Wednesday, October 7, 2015

#LDSConf October 2015: Saturday Morning Session

Here are the highlights from the Saturday Morning session of the 185th semi-annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

==First Presidency==
(1)  1963-(DOM)-Thomas S. Monson - 8/21/1927 - 88 - USA-UT
(7)  1995-(GBH)-Henry B. Eyring - 5/31/1933 - 82 - USA-NJ
(8)  2004-(GBH)-Dieter F. Uchtdorf - 11/6/1940 - 74 - Czech (German)

==Quorum of Twelve Apostles==
(2)  1984-(SWK)-Russell M. Nelson - 9/9/1924 - 91 - USA-UT
(3)  1984-(SWK)-Dallin H. Oaks - 8/12/1932 - 83 - USA-UT
(4)  1985-(SWK)-M. Russell Ballard - 10/8/1928 - 87 - USA-UT
(5)  1994-(ETB)-Robert D. Hales - 8/24/1932 - 83 - USA-NY
(6)  1994-(HWH)-Jeffrey R. Holland - 12/3/1940 - 74 - USA-UT
(9)  2004-(GBH)-David A. Bednar - 6/15/1952 - 63 - USA-CA

(10) 2007-(GBH)-Quentin L. Cook - 9/8/1940 - 75 - USA-UT
(11) 2008-(TSM)-D. Todd Christofferson - 1/24/1945 - 70 - USA-UT
(12) 2009-(TSM)-Neil L. Andersen - 8/9/1951 - 64 - USA-UT
(13) 2015-(TSM)-Ronald A. Rasband -- 2/6/1951 - 64 - USA-UT
(14) 2015-(TSM)-Gary E. Stevenson - 8/5/1955 - 60 - USA-UT
(15) 2015-(TSM)-Dale G. Renlund - 11/1/1952 - 62 - USA-UT

DIETER F. UCHTDORF - "It Works Wonderfully"

Not long ago I saw a quote that made me stop and think. It went like this: “Tell a man there are trillions of stars in the universe, and he’ll believe you. Tell him there’s wet paint on the wall, and he’ll touch it just to be sure.”

Aren’t we all a little bit like this? After a recent medical procedure, my very capable doctors explained what I needed to do to heal properly. But first I had to relearn something about myself I should have known for a long time: as a patient, I’m not very patient.

Consequently I decided to expedite the healing process by undertaking my own Internet search. I suppose I expected to discover truth of which my doctors were unaware or had tried to keep from me.

It took me a little while before I realized the irony of what I was doing. Of course, researching things for ourselves is not a bad idea. But I was disregarding truth I could rely on and instead found myself being drawn to the often-outlandish claims of Internet lore.

Sometimes, the truth may just seem too straightforward, too plain, and too simple for us to fully appreciate its great value. So we set aside what we have experienced and know to be true in pursuit of more mysterious or complicated information. Hopefully we will learn that when we chase after shadows, we are pursuing matters that have little substance and value.

When it comes to spiritual truth, how can we know that we are on the right path?

One way is by asking the right questions—the kind that help us ponder our progress and evaluate how things are working for us. Questions like:

“Does my life have meaning?”
“Do I believe in God?”
“Do I believe that God knows and loves me?”
“Do I believe that God hears and answers my prayers?”
“Am I truly happy?”
“Are my efforts leading me to the highest spiritual goals and values in life?”

Profound questions regarding the purpose of life have led many individuals and families throughout the world to search for truth. Often that search has led them to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and to the restored gospel...

I know for myself how the fruits of the gospel of Jesus Christ can transform lives from the ordinary and dreary to the extraordinary and sublime.

But why does it seem to work better for some than for others? What is the difference between those whose experience in the Church fills their souls with songs of redeeming love and those who feel that something is lacking?...

all of us, as members of the Church, we need to make a conscientious effort to devote our energy and time to the things that truly matter, while uplifting our fellowmen and building the kingdom of God...

Brothers and sisters, dear friends, I pray that we will focus on “the simplicity that is in Christ” and allow His grace to lift and carry us during our journey from where we are now to our glorious destiny in our Father’s presence.

As we do so and someone asks us, “How is being a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints working for you?” we will be able to say with pride, in all humility, and with great joy, “It works wonderfully! Thank you for asking! Would you like to know more?”

M. RUSSELL BALLARD - "God Is at the Helm"

Our Heavenly Father and the Lord Jesus Christ have outfitted the Old Ship Zion with clear and simple eternal truths that will help us stay the course through the troubled waters of mortal life. Here are just a few.

The Church of Jesus Christ has always been led by living prophets and apostles. Though mortal and subject to human imperfection, the Lord’s servants are inspired to help us avoid obstacles that are spiritually life threatening and to help us pass safely through mortality to our final, ultimate, heavenly destination.

