Lord, I Believe
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
… I wish to speak directly to the young people of the Church-young in years of age or young in years of membership or young in years of faith. One way or another that should include just about all of us.
Observation number one regarding … facing the challenge of faith… I would say to all who wish for more faith… In moments of fear or doubt or troubling times, hold the ground you have already won, even if that ground is limited. In the growth we all have to experience in mortality, the spiritual equivalent of this boy’s affliction or this parent’s desperation is going to come to all of us. When those moments come and issues surface the resolution of which is not immediately forthcoming, hold fast to what you already know and stand strong until additional knowledge comes. Jesus said of this process, “If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.” The size of your faith or the degree of your knowledge is not the issue-it is the integrity you demonstrate toward the faith you do have and the truth you already know. Nourish your little seedling however small it may be and one day you will reap mature fruit from a mature tree.
The second observation is a variation of the first. When problems come and questions arise do not start your quest for faith by saying how much you do not have, leading as it were with your “unbelief.” That is like trying to stuff a turkey through the beak! Now let me be clear on this point: I am not asking you to pretend to faith you do not have. I am asking you to be true to the faith you do have. Sometimes we act as if an honest declaration of doubt is a higher manifestation of moral courage than is an honest declaration of faith. It is not! So let us all remember the clear message of this scriptural account: Be as candid about your questions as you need to be; life is full of them on one subject or another. But if you and your family want to be healed, don’t let those questions stand in the way of faith working its miracle.
Furthermore, you have more faith than you think you do because of what the Book of Mormon calls “the greatness of the evidence…
Brothers and sisters, this is a divine work in process with the manifestation and blessings of it abounding in every direction, so don’t hyperventilate if from time to time issues arise that need to be examined, understood, and resolved. They do and they will. In this Church what we know will always trump what we do not know. And remember in this telestial world everyone is to walk by faith.
So be patient with human frailty-your own as well as that of those who serve with you in this Church led by volunteer men and women. Except in the case of his only perfect Begotten Son, imperfect people are all God has ever had to work with since time began. That must be terribly frustrating to Him but He deals with it. So should we. And when you see imperfection, remember that the limitation is not in the divinity of this work.
Last observation. When doubt or difficulty come, do not be afraid to ask for help. If we want it as humbly and honestly as this father did, we can get it. The scriptures phrase such earnest desire as being of “real intent,” pursued “with full purpose of heart, acting no hypocrisy and no deception before God.
I said I was speaking to the young. I still am. A 14-year-old boy recently said to me a little hesitantly, “Brother Holland, I can’t say yet that I know the Church is true, but I believe it is.” I hugged that boy until his eyes bulged out. I told him with all the fervor of my soul that belief is a precious word, an even more precious act, and he need never apologize for “only believing.”
What was once a tiny seed of belief for me has grown into the tree of life, so if your faith is a little tested in this or any season, I invite you to lean on mine. I know this work is true. Only at our peril would we allow doubt or devils to sway us from its path. Hang on. Hope on. Honestly acknowledge your concerns but first fan the flame of your faith, because all things are possible to them that believe.
Followers of Christ
Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
All of the messages of this conference have helped us follow in the footsteps of our Savior, whose example and teachings define the path for every follower of Jesus Christ.
In common with all Christians, members of [this Church] study the life of our Savior as reported in the New Testament books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. I will review examples and teachings contained in these four books of the Holy Bible, and invite each of us to consider how His restored Church and each of us qualify as followers of Christ.
Jesus taught that baptism was necessary to enter the Kingdom of God (John 3:5). He began His ministry by being baptized (Mark 1:9), and He and His followers baptized others (John 3:22-26). We do likewise.
Jesus began His preaching by inviting His listeners to repent (Matthew 4:17). That is still His servants’ message to the world.
Throughout His ministry Jesus gave commandments. And He taught, “If ye love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15, 21, 23). He affirmed that keeping His commandments would require His followers to leave what He called “that which is highly esteemed among men” (Luke 16:15) and “the tradition of men” (Mark 7:8, 13). He also warned: “If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you” (John 15:19). As the Apostle Peter later declared, the followers of Jesus were to be “a peculiar people” (1 Peter 2:9).
Latter-day Saints understand that we should not be “of the world,” or bound to “the tradition of men,” but, like other followers of Christ, we sometimes find it difficult to follow the Savior in this. Some model themselves after worldly ways because, as Jesus said of some whom He taught, they “loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.” These failures to follow Christ are too numerous and too sensitive to list here. They range all the way from worldly practices like political correctness and extremes in dress and grooming to deviations from basic values like the eternal nature and function of the family.
