Saturday, April 01, 2017

This Week at Church April 2017 General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Saturday Morning Session
President Henry B Eyring, Gathering the Family Of God
“...it has been going on continuously since the early days of the Restoration of the Church, and it has been hastening in recent years. I refer to the gathering of the family of God.

Because He loves us with the love of a perfect Father, He wants us to progress and advance and become like Him. He ordained a plan by which we would come to earth, in families, and have experiences that would prepare us to return to Him and live as He lives.

The central element of this plan was the promise that Jesus Christ would offer Himself as a sacrifice, to rescue us from sin and death. Our task in that plan is to accept the Savior’s sacrifice by obeying the laws and ordinances of the gospel.

But we were not sent here completely in the dark. Each of us was given a portion of God’s light, called the “Light of Christ,” to help us distinguish between good and evil, right and wrong. This is why even those who live with little or no knowledge of the Father’s plan can still sense, in their hearts, that certain actions are just and moral while others are not.

Families are the basic organizational unit of the eternal realms, and so He intends for them also to be the basic unit on earth. Though earthly families are far from perfect, they give God’s children the best chance to be welcomed to the world with the only love on earth that comes close to what we felt in heaven—parental love. Families are also the best way to preserve and pass on moral virtues and true principles that are most likely to lead us back to God’s presence.

Our Heavenly Father is anxious to gather and bless all of His family. While He knows that not all of them will choose to be gathered, His plan gives each of His children the opportunity to accept or reject His invitation. And families are at the heart of this plan

At ever-increasing rates, people seem drawn to their ancestry with more than just casual curiosity.

Why is all of this happening? For lack of a better term, we call it the “spirit of Elijah.” We could also equally call it “fulfillment of prophecy.” I bear testimony that Elijah did come. The hearts of the children—of you and me—have turned to our fathers, our ancestors. The affection you feel for your ancestors is part of the fulfillment of that prophecy.

“...to gather and unite God’s family requires more than just warm feelings. It requires sacred covenants made in connection with priesthood ordinances.

7 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, said unto my father: I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.

“...the best technology can never be a substitute for revelation from heaven...

“...many youth have discovered that giving of their time to do family history research and temple work has deepened their testimony of the plan of salvation. It has increased the influence of the Spirit in their lives and decreased the influence of the adversary. It has helped them feel closer to their families and closer to the Lord Jesus Christ. They have learned that this work saves not just the dead; it saves all of us (see D&C 128:18).

M Joseph Brough, His Daily Guiding Hand
My prayer is that each of you will recognize in your experiences that Heavenly Father is leading, guiding, and walking beside you and, with that knowledge, you will proceed with confidence, knowing you are never really alone.

Tolerating improper behavior without loving correction is false compassion and reinforces the common notion that wickedness might in fact be happiness.

16 For behold, I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent;

“Let your covenants be paramount and let your obedience be exact. Then you can ask in faith, nothing wavering, according to your need, and God will answer. He will sustain you as you work and watch. In His own time and way He will stretch forth His hand to you, saying, ‘Here am I.’” (D. Todd Christofferson, “The Power of Covenants,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2009, 22)

Elder Weatherford T Clayton, Our Father’s Glorious Plan
The world sees birth and death as the beginning and the end. But because of God’s holy plan, we know that birth and death are actually just milestones on our journey to eternal life with our Heavenly Father.1They are essential parts of our Father’s plan—sacred moments when mortality and heaven intersect.

There in the Garden of Gethsemane, He began to pay the price for our sins and our sicknesses, our pains and our infirmities.19 Because He did, we will never be alone in those infirmities if we choose to walk with Him.

Elder Dale G Renlund, Our Good Shepherd
“We get a glimpse into our Heavenly Father’s character as we recognize the immense compassion He has for sinners and appreciate the distinction He makes between sin and those who sin.”
“As we become more like Him, we learn to treat others as He does, regardless of any outward characteristic or behavior.

