Episode 130: During general conference, leaders invite all to come unto Christ, be peacemakers
Addressing the themes of hope and peace, Church News podcast features April 2023 general conference speakers
Episode 130: During general conference, leaders invite all to come unto Christ, be peacemakers
Addressing the themes of hope and peace, Church News podcast features April 2023 general conference speakers
On Palm Sunday weekend, leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints shared messages of hope, faith and peace during the 193rd Annual General Conference on April 1 and 2, 2023.
They spoke about the blessings of temple service, gathering Israel, avoiding contention by being peacemakers and finding lasting joy. Each speaker also bore testimony of Jesus Christ during this sacred Easter season.
This episode of the Church News podcast features excerpts from these general conference addresses.
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President Russell M. Nelson: Dear brothers and sisters, Jesus Christ extends that same invitation to you, today. I plead with you to come unto Him so that He can heal you. He will heal you from sin as you repent. He will heal you from sadness and fear. He will heal you from the wounds of this world. Whatever questions or problems you have, the answer is always found in the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. Learn more about His Atonement, His love, His mercy, His doctrine. I testify that following Him is the only way to enduring happiness.
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.
On Palm Sunday weekend, leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints shared messages of hope and faith and peace during the 193rd Annual General Conference on April 1-2, 2023. They spoke about the temple, gathering Israel, avoiding contention and finding joy. Each speaker also bore testimony of Jesus Christ during this sacred Easter season. This episode of the Church News podcast features excerpts from general conference addresses.
The first speaker of general conference on Saturday morning was Elder Gary E. Stevenson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. He spoke about Easter and reminded us all to celebrate the resurrected Jesus Christ.
Elder Gary E. Stevenson: In reality, the Book of Mormon shares the greatest Easter story ever told. Let it not be the greatest Easter story, never told. I invite you to look at the Book of Mormon in a new light and consider the profound witness it bears of the reality of the risen Christ, as well as the richness and depth of the doctrine of Christ.
Sarah Jane Weaver: President Bonnie H. Cordon, who will complete her service as Young Woman general president on Aug. 1, also asked us to look to Christ. “I promise,” she said, “He will be there.”
President Bonnie H. Cordon: The adversary creates so much noise, that it can be difficult to hear the Lord’s voice. Our world, our challenges, our circumstances, will not get quieter, but we can and must hunger and thirst after the things of Christ to hear Him with clarity. We’ll want to create muscle memory of discipleship and testimony that will bring into focus our reliance on our Savior each day.
Sarah Jane Weaver: Elder Carl B. Cook, a General Authority Seventy, also talked about the Savior. He said, “Just as the Savior finished the work He was given to do, He has the power to help us finish the work we have been given.”
Elder Carl B. Cook: The God of Heaven and Earth will help us overcome discouragement and whatever obstacles we encounter if we look to Him, follow the promptings of the Holy Ghost and just keep going with faith.
Sarah Jane Weaver: Elder Gerrit W. Gong of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles spoke about ministering. “As we minister as the Savior, would we witness His blessings and His miracles,” said Elder Gong.
Elder Gerrit W. Gong: In some places in the Church, we have a ministering gap. More say they are ministering than say they are being ministered to. We do not want checklist concern, but more often, we need more than a sincere “Hello” in the hall or a casual, “Can I help you?” in the parking lot. In many places, we can reach out, understand others where they are and build relationships when we regularly visit members in their homes. Inspired invitations change lives. When invitations help us make and keep sacred covenants, we draw closer to the Lord And each other.
Sarah Jane Weaver: Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles spoke about gathering Israel, asking all of us to participate in the sacred work.
Elder Quentin L. Cook: Nevertheless, our commitment to love, share and invite can be greatly expanded. An essential part of this missionary effort is for individual members to become beacon light examples wherever we live. We cannot be in camouflage. Our Christ’s-like example of kindness, righteousness, happiness and sincere love for all peoples can create not only a guiding beacon light for them, but also an understanding that there is a safe harbor in the ordinances of salvation and exaltation of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. Please understand that there are remarkable blessings in sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Sarah Jane Weaver: Allen D. Haynie a General Authority Seventy, testified of a living prophet.