Jesus’s teachings were not meant to be theoretical. Always they were to be acted upon. Jesus taught, “Whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man” (Matthew 7:24; Luke 11:28) and “Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing” (Matthew 24:46).
As Jesus taught, those who love Him will keep His commandments. Following Christ is not a casual or occasional practice, but a continuous commitment and way of life that applies at all times and in all places. The Savior taught this principle and how we should be reminded and strengthened to follow it when He instituted the ordinance of the sacrament (communion as others call it). We know from modern revelation that He commanded His followers to partake of the emblems in remembrance of Him. Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints follow that commandment each week by attending a worship service in which we partake of the bread and water and covenant that we will always remember Him and keep His commandments.
Jesus taught that “men ought always to pray.” He also set that example, such as when he “continued all night in prayer to God” before He called His twelve apostles. Like other Christians, we pray in all our worship services. We also pray for guidance, and we teach that we should have frequent personal prayers and daily kneeling prayers as a family. Like Jesus, we pray to our Father in Heaven, and we do so in the sacred name of Jesus Christ.
The Savior called twelve apostles to assist in His Church, and gave them the keys and authority to carry on after His death. [The Church], as the restored Church of Jesus Christ, follows this example in its organization and in its conferral of keys and authority on apostles.
Some whom Jesus called to follow Him did not respond immediately, but sought a delay to attend to proper family obligations. Jesus replied, “No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” Many Latter-day Saints practice the priority Jesus taught. This includes the wonderful example of thousands of senior missionaries and others who have left children and grandchildren to perform missionary duties to which they have been called.
Jesus taught that God created male and female, and that a man should leave his parents and cleave to his wife (Mark 10:6-8). Our commitment to this teaching is well known.
In the familiar parable of the lost sheep, Jesus taught that we should go out of our way to seek after any of the flock who have strayed.
In our efforts to rescue and serve, we follow our Savior’s unique example and tender teachings about love: “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself,” (Matthew 22:39). He even commanded us to love our enemies (Luke 6:27-28).
… As part of loving one another, Jesus taught that when we are wronged by persons we should forgive them. While many struggle with this difficult commandment, we all know of inspiring examples of Latter-day Saints who have given loving forgiveness, even for the most serious wrongs.
Most Christians give to the poor and the needy, as Jesus taught. Our members make generous contributions to charities and give personal service and other gifts to the poor and needy. In addition, our members fast for two meals each month and donate at least the cost of these meals as a fast offering, which our bishops and branch presidents use to help our needy members.
Less well known is our Church’s global humanitarian service. Using funds donated by generous members, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints sends food, clothing, and other essentials to relieve the suffering of adults and children all over the world. These humanitarian donations, totaling hundreds of millions of dollars in the last decade, are made without any consideration of religion, race or nationality.
In His last biblical teaching, our Savior directed His followers to take His teachings to every nation and every creature. From the beginning of the Restoration, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has sought to follow that teaching. Even when we were a poor and struggling new Church with only a few thousand members, our early leaders sent missionaries across the oceans, east and west…
At the conclusion of His great Sermon on the Mount, Jesus taught, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:48). The purpose of this teaching and the purpose of following our Savior is to come to the Father, whom our Savior referred to as “my Father, and your Father; and . . . my God and your God” (John 20:17).
From modern revelation, unique to the restored Gospel, we know that these teachings are part of God the Father’s plan for the salvation of His children. Under that plan we are all heirs of our Heavenly Parents. “[W]e are the children of God,” the Apostle Paul taught, “And if children, then heirs; heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ” (Romans 8:16-17). This means, as we are told in the New Testament, that we are “heirs . . . of eternal life” (Titus 3:7, and that if we come to the Father, we are to “inherit all things” (Revelations 21:7)-all that He has-a concept our mortal minds can hardly grasp. But at least we can understand that achieving this ultimate destiny in eternity is only possible if we follow our Savior, Jesus Christ, who taught that “no man cometh unto the Father but by me” (John 14:6). We seek to follow Him and become more like Him, here and hereafter.
The Father and the Son
By Elder Christoffel Golden Jr. Of the Seventy
…Our quest for eternal life is nothing other than a quest to understand who God is, and for us to return to live with Him. The Savior prayed to His Father, “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.”
Even in the light of this declaration by our Savior Himself, the prevailing view of the nature of the Father and the Son throughout the many centuries and among much of mankind is clearly inconsistent with the teachings of the Holy Scriptures.
