See a summary of Elder Jeffrey R. Holland’s remarks at the close of this article.

In an April 2024 General Conference designed to awaken us to the “exquisite blessings” and “spiritual privileges” of temple covenants and the “infinite and breathtaking” power of priesthood keys, President Russell M. Nelson made remarkable promises.

He spoke of the newly-acquired Kirtland Temple and how, after the dedication, the Lord, Himself, had appeared there and declared: “I will manifest myself to my people in mercy in this house.” Then President Nelson taught, “This significant promise applies to every dedicated temple today.”

Drawing upon scripture, the prophet promised that those who worship at the temple “can expect to receive answers to prayer, personal revelation, greater faith, strength, comfort, increased knowledge, and increased power.

“We are also promised that in the temple we may receive a fulness of the Holy Ghost.

Imagine what that promise means in terms of having the heavens open for each earnest seeker of eternal truth.

“We are also instructed that all who worship in the temple leave with the power of God

and with angels having ‘charge over them.’ How much does it increase your confidence to know, that as an endowed woman or man armed with the power of God, you do not have to face life alone? What courage does it give you to know that angels really will help you?

“Finally, we are promised,” President Nelson continued, “that ‘no combination of wickedness’ will prevail over those who worship in the house of the Lord.”

Then, however, he added, “Here is my promise. Nothing will help you more to hold fast to the iron rod than worshipping in the temple as regularly as your circumstances permit.

“Nothing will protect you more as you encounter the world’s mists of darkness. Nothing will bolster your testimony of the Lord Jesus Christ and His Atonement or help you understand God’s magnificent plan more. Nothing will soothe your spirit more during times of pain. Nothing will open the heavens more. Nothing!

“The temple is the gateway to the greatest blessings God has for each of us.”

This theme of the importance of the House of the Lord and the safety, happiness, and assurance found in covenants, was an overarching theme of this conference, spoken by the prophets for its power to be a respite and strength in an often trying and difficult world.

Elder Neil L. Andersen Asks Why So Many Temples

Elder Neil L. Andersen asked, “Have you wondered why the Lord would direct His Prophet to now dot the earth with His holy houses, His temples? Why would He, at this specific time, give the needed prosperity to His covenant people that through their sacred tithes, hundreds of houses of the Lord could be built?

“Across the globe, houses of the Lord are coming closer to us. Why now? Why in our day? The Lord warned that in the last days, there would be distress among nations, people would ‘be lovers of their own selves,’ ‘all things [would] be in commotion,’ confusion would abound, and ‘men’s hearts [would] fail them.’ We have certainly seen men’s and women’s hearts fail them: the enticing of the world, the distraction of alluring voices, the neglect of spiritual nourishment, the fatigue from the demands of discipleship.

“With this prophesied commotion and disbelief in the world, the Lord promised that there would be a covenant people, a people eagerly awaiting His return; a people who stand in holy settings and are not moved out of their place. He spoke of a righteous people, resisting the deceptions of the adversary, disciplining their faith, thinking celestial, and trusting completely in the Savior, Jesus Christ.”

Elder Andersen referred to a prophecy that President Nelson had made in an earlier conference: “Our Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ, will perform some of His mightiest works between now and when He comes again. We will see miraculous indications that God the Father and Jesus Christ preside over this Church in majesty and glory.” Dotting the earth with houses of the Lord is a mighty work and miraculous indication.

The building of temples in great numbers and endowing a people with power is certainly one of the mightiest of God’s works.

President Henry B. Eyring Remembers a Time of Temple Peace

President Henry B. Eyring, remembered a time when his family’s temple sealing blessings gave him a still point of peace at a time of roaring flood waters. It was June 5, 1976 when he and his wife, Kathy had left their four boys behind in Idaho Falls, while they attended a sealing in the Idaho Falls Temple. When they left the temple, they learned that the Teton Dam had collapsed sending more than 80 billion gallons of water flowing through the dam, flooding 300 square miles of neighboring valleys.

The road was blocked and communication was down, so they couldn’t get home and reluctantly took a motel in Idaho Falls where they pleaded with Heavenly Father for the safety of their children and for the thousands of others who would be affected by this event.