During my nearly 40 years of close association, I have been a personal witness as both quiet inspiration and profound revelation have moved to action the prophets and apostles, the other General Authorities, and the auxiliary leaders. While neither perfect nor infallible, these good men and women have been perfectly dedicated to leading the work of the Lord forward as He has directed.

And make no mistake about it: the Lord directs His Church through living prophets and apostles. This is the way He has always done His work. Indeed, the Savior taught, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that receiveth whomsoever I send receiveth me.” We cannot separate Christ from His servants. Without His first Apostles, we would not have an eyewitness account of many of His teachings, His ministry, His suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane, and His death on the cross. Without their testimonies, we would not have an apostolic witness of the empty tomb and the Resurrection...

It has always been a challenge for the world to accept living prophets and apostles, but it is so essential to do so in order to fully understand the Atonement and the teachings of Jesus Christ and to receive a fulness of the blessings of the priesthood that are given to those He has called.

Too many people think Church leaders and members should be perfect or nearly perfect. They forget that the Lord’s grace is sufficient to accomplish His work through mortals. Our leaders have the best intentions, but sometimes we make mistakes. This is not unique to Church relationships, as the same thing occurs in our relationships among friends, neighbors, and workplace associates and even between spouses and in families.

Looking for human weakness in others is rather easy. However, we make a serious mistake by noticing only the human nature of one another and then failing to see God’s hand working through those He has called.

Focusing on how the Lord inspires His chosen leaders and how He moves the Saints to do remarkable and extraordinary things despite their humanity is one way that we hold on to the gospel of Jesus Christ and stay safely aboard the Old Ship Zion...

Let us be grateful for the beautiful Old Ship Zion, for without it we are cast adrift, alone and powerless, swept along without rudder or oar, swirling with the strong currents of the adversary’s wind and waves.

Hold tight, brothers and sisters, and sail on within the glorious ship, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and we will reach our eternal destination.

RICHARD J. MAYNES - "The Joy of Living A Christ-Centered Life"
Presidency of the Seventy

The world in which we live is similar to the potter’s spinning wheel, and the speed of that wheel is increasing. Like the clay on the potter’s wheel, we must be centered as well. Our core, the center of our lives, must be Jesus Christ and His gospel. Living a Christ-centered life means we learn about Jesus Christ and His gospel and then we follow His example and keep His commandments with exactness.

The ancient prophet Isaiah stated, “But now, O Lord, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand.”

If our lives are centered in Jesus Christ, He can successfully mold us into who we need to be in order to return to His and Heavenly Father’s presence in the celestial kingdom. The joy we experience in this life will be in direct proportion to how well our lives are centered on the teachings, example, and atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

NEILL F. MARRIOTT - "Yielding Our Hearts to God"
2nd Counselor, Young Women's General Presidency

How do we make the Lord’s ways our ways? I believe we begin by learning of Him and praying for understanding. As our trust in Him grows, we open our hearts, seek to do His will, and wait for answers that will help us understand.

My own change of heart started when, as a 12-year-old, I began to search for God. Other than saying the Lord’s Prayer,3 I didn’t really know how to pray. I remember kneeling, hoping I could feel His love, and asking, “Where are You, Heavenly Father? I know You must be out there somewhere, but where?” All through my teen years, I asked. I did have glimpses of the reality of Jesus Christ, but Heavenly Father, in His wisdom, let me seek and wait for 10 years.

In 1970, when the missionaries taught me about the Father’s plan of salvation and of the Savior’s Atonement, my waiting ended. I embraced these truths and was baptized.

Based on this knowledge of the Lord’s mercy and power, my husband, children, and I chose this family motto: “It will all work out.” Yet how can we say those words to one another when deep troubles come and answers aren’t readily available?

When our delightful, worthy, 21-year-old daughter, Georgia, was hospitalized in critical condition following a bike accident, our family said, “It will all work out.” As I flew immediately from our mission in Brazil to Indianapolis, Indiana, USA, to be with her, I clung to our family motto. However, our lovely daughter passed into the spirit world just hours before my plane landed. With grief and shock running through our family like a current, how could we look at one another and still say, “It will all work out”?

Following Georgia’s mortal death, our feelings were raw, we struggled, and still today we have moments of great sorrow, but we hold to the understanding that no one ever really dies. Despite our anguish when Georgia’s physical body stopped functioning, we had faith that she went right on living as a spirit, and we believe we will live with her eternally if we adhere to our temple covenants. Faith in our Redeemer and His Resurrection, faith in His priesthood power, and faith in eternal sealings let us state our motto with conviction.

President Gordon B. Hinckley said: “If you do your best, it will all work out. Put your trust in God. … The Lord will not forsake us.”

