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The 187th Semiannual General Conference was bittersweet. The death of Elder Robert D. Hales of the Quorum of the Twelve between sessions on Sunday led many of the faithful to reflect on a life of tireless service to the Lord.

It also provided a profound witness of the Lord’s tender mercies, as President Russell M. Nelson, President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, felt prompted to leave conference to be at Elder Hales’s bedside.

Elder Hales, a General Authority Seventy since 1975, will be sorely missed. He has left a legacy of faith, service, and testimony that will live on.

Also, President Thomas S. Monson’s absence at the conference for health reasons was felt deeply. His prophetic counsel, cheerful smile, and warm spirit of optimism, a fixture of conferences since his calling to join the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in 1963, were sadly missed.

And yet it would be wrong to say President Monson was completely absent. His teachings were everywhere, reinforced time and again by those who spoke.

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