi 31:20) rather than slipping backwards? We must continue to do those things that brought us there in the first place like praying often, drenching ourselves in scripture, and serving sincerely.
Sarah Jane Weaver: Also Sunday morning, Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles addressed moral agency.
Elder David A. Bednar: Each of us should evaluate our temporal and spiritual priorities sincerely and prayerfully to identify the things in our lives that may impede the bounteous blessings that Heavenly Father and the Savior are willing to bestow upon us. And surely the Holy Ghost will help us to see ourselves as we really are.
As we appropriately seek for the spiritual gift of eyes to see and ears to hear, I promise that we will be blessed with the capacity and judgment to strengthen our covenant connection with the living Lord. We also will receive the power of Godliness in our lives — and ultimately be both called to and chosen for the Lord’s feast.
Sarah Jane Weaver: The final speaker Sunday morning was our beloved Prophet, President Russell M. Nelson. He taught Latter-day Saints and all others listening, that those who make and keep covenants can find rest and overcome the world with the Savior’s help.
President Nelson: Dear brothers and sisters, I grieve for those who leave the Church because they feel membership requires too much of them. They have not yet discovered that making and keeping covenants actually makes life easier. Each person who makes covenants in baptismal fonts and in temples — and keeps them — has increased access to the power of Jesus Christ. Please ponder that stunning truth.
As we strive to live the higher laws of Jesus Christ, our hearts and our very natures begin to change. The Savior lifts us above the pull of this fallen world by blessing us with greater charity, humility, generosity, kindness, self-discipline, peace and rest.
My plea to you this morning is to find rest from the intensity, uncertainty and anguish of this world by overcoming the world through your covenants with God. Let Him know through your prayers and your actions that you are serious about overcoming the world. Ask Him to enlighten your mind and send the help you need. Each day, record the thoughts that come to you as you pray; then follow through diligently. Spend more time in the temple and seek to understand how the temple teaches you to rise above this fallen world. …
I call upon you, my dear brothers and sisters, to become this righteous people. Cherish and honor your covenants above all other commitments. As you let God prevail in your life, I promise you greater peace, confidence, joy, and yes, rest.
With the power of the holy apostleship vested in me, I bless you in your quest to overcome this world. I bless you to increase your faith in Jesus Christ and learn better how to draw upon His power. I bless you to be able to discern truth from error. I bless you to care more about the things of God than the things of this world. I bless you to see the needs of those around you and strengthen those you love. Because Jesus Christ overcame this world, you can too.
Sunday afternoon session
Sarah Jane Weaver: President Henry B. Eyring, second counselor in the First Presidency, opened the Sunday afternoon session. He shared that everyone faces adversity but that they can learn from and leave legacies of encouragement.
President Henry B. Eyring: When you sit with someone as their ministering sister or ministering brother, you represent the Lord. Think of what He would do or say. He would invite them to come unto Him. He would encourage them. He would notice and praise the beginning of the changes they will need to make. And He would be the perfect example for them to emulate.
No one can completely do that yet, but by listening to this conference, you can know you are on the way. The Savior knows your struggles in detail. He knows your great potential to grow in faith, hope, and charity.
The commandments and covenants He offers you are not tests to control you. They are a gift to lift you toward receiving all the gifts of God and to returning home to your Heavenly Father and the Lord, who love you.
Jesus Christ paid the price of our sins. We may claim that blessing of eternal life if we will have faith in Him enough to repent and become like a child, pure and ready to receive the greatest of all the gifts of God.
Sarah Jane Weaver: Elder Ryan K. Olsen, a General Authority Seventy, followed President Eyring. He has learned that throughout life no matter how difficult or confusing, the answer is simple.
Elder Ryan K. Olsen: The answer to the simplest questions, and to the most complex problems, is always the same. The answer is Jesus Christ. Every solution is found in Him.
In the Gospel of John, the Savior said to his disciples that He would prepare a place for them. Thomas was confused and said to the Savior, “Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way? Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:5-6).
The Savior taught His disciples that He is the way, the truth and the life. He is the answer to the question of how to come unto Heavenly Father. Gaining a testimony of His divine role in our lives was something I learned as a young man.
Sarah Jane Weaver: Elder Jonathan S. Schmitt, a General Authority Seventy, also spoke Sunday afternoon following Elder Olsen. Elder Smith taught that one way we can come to better know Jesus is by learning His many names.
Elder Schmitt: Just as Jesus knows each of us by name, one way we can come to better know Jesus is by learning His many names. Like the names of Israel and Peter, many of Jesus’s names are titles that help us understand His mission, purpose, character and attributes. As we come to know Jesus’s many names, we will come to better understand His divine mission and His selfless character. Knowing His many names also inspires us to become more like Him — to develop Christlike attributes that bring joy and purpose to our lives.
Sarah Jane Weaver: Elder Mark D. Eddy, a General Authority Seventy, spoke Sunday afternoon about the virtue or power available through the word of God.
Elder Mark D. Eddy: Throughout scripture we read of miraculous blessings poured out upon those who have chosen to try the virtue of the word of God in their lives. … Reminding his people how the Lord delivered their fathers, Alma taught: “Behold, he changed their hearts; yea, he awakened them out of a deep sleep, and they awoke unto God. Behold, they were in the midst of darkness; nevertheless, their souls were illuminated by the light of the everlasting word” (Alma 5:7).
Perhaps you are feeling as though you were in the midst of darkness. Does your soul ache for illumination? If so, please try the virtue of the word of God.
