Saturday Afternoon Session

President Uchtdorf conducting.

President Henry B. Eyring: Sustaining votes of the General Authorities and Church Officers

President Boyd K. Packer: The Key to Spiritual Protection

  • Parents today wonder if there is a safe place to raise children. There is a safe place. It is in a gospel-centered home. We focus on the family in the Church, and we counsel parents everywhere to raise their children in righteousness.
  • With years of preparation, there has been an enormous effort to produce the scriptures in every language with footnotes and cross references. We seek to make them available to all who wish to learn. They teach us where to go and what to do. They offer hope and knowledge.
  • Make scripture reading a part of your regular routine, and the blessings will follow. There is in the scriptures a voice of warning, but there is also great nourishment.
  • If you are set on a course of faith and activity in the Church, stay on course and keep your covenants. Continue forward until the time when the Lord’s blessings will come to you and the Holy Ghost will be revealed as a moving force in your life. If you are presently on a course that points away from the one outlined in the scriptures, let me assure you there is a way back.
  • The gospel teaches us to be happy, to have faith rather than fear, to find hope and overcome despair, to leave darkness and turn toward the light of the everlasting gospel.

Elder D. Todd Christofferson: The Moral Force of Women

  • While certainly not the only positive influence at work in society, the moral foundation provided by women has proved uniquely beneficial to the common good.  Perhaps, because it is pervasive, this contribution of women is often under-appreciated.
  • A woman’s moral influence is nowhere more powerfully felt or more beneficially employed than in the home.  There is no better setting for rearing the rising generation than the traditional family where a father and a mother work in harmony to provide for, teach, and nurture their children.  Where this ideal does not exist, people strive to duplicate its benefits as best they can in their particular circumstances.
  • Sisters, I don’t want to over-praise you as we sometimes do in Mother’s Day talks that make you cringe.  You don’t have to be perfect; I don’t claim that you are… What I mean to say is that whether you are single or married, whether you have borne children or not, whether you are old, young, or in between, your moral authority is vital, and that perhaps we have begun to take it and you for granted.
  • We do not diminish the value of what women or men achieve in any worthy endeavor or career, but still recognize that there is not a higher good than motherhood and fatherhood in marriage.  There is no superior career, and no amount of money, authority, or public acclaim can exceed the ultimate rewards of family.
  • Attitudes toward human sexuality threaten the moral authority of women on several fronts.  Abortion for personal or social convenience strikes at the heart of a woman’s most sacred powers and destroys her moral authority.  The same is true of sexual immorality and of revealing dress that not only debases women but reinforces the lie that a woman’s sexuality is what defines her worth.
  • There has long been a cultural “double standard” that expected women to be sexually circumspect while excusing male immorality.  The unfairness of such a “double standard” is obvious, and it has been justifiably criticized and rejected.  In that rejection, one would have hoped that men would rise to the higher, single standard, but just the opposite has occurred—women and girls are now encouraged to be as promiscuous as the “double standard” expected men to be.  Where once women’s higher standards demanded commitment and responsibility from men, we now have sexual relations without conscience, fatherless families, and growing poverty.  Equal opportunity promiscuity simply robs women of their moral influence and degrades all of society. In this hollow bargain, it is men who are “liberated” and women and children who suffer most.
  • In these exhortations to women, let no one willfully misunderstand.  By praising and encouraging the moral force in women, I am not saying that men and boys are somehow excused from their own duty to stand for truth and righteousness, that their responsibility to serve, sacrifice, and minister is somehow less than that of women or can be left to women.  Men, let us stand with women, share their burdens, and cultivate our own companion moral authority.

Elder S. Gifford Nielsen: Hastening the Lord’s Game Plan!

  • What would you do if the prophet of the Lord really called you?  Well, he has!  President Thomas S. Monson has called each one of us to a very important work.  He said, “Now is the time for members and missionaries to come together, to work together, to labor in the Lord’s vineyard to bring souls unto him…”  Have we been listening?
  • When I’m emotionally charged about something, it shows in my writing and often ends in an exclamation point that by definition conveys, “A strong feeling or an indication of major significance.” I became  intrigued as scriptures about “the gathering,” which ended with this punctuation mark started popping up…
  • I know we each must develop and carry out our own personal game plan to serve with enthusiasm alongside the full-time missionaries EXCLAMATION POINT.

Elder Arnulfo Valenzuela: Small and Simple Things

  • [Quoting inactive member] “All I needed was to have someone come and give me an ‘abrazo’”
  • I testify that many of those  who need our help are there waiting for us.  They are ready for their valiant brothers and sisters to reach out to them, and rescue them through small and simple means.  I have personally spent many hours visiting less active members of the Church, whose hearts have already been softened by the Lord, who are now ready to receive our testimonies and our sincere expressions of love.