“All the same, should the scabs of the sheep cause the shepherd to recoil?” (The narrator asks, Toutefois, la gale de la brebis doit-elle faire reculer le pasteur? (Hugo, Les Misérables [1985], book 1, chapter 10, page 67). Gale, in veterinary pathology, refers to any of a variety of skin diseases caused by parasitic mites and characterized by loss of hair and scabby eruptions (“mange” in English). This phrase has been translated in various ways into English.)

This shepherd, our Good Shepherd, finds joy in seeing His diseased sheep progress toward healing.”

While God is empathetic, we should not mistakenly believe that He is accepting and open-minded about sin. He is not. The Savior came to earth to save us from our sins and, importantly, will not save us in our sins.16

However, in our lifelong quest to follow Jesus Christ, His example of kindness to those who sin is particularly instructive. We, who are sinners, must, like the Savior, reach out to others with compassion and love.”

21 Now there was a strict law among the people of the church, that there should not any man, belonging to the church, arise and persecute those that did not belong to the church, and that there should be no persecution among themselves.

The guiding principle for Latter-day Saints is the same. We must not be guilty of persecuting anyone inside or outside the Church.”

Everyone, including people of religion, has the right to express his or her opinions in the public square. But no one has a license to be hateful toward others as those opinions are expressed.”

“He loves us so much that He provided the way for us to repent and become clean so we can return to Him and our Heavenly Father.32 In doing so, Jesus Christ also set the example for us to follow—to show respect to all and hatred toward none.”

Elder Ulisses Soares, Confide in God Unwaveringly
Through His life, suffering, death, and Resurrection, He removed every impediment to our rejoicing and finding peace on this earth.

Brothers and sisters, if we are not rooted by steadfast trust in God and the desire to serve Him, the painful experiences of mortality can lead us to feel as though we are burdened by a heavy yoke; and we can lose the motivation to live the gospel fully. Without faith, we will end up losing the capacity to appreciate those designs of our God regarding the things that will happen later in our life.11

Elder Mark A Bragg, Brighter and Brighter until the Perfect Day
8 We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;
9 Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;

Brothers and sisters, please take comfort that there is light available to us. May I suggest three areas where we will always find light:”

  1. The Light of the Church
  2. The Light of the Gospel
    Now more than ever, our families must be sources of great light to everyone around us.“
    I invite you to reflect upon each of the young Aaronic Priesthood holders in your ward. Not one of them should ever feel left out or useless. Is there a young man whom you and other priesthood brethren could help? Invite him to serve alongside you. Too often we try to entertain our young men and relegate them to a spectator role, when their faith and love for the gospel can be best developed by magnifying their priesthood. By actively participating in the work of salvation, they will be connected with heaven and they will gain awareness of their divine potential.”

  3. The Light of Christ
“The Spirit of Christ is always there. … The Light of Christ is as universal as sunlight itself. Wherever there is human life, there is the Spirit of Christ.” (Boyd K. Packer, “The Light of Christ,” Ensign or Liahona, Apr. 2005, 13.)

May we be strengthened by the light that is available to us through greater participation at church and greater application of gospel principles in our families.”

President Russell M Nelson, Drawing the Power of Jesus Christ into Our Lives
“...our Heavenly Father never intended that we would deal with the maze of personal problems and social issues on our own.”

It is doctrinally incomplete to speak of the Lord’s atoning sacrifice by shortcut phrases, such as “the Atonement” or “the enabling power of the Atonement” or “applying the Atonement” or “being strengthened by the Atonement.” These expressions present a real risk of misdirecting faith by treating the event as if it had living existence and capabilities independent of our Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ.”

“the fundamental principles of our religion are the testimony of the Apostles and Prophets, concerning Jesus Christ, that He died, was buried, and rose again the third day, and ascended into heaven; and all other things which pertain to our religion are only appendages to it.” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith (2007), 49.)

When the Savior knows you truly want to reach up to Him—when He can feel that the greatest desire of your heart is to draw His power into your life—you will be led by the Holy Ghost to know exactly what you should do.”

When you spiritually stretch beyond anything you have ever done before, then His power will flow into you.”