We respectfully submit that at the heart of the gospel of Jesus Christ and its power to save is a correct understanding of the Father and the Son.
The importance of this most fundamental principle of the gospel of Jesus Christ is confirmed by the First Vision of the Prophet Joseph Smith in 1820. The Prophet wrote, “I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other-This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!“
This experience by the boy Joseph, followed by many other visions and revelations, reveals that God actually exists; the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, are two separate and distinct beings; man is created in the image of God; our Heavenly Father is literally the Father of Jesus Christ; God continues to reveal Himself to man; God is ever near and interested in us; and He answers our prayers…
In the New Testament, for example, we read of Stephen’s final testimony at his martyrdom.
Said he “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.”
While in mighty vision on the Isle of Patmos, the Apostle John sees the “Lord God Almighty” as well as the Lamb of God who “redeemed us . . . by [His] blood.”
In the Book of Mormon, the doctrine of the Father and the Son stands in majestic testimony alongside the Holy Bible. The Book of Mormon records the visitation of our Savior to the Nephites, in which the voice of the Father, in the presence of some 2,500 Nephites, introduces the risen Christ: “Behold my Beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, in whom I have glorified my name-hear ye him.”
In the four Gospels, Christ Himself refers to His Father in Heaven 160 times, while during His brief three-day ministry among the Nephites, as recorded in the Book of Mormon, He mentions His Father 122 times.
…Every time our Lord refers to His Heavenly Father, He does so with the utmost reverence and submissiveness.
… Jesus Christ is the great Jehovah, the God of Israel, the promised Messiah, and because of His infinite Atonement, He is our Savior, and the Redeemer of the world. Of Him, the Apostle Paul declared, “Then cometh the end, when [Christ] shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when [Christ] shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.”
On the eve of the Savior’s Atonement, He offered up His great Intercessory Prayer to His Father. He prayed:
“…That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.
“And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one.”
The Father and the Son are distinctly separate beings, but They are perfectly united and one in power and purpose. Their oneness is not reserved for Them alone; rather, They desire this same oneness for everyone who will, with devotion, follow and obey Their commandments.
How is the earnest seeker of God able to become acquainted with the Father and the Son? Our Savior promised, “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost…shall teach you all things.”
It is true that the power or influence of the Holy Ghost may on occasion be felt [by anyone regardless of religious persuasion]… But the full [gift of the Holy Ghost] comes only after a person has received… the ordinances of baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands. These and other sacred ordinances may be performed only under the direction and power of the priesthood of God.
… Seen in its true light, the doctrine of the Father and the Son is the doctrine of the eternal family. Every human being has existed previously as a spirit child with heavenly parents, with Christ being the Firstborn of the Father in this heavenly family.
So it is with all of us. We are the children of our Heavenly Father.
Elder D. Todd Christofferson Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
Among the most significant of Jesus Christ’s descriptive titles is Redeemer… the word “redeem” means to pay off an obligation or a debt. “Redeem” can also mean to rescue or set free as by paying a ransom. If someone commits a mistake and then corrects it or makes amends, we say he has redeemed himself. Each of these meanings suggest different facets of the great Redemption accomplished by Jesus Christ through His Atonement which includes, in the words of the dictionary, “to deliver from sin and its penalties, as by a sacrifice made for the sinner.”
The Savior’s Redemption has two parts. First, it atones for Adam’s transgression and the consequent Fall of man by overcoming what could be called the direct effects of the Fall-physical death and spiritual death. …This redemption from physical and spiritual death is both universal and without condition.
The second aspect of the Savior’s Atonement is redemption from what might be termed the indirect consequences of the Fall-our own sins as opposed to Adam’s transgression. By virtue of the Fall we are born into a mortal world where sin, that is, disobedience to divinely instituted law, is pervasive…
Because we are accountable and we make the choices, the redemption from our own sins is conditional-conditioned on confessing and abandoning sin and turning to a godly life, or in other words, conditioned on repentance…
The Savior’s suffering in Gethsemane and His agony on the cross redeem us from sin by satisfying the demands that justice has upon us. He extends mercy and pardons those who repent. The Atonement also satisfies the debt justice owes to us by healing and compensating us for any suffering we innocently endure…
Inasmuch as we follow Christ, we seek to participate in and further His redemptive work. The greatest service we can provide to others in this life, beginning with those of our own family, is to bring them to Christ through faith and repentance so that they may experience His Redemption-peace and joy now, and immortality and eternal life in the world to come… We can also assist in the Lord’s redemption of those beyond the grave… With the benefit of vicarious rites we offer them in the temples of God, even those who died in bondage to sin can be freed.
