President Thomas S. Monson speaks at Sunday morning session
The subjects of finding personal light, recognizing miracles, parenting, marriage, obedience and loving one another where covered in the Sunday morning session of April 7 the 183rd Annual General Conference.
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the First Presidency of the LDS Church spoke about ending the cycle of abuse, anger and hate. President Uchtdorf told the story of a young woman who grew up in abusive circumstances to the point of fearing for her life.
“The people who should have protected her were those who tortured her or allowed the abuse to continue,” said President Uchtdorf .
When Jane turned 18, she was introduced to the LDS Church. She was able leave her abusive home and find family and comfort through the Church.
President Uchtdorf said when Jane’s abusers passed away she was still filled with feelings of anger from events in her childhood.
“Profound sadness and anger threatened to destroy the wonderful light she had found in the gospel. She realized that if she allowed that darkness to consume her, her tormentor would have a final victory,” said President Uchtdorf. “She sought counseling and medical help and began to realize that, for her, the best path for healing was to understand and accept that darkness exists—but not to dwell there. For as she now knew, light also exists—and that is where she chose to dwell.”
President Uchtdorf said although she could let her dark past anger her, she decided to let go of the past and end the cycle of abuse. Jane later became a schoolteacher, and has influenced he lives of “Hundreds of Children.”
President Uchtdorf said all can have hope through the spirit of Jesus Christ, just as Jane found hope and happiness.
Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve spoke on miracles.
Elder Andersen said just as the mortal life of Christ was filled with miracles, so also is our day.
“In England, Elder Wilford Woodruff found an entire community awaiting his arrival. The spirit of the Lord fell upon them and he baptized 45 preachers and several hundred members during his first month at Benbow farm,” said Elder Andersen .
Elder Andersen said the increase of membership in the LDS Church is a miracle, as also is the influx of missionaries in the world after the age change announced by President Monson 6 months ago.
“The Thursday following conference I was assigned to recommend missionary calls to the First Presidency. I was amazed to see the applications of 18-year-old men and 19-year-old women who had already adjusted their plans, visited their doctors, been interviewed by their bishops and stake presidents, and submitted their missionary applications – all in just five days. Thousands more have now joined them. It’s a miracle,” said Elder Andersen.
Elder Andersen said faith overcomes doubt and we’ll be blessed with our own miracles if we are faithful.
Sister Rosemary M. Wixom of the Primary General Presidency, spoke on being good parents by setting aside distractions and spending time and attention with our children.
Sister Wixom shared a story of a father of an 18 month old who was trying to get his attention while he was distracted by reading texts on his phone. She suggests putting technology and other distractions aside at times and spend quality time with our children.
“Children’s beliefs and self-worth are shaped early in their lives. Everyone … has the power to increase a child’s confidence in himself or herself and to increase a child’s faith in Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ through the words they speak,” said Sister Wixom.
Sister Wixom says that by listening and speaking softly, everyone can help children understand and feel confident, and adults can learn from children also, “for a child is most capable of speaking great and marvelous things in return,” Sister Wixom said.
Elder L. Whitney Clayton of the Presidency of the Seventy spoke on marriage. He gave five steps to help improve a married life.
First, Elder Whitney said husbands and wives who consider their relationship to one another to be a “peal beyond price” and who regard their marriage as the most important thing in world are happiest.
“Successful marriages are built on the foundation of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and adherence to His teachings,” said Elder Whitney. “Faith is the foundation of every virtue that strengthens marriage.”
Third, repentance. Elder Whitney said it is important for couples to examine their marriages often, to repent and to forgive. Doing so will humble and improve marriages.
“I have observed that in wonderful, happy marriages, husbands and wives treat each other as equal partners,” said Elder Whitney.
Elder Whitney said in any marriage when a husband dominates their wife, controls them or treats them as a second class citizen, he is not following the divine law given by the gospel, and he must promptly repent and change his ways. Both spouses in a marriage must have equal say and have a vote in everything.
“Loyalty is another form of respect,” Elder Whitney said. He says marriages are successful when both partners are fiercely loyal.
“The happiest marriages I have seen radiate obedience to one of the happiest commandments – that we ‘live together in love,’” said Elder Whitney. “Married couples cleave to God and one another by serving and loving each other and by keeping covenants in complete fidelity to one another and to God.”
Elder Whitney said there are those in circumstances such as marriages that are not happy, they may be divorced, a single parent, and various other situations which cause heartbreak.
Elder L. Tom Perry of the Quorum of the Twelve talked about obedience. He related serving in World War II to the war against the gospel.
“Today we find ourselves in another world war. This time it is not with armaments. It is with thought, words and deeds. It is a war with sin,” Elder Perry said.
Elder Perry said secularism is being accepted, and many of its beliefs and practices are in direct conflict with the Lord and what makes God’s children happy.
“Obedience to law is liberty,” Elder Perry said.
Elder Perry says that each choice people make, is a test of their agency.
“Whether we choose to be obedient or disobedient to the commandments of God is actually a choice between ‘liberty and eternal life’ and ‘captivity and death,’” Elder Perry said.
Elder Perry says that four of the Ten Commandments are taken seriously today, such as thou shalt not murder, steal, lie and to honor your parents. But Elder Perry says our culture seems to dismiss the other six commandments. He says society has other priorities over God. Society worships idols in the form of celebrities, life styles, wealth and graven images or objects.
He continues that society misuses the name of God in many ways. Society uses the Sabbath for recreation, shopping and “virtually everything else but worship.”
“We treat sexual relations outside marriage as recreation and entertainment,” said Elder Parry.
Elder Perry says coveting has become a way of life for many and that these depreciating attitudes in our culture are causing damage to society.
“As we give up commitment and fidelity to our marriage partners, we remove the glue that holds our society together,” said Elder Parry.
Elder Perry said all receive the promised blessings from the Lord as long as they keep the commandments of the Lord.
President Thomas S. Monson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints gave the final talk for the Sunday morning session. He spoke on where truth can be found and how it can be recognized.
“’He that keepeth [God’s] commandments receiveth truth and light, until he is glorified in truth and knowledge,’” said President Monson.
President Monson says we learn through experience, obedience to the gospel ensures our safety.
President Monson related a story from his childhood to obedience. He said when he was 8 years old he was asked to clear some weeds from a field. After discovering the amount of work that went into clearing the weeds, he and his friend got the idea to burn the weeds instead of pulling them.
“I want to make it clear that both Danny and I were forbidden to use [matches] without adult supervision. Both of us had been warned repeatedly of the dangers of fire. However, I knew where my family kept the matches, and we needed to clear that field,” said President Monson.
President Monson said that as they lit the weeds, the fire quickly got out of their control and it took many people to put out the fire, and luckily no one was hurt.
“I learned several difficult but important lessons that day—not the least of which was the importance of obedience,” said President Monson.
President Monson said there are rules and laws to protect us physically, likewise there are guidelines and commandments to protect us spiritually.
President Monson said the greatest example of obedience was the Lord Jesus Christ. He shared the scripture Luke 22:42, “… Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.”
“The knowledge which we seek, the answers for which we yearn, and the strength which we desire today to meet the challenges of a complex and changing world can be ours when we willingly obey the Lord’s commandments,” said President Monson.
President Monson ended with his testimony and the question, “Are we willing to obey?”