Saturday Afternoon Session
Elder Robert D Hales, Becoming Disciple of Our Lord Jesus Christ
“What does it mean to be a disciple of our Lord Jesus Christ? A disciple is one who has been baptized and is willing to take upon him or her the name of the Savior and follow Him. A disciple strives to become as He is by keeping His commandments in mortality, much the same as an apprentice seeks to become like his or her master.

“Many people hear the word disciple and think it means only ‘follower.’ But genuine discipleship is a state of being. This suggests more than studying and applying a list of individual attributes. Disciples live so that the characteristics of Christ are woven into the fiber of their beings, as into a spiritual tapestry.”
“...we cannot obtain one Christlike characteristic without also obtaining and influencing others. As one characteristic becomes strong, so do many more.”

“As we faithfully live the gospel, we will have power to be virtuous in every thought, feeling, and action. Our minds become more receptive to the promptings of the Holy Ghost and the Light of Christ.10 We embody Christ not only in what we say and do but also in who we are.”

“From temperance to patience and from patience to godliness, our natures change. We gain the brotherly kindness that is a hallmark of all true disciples. Like the Good Samaritan, we cross the road to minister to whoever is in need, even if they are not within the circle of our friends.19 We bless them that curse us. We do good to those who despitefully use us.20 Is any attribute more godly or Christlike?”

“Brothers and sisters, we are all called to be disciples of our Savior. Let this conference be your opportunity to ‘begin as in times of old, and come unto [Him] with all your heart.’25

Elder Jeffrey R Holland, Songs Sung and Unsung
In those moments when the melody of joy falters below our power of expression, we may have to stand silent for a time and simply listen to others, drawing strength from the splendor of the music around us. “

Diversity is not cacophony, and choirs do require discipline…”

The declarations of heaven cry out to us that the only way complex societal issues can ever be satisfactorily resolved is by loving God and keeping His commandments, thus opening the door to the one lasting, salvific way to love each other as neighbors.”

These kinds of sanctified moments remain unuttered because expression, even if it were possible, might seem like desecration.”

‘Come as you are,’ a loving Father says to each of us, but He adds, ‘Don’t plan to stay as you are.’ We smile and remember that God is determined to make of us more than we thought we could be.”

Elder Gary B Sabin, Stand Up Inside and Be All In
When we are complacent with our covenants, we are complicit with the consequences.

8 Wherefore, stand ye in holy places, and be not moved, until the day of the Lord come; for behold, it cometh quickly, saith the Lord. Amen.

My 97-year-old father recently passed away. Whenever someone asked him how he was doing, his consistent reply was ‘On a scale of 1–10, I’m about a 25!’ Even when this dear man could no longer stand or even sit and had great difficulty speaking, his answer was still the same. He was always standing up inside.

Elder Valen V Cordo, The Language of the Gospel
19 And behold, it is wisdom in God that we should obtain these records, that we may preserve unto our children the language of our fathers;

50 My servant Newel K. Whitney also, a bishop of my church, hath need to be chastened, and set in order his family, and see that they are more diligent and concerned at home, and pray always, or they shall be removed out of their place.

Elder Neil L Andersen, Overcoming the World
Overcoming the world is keeping our promises to God—our baptismal and temple covenants and our oath of faithfulness to our eternal companion. Overcoming the world leads us humbly to the sacrament table each week, asking for forgiveness and pledging to ‘remember him and keep his commandments,’ that we ‘may always have his Spirit to be with [us].’14

Our love for the Sabbath day does not end when the chapel doors close behind us but instead opens the doors to a beautiful day of resting from routine tasks, studying, praying, and reaching out to family and others who need our attention. Instead of breathing a sigh of relief when church is over and frantically running in search of a television before the football game begins, let our focus remain on the Savior and upon His holy day.

The happiness of our spouse is more important than our own pleasure.

Elder M Russell Ballard, Return and Receive
“Some have difficulty differentiating between a goal and a plan until they learn that a goal is a destination or an end, while a plan is the route by which you get there.”

19 And now, my beloved brethren, after ye have gotten into this strait and narrow path, I would ask if all is done? Behold, I say unto you, Nay; for ye have not come thus far save it were by the word of Christ with unshaken faith in him, relying wholly upon the merits of him who is mighty to save.
20 Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life.

