President Dieter F. Uchtdorf
President Uchtdorf spoke of the need to give mercy to receive mercy.
He began by telling the story of a woman who recently wrote him. She pleaded with him to give a general conference address to help the relationship between herself and her two children.
“Strained and broken relationships are as old as humankind itself,” he said.
He said every person has been affected by contention throughout their lives. Yet, we know these feelings are wrong. We must be willing to forgive others who wrong us to receive Christ’s forgiveness.
“Jesus taught, ‘forgive one another, for he that forgiveth not … stands condemned before the Lord; for there remaineth in him the greater sin,” he said, “and blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.”
“Of course, these words seem perfectly reasonable,” he said, “when applied to someone else.”
President Uchtdorf said it is too common and easy to judge others and dislike when people judge back. But the counsel from the Apostle Paul is clear: those who pass judgment on others are inexcusable.
President Uchtdorf said the Lord requires us to forgive everyone, including ourselves.
“Sometimes, of all the people in the world, the one who is the hardest to forgive… is the person looking back at us in the mirror,” he said.
President Uchtdorf then said in two words a clear and simple way to discontinue judging and begin forgiving.
President Uchtdorf said all are imperfect and all wish for forgiveness of our sins. Because of this, denial of mercy to anyone is contrary to the Lord’s love.
“Brothers and sisters, should we not forgive as we wish to be forgiven?” he said.
President Uchtdorf said it is difficult to forgive. But thankfully, it doesn’t have to be done alone.
“This mighty change of heart is exactly what the gospel of Jesus Christ is designed to bring about,” he said. “How is it done? Through the love of God.
President Uchtdorf said if the love of God governs lives, loving enemies and forgiving those who do wrong, kindness and tenderheartedness will enter into lives and mercy will be freely given.
Elder Russell M. Nelson, Quorum of the Twelve
Elder Russell M. Nelson spoke of the many things to be thankful to God for.
Elder Nelson began by relating a story of fish. While at an aquarium, he asked an attendant who fed the fish in the nearby tank. When he discovered what the attendant did, he asked her if the fish ever thank her. She said, “Not yet!”
He related the fish to those who are ignorant of God who gives everything that is “heaven-sent.”
“Our degree of gratitude is a measure of our love for him,” he said.
Elder Nelson gave thanks for the creation of the earth and the capacity each person has. A capacity to “grow, love, marry and form families.”
Elder Nelson then spoke of how divine marriage is in this life. Through marriage in the temple and family, we are able to live with our loved ones for eternity.
Elder Nelson gave thanks for Jesus Christ through whom this is possible.
“Because of the Lord’s atonement, resurrection, or immortality, became a reality,” he said. “Because of the atonement, eternal life became a possibility for all who would qualify.”
Elder Nelson said our physical bodies are a great blessing and attest to “your own divine nature.” Thanks should be given to the one who gave these bodies.
“Each organ of your body is a wondrous gift from God,” he said.
Elder Nelson noted a perfect body is not required to achieve one’s destiny.
“Great spiritual strength is often developed by people with physical challenges, precisely because they are so challenged,” he said.
Elder Nelson said, as important as our physical gifts are, spiritual gifts are just as important.
“The attributes by which we shall be judged one day are all spiritual,” he said.
To develop these spiritual attributes, Elder Nelson said we need to nourish them just like we nourish our physical bodies. Through scripture study, missionary work and teaching others, Elder Nelson said we can access the power of the Atonement and truly change.
“For these powers, privileges and gospel gifts, thanks be to God!” he said.
Elder Ronald A. Rasband, Presidency of the Seventy
Elder Ronald A. Rasband spoke of setbacks in life, specifically physical ailments, many have and the confusion or questions resulting from them. Elder Rasband said these trials are blessings designed to teach special lessons.
“Some might ask when faced with such suffering… ‘Why did this happen to me?'” he said. “To all of you who have challenges, concerns, disappointments and heartaches with a dear one, know this: With infinite love and everlasting compassion, God our Heavenly Father loves your afflicted one and he loves you.”
Sister Julie B. Beck
Sister Julie B. Beck spoke about the prophets and the vision they have had and have for the Relief Society.
“From their counsel, it is clear the the purposes of Relief Society are to increase faith and personal righteousness, strengthen families and homes and seek out and help those in need,” she said.
Sister Beck said faith, family and relief are three words to illustrate the vision of prophets for the sisters in the Church. She talked about the origins of the Relief Society from the days of Joseph Smith.