While the most important aspects of redemption have to do with repentance and forgiveness, there is a very significant temporal aspect as well. Jesus is said to have gone about doing good which included healing the sick and infirm, supplying food to hungry multitudes, and teaching a more excellent way… This kind of redemptive work means helping people with their problems. It means befriending the poor and the weak, alleviating suffering, righting wrongs, defending truth, strengthening the rising generation, and achieving security and happiness at home. Much of our redemptive work on earth is to help others grow and achieve their just hopes and aspirations.
… Some forms of temporal redemption come by collaborative effort. It is one of the reasons the Savior created a Church. Being organized in quorums and auxiliaries and in stakes, wards, and branches, we can not only teach and encourage each other in the gospel; we can also bring to bear people and resources to deal with the exigencies of life.
People acting alone or in ad hoc groups cannot always provide means on a scale needed to address larger challenges…
All of this does not begin to count the individual acts of kindness and support-gifts of food, clothing, money, care, and a thousand other forms of comfort and compassion by which we may participate in the Christ-like work of redemption…
As disciples of Jesus Christ, we ought to do all we can to redeem others from suffering and burdens. Even so, our greatest redemptive service will be to lead them to Christ. Without His redemption from death and from sin, we have only a gospel of social justice. That may provide some help and reconciliation in the present, but it has no power to draw down from heaven perfect justice and infinite mercy. Ultimate redemption is in Jesus Christ and in Him alone. I humbly and gratefully acknowledge Him as the Redeemer, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
The Home, the School of Life
Elder Enrique R. Falabella Of the Seventy
Some parents excuse themselves for mistakes they’ve made at home, stating that the reason for this is that there is not a school for parenting.
In reality, such a school does exist and it can be the best of all. This school is called home….
1. The Temple is the Place.
When I returned from my mission I met a beautiful young woman with long black hair down to her waist. She had beautiful, big honey eyes and a contagious smile. She captivated me from the first moment I saw her.
My wife had set the goal to get married in the temple, although back then the nearest temple required a trip of over 4,000 miles.
Our civil marriage ceremony was both happy and sad for we were married with an expiration date…. So with sacrifice we set out to purchase a one-way ticket to the Mesa Arizona Temple.
In the temple, kneeling down at the altar, an authorized servant pronounced the words I longed for, which declared us husband and wife for time and for all eternity.
A friend took us to Sunday school. During the meeting, he stood up and introduced us to the class. As the meeting came to a close, a brother approached me and shook my hand leaving a twenty dollar bill in it. Soon after, another brother reached out to me as well and to my surprise, he also left a bill in my hand. I quickly looked for my wife who was across the room and shouted, “Blanquy, shake hands with everyone!”
Soon we’d gathered enough money to return to Guatemala.
2. To Contend, You Need Two People.
One of my wife’s mottos has been: “In order to contend you need two people, and I will never be one of them.”
The Lord has clearly described the attributes which should guide our dealings with other people. These are “persuasion, long-suffering, gentleness, meekness, and love unfeigned….”
Physical abuse in the family is a practice that is occurring less often in certain societies, and we rejoice in that. However, we’re still far from eliminating emotional abuse. The harm caused by this form of abuse dwells in our memory, it wounds our personality, it sows hatred in our hearts, it lowers our self-esteem, and it fills us with fear.
Participating in the ceremony of celestial marriage is not enough. We also have to live a celestial life.
3. A Child Who Sings is a Happy Child.
The Savior understood the importance of sacred music. The scriptures relate, “And when they had sung a hymn, they went out into the Mount of Olives.”
4. I Need You to Hug Me.
The words I love you, thank you very much, and forgive me, are like balm for the soul. They transform tears into happiness. They provide comfort to the weighed-down soul, and they confirm the tender feelings of our heart.
5. I Love the Book of Mormon and My Savior Jesus Christ.
6. It is Not Enough to Know the Scriptures, Weve to Live Them.
I remember when I was a returned missionary and, having searched the scriptures diligently, I thought I knew it all. During our courtship, Blanquy and I would study the scriptures together. I used many of my notes and references to share my knowledge of the gospel with her. After we married I came to a serious realization as I learned a great lesson from her: I may have tried to teach her the gospel, but she taught me how to live it.