President Eyring said, “I recall Kathy pacing the floors into the early hours of the morning, with worry about her children. Despite my own concerns, I was able to put my mind at ease and fall asleep. It wasn’t long thereafter that my sweet eternal companion woke me and said, “Hal, how can you sleep at a time like this?” These words then came clearly to my heart and mind. I said to my wife: “Kathy, whatever the outcome, all will be well because of the temple. We have made covenants with God and have been sealed as an eternal family.” At that moment, it was as if the Spirit of the Lord confirmed in our hearts and minds what we both already knew to be true: the sealing ordinances, found only in the house of the Lord and administered by proper priesthood authority, had bound us together as husband and wife, and our children had been sealed to us. There truly was no need to fear, and we were grateful later to learn that our boys were safe.”

A peace had settled upon them and President Eyring said, “I have been blessed to feel that peace every time I enter the sacred temple. I recall the first day I walked into the Salt Lake Temple. I was a young man. I looked up at a high white ceiling that made the room so light it seemed almost as if it were open to the sky. And in that moment, the thought came into my mind in clear words: “I have been in this lighted place before.” But then immediately there came into my mind, not in my own voice, these words: “No, you have never been here before. You are remembering a moment before you were born. You were in a sacred place like this where the Lord could come.”

He also added a quote by President Nelson, ““The safest place to be spiritually is living inside your temple covenants. … Everything we believe and every promise God has made to His covenant people come together in the temple.”

President Dallin H. Oaks on Power of Covenants

President Dallin H. Oaks reminded us that covenants have always been central to the Lord’s plan, and it was the same in the restoration. “When the time came for the restoration of the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ, God called a prophet, Joseph Smith. We do not know the full content of the angel Moroni’s early instructions to this maturing young prophet. We do know he told Joseph that ‘God had a work for [him] to do’ and that ‘the fulness of the everlasting Gospel’ must be brought forth, including ‘the promises made to the fathers.’ We also know that the scriptures young Joseph read most intensively—even before he was directed to organize a church—were the many teachings about covenants he was translating in the Book of Mormon. That book is the restoration’s major source for the fullness of the gospel, including God’s Plan for His children, and the Book of Mormon is filled with references to covenants.”

Elder David A. Bednar: “Be Still and Know that I Am God”

Elder David A. Bednar spoke of the power of peace felt in the temple, this time by a journalist visiting the open house of a temple soon to be dedicated. Elder Bednar was escorting the journalists into the Celestial Room, where he instructed them that this would not be a place to talk, and one said, later, ““I have never experienced anything like that in my entire life. I did not know quiet like that existed in the world; I simply did not believe such stillness was possible.”

Elder Bednar said, “I was struck by both the sincerity and the starkness of this person’s statement. And the journalist’s reaction highlighted one important aspect of stillness—overcoming and tuning out the commotion of our external environment” and he quoted and instruction given to Joseph Smith in Kirtland, after the Saints had been driven from Jackson County, “Therefore, let your hearts be comforted concerning Zion; for all flesh is in mine hands; be still and know that I am God.”

He said, “I believe the Lord’s admonition to ‘be still’ entails much more than simply not talking or not moving. Perhaps His intent is for us to remember and rely upon Him and His power ‘at all times and in all things, and in all places that [we] may be in.’ Thus, ‘be still’ may be a way of reminding us to focus upon the Savior unfailingly as the ultimate source of the spiritual stillness of the soul that strengthens us to do and overcome hard things.”

Covenant Confidence through Jesus Christ by Elder Ulisses Soares

It should be no surprise that the power offered through Jesus Christ and his temple ordinances can give a crucial gift to those who worship in temples. Elder Ulisses Soares calls this “covenant confidence”, a way of understanding and being that changes even day-to-day life.

He said: “As we make covenants in holiness before God and commit to follow the Savior, we receive the power to change our hearts, renew our spirits, and deepen our relationship with Him. Such an endeavor brings sanctification to our souls and forms a sacred bond with God and Jesus Christ, who promises that we can inherit the gift of eternal life. The result of this sacred journey is that we obtain a holier and higher confidence for our day to day lives within our covenants made through Jesus Christ.

“Such confidence is the pinnacle of our divine connection with God and can help us increase our devotion to, and gratitude for, Jesus Christ and His atoning sacrifice. It fortifies our ability to love and serve others and strengthens our souls to live in an unholy world that is increasingly dark and discouraging.