Elder Timothy J Dyches: Wilt Thou Be Made Whole?

  • Do you remember when your faith and joy were full to the brim?  Remember the moment you found your testimony or when God confirmed to you that you were His son or daughter and that He loved you very much- and you felt whole? If that time seems lost, it can be found again.
  • Be assured, the Savior still seeks to mend our souls and heal our hearts.   As He waits at the door and knocks, let us answer by beginning again to pray, repent, forgive, and forget.

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland: Like a Broken Vessel

  • We sense the complexity of such matters when we hear professionals speak of neuroses and psychoses, of genetic predispositions and compulsions, of bipolarity, paranoia, and schizophrenia.  However bewildering they may be, these afflictions are some of the realities of mortal life, and there should be no more shame in acknowledging them than acknowledging a battle with high blood pressure or the sudden appearance of a malignant tumor.
  • In striving for some peace and understanding in these difficult matters, it is crucial to remember that we are living—and chose to live—in a fallen world where for divine purposes our pursuit of Godliness will be tested and tried again and again.  Of greatest assurance in such a plan is that a Savior was promised, a Redeemer, who through our faith in Him would lift us triumphantly over those tests and trials, even though the cost to do so would be unfathomable for both the Father who sent Him and the Son who came.  It is only an appreciation of this divine love that will make our own lesser suffering first bearable, then understandable, and finally redemptive.
  • And I have seen it in young fathers trying to provide for their families.  In that regard I once terrifyingly saw it in myself.  At one point in our married life when financial fears collided with staggering fatigue, I took a psychic blow that was as unanticipated as it was real. With the grace of God and the love of my family I kept functioning and kept working, but even after all these years I continue to feel a deep sympathy for others more chronically or more deeply afflicted with such gloom than I was.  In any case we have all taken courage from those who, in the words of the Prophet Joseph, “search[ed] and contemplate[ed] the darkest abyss,” and persevered through it, not the least of whom were Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill, and Elder George Albert Smith, the latter being one of the most gentle and Christ-like men of our dispensation who battled recurring depression for some years before later becoming the universally beloved eighth Prophet and President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
  • Never, ever doubt that and never harden your heart. Faithfully pursue the time-tested devotional practices that bring the Spirit of the Lord into your life.  Seek the counsel of those who hold keys for your spiritual well-being.  Ask for and cherish priesthood blessings.  Take the sacrament every week and hold fast to the perfecting promises of the Atonement of Jesus Christ.  Believe in miracles.  I have seen so many of them come when every other indication would say that hope was lost.  Hope is never lost.  If those miracles do not come soon or fully or seemingly at all, remember the Savior’s own anguished example: if the bitter cup does not pass, drink it and be strong, trusting in happier days ahead.
  • If things continue to be debilitating, seek the advice of reputable people with certified training, professional skills, and good values.  Be honest with them about your history and your struggles.  Prayerfully and responsibly consider the counsel they give and the solutions they prescribe.  If you had appendicitis, God would expect you to seek a priesthood blessing and get the best medical care available.  So, too, with emotional disorders.  Our Father in Heaven expects us to use all of the marvelous gifts he has provided in this glorious dispensation.
  • If you are the one afflicted or a caregiver to such, try not to be overwhelmed with the size of your task.  Don’t assume you can fix everything.  Fix what you can.  If those are only small victories, be grateful for them and be patient.  Dozens of times in scripture the Lord commands someone to “stand still” or “be still”—and wait. Patiently enduring some things is part of our mortal education.

Elder M. Russell Ballard: Put Your Trust in the Lord

  • My message this afternoon is that the Lord is hastening His work. In our day, this can only be done when every member of the Church reaches out with love to share the truths of the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ.
  • Brothers and sisters, fear will be replaced with faith and confidence when members and full-time missionaries kneel in prayer and ask the Lord to bless them with missionary opportunities. Then, we must demonstrate our faith and watch for opportunities to introduce the Gospel of Jesus Christ to our Heavenly Father’s children, and surely the opportunities will come.  These opportunities will never require a forced or contrived response.  They will flow as a natural result of our love for our brothers and sisters.  Just be positive, and those you speak with will feel your love.  They will never forget that feeling even though the timing may not be right for them to embrace the gospel.  That, too, may change in the future when their circumstances change.
  • The Lord knows us. He knows we have our challenges. I realize that some of you may feel heavy laden, but I pray that none of you would ever feel that reaching out in normal, pleasant ways to share the gospel would ever be a burden. Rather, it is a privilege! There is no greater joy in life than being anxiously engaged in the service of the Lord.
  • We are not asking everyone to do everything. We are simply asking all members to pray, knowing that if every member, young and old, will reach out to just “one” between now and Christmas, millions will feel the love of the Lord Jesus Christ.