Those who live the celestial principles found in the scriptures give comfort to those who suffer. They bring joy to those who are depressed, direction to those who are lost, peace to those who are distressed, and a sure guidance to those who seek the truth.
1. The temple is the place.
2. To contend, you need two people.
3. A child who sings is a happy child.
4. I need you to hug me.
5. I love the Book of Mormon and my Savior Jesus Christ.
6. It is not enough to know the scriptures, we have to live them.
These and many other lessons are learned in a home, the place that can become a piece of heaven here on earth.
Being Accepted of the Lord
Elder Erich W. Kopischke Of the Quorum of the Seventy
…The feeling of being accepted by someone we love is a basic human need. Being accepted by good people motivates us. It increases our sense of self-worth and self-confidence. Those who cannot find acceptance from desirable sources often seek it elsewhere. They may look to people who are not interested in their wellbeing. They may attach themselves to false friends and do questionable things to try to receive the acknowledgment they are seeking. They may seek acceptance by wearing a particular brand of clothing to generate a feeling of belonging or status. For some, striving for a role or a position of prominence can also be ways of seeking acceptance. They may define their worth by a position they hold or status they obtain.
Even in the Church we are not always free from this type of thinking. Seeking acceptance from the wrong sources or for incorrect reasons puts us on a dangerous path-one that is likely to lead us astray and even to destruction. Instead of feeling cherished and self-confident, we will eventually feel abandoned and inferior.
Alma counseled his son Helaman, “See that ye look to God and live!” The ultimate source of empowerment and lasting acceptance is our Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. They know us. They love us. They do not accept us because of our title or position. They do not look at our status. They look into our hearts. They accept us for who we are and what we are striving to become. Seeking and receiving acceptance from them will always lift and encourage us.
I will share a simple pattern, which if applied, can help every one of us find ultimate acceptance… This pattern consists of three simple steps:
1.Know that our hearts are honest and broken,
2.Know that our spirits are contrite, and
3.Be willing to observe our covenants by sacrifice as commanded by the Lord.
First, we need to know that our hearts are honest and broken. How do we know that? We begin by engaging in sincere self-reflection. The heart is the center of our feelings. As we look into our hearts we screen ourselves. What no one around us knows, we surely know. We know our motives and desires. When we engage in sincere, honest reflection we do not rationalize or deceive ourselves.
There is also a way to judge if our hearts are broken. A broken heart is a soft, an open, and a receptive heart. When I hear the Savior say, “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock,” I hear Him knocking at the door of my heart. If I open this door to Him, I am more responsive to the invitations of the Spirit, and I am more accepting of God’s will.
As we sincerely and prayerfully ponder the extent to which our hearts are honest and broken, we will be taught by the Holy Ghost. We will receive a sweet confirmation or gentle correction, inviting us to act.
Secondly, we have to know that our spirit is contrite. The word contrite in the Oxford dictionary is defined as: “feeling or expressing remorse at the recognition that one has done wrong.” If we have a contrite spirit we acknowledge our sins and shortcomings. We are teachable “concerning all things pertaining to righteousness.”
…The third step to being accepted by the Lord is a conscious decision to observe our covenants through sacrifice, “yea every sacrifice which I the Lord shall command.” Too often we think that the word “sacrifice” refers to something big or hard for us to do. In certain situations this may be true, but mostly it refers to living day-to-day as a true disciple of Christ.
One way we observe our covenants by sacrifice is worthily partaking of the sacrament each week… Other ways to observe our covenants by sacrifice are as simple as accepting a calling in the Church and faithfully serving in that calling, or following the invitation of our prophet Thomas S. Monson to reach out to those who are standing at the wayside and need to be spiritually rescued. …
After explaining the pattern of how to be accepted by Him, the Lord uses a wonderful illustration to show how we profit as individuals and families as we seek His acceptance. He said, “For I, the Lord, will cause them to bring forth as a very fruitful tree which is planted in a goodly land, by a pure stream, that yieldeth much precious fruit.”
As we are personally in tune with the Spirit of the Lord and feel His acceptance, we will be blessed above our understanding and bring forth many fruits of righteousness. We will be among those to whom He has said, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter into the joy of thy lord.”
Seeking and receiving the acceptance of the Lord will lead to the knowledge that we are chosen and blessed by Him. We will gain increased confidence that He will lead us and direct us for good. His tender mercies will become evident in our hearts, in our lives, and in our families.