“It empowers us to overcome the seeds of doubt and despair, fear and frustration, heartache, and hopelessness that the enemy tries to drive deep into our hearts especially when life is hard, trials are long, or circumstances are difficult. A biblical verse offers sound advice for each of us as we lean into the stiff wind of today’s worldly challenges: ‘Cast not away therefore your confidence.’

He declared, “Those who gain genuine confidence in the covenants made in the House of the Lord through Jesus Christ possess one of the most powerful forces that we can access in this life.”

All Things for Your Good by Elder Gerrit W. Gong

We can gain confidence if we trust this, said Elder Gerrit W. Gong: “This fickle world often feels tempest-tossed, uncertain, sometimes fortunate, and—too often—unfortunate. Yet, in this world of tribulation, ‘we know that all things work together for good to them that love God.’  Indeed, as we walk uprightly and remember our covenants, ‘all things shall work together for your good…’ 

“Left on our own, we may not know our own good. When ‘I choose me,’ I am also choosing my own limitations, weaknesses, inadequacies. Ultimately, to do the most good, we must be good. Since none save God is good, we seek perfection in Jesus Christ. We become our truest, best selves only as we put off the natural man or woman and become a child before God through the merits, mercy, and grace of Jesus Christ.

A Higher Joy by Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf

Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf teased that people had been asking him when he would mention aviation again, but today he said that they wouldn’t be asking him again for awhile. He mentioned that in those first days of flying, the Wright brothers, father Milton, made them promise that they would not fly together in case anything should happen to them, but finally at 82, the father was ready to go up in a plane. His response while “caught up in the exhilaration” of the flight was “Higher, Orville, higher.”

Elder Uchtdorf said that there was also a higher form of happiness. “Like all of you, I have felt my share of disappointment, sorrow, sadness, and remorse. However, I have also experienced for myself the glorious dawn that fills the soul with joy so profound that it can scarcely be kept in. I have discovered for myself that this peaceful confidence comes from following the Savior and walking in His way.

“In sharing the Savior’s good news of great joy, we do not discount any of these sources of joy. We’re simply saying that God has something more to give. A higher and more profound joy—

a joy that transcends anything this world offers. It is the joy that endures heartbreak, penetrates sorrow, and diminishes loneliness. Worldly happiness, by contrast, does not last. It cannot. It is the nature of all earthly things to grow old, decay, wear out, or become stale. But godly joy is eternal, because God is eternal. Jesus Christ came to lift us out of the temporal and replace corruption with incorruption. Only He has that power, and only His joy is perpetual.”

He said, “As you search the word of God for a deeper understanding of God’s eternal plan, accept these invitations, and strive to walk in His Way, you will experience ‘the peace of God, which passeth all understanding,’ even in the midst of sorrows. You will feel a greater measure of God’s unsurpassable love swelling within your heart. The dawn of celestial light will penetrate the shadows of your trials, and you will begin to taste the unspeakable glories and wonders of the unseen, perfect, heavenly sphere. You will feel your spirit lifting away from the gravity of this world.”

Our Newest Apostle- Patrick Kearon 

Speaking at conference for the first time as an apostle, Patrick Kearon, described the scene below a hotel window where he stayed, where the road was blocked to traffic, and the police officer experienced even a bit of jaunt to his step to exercise power and to turn cars back.

Elder Kearon mentioned: “My friends, my fellow disciples on the road of mortal life, our Father’s beautiful plan, even is ‘fabulous’ plan…is designed to bring you home, NOT to keep you out. No one has built a roadblock and stationed someone there to turn you around and send you away. In fact, it is the exact opposite. God is in relentless pursuit of you. He wants all of His children to choose to return to Him, and He employs every possible measure to bring you back.

“Everything about the Father’s plan for His children is designed to bring everyone home.

“The intent of the Father’s great plan of happiness is your happiness, right here, right now, and in the eternities. It is not to prevent your happiness and cause you instead worry and fear.

“The intent of the Father’s plan of redemption is in fact your redemption, your being rescued through the sufferings and death of Jesus Christ,9 freed from the captivity of sin and death. It is not to leave you as you are.

“The intent of the Father’s plan of mercy is to extend mercy as you turn back to Him and honour your covenant of fidelity to Him. It is not to deny mercy and inflict pain and sorrow.

