Sunday, October 23, 2016

#LDSConf October 2016: Saturday Afternoon Session

==First Presidency==
(1)  1963-(DOM)-Thomas S. Monson - 8/21/1927 - 89 - USA-UT
(7)  1995-(GBH)-Henry B. Eyring - 5/31/1933 - 83 - USA-NJ
(8)  2004-(GBH)-Dieter F. Uchtdorf - 11/6/1940 - 75 - Czech (German)

==Quorum of Twelve Apostles==
(2)  1984-(SWK)-Russell M. Nelson - 9/9/1924 - 92 - USA-UT
(3)  1984-(SWK)-Dallin H. Oaks - 8/12/1932 - 84 - USA-UT
(4)  1985-(SWK)-M. Russell Ballard - 10/8/1928 - 88 - USA-UT
(5)  1994-(ETB)-Robert D. Hales - 8/24/1932 - 84 - USA-NY
(6)  1994-(HWH)-Jeffrey R. Holland - 12/3/1940 - 75 - USA-UT
(9)  2004-(GBH)-David A. Bednar - 6/15/1952 - 64 - USA-CA

(10) 2007-(GBH)-Quentin L. Cook - 9/8/1940 - 76 - USA-UT
(11) 2008-(TSM)-D. Todd Christofferson - 1/24/1945 - 71 - USA-UT
(12) 2009-(TSM)-Neil L. Andersen - 8/9/1951 - 65 - USA-UT
(13) 2015-(TSM)-Ronald A. Rasband -- 2/6/1951 - 65 - USA-UT
(14) 2015-(TSM)-Gary E. Stevenson - 8/5/1955 - 61 - USA-UT
(15) 2015-(TSM)-Dale G. Renlund - 11/1/1952 - 63 - USA-UT

QUENTIN L. COOK - "Valiant in the Testimony of Jesus"
Quorum of the Twelve

Eternal life is the greatest gift of God and is bestowed on those who “keep [God’s] commandments and endure to the end.” On the other hand, eternal life with our Heavenly Father is denied those “who are not valiant in the testimony of Jesus.” There are a number of stumbling blocks to our valor that can prevent us from reaching the goal of eternal life...

What are some of the stumbling blocks that confuse and complicate our pure and simple testimony of the Father and the Son and keep us from being valiant in that testimony?

We are committed to knowledge of every kind and believe “the glory of God is intelligence.” But we also know that the preferred strategy of the adversary is to lead people away from God and cause them to stumble by emphasizing the philosophies of men over the Savior and His teachings...

Heber C. Kimball was one of the original Twelve Apostles of this dispensation and First Counselor to President Brigham Young. He warned: “The time is coming when … it will be difficult to tell the face of a Saint from the face of an enemy to the people of God. Then … look out for the great sieve, for there will be a great sifting time, and many will fall.” He concluded that there is “a test coming.”

In our day, the influence of Christianity in many countries, including the United States, is significantly reduced. Without religious beliefs, there is no feeling of accountability to God. Accordingly, it is hard to establish universal values about how to live. Philosophies which are deeply held often conflict with each other.

Unfortunately, this also happens with some members of the Church who lose their bearings and become influenced by the cause of the moment—many of which are clearly not righteous.

In line with Heber C. Kimball’s prophecy, Elder Neal A. Maxwell said in 1982: “Much sifting will occur because of lapses in righteous behavior which go unrepented of. A few will give up instead of holding out to the end. A few will be deceived by defectors. Likewise, others will be offended, for sufficient unto each dispensation are the stumbling blocks thereof!”...

The prophet Jacob referred to ancient Jews as “a stiffnecked people [who] despised … plainness, … killed the prophets, and sought for things that they could not understand. Wherefore, because of their blindness, which blindness came by looking beyond the mark, they must needs fall.”

While there are many examples of looking beyond the mark, a significant one in our day is extremism. Gospel extremism is when one elevates any gospel principle above other equally important principles and takes a position that is beyond or contrary to the teachings of Church leaders. One example is when one advocates for additions, changes, or primary emphasis to one part of the Word of Wisdom. Another is expensive preparation for end-of-days scenarios. In both examples, others are encouraged to accept private interpretations. “If we turn a health law or any other principle into a form of religious fanaticism, we are looking beyond the mark.”

Speaking of important doctrine, the Lord has declared, “Whosoever declareth more or less than this, the same is not of me.” When we elevate any principle in a way that lessens our commitment to other equally important principles or take a position contrary to or which exceeds teachings of Church leaders, we are looking beyond the mark.

GARY E. STEVENSEN - "Look to the Book; Look to the Lord"
Quorum of the Twelve

Do you realize that the Book of Mormon was written for you—and for your day? This book is one of the blessings of living in what we call the dispensation of the fulness of times. Although the Book of Mormon was written by inspired, ancient authors—many of whom were prophets—they and the people of their day did not have the benefit of possessing the whole book. You now have easily within your reach the sacred record that prophets, priests, and kings treasured, embraced, and preserved! You have the benefit of holding in your hands the complete Book of Mormon.

Interestingly, one of the Book of Mormon prophets, Moroni, saw our day—your day. He even saw you, in vision, many hundreds of years ago! Moroni wrote:
“Behold, the Lord hath shown unto me great and marvelous things concerning … that day when these things,” meaning the Book of Mormon, “shall come forth among you.
“Behold, I speak unto you as if ye were present, and yet ye are not. But behold, Jesus Christ hath shown you unto me, and I know your doing.”
Within the book’s pages, you will discover the infinite love and incomprehensible grace of God. As you strive to follow the teachings you find there, your joy will expand, your understanding will increase, and the answers you seek to the many challenges mortality presents will be opened to you. As you look to the book, you look to the Lord. The Book of Mormon is the revealed word of God.