“Lay hold upon the word of God, which is quick and powerful, which shall divide asunder all the cunning and the snares and the wiles of the devil, and lead the man and woman of Christ in a straight and narrow course, across that everlasting Gulf of misery, and land their souls at the right hand of God in the kingdom of heaven” (Helaman 3:29-30).
Sarah Jane Weaver: Also speaking Sunday afternoon, Elder Gary E. Stevenson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles invited Latter-day Saints to reflect on their testimonies.
Elder Gary E. Stevenson: Your testimony is a most precious possession, often associated with deep spiritual feelings. These feelings are usually communicated quietly and described as a “still small voice” (1 Kings 19:12). It is your belief or knowledge of truth, given as a spiritual witness through the influence of the Holy Ghost. Acquiring this witness will change what you say and how you act. Key elements of your testimony confirmed by the Holy Ghost include five elements:
- God is your Heavenly Father; you are His Child. He loves you.
- Jesus Christ lives. He is the Son of the living God and your Savior and Redeemer.
- Joseph Smith is a prophet of God called to restore the Church of Jesus Christ.
- The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is God’s restored Church on the earth.
- The restored Church of Jesus Christ is led by a living prophet today.
You bear your testimony when you share spiritual feelings with others. As a member of the Church, opportunities to bear your spoken testimony come in formal Church meetings, or in less formal, one-on-one conversations with family, friends and others.
Another way you share your testimony is through righteous behavior. Your testimony in Jesus Christ isn’t just what you say. It’s who you are. Each time you bear vocal witness, or demonstrate through your actions, your commitment to follow Jesus Christ you invite others to come unto Christ.
Sarah Jane Weaver: Elder Isaac K. Morrison, a General Authority Seventy, spoke Sunday afternoon about tough times. He said during those tough times, we can feel peace and cheer because of the Savior.
Elder Isaac K. Morrison: We can be of good cheer and be filled with peace in our tough times. The love we feel because of the Savior and His Atonement becomes a powerful resource to us in our trying moments.
Reflecting on my own experiences, I realize I have learned some of my best lessons during the hardest times in my life, times that took me out of my comfort zone. Difficulties I encountered as a youth, while learning about the Church through seminary, as a recent convert, and as a full-time missionary and challenges I faced in my education, in striving to magnify my callings, and in raising a family have prepared me for the future. The more I cheerfully respond to difficult circumstances with faith in the Lord, the more I grow in my discipleship.
Sarah Jane Weaver: Following Elder Morrison, Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles addressed the importance of gaining a personal testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Elder Quentin L. Cook: While the Prophet Joseph Smith was incarcerated in Liberty Jail, Apostles Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimball had the responsibility, under terrible adverse circumstances, of overseeing the evacuation of the Saints from Missouri. The evacuation was required in large part because of the extermination order issued by Gov. Lilburn W. Boggs.
Almost 30 years later Heber C. Kimball, then in the First Presidency, reflecting on this history with a new generation, taught, “Let me say to you, that many of you will see the time when you will have all the trouble, trial and persecution that you can stand, and plenty of opportunities to show that you are true to God and His work.”
Heber continued, “To meet the difficulties that are coming, it will be necessary for you to have a knowledge of the truth of this work for yourselves. The difficulties will be of such a character that the man or woman who does not possess this personal knowledge or witness will fall. If you have not got the testimony, live right, and call upon the Lord and cease not until you attain it. If you do not you will not stand. … The time will come when no man nor woman will be able to endure on borrowed light. Each will have to be guided by the light within himself. … If you don’t have it you will not stand; therefore seek for the testimony of Jesus and cleave to it, that when the trying time comes you may not stumble and fall.”
We each need a personal testimony of God’s work and the seminal role of Jesus Christ.
Sarah Jane Weaver: All of us have learned so much as we have listened to and prayed about and contemplated the messages of October general conference. We end this Church News podcast with the words from President Russell M. Nelson. He was the concluding speaker Sunday afternoon and emphasized the importance of focusing on the temple. He also announced 18 new temple locations, including four in Metro Mexico City.
President Nelson: I am pleased to announce our plans to build a new temple in each of the following locations: Busan, Korea; Naga, Philippines; Santiago, Philippines; Eket, Nigeria; Chiclayo, Peru; Buenos Aires City Center, Argentina; Londrina, Brazil; Ribeirão Preto, Brazil; Huehuetenango, Guatemala; Jacksonville, Florida; Grand Rapids, Michigan; Prosper, Texas; Lone Mountain, Nevada; and Tacoma, Washington.
We are also planning to build multiple temples in selected large metropolitan areas where travel time to an existing temple is a major challenge. Therefore, I am pleased to announce four additional temples near Mexico City where new temples will be built: Cuernavaca, Pachuca, Toluca and Tula.
My dear brothers and sisters, may you focus on the temple in ways you never have before. I bless you to grow closer to God and Jesus Christ every day. I love you. May God be with you until we meet again, I pray in the sacred name of Jesus Christ, amen.
Sarah Jane Weaver: You have been listening to the Church News podcast. I’m your host Church News editor Sarah Jane Weaver. I hope you have learned something today about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints by peering with me through the Church News window. Please remember to subscribe to this podcast. And if you enjoyed the messages we shared today, please make sure you share the podcast with others. Thanks to our guests, to my producer KellieAnn Halvorsen and others who make this podcast possible. Join us every week for a new episode. Find us on your favorite podcasting channel or with other news and updates about the Church on thechurchnews.com.