“The intent of the Father’s plan of salvation is in fact your salvation in the celestial kingdom of glory as you receive the testimony of Jesus and offer your whole soul to Him. It is not to keep you out.”

He added, “If you are prone to worry that you will never measure up, or that the loving reach of Christ’s infinite atonement mercifully covers everyone else, but not you, then you are misunderstanding.

“Infinite” means infinite. “Infinite” covers you, and those you love.18

“He did not cast away the woman with the issue of blood, He did not recoil from the leper, He did not reject the woman taken in adultery, He did not refuse the penitent, no matter their sin. And He will not refuse you or those you love when you bring to Him your broken hearts and contrite spirits. That is NOT His intent or His design, nor His plan, purpose, wish, or hope.

“The Father’s design, His plan, His purpose, His intent, His wish, and His hope are all to heal you, all to give you peace, all to bring you, and those you love, home.”

Susan H. Porter, General Primary President on How the Lord Remembers

Susan H. Porter reminded children how to pray, saying “When Jesus was on the earth, He taught us to pray. He said, ‘Ask, and ye shall receive.’

What gifts can you pray for? There are many, but today I want to share three:

  1. Pray to know.
  2. Pray to grow.
  3. Pray to show.

“For my whole life I prayed that my father would become a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Even as a young girl, I knew how many blessings he could receive. Our family could receive the blessings of being sealed for eternity. My family, friends, and I prayed often for him, but he didn’t join the Church. Heavenly Father does not force anyone to make a choice. He can send us answers to our prayers in other ways.

“When I was old enough, I received my patriarchal blessing. In the blessing the patriarch told me the best thing I could do to help my family be together in heaven was to be an example of the gospel of Jesus Christ. That’s what I could do!

“My father lived to be 86. Five days after he died, I received a sacred feeling of joy. Heavenly Father let me know through His Spirit that my father wanted to receive the blessings of the gospel of Jesus Christ! I will never forget the day I knelt around the altar in the temple with my sister and brothers to be sealed to my parents. I had started praying for this blessing when I was in Primary, and I received it when I was a grandmother.”

Welcome Back President Jeffrey R. Holland 

This April 2024 General Conference is the first time that Elder Holland has been at this pulpit since October 2022, and he joked: “That lesson is: If you don’t give an acceptable talk, you can be banned from the next several conferences. You can see I am assigned early in the first session of this one. What you can’t see is that I am positioned on a trap door with a very delicate latch. If this talk doesn’t go well, I am gone again.”

He said this was going to be a very personal talk, and he spoke of losing his wife Pat, “the greatest woman I have ever known—a perfect wife and mother, to say nothing of her purity, gift of expression, and spirituality.”

Then, “Another learning experience began 48 hours after my wife’s burial. At that time, I was rushed to the hospital in an acute medical crisis. I then spent the first four weeks of a six-week stay, in and out of the intensive care unit and in and out of consciousness.

“Virtually all of my experience in the hospital during that period is lost to my memory. What is not lost is my memory of a journey outside the hospital, out to what seemed the edge of eternity. I cannot speak fully of that experience here, but I can say part of what I received was an admonition to return to my ministry with more urgency, more consecration, more focus on the Savior, and more faith in His word.

“I couldn’t help but feel I was receiving my own personal version of a revelation given to the Twelve nearly 200 years ago: ‘Thou shalt bear record of my name . . . [and] send forth my word unto the ends of the earth. . . .’ ‘Morning by morning; and day after day let thy warning voice go forth; and when the night cometh let not the inhabitants of the earth slumber, because of thy speech. . . .

“’Arise[,] take up your cross, [and] follow me.’  My beloved sisters and brothers, since that experience, I have tried to take up my cross more earnestly, with more resolve to find where I can raise an apostolic voice of both warmth and warning in the morning, during the day, and into the night.

In my profound gratitude for all this, I join GK Chesterton who said once that “thanks are the highest form of thought; and . . . gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.”

Elder Holland began this conference and President Nelson concluded it. These were powerful bookends to a conference that set us on fire. As Latter-day Saints, we bear witness we have been nourished, fed, uplifted, grounded, rooted and invited to soar higher through the gift and power of Jesus Christ, and this in two days.