Elder L. Tom Perry
“Becoming Goodly Parents”
Elder L. Tom Perry of the Quorum of the Twelve stressed the importance of families and developing a strong family culture in a society that is being “eroded and destroyed.”
“Through the fast-paced change occurring around us, we earnestly pray and work to ensure that the values of the Gospel of Jesus Christ endure,” Elder Perry said. “Already, some of them are in jeopardy of being lost.”
Perry defined the Church’s “gospel culture” and told members it is a way that they raise their families and the way that they all should live their individual lives.
“There is a unique gospel culture a set of values and expectations and practices common to all members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,” Elder Perry said. “This gospel culture or way of life comes from the Plan of Salvation, the commandments of God and the teaching of the living prophets.”
Elder Perry also acknowledged changes in society and the dangers of new temptations and issues.
“As we know, he (the Adversary) is attempting to erode and destroy the very foundation of our society — the family.”‘
Perry offered five different suggestions parents can follow to create a stronger family culture:
- Parents can pray in earnest, asking the Eternal Father to help them love, understand and guide the children He has sent to them
- Parents can hold family prayer, scripture study and family home evenings, eat together as often as possible and make dinner a time of communication and the teaching of values
- Parents can avail themselves of the Church’s support network, communicating with their children’s primary teachers, youth leaders and class and quorum presidencies
- Parents can share testimonies often with their children, commit them to keep commandments of God and promise the blessings that Heavenly Father promises His faithful children
- Parents can organize families based on clear, simple family rules and expectations, wholesome family traditions and rituals and “Family economics,” where children have household responsibilities and earn allowances so they can learn to budget, save and pay tithing on the money they earn.
Elder Perry closed by stressing the importance of “goodly” parents playing a major and important role of raising children in the Church.
“Building a stronger family culture adds another layer of protection for our children, insulating them from worldly influences,” he said.
Elder M. Russell Ballard
“Be Anxiously Engaged”
Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve used honeybees as a way to illustrate to members of the Church that simple, everyday service is key in furthering “God’s work.”
“The bees depend on each other,” Elder Ballard said. “Work that would be too overwhelming for a few bees to do becomes lighter because all of the bees faithfully do their part.”
Elder Ballard discussed the important symbol that the beehive has been in the Church’s history. The symbol was something the Saints looked to for encouragement and inspiration as they transformed the barren desert wasteland surrounding the Great Salt Lake into fertile valleys.
“All of this symbolism attests to one fact: Great things are brought about and burdens lightened through the efforts of many hands anxiously engaged in a good cause,'” said Elder Ballard. “Imagine what the millions of Latter-day Saints could accomplish in the world if we functioned like a beehive in our focused, concentrated commitment to the teaching of the Lord Jesus Christ.”
Elder Ballard expressed the power that the members of the Church could have in their community if they help carry the burdens of others.
“Imagine what good we can do in the world if we all join together, united as followers of Christ, anxiously and busily responding to the needs of others and serving those around us — our families, our friends, our neighbors, our fellow citizens.”
Elder Ballard encouraged members to not only serve on a global scale, but to do everyday acts of service to show their “love for their neighbor.” Elder Ballard suggested a way for members to make service an everyday practice in their lives:
“In your morning prayer each new day, ask Heavenly Father to guide you to recognize an opportunity to serve one of His precious children,” he said. “Then go throughout the day with your heart full of faith and love, looking for someone to help. Stay focused on this, just like the honey bees focus on the flower from which to gather nectar and pollen.”
Elder Larry Echo Hawk
“Come Unto Me, O House of Israel”
Elder Larry Echo Hawk of the Quorum of the Seventy encouraged members of the Church to “read and re-read” the Book of Mormon and testified of its validity.
Elder Hawk specifically asked descendants of the people in the Book of Mormon to further their knowledge and understanding of the Book of Mormon.
“I especially ask the remnant of the House of Israel, the descendants of the people of the Book of Mormon, wherever you may be, to read and re-read the Book of Mormon,” he said.
