Wednesday, April 6, 2016

#LDSConf April 2016: Women's Session

The was the first session of the 186th Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. (#LDSConf)

CHERYL A. ESPLIN - "He Asks Us to Be His Hands"
1st Counselor, Primary General Presidency (released)

“Love one another; as I have loved you.” These words, sung by this remarkable choir, were spoken by Jesus just hours before His great atoning sacrifice—a sacrifice Elder Jeffrey R. Holland described as “the most majestic manifestation of pure love ever to be demonstrated in the history of this world.”

Jesus not only taught us to love, but He also lived what He taught. Throughout His ministry, Jesus “went about doing good” and “entreated all to follow His example.” He taught, “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it"...

Whenever I wonder what it will be like when the Savior comes again, I think of His visit to the Nephites when He asked:

“Have ye any that are sick among you? Bring them hither. Have ye any that are lame, or blind, or halt, or maimed, or leprous, or that are withered, or that are deaf, or that are afflicted in any manner? Bring them hither and I will heal them, for I have compassion upon you; my bowels are filled with mercy. …

“… [The Savior] did heal them every one.”

For now, He asks us to be His hands.

I have come to know that it is the love of God and neighbor that gives meaning to life. May we follow our Savior’s example and His admonition to reach out to others with love.

NEILL F. MARRIOTT - "What Shall We Do?"
2nd Counselor, Young Women General Presidency

Soon after the Resurrection and Ascension of Jesus, the Apostle Peter taught, “Let all … know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.” The listeners were stricken in their hearts and asked Peter and the others, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” And they subsequently obeyed Peter’s teachings with gladness.

Tomorrow is Easter Sunday, and I hope that we also are stricken in our hearts to acknowledge the Savior, repent, and obey with gladness.

In this general conference, we will hear inspired direction given by Church leaders, both male and female. Knowing that our hearts will be touched by their words, I ask you tonight, “Women and sisters, what shall we do?”

The Relief Society general president Eliza R. Snow declared to sisters almost 150 years ago, “The Lord has laid high responsibilities upon us.” I testify that her declaration is still true today.

The Lord’s Church needs Spirit-directed women who use their unique gifts to nurture, to speak up, and to defend gospel truth. Our inspiration and intuition are necessary parts of building the kingdom of God, which really means doing our part to bring salvation to God’s children...

Sister Julie B. Beck, former Relief Society general president, taught: “The ability to qualify for, receive, and act on personal revelation is the single most important skill that can be acquired in this life. … It requires a conscious effort.”

Personal revelation from the Holy Ghost will prompt us to learn, speak, and act on eternal truth—the Savior’s truth. The more we follow Christ, the more we will feel His love and direction; the more we feel His love and direction, the more we will want to speak and teach truth as He did, even when we face opposition.

LINDA K. BURTON - "I Was a Stranger"
Relief Society General President

There are more than 60 million refugees, including forcibly displaced people, worldwide. Half of those are children. “These individuals have undergone tremendous difficulties and are starting over in … new countr[ies] and culture[s]. While there are [sometimes] organizations that help them with a place to live and basic necessities, what they need is a friend and ally who can help them [adjust] to their new home, a person who can help them learn the language, understand the systems, and feel connected.”

Last summer I met Sister Yvette Bugingo, who at age 11 fled from place to place after her father was killed and three of her brothers went missing in a war-torn part of the world. Yvette and the remaining family members eventually lived for six and a half years as refugees in a neighboring country until they were able to move to a permanent home, where they were blessed by a caring couple who helped with transportation, schools, and other things. She said they “were basically an answer to our prayers.” Her beautiful mother and adorable little sister are with us tonight, singing in the choir. I have wondered many times since meeting these wonderful women, “What if their story were my story?”

As sisters we make up more than half of the Lord’s storehouse to help Heavenly Father’s children. His storehouse is not composed just of goods but also of time, talents, skills, and our divine nature. Sister Rosemary M. Wixom has taught, “The divine nature within us ignites our desire to reach out to others and prompts us to act"...

We have organized a relief effort called “I Was a Stranger.” It is our hope that you will prayerfully determine what you can do—according to your own time and circumstance—to serve the refugees living in your neighborhoods and communities. This is an opportunity to serve one on one, in families, and by organization to offer friendship, mentoring, and other Christlike service and is one of many ways sisters can serve.

HENRY B. EYRING - "Trust in That Spirit Which Leadeth to Do Good"
1st Counselor, First Presidency

I am grateful to be with you in this evening of worship, reflection, and dedication. We have prayed together. Our loving Heavenly Father has heard us. We have remembered our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, as we have been touched by hymns of praise to Him. We have been inspired to do more to help our Master in His work to lift up and to succor the children of our Heavenly Father.

Our desire to serve others is magnified by our gratitude for what the Savior has done for us. That is why our hearts swell when we hear the words sung “Because I have been given much, I too must give"...

My prayer for the sisters in the kingdom, wherever they may be or in whatever circumstances, is that their faith in the Savior and gratitude for His Atonement will lead them to do all they can for those God asks them to serve. As they do, I promise that they will move up the path to become holy women whom the Savior and our Heavenly Father will welcome warmly and reward openly.

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