Conductinng: Elder Henry B. Eyring
Elder Quentin L. Cook: Lamentations of Jeremiah: Beware Of Bondage
- Turning from the worship of the true and living God and worshipping false gods like wealth and fame and engaging in immoral and unrighteous conduct result in bondage in all its insidious manifestations. These include spiritual, physical, and intellectual bondage and sometimes bring destruction.
- Bondage, subjugation, addictions, and servitude come in many forms. They can be literal physical enslavement, but can also be loss or impairment of moral agency that can impede our progress.
- Addictions that impair agency, contradict moral beliefs, and destroy good health cause bondage. The impact of drugs and alcohol, pornography, gambling, financial subjugation and other afflictions impose on those in bondage and on society a burden of such magnitude that it is almost impossible to quantify.
- Addictions or predilections that while not inherently evil can use up our precious allotment of time which could otherwise be used to accomplish virtuous objectives. These can include excessive use of social media, video and digital games, sports, recreation, and many others.
- The most universal subjugation in our day, as it has been throughout history, is ideology or political beliefs that are inconsistent with the gospel of Jesus Christ. Substituting the philosophies of men for gospel truth can lead us away from the simplicity of the Savior’s message.
- Gospel truths are often rejected or distorted to make them intellectually more appealing or compatible with current cultural trends and intellectual philosophies. If we are not careful, we can be captured by these trends and place ourselves in intellectual bondage. There are many voices now telling women how to live. They often contradict each other. Of particular concern are philosophies that criticize or diminish respect for women who choose to make the sacrifices necessary to be mothers, teachers, nurturers or friends to children.
- Now let me say unequivocally that I am thrilled with the educational and other opportunities that are available to women. I treasure the fact that the back-breaking work and domestic drudgery required of women has been reduced in much of the world because of modern conveniences and that women are making such magnificent contributions in every field of endeavor. But if we allow our culture to reduce the special relationship that children have with mothers and grandmothers, and others who nurture them, we will come to regret it.
Elder Neil L. Anderson: Power in the Priesthood
A man may open the drapes so the warm sunlight comes into the room, but the man does not own the sun or the light or the warmth it brings. The blessings of the priesthood are infinitely greater than the one who is asked to administer the gift.
- Some may sincerely ask the question, “If the power and blessings of the priesthood are available to all, why are the ordinances of the priesthood administered by men?” When an angel asked Nephi, “Knowest thou the condescension of God?” Nephi answered honestly, “I know that he loveth his children; nevertheless, I do not know the meaning of all things.” When we speak of the priesthood, there are many things we do know.
- As surely as we know that God’s love is “alike” for His sons and His daughters, we also know that He did not create men and women exactly the same. We know that gender is an essential characteristic of both our mortal and eternal identity and purpose. Sacred responsibilities are given to each gender.
- While we know a lot about the priesthood, seeing through the lens of mortality does not always give a complete understanding of the workings of God.
- Sincerely asking for and listening to the thoughts and concerns voiced by women is vital in life, in marriage, and in building the kingdom of God.
Elder David M. McConkie: Teaching with the Power and Authority of God
- You are called to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ. You must not teach your own ideas or philosophy, even mingled with scriptures. The gospel is “the power of God unto salvation,” and it is only through the gospel that we are saved.
- It is significant that the First Presidency did not say that the most important part of your service is to prepare your lesson well or to master various teaching techniques. Of course you must diligently prepare for each lesson and strive to learn how you can teach so as to help your students exercise their agency and allow the gospel to enter into their hearts, but the first and most important part of your service is your personal, spiritual preparation.
- After you have prepared yourself and your lesson to the very best of your ability, you must be willing to let go. When the quiet promptings of the Holy Ghost come, you must have the courage to set aside your outlines and notes and go where those promptings take you. When we do this, the lesson you deliver is no longer your lesson, but it becomes the Savior’s lesson.
Elder Kevin S. Hamilton: “Continually Holding Fast”
- In each of these unique but connected meetings, we learn the doctrine, feel the spirit, and serve one another. While there may be exceptions due to distance, travel cost, or health, we should strive to attend all of our Sunday meetings. I promise that blessings of great joy and peace that will come from worship during our three hour Sunday meeting schedule.
