LDS leaders speak to members worldwide

SALT LAKE CITY — Saturday morning well over 20,000 stood in unison as the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints Thomas S. Monson entered the church’s conference center for 182nd Annual General Conference of the Church.
Visitors to the gathering in Salt Lake City are diverse coming from many nations and cultures. Steven Blaine from Edinburgh, Scotland traveled to the meeting without a ticket to the meetings. He hoped that someone would have an extra ticket to give him.
He said, “I want to hear and see the Prophet and our leaders.”
Blaine was not the only person making a sacrifice attending conference, pop singer David Archuleta sang in the choir of missionaries performing at the afternoon session. Archuleta entered the Church’s Missionary Training Center to serve a two-year mission, suspending a lucrative musical career. Blaine and Archuleta’s example expressed a common theme of Saturday’s meeting, sacrifice for sake of love of the Gospel.
Local Pocatello area attorney and political figure Larry Echo Hawk was called to become a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy, a leading council of the Church. A new Presiding Bishopric and Relief Society General Presidency were also called during Saturday afternoon’s meeting. No new temples were announced at this conference.
Church officials announced that the Church has grown to over 14.4 million members, and 28,784 wards and branches.
In his opening remarks President Monson said conference is an opportunity where, “Each can be enlightened and uplifted and comforted as the Spirit of the Lord is felt.”
Boyd K. Packer, President of the Quorum of Twelve, spoke about the poor that exist worldwide. Packer spoke of the value and innocence of children and how, “Children are in heritage of the Lord.”
The opening speaker at Saturday afternoon’s session was Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve. Holland urged listeners to forgive others. Regarding forgiveness from God he stated, “It is not possible for you to sink lower than infinite light of Christ’s Atonement shines.”
Elder David S. Baxter of the Seventy gave a talk focused on the single mothers of the Church. He offered praise and encouragement. “Whatever your circumstances, or the reasons for them, how wonderful you are.”
Pocatello native, Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of Twelve, was the final speaker Saturday afternoon. He spoke about how the Holy Ghost “communicates important information that we need to guide us in our mortal journey.”
The Sunday morning session of General Conference was opened by the soothing tones of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Sunday morning’s first speaker was President Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the First Presidency. Uchtdorf charged the faithful to, “We must repent, and we must be willing to forgive others.” Quoting scripture, Uchtdorf said, “I, the Lord, will forgive whom I will forgive. But of you it is required to forgive all men.” Regarding envy, hatred, revenge, and not forgiving others Uchtdorf said “stop it,” reminding the audience that “it is the merciful who obtain mercy.”
Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of Twelve spoke about the need to thank God. He said, “Our degree of gratitude is a measure of our love for Him.” Quoting scripture, Nelson went on to remind those gathered of the gift of the Savior by saying, “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
Sister Julie B. Beck, released Saturday as Relief Society General President spoke about the role and value of the Relief Society. She said, the organization is “divinely ordained” with the purpose, “to increase faith and personal righteousness, strengthen families, and seek out and help those in need.”
Thomas S. Monson, president of the Church, was the final speaker at the Sunday morning session. Monson asked, “In this fast-paced life do we ever pause for moments of meditation – even thoughts of timeless truth?
“Quoting scripture, Monson said, “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven…”
Following Elder Perry, Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Twelve spoke. Quoting former LDS Church president Joseph F. Smith, he said, “There is no happiness without service, and there is no service greater than that which converts the home to a divine institution and which promotes and preserves family life.”
Elder David F. Evans of the Seventy spoke about missionary work. He stated that missionary work can be accomplished by, “Acting in love upon the promptings given by the Spirit becomes the catalyst.”
The final speaker of conference was LDS Church president Thomas S. Monson. Monson thanked those who attended conference. Regarding the speakers he said, “We have been richly blest as we have listened to the counsel and testimonies of those who have spoken to us.” Regarding the Gospel Monson said, “It provides answers to life’s greatest questions. It provides meaning and purpose and hope in our lives.”
Text, audio, and video of conference can be found at:
Dan Cravens is a member of the Blackfoot 10th Ward.