Cover image via Gospel Media Library. 

In October 2022 at a meeting for the saints in Canada, Sister Wendy Nelson, wife of our prophet, said: “Speaking of more, I would now like to tell you more than I ever did since President Nelson became the President of the Church almost five years ago. I know more than ever that general conference is filled with truths directly from the Lord and directed by the Lord. And because of that, I know more than ever that opposition to general conference will always be fierce and relentless. So, thank you for your prayers. Here’s the truth. The adversary goes to extraordinary lengths to try to prevent truth from being spoken and to prevent truth from being received.

“We knew that October 2022 General Conference was going to be a singular experience based solely upon the number and intensity of trials and attacks prior to conference…. Brothers and Sisters, I wonder if you and I would study in just a little different way, actually, perhaps, in a much different way, each truth we received from this past general conference if we had any idea of the price paid by our leaders to offer each truth to us. Think of just one truth you received from our recent General Conference. Now would you treasure that truth, want to share that truth, want to live that truth with even more joy and exactness, if under each speaker’s name there were a caption noting what she or he had to go through, had to sacrifice, even had to suffer in order to speak that truth” (,vid:JukrEblEu2Y).

When I came upon Sister Nelson’s comments, I had just read Mosiah chapters 21-23, in which I experienced vicarious persecution with King Limhi and his people. Their persecutions were physical, spiritual, and emotional. “[The Lamanites] would smite them on their cheeks, and exercise authority over them; and began to put heavy burdens upon their backs, and drive them as they would a dumb ass…. [Their] afflictions… were great, and there was no way that they could deliver themselves out of their hands, for the Lamanites had surrounded them on every side” (Mosiah 21:3, 5).

In the pages that directly follow, Mosiah 23-25, Mormon relates details of another people who were in bondage and suffering persecution. This time it is Alma and his people in the land of Helam, an eight-day’s journey from where Limhi is. The Lamanites invade Helam and take possession of the city. Alma surrenders without protest. He tells his people to trust God in patience and faith. Alma’s people had been baptized in the Waters of Mormon and as members of the Church have faith in Christ. However, they are not spared cruel persecution: “Amulon [leader of the Lamanites] began to exercise authority over Alma and his brethren, and began to persecute [them], and cause that his children should persecute their children. [Amulon] put tasks upon them, and put task-masters over them…. So great were their afflictions that they began to cry mightily to God, and Amulon commanded them that they should stop their cries; and he put guards over them to watch them, that whosoever should be found calling upon God should be put to death” (Mosiah 24:8-11).

Although the details of King Limhi’s and Alma’s people differ somewhat, the scriptures show that while they were in bondage—learning patience, being humbled, and exercising faith in the Lord—both were comforted during the peak of their trials. It is almost as though the Lord applied a bandage of comfort on their bondage. For both peoples, a miraculous escape to Zarahemla was in process. Limhi’s people escape by night after giving the guards more liquor than usual, and Alma’s people escape in daylight when the Lord caused a deep sleep to come upon the Lamanites.

Joseph Smith could have been speaking about Limhi’s and Alma’s people and the general officers of the Church today when he said: “We have seen and been assured… of a better hope than that of our persecutors. Therefore, God hath made broad our shoulders for the burden” (History of the Church, 3:227–29, 232–33).

Jesus Christ warned of persecution: “Blessed are ye when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely for my sake; rejoice and be exceeding glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so persecuted they the Prophets which were before you” (Matthew 5:11-12). Our Lord endured and triumphed over the greatest of persecutions.

Mormon made us aware that Book of Mormon people experienced burdens and persecutions. Sister Nelson made us aware that our prophet and those who speak at general conferences experience fierce and relentless opposition. Opposition and persecution are often general conference topics. Here are a few examples from the general conferences of 2022.

Elder Neil A. Anderson said: “Opposition should not surprise us…. There will be many who do not believe what we believe. In fact, few in the latter days will choose to make their faith in Jesus Christ central to all they think and do. Because of social media platforms, one voice of disbelief can appear to be a multitude of negative voices”.

President Oaks said the Church is pressured to retreat from the Lord’s doctrine that marriage is between a man and a woman. He said: “The restored Church’s positions on these fundamentals frequently provoke opposition. We understand that Our Heavenly Father’s plan allows for ‘opposition in all things,’ and Satan’s most strenuous opposition is directed at whatever is most important to that plan. Consequently, he seeks to oppose progress toward exaltation by distorting marriage, discouraging childbearing, or confusing gender”.

Elder Jörg Klebingat said: “The adversary and his followers have always sought to destroy the works of Christ and His prophets. The Savior’s commandments, if not ignored altogether, have been rationalized into meaninglessness by many in today’s world…. The Savior and His early followers dealt with serious internal and external opposition, and we experience the same. Today it is almost impossible to courageously live our faith without occasionally attracting a few actual and virtual fingers of scorn from the worldly…. The Savior [said] about our day that ‘the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine’”.

President Henry B. Eyring said: “I encourage you to continue striving to qualify to return to Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. Wherever you are on the covenant path, you will find a struggle against the physical trials of mortality and the opposition of Satan. As my mother told me when I complained of how hard something was, ‘Oh, Hal, of course it’s hard. It’s supposed to be. Life is a test’”.

President Russell M. Nelson taught: “I did not say that making covenants makes life easy. In fact, expect opposition, because the adversary does not want you to discover the power of Jesus Christ…. I pray daily that you will be protected from the fierce attacks of the adversary and have the strength to push forward through whatever challenges you face, [even] deeply private burdens no one else can see”.

Sister Nelson thanked us for our prayers. More are needed because another general conference is less than a month away. Now that we know that the adversary goes to extraordinary lengths to try to prevent truth from being spoken and to prevent truth from being received, we can pray more specifically. We can thank Heavenly Father for the general leadership: for their safety, their health, their unity, their inspiration and revelation, their testimonies. We can pray that the adversary will be thwarted and escapes provided as with Limhi and Alma. We can pray that we will receive the messages, as Sister Nelson suggested, and that we will do our part by treasuring the truths, sharing the truths, and living the truths with joy and exactness. If we do not, the price paid is wasted. I pray their shoulders and ours will be made broad for the burdens.