“Satan’s plan to accomplish his diabolical goal applies to every individual, generation, culture, and society. He uses loud voices—voices that seek to drown out the small and still voice of the Holy Spirit that can show us ‘all things’ we should do to return and receive.”

“It’s kind of like having a personal, private interview with yourself. And if that sounds unusual, think about it: who in this world knows you better than you know yourself? You know your thoughts, your private actions, your desires, and your dreams, goals, and plans. And you know better than anyone how you are progressing along the road to returning and receiving.”

“As we increase our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ’s power to give rest unto our souls by forgiving sins, redeeming imperfect relationships, healing the spiritual wounds that stifle growth, and strengthening and enabling us to develop the attributes of Christ, we will more deeply appreciate the magnitude of the Atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ.”

“Without the living Christ, our fondest expectations will be unfulfilled.”

Priesthood Session
President Monson, “Kindness, Charity, and Love”
44 If so, his faith and hope is vain, for none is acceptable before God, save the meek and lowly in heart; and if a man be meek and lowly in heart, and confesses by the power of the Holy Ghost that Jesus is the Christ, he must needs have charity; for if he have not charity he is nothing; wherefore he must needs have charity.
45 And charity suffereth long, and is kind, and envieth not, and is not puffed up, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, and rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
46 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, if ye have not charity, ye are nothing, for charity never faileth. Wherefore, cleave unto charity, which is the greatest of all, for all things must fail—
47 But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him.

“Kindness is the essence of a celestial life. Kindness is how a Christlike person treats others. Kindness should permeate all of our words and actions at work, at school, at church, and especially in our homes.
“Jesus, our Savior, was the epitome of kindness and compassion.”(Joseph B. Wirthlin, “The Virtue of Kindness,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2005, 26)
41 No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood, only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned;
42 By kindness, and pure knowledge, which shall greatly enlarge the soul without hypocrisy, and without guile—

Elder Bednar, Called to the Work
“In the culture of the Church, we often talk of being called to serve in a country such as Argentina, Poland, Korea, or the United States. But a missionary is not called to a place; rather, he or she is called to serve.”

“The spiritual gifts of prophecy and revelation attend all mission calls and assignments.”

“Perhaps one of the lessons the Savior is teaching us in this revelation is that an assignment to labor in a specific place is essential and important but secondary to a call to the work.”

“I am addressing this subject today because not a single member of this Church should carry an unnecessary burden of misunderstanding, uncertainty, anguish, or guilt about an assignment to labor.”

“Three interrelated words define a pattern of preparation and progression for sons of God: priesthood, temple, mission. Sometimes as parents, friends, and Church members, we focus so extensively upon missionary preparation for young men that we may neglect to a degree the other vital steps along the covenant pathway that must be fulfilled before beginning full-time missionary service.”

“Please learn to love being and remaining worthy. Be worthy. Stay worthy.”

“As priesthood, temple, and mission blessings are gathered ‘together in one … in Christ’13 and synergistically interact in the heart, mind, and soul of a young missionary, he can qualify for the work.14 His capacity is increased to fulfill the responsibility to represent authoritatively the Lord Jesus Christ.“

“As you diligently prepare now through selfless priesthood and temple service, your witness of the Lord’s living reality will be strengthened.”

Presiding Bishop Gerald Causse, Prepare the Way
“The service I rendered during those teenage years helped me build my testimony and anchor my life in the gospel. I was surrounded by good and compassionate men who were committed to using their priesthood to bless the lives of others. I wanted to be like them. In serving with them, much more than I realized at the time, I learned to be a leader in the Church and also in the world.”

Just think of what would take place in our priesthood quorums if the relationships between the holders of the two priesthoods were inspired by the pattern established by Jesus and John the Baptist.”

“John the Baptist was given one of the most noble missions to ever exist: prepare the way of the Lord,’1 to baptize Him with water, and to make ready a people to receive Him. This ‘just … and … holy [man],’2 who had been ordained to the lesser priesthood, was perfectly aware of both the importance and the limits of his mission and his authority.”

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