Elder Allen D. Haynie: As a generation that has the sacred charge to prepare the rising generation for its prophesied role in the Latter-days, which role must be fulfilled in a time when the adversary’s influence is at its peak, we cannot be a source of confusion about the importance of following prophetic counsel. It is that very council that will allow the rising generation to see the enemy while he is yet a far off, and then they can make ready to withstand the enemy’s attack. Our seemingly small deviations, quiet neglect or whispered criticisms in response to prophetic counsel, may result in our only walking dangerously near the edge of the covenant path but when magnified by the adversary in the lives of the rising generation, such actions may influence them to leave that path altogether. Such a result is a generational price that is too high.
Sarah Jane Weaver: President Henry B. Eyring was the concluding speaker in the Saturday morning session. He spoke about finding personal peace.
President Henry B. Eyring: I have learned at least five truths from that teaching of the Savior. First, the gift of peace is given after we have the faith to keep His commandments. For those who are covenant members of the Lord’s Church, obedience is what we have already promised to do. Second, the Holy Ghost will come and abide with us. The Lord says that as we continue to be faithful, the Holy Ghost will dwell in us. That is the promise in the sacramental prayer, that the Spirit will be our companion and that we would feel, in our hearts and minds, His comfort. Third, the Savior promises that as we keep our covenants, we can feel the love of the Father and the Son, for each other and for us. We can feel Their closeness in our mortal lives, just as we will, when we are blessed to be with Them forever. Fourth, keeping the Lord’s commandments requires more than obedience. We are to love God with all our heart, might, mind and soul. Those who do not love Him, do not keep His commandments and so they will not have the gift of peace in this life and in the world to come. Fifth, it is clear that the Lord loves us enough to pay the price of our sins so that we can, through our faith in Him and our repentance, through the effects of His atonement, have the gift of the peace that passeth all understanding in this life and with Him eternally.
Sarah Jane Weaver: In the Saturday afternoon session, Elder Dale G. Renlund of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles was the first speaker, talking to all of us about accessing God’s power through our covenants.
Elder Dale G. Renlund: As you walk the covenant path, from baptism, to the temple and throughout life, I promise you power to go against the natural worldly flow; power to learn, power to repent and be sanctified and power to find hope, comfort and even joy as you face life’s challenges. I promise you and your family protection against the influence of the adversary, especially when you make the temple a major focus in your life. As you come to Christ, and are connected to Him and our Heavenly Father by covenant, something seemingly unnatural happens. You’re transformed and become perfected and Jesus Christ. You become a covenant child of God and an inheritor in His kingdom.
Sarah Jane Weaver: Elder Peter F. Meurs, a General Authority Seventy, also spoke about the Savior Jesus Christ and His power to heal us.
Elder Peter F. Meurs: Brothers and sisters, whether you’re carrying the burden of unresolved sin, suffering because of an offense committed against you long ago or struggling to forgive yourself for an accidental mistake, you have access to the healing, redeeming power of the Savior Jesus Christ.
Sarah Jane Weaver: Elder Randall K. Bennett, a General Authority Seventy, spoke in the Saturday afternoon session about the importance of patriarchal blessings.
Elder Randall K. Bennett: Cherishing my patriarchal blessing while I was young blessed me with courage when I was discouraged, comfort when I was fearful, peace when I felt anxious, hope when I felt hopeless and joy when I needed it most. My patriarchal blessing helped increase my faith and trust in my Heavenly Father and my Savior. It also increased my love for Them and it still does.
Sarah Jane Weaver: Elder Craig C. Christiansen, a General Authority Seventy, spoke about the joy that comes through repentance.
Elder Craig C. Christensen: Repentance brings joy, because it prepares our hearts to receive the influence of the Holy Ghost. To be filled with the Holy Ghost means to be filled with joy and to be filled with joy means to be filled with the Holy Ghost. Our joy increases as we work daily, to bring the Spirit into our lives.
Sarah Jane Weaver: Then Elder Evan A. Schmutz, a General Authority Seventy, addressed the concept of trusting in the doctrine of Christ.
Elder Evan A. Schmutz: Brothers and sisters, if we are to accept President Nelson’s invitation to have the doctrine of Christ rooted in the marrow of our bones, we must deepen our conversion to the Lord by study, prayer, faithful living and continual repentance. We must invite the Holy Ghost to engrave the doctrine of Christ in the fleshy tables of our hearts as permanently as it was engraved by Nephi upon the plates of gold.