Our family motto doesn’t say, “It will all work out now.” It speaks of our hope in the eternal outcome—not necessarily of present results...

True worship begins when our hearts are right before the Father and the Son. What is our heart condition today? Paradoxically, in order to have a healed and faithful heart, we must first allow it to break before the Lord. “Ye shall offer for a sacrifice unto me a broken heart and a contrite spirit,”7 the Lord declares. The result of sacrificing our heart, or our will, to the Lord is that we receive the spiritual guidance we need.

With a growing understanding of the Lord’s grace and mercy, we will find that our self-willed hearts begin to crack and break in gratitude. Then we reach for Him, yearning to yoke ourselves to the Only Begotten Son of God.

LARRY R. LAWRENCE - "What Lack I Yet?"
of the Seventy

The journey of discipleship is not an easy one. It has been called a “course of steady improvement.”2 As we travel along that strait and narrow path, the Spirit continually challenges us to be better and to climb higher. The Holy Ghost makes an ideal traveling companion. If we are humble and teachable, He will take us by the hand and lead us home.

However, we need to ask the Lord for directions along the way. We have to ask some difficult questions, like “What do I need to change?” “How can I improve?” “What weakness needs strengthening?”

Let’s consider the New Testament account of the rich young ruler. He was a righteous young man who was already keeping the Ten Commandments, but he wanted to become better. His goal was eternal life.

When he met the Savior, he asked, “What lack I yet?”

Jesus answered immediately, giving counsel that was intended specifically for the rich young man. “Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and … come and follow me.”

The young man was stunned; he had never considered such a sacrifice. He was humble enough to ask the Lord but not faithful enough to follow the divine counsel he was given. We must be willing to act when we receive an answer...

Like you, I have received many messages from the Spirit over the years showing me how I could improve. Let me share a few personal examples of messages that I took to heart. These promptings have included:

• Don’t raise your voice.
• Organize yourself; create a daily list of things to do.
• Take better care of your body by eating more fruits and vegetables.
• Increase your temple attendance.

FRANCISCO J. VINAS - "The Pleasing Word of God"
of the Seventy

In those difficult moments in our lives, the pleasing word of God that heals the wounded soul brings the following message of comfort to our heart and mind:

“Peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment;

“And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high” (D&C 121:7–8).

The pleasing word of God fills us with hope, because we know that those who are faithful in tribulation will have the greater reward in the kingdom of heaven and that “after much tribulation come the blessings” (see D&C 58:3–4).

The pleasing word of God, as spoken through the prophets, gives us the security that our eternal sealing, sustained by our faithfulness to the divine promises that we were given for our valiant service in the cause of truth, will bless us and our posterity.

It also gives us the security that, after we have lived a faithful life, we will not lose any blessing for not having done certain things if we were never given the opportunity to do them. If we have lived faithfully until the time of our death, we “will have all the blessings, exaltation, and glory that any man or woman [who has had that opportunity] will have.”

QUENTIN L. COOK - "Be Temple Worthy, In Good Times and Bad"

the storms and temptations of this life are often unpredictable. But this we know: they will come! In order to overcome the challenges and temptations that each of us inevitably faces, it will require righteous preparation and the use of divinely provided protections. We must determine to be temple worthy regardless of what befalls us. If we are prepared, we shall not fear.

Happiness in this life and happiness in the life to come are interconnected by righteousness. Even in the period between death and the Resurrection, “the spirits of those who are righteous are received into a state of happiness, which is called paradise, a state of rest, a state of peace.”

At the commencement of the Savior’s earthly ministry in Israel and later among the Nephites, the Savior addressed the issue of happiness both in this life and in eternity. He stressed ordinances, but He also placed great emphasis on moral behavior. For example, disciples would be blessed if they would hunger and thirst after righteousness, be merciful, be pure in heart, be peacemakers, and follow other basic moral principles. Clearly, our Lord Jesus Christ emphasized, as a foundational doctrinal message, both righteous attitudes and conduct in day-to-day living...

As disciples of the Savior, we are expected to plan and prepare. In the plan of happiness, moral agency is a central organizing principle and our choices matter. The Savior emphasized this throughout His ministry, including in His parables of the foolish virgins and the talents. In each of these, the Lord commended preparation and action and condemned procrastination and idleness.

I recognize that, despite the overwhelming happiness embodied in God’s divine plan, sometimes it can feel far away and disconnected from our current circumstances. It may feel beyond our reach as struggling disciples. From our limited perspective, current temptations and distractions can seem attractive. The rewards for resisting those temptations, on the other hand, can feel distant and unattainable. But a true understanding of the Father’s plan reveals that the rewards of righteousness are available right now. Wickedness, such as immoral conduct, is never part of the answer.

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