President Boyd K. Packer, Quorum of the Twelve
President Boyd K. Packer, president of the Quorum of the Twelve, spoke about children and the importance of eternal families.
“One of the greatest discoveries of parenthood is that we learn far more about what really matters from our children than we ever did from our parents,” he said. “Husbands and wives should understand that their first calling – from which they will never be released – is to one another and then to their children.”
President Packer included several examples from the scriptures where Jesus blesses and administers to children, showing his great love for them. He said parenthood is a great responsibility and challenge for married couples as we extend Christ’s love to children.
“The ultimate end of all activity in the Church is to see a husband and his wife and their children happy at home, protected by the principles and laws of the gospel, sealed safely in the covenants of the everlasting priesthood,” he said.
We busy ourselves with many activities and programs, President Packer said. This can distract from spreading the love and spirit of Christ.
“In so doing, it is possible to overlook the very spirit of the gospel of Jesus Christ,” he said. “There are many things about living the gospel of Jesus Christ that cannot be measured by that which is counted or charted in records of attendance.”
President Packer said new activities may add time and financial burdens to families.
“Family time is sacred and should be protected and respected,” he said. “We urge our members to show devotion to their families.”
President Packer said we can understand Heavenly Father’s feelings toward us as we consider the devotion parents have to their children.
“Fathers and mothers, next time you cradle a newborn child in your arms you can have an inner vision of the mysteries and purposes of life,” he said. “You will better understand why the Church is as it is and why the family is the basic organization in time and all eternity.”
Sister Cheryl A. Esplin
Sister Cheryl A. Esplin, second counselor in the Primary General Presidency, spoke about the importance of teaching children and helping them understand the gospel.
“What a sacred responsibility Heavenly Father places upon us parents to partner with Him in helping His choice spirits become what He knows they can become,” she said. “He knows exactly what our children need to know, what they need to do and what they need to be to come back into His presence.”
Elder Donald L. Hallstrom, Presidency of the Seventy
Elder Donald L. Hallstrom of the Presidency of the Seventy talked about the difference between the gospel and the Church.
“Sometimes we use the terms ‘gospel’ and ‘Church’ interchangeably, but they are not the same,” he said. “They are, however, exquisitely interconnected and we need both.”
Elder Paul E. Koelliker, Quorum of the Seventy
Elder Paul E. Koelliker, of the Quorum of the Seventy, spoke about the love Heavenly Father has for each of his children.
“Because of the Heaven-designed pattern of the family, we more fully understand how our Heavenly Father truly loves each of us equally and fully,” he said.
Elder Dallin H. Oaks
Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve talked about the sacrifice of Jesus Christ and the sacrifices each member makes in living the gospel.
“The incomprehensible suffering of Jesus Christ ended sacrifice by the shedding of blood, but it did not end the importance of sacrifice in the gospel plan,” he said. “He also commands each of us to love and serve one another – in effect to offer a small imitation of His own sacrifice by making sacrifices of our own time and selfish priorities.”
Elder Oaks said most members of the Church will not sacrifice their whole lives to religious service.
“For most followers of Christ, our sacrifices involve what we can do on a day-to-day basis in our ordinary personal lives,” he said.
The lives of our people illustrate our devotion to the Christian faith, Elder Oaks said.
“Truly, our lives of service and sacrifice are the most appropriate expressions of our commitment to serve the Master and our fellowmen,” he said.
Elder Oaks said missionary work, humanitarian aid and temple service are examples of sacrifice.
“… The amount of time donated by our members to train and minister to one another is uniquely large,” he said.
A nationwide study shows that members of the Church donate and volunteer more than the average American and more than the upper 20 percent of religious people in the country, Elder Oaks said.
“I am grateful for the marvelous example of Christian love, service and sacrifice I have seen among the Latter-day Saints,” he said. “I believe that Latter-day Saints who give unselfish service and sacrifice in worshipful imitation of our Savior adhere to eternal values to a greater extent than any other group of people.”
The most familiar and important examples of sacrifice are found within our families, Elder Oaks said.
“The sacrifices involved in the eternally important service to our families are too numerous to mention and too familiar to need mention,” he said.