Sarah Jane Weaver: Elder Benjamin De Hoyos, who will complete his term as a General Authority Seventy on Aug. 1, addressed the work of temple and family history. He said it is one and the same work.
Elder Benjamin De Hoyos: As we follow the guidance of the prophets, and learn how to do our family history and perform the temple ordinances for our ancestors, we will experience great joy to the point that he, that we won’t know when to stop doing it. The Spirit will flood our hearts, awaken our faculties to do it and guide us as we search for the name of our ancestors. But let us remember that family history is more than just looking for names, dates, some places. It is uniting families and feeling the joy that comes from extending to them the ordinariness of the gospel.
Sarah Jane Weaver: Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said that just as Jesus Christ is the strength of youth, Jesus Christ is also the strength of parents.
Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf: God has given parents the sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs and to teach them to observe the commandments of God. That’s enough to keep even the best parents awake at night. My message to all parents is this: The Lord loves you. He is with you. He stands beside you. He is your strength in guiding your children to make righteous choices. Accept this privilege and responsibility courageously and joyfully.
Sarah Jane Weaver: The first speaker in the Saturday evening session, Elder Mark A. Bragg, a General Authority Seventy addressed the topic of Christlike poise.
Elder Mark A. Bragg: It is through Christ and His Atonement that all good things come into our lives. As we remember who we are, knowing that there is a divine plan of mercy, and drawing courage in the strength of the Lord, we can do all things. We will find calm. We will be good women and men in any storm. May we seek the blessings of Christ-like poise not only to help ourselves in challenging times, but to bless others and help them through the storms in their lives.
Sarah Jane Weaver: Brother Milton Camargo, first counselor in the Sunday School general presidency, asked all of us to focus on Jesus Christ.
Brother Milton Camargo: Over time, your consistency in feasting on the word of God will help your children grow closer and closer to the Savior. They will come to know Him as never before. The Lord Jesus Christ lives today. He can be an active, daily presence in our lives. He is the solution to our problems, but we must lift our eyes and raise our sights to see Him.
Sarah Jane Weaver: Elder K. Brett Nattress, a General Authority Seventy who also spoke to us on Saturday evening, addressed the topic, “Have I truly been forgiven?”
Elder K. Brett Nattress: His promise is eternal — He will heal us. To those who have strayed from the covenant path, please know there is always hope, there is always healing and there is always a way back. His eternal message of hope is the healing balm for all who live in a troubled world. The Savior said, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.” Brothers and sisters, let us remember to seek Him, to love Him and to always remember Him.
Sarah Jane Weaver: Elder Juan A. Uceda, a General Authority Seventy who will receive emeritus status effective Aug. 1, also spoke about Jesus Christ, saying the Savior teaches us how to minister.
Elder Juan A. Uceda: When the Pharisees and scribes murmured against the Lord, saying this man receiveth sinners and eateth with them, He responded by presenting three beautiful stories that we have come to know as the parable of the lost sheep, the parable of the lost coin and the parable of the prodigal son. It’s interesting to note that when Luke, the gospel writer, is introducing the three stories, he uses the word, “parable,” in the singular, not in the plural. It appears that the Lord is teaching one unique lesson with three stories, stories that present different numbers, 100 sheep, 10 coins and two sons. The key number in each of these stories, however, is the number one.
Sarah Jane Weaver: Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles was the first speaker Sunday morning. He said becoming one in Christ happens one by one.
Elder D. Todd Christofferson: To put on Christ, certainly includes making His first and great commandment our first and greatest commitment, and if we love God, we will keep His commandments. Unity with our brothers and sisters in the body of Christ grows as we heed the second commandment, inextricably connected to the first, to love others as ourselves. And I suppose and even more perfect unity would obtain among us if we follow the Savior’s higher and holier expression of this second commandment to love one another not only as we love ourselves, but as He loved us.
Sarah Jane Weaver: President Camille N. Johnson, Relief Society general president, also spoke about the Savior on Sunday morning. “Jesus Christ,” she said, “is relief.”
President Camille N. Johnson: I joyfully declare that our mortal burdens, these rocks in our figurative backpack need not feel heavy. Jesus Christ can lighten our load. Jesus Christ can lift our burdens. Jesus Christ provides a way for us to be relieved of the weight of sin. Jesus Christ is our relief.
Sarah Jane Weaver: Speaking Sunday morning, Elder Ulisses Soares of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles addressed the topic, “Followers of the Prince of Peace.”
