Written by Sam Dalton 

Salt Lake City — The priesthood session of the 186th annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints focused a great deal on the importance of eternal families.

Helaman Juarez | Scroll Photography

Helaman Juarez | Scroll Photography

President Russell M. Nelson

President Russell M. Nelson, president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, spoke about the divine role of the men of God.

He expounded upon the story he shared in the October 2015 conference about the two girls’ lives he could not save through heart operations.

“I was heartbroken when both girls died following their operations,” President Nelson said. “Understandably, Ruth and Jimmy were spiritually shattered.”

President Nelson continued to recount that he was prompted from beyond the veil by those two young girls to help them be sealed to their families.

“Emboldened by the pleadings of Laural Ann and Gay Lynn, I tried again to contact their father, who I learned was living with his son Shawn,” President Nelson said. 

President Nelson said he shared his experience with Jimmy and Shawn and invited them to prepare themselves to enter the temple and be sealed to their families. They accepted and eventually achieved that goal.

“If I could have the wish of my heart, it would be that each man and young man in this Church would demonstrate the courage, strength and humility of this father and son,” President Nelson said. “They were willing to forgive and let go of old hurts and habits.”

He continued to exhort the brethren to develop faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance patience godliness, brotherly kindness, charity and diligence to increases priesthood power and bless their families.

He warned against laziness, dishonesty, pride, immorality or preoccupation with things of the world that cut off priesthood power.

Stephen W. Owen

Stephen W. Owen, president of the General Young Men’s presidency, spoke of how being a great follower creates a great leader.

President Owens posed the question of who was the greatest leader who ever lived. He answered that it is Jesus Christ. He then taught that Jesus Christ was also the greatest follower.

“He is the greatest follower. He follows His Father perfectly, in all things,” President Owens said.

He emphasized that great leadership comes from a commitment to follow Jesus Christ, not from an outgoing personality, motivation skills or talent for public speaking.

“You will find that in the very act of following Christ, you are also leading others to Him,” President Owen said.

Helaman Juarez | Scroll Photography

Helaman Juarez | Scroll Photography

President Dieter F. Uchtdorf

President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, second counselor in the First Presidency of the Church, spoke on saving families and marriages.

“Strong families and marriages don’t happen because we are members of the Church,” President Uchtdorf said. “They require constant intentional work.” 

President Uchtdorf emphasized that time, patience and the blessings of the Atonement of Jesus Christ are all required to save marriages and families.

“If you keep adding pebbles of kindness, compassion, listening, sacrifice, understanding and selflessness eventually a mighty pyramid will begin to grow,” Uchtdorf said.

Helaman Juarez | Scroll Photography

Helaman Juarez | Scroll Photography

President Henry B. Eyring

President Henry B. Eyring, first counselor in the First Presidency of the Church, spoke on the importance of eternal families.

“My message tonight is an attempt to describe that future and what we must do to be a part of the plan of happiness our Heavenly Father has prepared for us,” President Eyring said.   

President Eyring told the brethren that the purpose of every priesthood holder is to aid in the work of helping others rise to eternal life.

“Everything we do should have celestial marriage as its focus and purpose,” President Eyring said. “Every major decision should be based on the effect it will have on a family to qualify for life with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.”

President Eyring emphasized that the most important work the saints will ever do will be the work they do within the walls of their own homes.

Helaman Juarez | Scroll Photography

Helaman Juarez | Scroll Photography

Thomas S. Monson

President Thomas S. Monson, President of the Church, spoke of the sacred trust that the priesthood of God is.

“We are the recipients of a sacred trust,” President Monson said. “Much is expected of us.”

He reminded the brethren that wherever they go, the priesthood they hold goes with them.

“Before you put yourself and your priesthood in jeopardy by venturing into places or participating in activities which are not worthy of you or of that priesthood, pause to consider the consequences,” President Monson said.

President Monson admonished the brethren to determine now to be prepared for their time of need, their time of service and their time of blessing.