- There will always be some “good” activity that can and should be sacrificed for the better choice of church meeting attendance. This is in fact one of the ways that the adversary “cheateth [our] souls, and leadeth [us] carefully away”. He uses “good” activities as substitutes for “better” or even “best” activities.
- We should never pick or choose which meetings we attend. We simply hold fast to the word of God by worshipping and attending all of the Sabbath meetings that are offered.
- Just as the simple decision to attend or not attend one of their Sabbath day worship meetings made a significant difference in the lives of my grandparent’s family, our every day decisions will impact our lives in significant ways. A seemingly small decision such as whether or not to attend a sacrament meeting can have far-reaching, even eternal consequences.
Elder Adrián Ochoa: Look Up
- So much information of man is now at our fingertips. But the Internet is also full of much that is filthy and misleading. Technology has augmented our freedom of speech, but it also gives an unqualified blogger false credibility based on the number of viewers. This is why now, more than ever, we must remember this eternal principle: “by their fruits ye shall know them.”
- My dear brothers and sisters, if you ever come across anything that causes you to question your testimony of the gospel, I plead with you to look up. Look to the Source of all wisdom and truth. Nourish your faith and testimony with the word of God.
- Jesus Christ, who was perfect, and Joseph Smith, who admitted that he was not, were both killed by false accusers who would not accept their testimony. How can we know that their testimony is true—that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and Joseph Smith is a true prophet? “By their fruits ye shall know them.”
- There are some who may suggest that you must have physical evidence in order to believe in the resurrection of Christ or the veracity of His restored gospel. To them I quote the words of Alma to Korihor, who was trying to persuade others not to believe: “Thou hast had signs enough; will ye tempt your God? Will ye say, Show unto me a sign, when ye have the testimony of all these thy brethren, and also all the holy prophets? The scriptures are laid before thee.”
Elder Terence M. Vinson: Drawing Closer to God
- … rather than solve the problem Himself, the Lord wants us to develop the faith that will help us rely upon Him in solving our problems, and trust Him. Then we can feel His love more constantly, more powerfully, more clearly, and more personally. We become united with Him and we can become like Him. For us to be like Him, is His goal. In fact, it is His glory as well as His work.
- That’s exactly how I feel about the Savior. He is always near, especially in sacred places and in times of need; and sometimes, when I least expect, I feel almost like He taps me on the shoulder to let me know He loves me. I can return that love in my own imperfect way by giving Him my heart.
Elder Russell M. Nelson: Decisions for Eternity
- The wise use of your freedom to make your own decisions is crucial to your spiritual growth, now and for eternity. You are never too young to learn, never too old to change. Your yearnings to learn and change come from a divinely-instilled striving for eternal progression. Each day brings opportunity for decisions for eternity.
- Your Heavenly Father has known you for a very long time. You, as His son or daughter, were chosen by Him to come to earth at this precise time, to be leaders in His great work on earth. You were chosen not for your bodily characteristics, but for your spiritual attributes, such as bravery, courage, integrity of heart, a thirst for truth, a hunger for wisdom, and a desire to serve others.
- A pivotal spiritual attribute is that of self-mastery—the strength to place reason over appetite. Self-mastery builds a strong conscience. And your conscience determines your moral responses in difficult, tempting, and trying situations… Why the need for self-mastery? God implanted strong appetites within us for nourishment and love, vital for the human family to be perpetuated. When we master our appetites within the bounds of God’s laws, we can enjoy longer life, greater love, and consummate joy.
- We can change our behavior. Our very desires can change. How? There is only one way. True change—permanent change —can come only through the healing, cleansing, and enabling power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
- While we are to emulate our Savior’s kindness and compassion, while we are to value the rights and feelings of all of God’s children, we cannot change His doctrine. It is not ours to change. His doctrine is ours to study, understand and uphold.
President Thomas S. Monson: ‘Til We Meet Again
- May Heaven’s blessings be with you. May your homes be filled with love and courtesy and with the Spirit of the Lord. May you constantly nourish your testimonies of the gospel, that they will be a protection to you against the buffetings of the adversary.
- Conference is now over. As we return to our homes, may we do so safely. May the spirit we have felt here be and abide with us as we go about those things which occupy us each day. May we show increased kindness toward one another, and may we ever be found doing the work of the Lord.