Elder Bruce D. Porter, Quorum of Seventy
On a Thursday evening in Jerusalem, Jesus and his disciples met in an upper room to observe Passover. The men who joined him did not know that this meal would someday be called the Last Supper. Had they known this, and what it meant, they would have wept.
Their Master, however, perfectly understood that the ordeal of Gethsemane and of Golgotha would shortly begin. The darkest hours in the history of the world were imminent; nevertheless, Jesus said to them, “In the world ye shall have tribulation, but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world”.
We live today in an era of turbulence and uncertainty, a time the Lord prophesied to Enoch would be marked by “days of wickedness and vengeance”. Tribulation and difficult times may lie ahead, yet we too have cause for good cheer and rejoicing. We live in the last dispensation when God has restored his Church and kingdom to the earth in preparation for the return of his Son.
… We need not fear the future, nor falter in hope and good cheer, because God is with us. Among the first recorded words of counsel that Jesus gave to his newly-called disciples in Galilee was the two-word admonition: “Fear not”.
He repeated that counsel many times during His ministry. To his Saints in our day, the Savior has said: “Be of good cheer and do not fear, for I the Lord am with you and will stand by you”.
… The Church stands as a bulwark of safety for its members. Though conditions in the world may become very vexing at times, faithful Latter-day Saints will find sanctuary in the stakes of Zion… Every one of us, and our families, can be armed with the power of God as a defense if we will but remain true to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and let the Spirit be our guide. Trials may come-and we may not understand everything that happens to us or around us. But if we humbly, quietly trust in the Lord, He will give us strength and guidance in every challenge of life. When our only desire is to please Him, we will be blessed with a deep inner peace.
… Even in a darkening world, we as Latter-day Saints may sing with joy, knowing that the powers of heaven are with God’s Church and people. We may rejoice in the knowledge that a beautiful morning lies ahead-the dawn of the millennial day, when the Son of God shall rise in the East and reign again on the earth.I think also of two other beautiful mornings in the history of the world.
In the spring of 1820, on the morning of a beautiful, clear day in Palmyra, New York, a young man named Joseph Smith entered a grove of trees and knelt in prayer. The answer to that prayer, the appearance of the Father and the Son, ushered in the dispensation of the fullness of times and the Restoration of the Church of Jesus Christ to the earth.
Yet another beautiful morning dawned nearly 2,000 years ago just outside the walled city of Jerusalem. The sun no doubt shone with exceptional radiance that Easter morning. A small company of women had come to visit a garden tomb, hoping to anoint the body of their crucified Lord. Two angels met them and declared: “Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen”.
Until We Meet Again
President Thomas S. Monson
Of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
We are a worldwide Church, brothers and sisters. Our membership is found across the globe. I admonish you to be good citizens of the nations in which you live and good neighbors in your communities, reaching out to those of other faiths as well as to our own. May we be tolerant of, as well as kind and loving to those who do not share our beliefs and our standards. The Savior brought to this earth a message of love and goodwill to all men and women. May we ever follow His example.
I pray that we may be aware of the needs of those around us. There are some, particularly among the young, who are tragically involved in drugs, immorality, pornography and so on. There are those who are lonely, including widows and widowers, who long for the company and concern of others. May we ever be ready to extend to them a helping hand and a loving heart.
We live at a time in the world’s history when there are many difficult challenges, but also great opportunities and reasons for rejoicing. There are, of course, those times when we experience disappointments, heartaches and even tragedies in our lives. However, if we will put our trust in the Lord, He will help us through our difficulties, whatever they may be. The Psalmist provided this assurance: “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.”
My brothers and sisters, I want you to know how grateful I am for the Gospel of Jesus Christ, restored in these latter days through the Prophet Joseph Smith. It is the key to our happiness. May we be humble and prayerful, having the faith that our Heavenly Father can guide and bless us in our lives.
I bear my personal witness and testimony to you that God lives, that He hears the prayers of humble hearts. His son, our Savior and Redeemer, speaks to each of us: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him.” May we believe these words and take advantage of this promise.
As this conference now concludes, I invoke the blessings of heaven upon each of you. May your homes be filled with peace, harmony, courtesy and love. May they be filled with the Spirit of the Lord. May you nurture and nourish your testimonies of the gospel, that they will be a protection to you against the buffetings of Satan.
Until we meet again in six months, I pray that the Lord will bless and keep you, my brothers and sisters. May His promised peace be with you now and always. Thank you for your prayers in my behalf and in behalf of all of the General Authorities. We are deeply grateful for you.
In the name of our Savior and Redeemer, whom we serve, Amen.