Elder Ulisses Soares: If we are not careful with our thoughts, words and actions, we may end up be entangled by the canning tricks of the enemy, destroying our relationships with the people around us and our loved ones. Brothers and sisters, as the Lord’s peculiar people and promoters of His peace, we cannot afford to allow these tricks of the evil one to take place in our hearts. We cannot carry such a corrosive burden that destroys feelings, relationships and even lives. The gospel represents good tidings of great joy.
Sarah Jane Weaver: Elder Kazuhiko Yamashita, a General Authority Seventy who will also receive emeritus status effective Aug. 1, spoke about the power of his patriarchal blessing.
Elder Kazuhiko Yamashita: My dear bishops, parents, Elder’s Quorum leaders, Relief Society presidents, world mission leaders, ministering brothers and sisters, please encourage those young men and young women, adult members and new members who have not yet received their patriarchal blessing to seek the Lord’s direction and help in preparing themselves to do so.
Sarah Jane Weaver: Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles focused his address on Alma’s phrase found in the Book of Mormon, “My mind caught a hold upon this thought.”
Elder Neil L. Andersen: My prayer at this Easter season is that we will more consciously shape, strengthen and secure this preeminent thought of Jesus Christ in the chambers of our soul, allowing us to, allowing it to eagerly flow into our mind, guiding us in what we think and do and continually bringing the sweet joy of the Savior’s love. Filling our mind with the power of Jesus Christ does not mean that He, that He is the only thought we have, but it does mean that all our thoughts are circumscribed in His love, His life and teachings and His atoning sacrifice and glorious resurrection.
Sarah Jane Weaver: Elder Kevin R. Duncan, a General Authority Seventy, said temples bring joy to those who participate in ordinances and make covenants.
Elder Kevin R. Duncan: The adversary is on the alert. His power is threatened by the ordinances and covenants performed in temples and he does anything he can to try to stop the work. Why? Because he knows of the power that comes from this sacred work. As each temple is dedicated, the saving power of Jesus Christ expands throughout the world to counteract the efforts of the adversary and to redeem us as we come unto Him. As temples and covenant-keepers grow in number, the adversary grows weaker.
Sarah Jane Weaver: President Russell M. Nelson concluded the Sunday morning session with a powerful address titled “Peacemakers Needed.”
President Nelson: My dear brothers and sisters, how we treat each other really matters. How we speak to and about others at home, at church, at work and online really matters. Today, I’m asking us to interact with others in a higher, holier way. Please listen carefully. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy that we can say about another person, whether to his face or behind her back, that should be our standard of communication. Contention drives away the Spirit every time. Contention reinforces the false notion that confrontation is the way to resolve differences, but it never is. Contention is a choice. Peacemaking is a choice. You have your agency to choose contention or reconciliation. I urge you to be a peacemaker now and always. Brothers and sisters, we can literally change the world one person and one interaction at a time. How? By modeling how to manage honest differences of opinion with mutual respect and dignified dialogue.
Sarah Jane Weaver: President Dallin H. Oaks, first counselor in the First Presidency, was the first speaker in the Sunday afternoon session, addressing the teachings of Jesus Christ.
President Dallin H. Oaks: As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we worship Him and follow His teachings in the scriptures. We are given the scriptures to direct our lives. As the prophet Nephi taught us, we should “feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things [that] ye should do.” Most of the scriptures reporting Jesus’ mortal ministries are descriptions of what He did. My message today consists of a selection of the words of our Savior, what He said.
Sarah Jane Weaver: President M Russell Ballard, acting president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, addressed the topic “Remember What Matters Most.”
President M. Russell Ballard: Today I will share from my heart a few feelings and thoughts on what matters most. First, a relationship with our Heavenly Father and His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, is most important. This relationship matters most now and in eternity. Second, family relationships are among those things that matter most. Nurturing these important relationships is a choice. The choice to be part of family requires commitment, love, patience, communication and forgiveness.
Sarah Jane Weaver: Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles spoke of ways the doctrine of Holy Week applies to one’s life.
Elder Ronald A. Rasband: If some of you are looking to fill what some call a “bucket list,” this is it. Fill your bucket with oil in the form of the living water of Jesus Christ, which is a representation of His life and teachings. In contrast, checking off a far off place or spectacular event will never leave your soul feeling whole or satisfied. Living the doctrine taught by Jesus Christ will. I mentioned them earlier, embrace prophecy and prophetic teachings, act on promptings of the Holy Ghost, become a true disciple and seek the healing power of our Lord’s atonement. That bucket list will take you somewhere you want to go — back to your Father in Heaven.