D. TODD CHRISTOFFERSON - "Abide in His Love"
Quorum of the Twelve

There are many ways to describe and speak of divine love. One of the terms we hear often today is that God’s love is “unconditional.” While in one sense that is true, the descriptor unconditional appears nowhere in scripture. Rather, His love is described in scripture as “great and wonderful love,” “perfect love,” “redeeming love,” and “everlasting love.” These are better terms because the word unconditional can convey mistaken impressions about divine love, such as, God tolerates and excuses anything we do because His love is unconditional, or God makes no demands upon us because His love is unconditional, or all are saved in the heavenly kingdom of God because His love is unconditional. God’s love is infinite and it will endure forever, but what it means for each of us depends on how we respond to His love.

Jesus said:
“As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.
“If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.”
To “continue in” or “abide in” the Savior’s love means to receive His grace and be perfected by it. To receive His grace, we must have faith in Jesus Christ and keep His commandments, including repenting of our sins, being baptized for the remission of sins, receiving the Holy Ghost, and continuing in the path of obedience. God will always love us, but He cannot save us in our sins...

God’s greater blessings are conditioned on obedience. President Russell M. Nelson explained: “The resplendent bouquet of God’s love—including eternal life—includes blessings for which we must qualify, not entitlements to be expected unworthily. Sinners cannot bend His will to theirs and require Him to bless them in sin. If they desire to enjoy every bloom in His beautiful bouquet, they must repent.”

W. MARK BASSETT - "For Our Spiritual Development and Learning"
of the Seventy

Nephi’s example of seeking knowledge included (1) a sincere desire, (2) humility, (3) prayer, (4) trust in the prophet, and an exercise of (5) faith, (6) diligence, and (7) obedience...

In this modern age, we have come to expect that knowledge can and should be obtained immediately; when information is not easily known or accessible, it is often dismissed or mistrusted. Because of the abundance of information, some unwittingly give more credibility to available sources with an unknown origin rather than relying on the Lord’s established pattern for receiving personal revelation. Jacob could have been describing our time when he said: “But behold, [they] were a stiffnecked people; and they despised the words of plainness … and sought for things that they could not understand. Wherefore, because of their blindness, which blindness came by looking beyond the mark, they must needs fall; for God hath taken away his plainness from them, and delivered unto them many things which they cannot understand, because they desired it.”...

During last April’s general conference, Elder Dallin H. Oaks explained: “The Church is making great efforts to be transparent with the records we have, but after all we can publish, our members are sometimes left with basic questions that cannot be resolved by study. … Some things can be learned only by faith."

KAZUHIKO YAMASHITA - "Be Ambitious for Christ"
of the Seventy

Being ambitious for Christ means being motivated, focused, and dedicated to His work. Being ambitious for Christ will seldom mean that we are singled out for public honor. Being ambitious for Christ means that we serve faithfully and diligently in our wards and branches without complaint and with joyful hearts...

In our lives we experience trials, but if we are ambitious for Christ, we can focus on Him and feel joy even in the midst of them. Our Redeemer is the ultimate example. He understood His holy mission and was obedient to the will of God the Father. What a choice blessing it is to bring His wonderful example to our remembrance each week as we partake of the sacrament.

My dear brothers and sisters, we are ambitious for Christ when we serve faithfully, accept humbly, endure nobly, pray fervently, and partake worthily.

May we be ambitious for Christ as we accept our difficulties and trials with patience and faith and find joy in our covenant path.

DALLIN H. OAKS - "Sharing the Restored Gospel"
Quorum of the Twelve

We should be because we know that God loves all of His children and that in these last days He has restored vital additional knowledge and power to bless all of them. The Savior taught us to love all as our brothers and sisters, and we honor that teaching by sharing the witness and message of the restored gospel “among all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people”. This is a vital part of what it means to be a Latter-day Saint. We look on this as a joyful privilege. What could be more joyful than sharing the truths of eternity with God’s children?

Today we have many resources to share the gospel that were not available in earlier generations. We have TV, the internet, and social media channels. We have many valuable messages to introduce the restored gospel. We have the prominence of the Church in many nations. We have a greatly increased number of missionaries. But are we using all these resources to maximum effect? I believe most of us would say no. We desire to be more effective in fulfilling our divinely appointed responsibility to proclaim the restored gospel in all the world...

There are three things all members can do to help share the gospel, regardless of the circumstances in which they live and work. All of us should do all of these.

First, we can all pray for desire to help with this vital part of the work of salvation. All efforts begin with desire.

Second, we can keep the commandments ourselves. Faithful, obedient members are the most persuasive witnesses of the truth and value of the restored gospel. Even more important, faithful members will always have the Savior’s Spirit to be with them to guide them as they seek to participate in the great work of sharing the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.

Third, we can pray for inspiration on what we can do in our individual circumstances to share the gospel with others. This is different than praying for the missionaries or praying for what others can do. We should pray for what we can do personally. When we pray, we should remember that prayers for this kind of inspiration will be answered if accompanied by a commitment—something the scriptures call “real intent” or “full purpose of heart.” Pray with a commitment to act upon the inspiration you receive, promising the Lord that if He will inspire you to speak to someone about the gospel, you will do it.

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