Saturday afternoon talksfocus on marriage, fait

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    JAMIE HEATO

    With a background of bright smiles from the Primary chorus, Saturday afternoon’s speakers at the 166th Semiannual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints focused on sanctifying the covenant of marriage, purifying desires, looking to pioneer ancestors for faith and understanding the atonement.

    After the sustaining of the general authorities and church officers, Elder Neal A. Maxwell, of the Council of the Twelve Apostles, addressed the congregation on the importance of righteous desires. “Therefore, what we insistently desire, over time, is what we will eventually become and will receive in eternity,” Elder Maxwell said.

    Elder Maxwell warned that the absence of keen desire will cause a “terrible flattening” to the individual. We set our thermostats as to temptation and that it is our own desire that will determine the attractiveness of various temptations. He said our challenge in life is to lose the desire for sin, but it is a process that takes time.

    Elder M. Russell Ballard followed with a reminder that in 1997 the church will celebrate the 150th anniversary of the arrival of the pioneers to the Salt Lake Valley. He said the theme for the celebration is “Faith in Every Footstep.” Elder Ballard said that we need the same dedication today in every one of our footsteps as the pioneers had in theirs.

    Elder Bruce C. Hafen said that many people today wonder what marriage is and ask if we should allow same-sex marriage. Elder Hafen explained that marriage is not only a private contract but that even secular marriage was historically a three-party covenant between a man, a woman, and the state. “Society has a huge interest in the outcome and the offspring of every marriage,” he said.

    Elder Quentin L. Cook taught that rejoicing in the gospel of Jesus Christ comes by avoiding the telestial distractions his family calls “Saturday Morning Cartoons.”

    “Latter-day Saints are a covenant people,” said Elder Henry B. Eyring. He told of a conversation he had with a non-member whose wife was an inactive member. For 25 years they had been visited by home and visiting teachers. Elder Eyring explained to this man that faithful members were being true to their covenants of supporting and loving one another.

    Elder Russell M. Nelson concluded the afternoon session speaking on the Atonement and interconnected nature of the Creation, the Fall and the infinite sacrifice of the Savior. “The purpose of the Creation, the Fall, and the Atonement all converge on the sacred work done in temples of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”

    Included in conference business, Elder Carlos E. Asay was given emeritus general authority status and Elder Earl C. Tingy was sustained by members of the church to serve in the Presidency of the Seventy. Nine members of the Second Quorum of the Seventy — Elders W. Mack Lawrence, Rulon G. Craven, Joseph C. Muren, Graham W. Doxey, Jorge A. Rojas, Julio E. Davila, In Sang Han, Stephen D. Nadauld, and Sam K. Shimabukuro — were honorably released from their five-year calling as general authorities.

    Photos courtesy of Public Affairs Department of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

    HONORABLY RELEASED: Elder Carlos E. Asay, left, was given emeritus general authority status in the Saturday afternoon session of the 166th Semiannual General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Elder Earl C. Tingy was called to the Presidency of the First Quorum of the Seventy.

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