“He (Joseph Smith) envisioned the organization as a select society, separate from all the evils of the world,” she said.
Sister Beck continued with prophetic messages from past presidents such as President Joseph F. Smith concerning the Relief Society.
“President Joseph F. Smith said that in contrast to worldly organizations… the Relief Society is ‘divinely made, divinely organized, divinely instituted, divinely ordained of God,'” she said.
Sister Beck said Relief Society should not be confused with many programs of the world. She said it is an official part of the Lord’s church “divinely ordained of God.” The Relief Society is designed to teach, strengthen and inspire sisters in their purpose “regarding faith, family and relief.”
“We have been taught that it is as obligatory upon a woman,” she said, “to draw into her life the virtues that are fostered by the Relief Society as it is an obligation for the men to build into their lives the patterns of character fostered by the priesthood.”
Sister Beck said Joseph Smith told the early sisters of the Church the Relief Society would prepare them for the “privileges, blessings and gifts of the priesthood.” These blessings still apply today. Through missionary work, temple and family history work, sisters can administer relief to others who are not members.
Sister Beck said the sisters of Relief Society have unmatched compassion.
“President Harold B. Lee said … “Next to the master himself, there are none in the Church who have a more lovely touch, a more complete understanding of the hearts and the lives of these individuals.”
Elder D. Todd Christofferson, Quorum of the Twelve
Elder D. Todd Christofferson spoke of the doctrine of Christ and the beliefs of the Church. Elder Christofferson said ever since the early New Testament church, confusions have arisen about the doctrine of Christ. He then explained the several centuries following were “illuminated by occasional rays of gospel light.” And then the Restoration “broke upon the world.”
Elder Christofferson said through the Restoration, gospel truths were brought about again. He quoted Jesus Christ from the Book of Mormon to highlight one of these examples.
“This is my doctrine, and it is the doctrine which the Father hath given unto me… and whoso believeth in me and is baptized, the same shall be saved,” he said, “and they are they who shall inherit the kingdom of God.”
Elder Christofferson explained many of the beliefs of the Church. He said those who center their lives on Jesus Christ will not be overcome by adversity.
“This is our message, the rock upon which we build, the foundation of everything else in the Church,” he said. “This doctrine is pure, it is clear, it is easy to understand even for a child.”
Elder Christofferson said the Church is led through apostles and prophets.
“Establishing the doctrine of Christ or correcting doctrinal deviations is a matter of divine revelation to those the Lord endows with apostolic authority,” he said. “Furthermore… the President of the church has a further and special spiritual endowment in this respect for he is the prophet, seer and revelator for the whole Church.”
Elder Christofferson said only through “revelation from God” can apostles and prophets lead the Church
“It is a process involving both reason and faith for obtaining the mind and will of the Lord,” he said.
He said the central role of our doctrine is simple.
“The fundamental principles of our religion are the testimony of the apostles and prophets, concerning Jesus Christ, that He died, was buried and rose again the third day and ascended into heaven,” he said. “And all other things which pertain to our religion are only appendages to it.”
President Thomas S. Monson
President Thomas S. Monson spoke about how to endure to the end in the “race of life.”
“Everywhere, people are in a hurry,” he said.
President Monson expressed encouragement to slow down for time to think and reflect. He said there often unimportant questions occupying one’s time. But when trouble comes along, such as injury, sickness or death, priorities align and “we are easily able to determine what is really important and what is merely trivial.”
“Such moments of clarity come to all of us at one time or another,” he said. “We see clearly what it is that really matters in our lives and how we should be living.”
President Monson said the important things in life are what should be treasured.
“For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also,” he said.
President Monson said as priorities are defined, most souls reach heavenward and ask, “Where did we come from? Why are we here? Where do we go after we leave this life?”
President Monson said the Apostle Paul explained we are “the offspring of God.” He said physical bodies are the offspring of mortal parents and spirits are the offspring of God. Our temporal life has its purpose.
“How grateful we should be that a wise Creator fashioned an earth and placed us here… so that we might experience a time of testing,” he said, “an opportunity to prove ourselves in order to qualify for all that God has prepared for us to receive.”
President Monson said the Apostle Paul likened life to a race. But, the fastest and the strongest doesn’t always win.
“The prize belongs to him who endures to the end,” he said.
President Monson quoted Robert Blatchford who said death is “like going into another room. In that other room, we shall find… (all) that we have lost.”
President Monson said God awaits those who keep his commandments.
“The Master speaks to these,” he said, “and indeed to all: ‘Come back. Come up. Come in. Come home. Come unto me.’ “