First presidency encourages charity, missionary work

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    By Jessica Gurnsey

    President Gordon B. Hinckley added counsel to share The Book of Mormon with others to his previous challenge to read the book during the First Presidency?s Christmas Devotional Sunday night at the Conference Center in Salt Lake City.

    ?It has been suggested that as the year draws to a close and many of you are completing your reading of The Book of Mormon, you may wish to share the Book of Mormon with those who don?t have it,? Hinckley said. ?You will bless their lives as well as your own.?

    Hinckley testified of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon, inviting members to ponder, reflect on and emulate the teachings of Jesus Christ contained in the book.

    All three members of the First Presidency focused their talks on giving.

    ?Giving, not getting, brings to full bloom the Christmas spirit,? said Thomas S. Monson, first counselor in the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ.

    The Christmas spirit brings peace and increased happiness during the holiday season, he said. In order to receive that spirit, he asked members of the church to focus on what they will give rather than what they will receive for Christmas.

    ?What will you and I give for Christmas this year,? Monson asked. ?Let us, in our lives, give to our Lord and Savior the gift of gratitude by living his teachings and following in his footsteps.?

    President James E. Faust, second counselor in the First Presidency, expanded on the idea of giving by calling it an expression of charity.

    ?When we think of Christmas, we not only think of Santa, but also of giving gifts because Christmas is a great time to demonstrate the pure love of Christ,? Faust said.

    This pure love of Christ, or charity, should be extended to those beyond friends and family members, he said.

    ?We should smile more,? Faust said. ?We should be kind to those we meet and as we do so our lives, as well as theirs, shall be blessed.?

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