Sunday, October 04, 2009

Sunday Afternoon Session of General Conference October 4, 2009

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland - 
Safety for the Soul
"Prophecies regarding the last days often refer to large-scale calamities such as earthquakes or famines or floods. These in turn may be linked to widespread economic or political upheavals of one kind or another.
But there is one kind of latter-day destruction that has always sounded to me more personal than public, more individual than collective—a warning, perhaps more applicable inside the Church than outside it. The Savior warned that in the last days even those of the covenant, the very elect, could be deceived by the enemy of truth.1 If we think of this as a form of spiritual destruction, it may cast light on another latter-day prophecy. Think of the heart as the figurative center of our faith, the poetic location of our loyalties and our values; then consider Jesus’s declaration that in the last days “men’s hearts [shall fail] them.”2"

"I want it absolutely clear when I stand before the judgment bar of God that I declared to the world . . . that the Book of Mormon is true."

Elder Quentin L. Cook - 
Stewardship—a Sacred Trust
"This feeling of accountability, which is encompassed by the first great commandment to love God, has been described by some as 'obedience to the unenforceable.'3 We try to do what is right because we love and want to please our Father in Heaven, not because someone is forcing us to obey."

"Many years later my grandfather was in his early 90s and did not live on the property; he was unable to maintain or oversee it. I drove him to see the ranch which he loved. His high expectations at seeing the ranch turned to disappointment when he realized the fences that protected the spring had fallen into disrepair and cows had damaged the spring and the precious, pure springwater had been significantly polluted. He was upset with the damage and the pollution. To him, it was a violation of a trust he had observed all his working life. He felt somehow he had not protected that life-sustaining spring which had meant so much to him.

"Just as the pure spring was polluted when not protected, we live in a time when virtue and chastity are not safeguarded.7 The eternal significance of personal morality is not respected. A loving Father in Heaven has provided us with the means to bring His spirit children into this world to fulfill the full measure of their creation. He has instructed us that the wellsprings of life are to be kept pure, just as the beautiful spring on the ranch required protection in order to sustain life. This is one of the reasons why virtue and chastity are so important in our Father in Heaven’s plan."

Elder Brent H. Nielson - 
A Call to the Rising Generation
"While serving in Finland, I learned that my mission president’s wife, Sister Lea Mahoney, was a native of Finland. As a young girl she had grown up in the eastern portion of Finland in a city named Viipuri. As the ravages of war engulfed Finland and other countries during World War II, she and her family left their home, and Viipuri became part of the Soviet Union and was renamed Vyborg. In our zone conferences, Sister Mahoney would tell us of those left behind in Viipuri and of her desire that the gospel be taken to them. Following President Kimball’s challenge, we unitedly prayed that the hearts of the leaders of that nation would be softened so that the gospel could be taken by our missionaries into the Soviet Union.

"We would go to the border between Finland and the Soviet Union and see the guard towers and the fences, and we would wonder who those brave young men and young women would be and when they would cross that border to take the gospel to the people there. I must admit, at that time it seemed like an impossible task.

"Three years ago, our son Eric received a mission call to serve in the Russia St. Petersburg Mission. In his first letter home, he wrote something like this: 'Dear Mom and Dad, I have been assigned to my first city in Russia. Dad, you may have heard of it before. It is called Vyborg, but it was previously a Finnish city named Viipuri.'"

"Just as with heart transplant patients, however, this mighty change of our spiritual hearts is just the beginning. Repentance, baptism, and confirmation are necessary but not sufficient. Indeed, equal, if not greater, care must be taken with a spiritually changed heart than with a physically transplanted heart if we are to endure to the end.  Only by doing so can we be held guiltless at the time of judgment.4

"Enduring to the end can be challenging because the tendency of the natural man is to reject the spiritually changed heart and allow it to harden. No wonder the Lord cautioned to 'even let those who are sanctified take heed.'5"

Elder Michael T. Ringwood - 
An Easiness and Willingness to Believe
“And thus we see that the Lord began to pour out his Spirit upon the Lamanites, because of their easiness and willingness to believe in his words” (Helaman 6:36)

"I long to have the Spirit of the Lord poured out upon me because of my 'easiness and willingness to believe in his words.' I have felt that this scripture has awakened me to a sense of my 'duty to God'—that I should 'be submissive and gentle; easy to be entreated; full of patience; . . . diligent in keeping the commandments of God at all times; . . . always returning thanks unto God for whatsoever things [I] receive' (Alma 7:22–23)."

"God’s children on the earth today have the opportunity to understand His plan of happiness for them more fully than at any other time."

Elder D. Todd Christofferson - 
Moral Discipline
"...self-discipline has eroded and societies are left to try to maintain order and civility by compulsion. The lack of internal control by individuals breeds external control by governments. One columnist observed that 'gentlemanly behavior [for example, once] protected women from coarse behavior. Today, we expect sexual harassment laws to restrain coarse behavior. . . . 

"'Policemen and laws can never replace customs, traditions and moral values as a means for regulating human behavior. At best, the police and criminal justice system are the last desperate line of defense for a civilized society. Our increased reliance on laws to regulate behavior is a measure of how uncivilized we’ve become.'(Walter Williams, “Laws Are a Poor Substitute for Common Decency, Moral Values,” Deseret News, Apr. 29, 2009, A15.)"

“We would not accept the yoke of Christ; so now we must tremble at the yoke of Caesar.” (“Bishop Fulton John Sheen Makes a Wartime Plea,” in William Safire, sel., Lend Me Your Ears: Great Speeches in History, rev. ed. (1997), 478.)

"All of us experience temptations. So did the Savior, but He 'gave no heed unto them' (D&C 20:22). Similarly, we do not have to yield simply because a temptation surfaces. We may want to, but we don’t have to. An incredulous female friend asked a young adult woman, committed to living the law of chastity, how it was possible that she had never 'slept with anybody.' 'Don’t you want to?' the friend asked. The young woman thought: 'The question intrigued me, because it was so utterly beside the point. . . . Mere wanting is hardly a proper guide for moral conduct.'(Sarah E. Hinlicky, “Subversive Virginity,” First Things, Oct. 1998, 14.)"

President Thomas S. Monson - 
Closing Remarks
"How grateful we are that the heavens are indeed open, that the gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored, and that the Church is founded on the rock of revelation. We are a blessed people, with apostles and prophets upon the earth today."

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