Sarah Jane Weaver: Elder Vern P. Stanfill, a General Authority Seventy, addressed the topic “Becoming Perfected in Christ.”
Elder Vern P. Stanfill: Some even misunderstand the invitation of the Savior to “be ye therefore perfect.” Remember that perfectionism is not the same as being perfected in Christ. Perfectionism requires an impossible, self-inflicted standard that compares us to others. This causes guilt, anxiety and can make us want to isolate ourselves and withdraw. Becoming perfected in Christ is another matter. It is the process, lovingly guided by the Holy Ghost, of becoming more like the Savior. The standards are set by a kind and all-knowing Heavenly Father and clearly defined in the covenants we are invited to embrace. It relieves us of the burdens of guilt and inadequacy.
Sarah Jane Weaver: Elder W. Mark Bassett, also a General Authority Seventy, spoke about seeking divine intervention.
Elder W. Mark Bassett: Sometimes during our own challenges, we might feel like Christ is too late and our hope and faith might even feel challenged. My witness and testimony is that as we move forward with faith in Jesus Christ, the fourth day will always come. He will always come to our aid or to raise our hopes back to life.
Sarah Jane Weaver: Elder Brother Ahmad S. Corbitt, who has been serving as first counselor in the Young Men general presidency and was sustained during conference as a new General Authority Seventy, addressed the topic “Why I, as a Christian, believe in Christ.”
Brother Ahmad Corbitt: The steps God revealed we must take to follow Jesus and receive eternal life are called the doctrine of Christ. They include faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end. The doctrine of Christ empowers those who are struggling or feel they don’t belong in the Church, because it helps them, as Elder D. Todd Christofferson, stated, “Affirm Jesus Christ died for me and loves me.” Parents, if your child struggles with a gospel principle or prophetic teaching, please resist any type of evil-speaking or activism toward the Church or its leaders.
Sarah Jane Weaver: Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said, “Jesus Christ extends to all the same invitation he extended to the prophet Enoch, ‘Abide in me.’”
Elder David A. Bednar: Thus, we abide in Christ as we are firm and steadfast in our devotion to the Redeemer and His holy purposes in times both good and bad. We begin to, we begin to abide in the Lord by exercising our moral agency to take upon ourselves His yoke through the covenants and ordinances of the restored gospel. We abide in Him by striving continually to strengthen our individual covenant bond with the Father and the Son.
Sarah Jane Weaver: President Russell M. Nelson, our beloved prophet, was the final speaker in the Sunday afternoon session. We close this episode, we close this special, we close this special General Conference episode of the Church News podcast with his words, “The answer is always Jesus Christ,” he said, “explaining to the worldwide membership of the Church what he knows now.”
President Nelson: Dear brothers and sisters, Jesus Christ extends that same invitation to you today. I plead with you to come unto Him so that He can heal you. He will heal you from sin as you repent. He will heal you from sadness and fear. He will heal you from the wounds of this world. Whatever questions or problems you have, the answer is always found in the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. Learn more about His Atonement, His love, His mercy, His doctrine and His restored gospel of healing and progression. Turn to Him. Follow Him.
Jesus Christ is the reason we build temples. Each is His holy house. Making covenants and receiving essential ordinances in the temple, as well as seeking to draw closer to Him there, will bless your life in ways no other kind of worship can. For this reason, we are doing all within our power to make the blessings of the temple more accessible to our members around the world.
Today, I’m grateful to announce our plans to build a new temple in each of the following locations:
- Retalhuleu, Guatemala
- Iquitos, Peru
- Teresina, Brazil
- Natal, Brazil
- Tuguegarao City, Philippines
- Iloilo, Philippines
- Jakarta, Indonesia
- Hamburg, Germany
- Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada
- San Jose, California
- Bakersfield, California
- Springfield, Missouri
- Winchester, Virginia
- Charlotte, North Carolina
- Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
My dear brothers and sisters, I bear witness that Jesus Christ directs the affairs of His Church. I testify that following Him is the only way to enduring happiness.
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, where with other news and updates about the Church on TheChurchNews.com.