In the Saturday Morning Session of the 185th Semi-Annual General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, apostles and other general authorities addressed Church members and the world.
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the First Presidency said we should focus and realign our daily efforts towards discipleship, such as pondering the meaning of life, believing in God, and finding happiness.
“I wonder if we, as Church members, might also benefit from asking ourselves from time to time, ‘Is my experience in the Church working for me?’” President Uchtdorf said.
President Uchtdorf said that to simplify these seemingly overwhelming questions, we must remember to start where we are.
“God will take you as you are at this very moment and begin to work with you,” he said. “All you need is a willing heart, a desire to believe, and trust in the Lord.”
In his talk, “God is at the Helm,” Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles encouraged the audience to remember his address from one year ago as he prompted them to have “implicit confidence in their God, never forsake their covenants nor their God, He will guide us right,” as Brigham Young told the early saints on the old ship Zion.
Elder Ballard said we must remember that there is no such thing as perfection, but that the atonement is real.
“Focusing on how the Lord inspires His chosen leaders and how He moves the Saints to do remarkable and extraordinary things despite their humanity is one way that we hold on to the gospel of Jesus Christ and stay safely aboard the old ship Zion,” Elder Ballard said.
Like a misplaced mound of clay on a potter’s wheel, Christ may not be perfectly centered in our lives, Elder Richard J. Maynes, of the Presidency of the Quorum of the Seventy said in his talk, “The Joy of Living a Christ-Centered Life.”
“Living a Christ-centered life means we learn about Jesus Christ and His gospel and then we follow His example and keep His commandments with exactness,” Elder Maynes said.
Elder Maynes said living a Christ-centered life will mold us, like the carefully molded block of clay, into what we are intended to be.
“Brothers and Sisters, like the clay on the potter’s wheel our lives must be centered with exactness in Christ if we are to find true joy and peace in this life,” Elder Maynes said.
Sister Neill F. Marriott, the Second Counselor in the Young Women General Presidency said experiencing the passing of her 21-year-old daughter made her question her family motto, “It will all work out”, in her talk, “Yielding Our Hearts to God.”
Sister Marriott said, however, that if we look at our trials with an eternal perspective, we can bear the trials of this earth.
“A meek heart accepts the trial and the waiting for that time of healing and wholeness to come,” Sister Marriott said.
Sister Marriott said that as we accept the Lord’s timing, we can sooner yield our hearts to His will.
“I have struggled to banish the mortal desire to have things my way, eventually realizing that my way is oh-so lacking, limited, and inferior to the way of Jesus Christ,” Sister Marriott said.
Elder Larry R. Lawrence of the Quorum of the Seventy said in his talk, “The Course of Steady Improvement,” that the honesty of the companionship of the Holy Ghost can surprise us at times, giving us simple directions for us to improve.
Elder Lawrence said asking ourselves what we need to change about ourselves with persistence can result in an answer from the Holy Ghost, giving us the answer we need to be able to commit to the change the Holy Ghost initiated.
“If spiritual growth is not a priority in our lives, if we are not on a course of steady improvement, we will miss out on the important experiences that God wants to give us,” Elder Lawrence said.
Elder Francisco J. Viñas of the Quorum of the Seventy said in his talk, “The Pleasing Word of God,” to remember that the difficult moments in our lives are “but a small moment.”
Elder Viñas said that suffering can come in many forms, such as the loss of a loved one, abuse, and the effects of sin. Finding hope in these situations can seem impossible, yet with in the word of God, we may find comfort, he said.
“This relief comes from the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ and takes effect if we exercise faith in Him, repent, and are obedient to His commandments,” Elder Viñas said.
This relief rarely comes all at once, Elder Viñas said, as repentance requires consistency.
Elder Viñas said one’s focus on the repentance process should be centered on their intent, which will guide the progression toward being healed by the word of God.
As the Bristol port in the United Kingdom has a cleanly standard to uphold to avoid ship damage due to high tides, one must continually strive to be clean and temple-worthy to avoid the high tides of this life, Elder Quentin L. Cook, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said in his talk “Shipshape and Bristol Fashion.”
“In order to overcome the challenges and temptations that each of us inevitably face, it will require righteous preparation and the use of divinely provided protections. We must determine to be temple worthy, regardless of what befalls us,” Elder Cook said.
Christ was the ultimate example of “both righteous attitudes and conduct in day to day living,” Elder Cook said, and “as disciples of the savior “we are expected to plan and prepare.”
We must focus on righteous self-control “to righteously strengthen our ability to resist temptation,” Elder Cook said.
“The restored gospel gives us the blueprint of the plan of happiness and an incentive to understand and exercise self-control and avoid temptation,” Elder Cook said.
Elder Cook said we must honor the Sabbath to be a protection in the family.
“The Sabbath can help separate us from that which is frivolous, inappropriate or immoral. It allows us to be in the world, but not of the world,” Cook said.
Elder Cook said we should not forget that we are blessed with the divine help of the Holy Ghost as we strive to protect ourselves from the adversary.
“This member of the Godhead serves as a cleansing agent if the gospel is first in our lives,” Elder Cook said.