When Elder Echo Hawk volunteered for service in the United States Marine Corps during the Vietnam War, his drill instructor ridiculed each troop for something that he found in the barracks. Hawk recounted that when the drill instructor found the Book of Mormon in his bag, he did not ridicule him but merely asked him if he believed what was written in the book.
“I am grateful I was able to say without hesitation, ‘Yes, I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ and ‘Yes, I know the Book of Mormon is true,'” Elder Echo Hawk said.
Elder Echo Hawk, a convert to the Church, recalled his experience when he first read the Book of Mormon. He also shared how he gained his knowledge that the events that happened within its pages were not fictitious.
“As I knelt in prayer, I received a powerful spiritual witness that the Book of Mormon is true,” Echo Hawk said. “That witness has helped me chart my course through life.”
Elder Robert C. Gay
“What Shall a Man give in Exchange for His Soul?”
Elder Robert C. Gay of the Quorum of the Seventy encouraged members of the Church to “submit to the will of the Father” and to not sell their soul for the “candy bars and the championships” of this earth.
Elder Gay encouraged the members of the Church to “give up their sins, big or small, for the Father’s reward of eternal life.” He also acknowledged the necessity of separation from worldly excuses.
“We are to forget self-justifying stories, excuses, rationalizations, defense mechanisms, procrastination, appearances, personal pride, judgmental thoughts and doing things our way,” Elder Gay said. “We are to separate ourselves from all worldliness and take upon us the image of God in our countenances.”
Elder Gay challenged the members of the Church to rise up and submit themselves to the will of the Lord.
“The question before us is not whether we are doing things which need correcting, because we always are,” Elder Gay said. “Rather, the question is, ‘Will we shrink or finish the call upon our soul to do the will of the Father?'”
Elder Scott D. Whiting
“A Life Worthy of the Temple”
Elder Scott D. Whiting of the Quorum of the Seventy compared the temple building structure to the lives that members of the Church should strive to create.
“Even though mortal eyes and hands may never see or feel a defect, the Lord knows the level of our efforts and whether we have done our very best,” said Elder Whiting. “The same is true of our own personal efforts to live a life worthy of the blessings of the temple.”
Elder Whiting said that the temples of the Church are not ordinary buildings, but they are the “Houses of the Lord.” He taught members why each building is examined and built conspicuously. Like the builders need to strive to make the temple structure as perfect as possible, he encouraged members to look upon their own lives in the same way.
“Perhaps there are walls within us that are gritty and need buffing, or windows of our souls that need replacement in order that we can stand in holy places,” Elder Whiting said.
Elder Whiting also suggested to members a way to strive to live worthily to enter into the Church’s temple.
“Live a life worthy of the blessings of the temple by doing our best, by making the necessary improvements and eliminating flaws and imperfections so that the Spirit of God may always dwell in us.”
Elder Neil L. Andersen
“Trial of Your Faith”
Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve encouraged members of the Church to stand strong and remember that faith is only made stronger after it is tested.
“With faith come trials of faith, bringing increased faith,” Elder Andersen said. “Hold on … Fear not … for God shall be with you forever and ever.”
Elder Andersen also described the type of faith that the members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day saints should have.
“Our faith is centered in God our Father and in his Son Jesus Christ, our Savior and Redeemer,” Elder Andersen said. “It is bolstered by our knowledge that the fullness of the gospel has been restored to the earth; that the Book of Mormon is the word of God;and that prophets and apostles today hold the keys of the priesthood.”
Elder Andersen continued by describing to members that faith can change due to the different environments they are exposed to throughout their lives.
“These fiery trials are designed to make you stronger, but they have the potential to diminish or even destroy your trust in the Son of God, and to weaken your resolve to keep your promises to Him.”
Elder Andersen suggested things to help members remain “steadfast and immovable” during trials that will occur throughout the course of their lives.
“Immerse yourself in the very things that helped build your core of faith — you exercise faith in Christ, you pray, you ponder the scriptures, you repent, you keep the commandments, and you serve others,” Elder Andersen said. “When faced with a trial of faith — whatever you do, you don’t step away from the Church!”
Elder Andersen reminded members of the Church that they are not alone and they are not the only ones experiencing hardships. He also encouraged members to rely on each other as well as God to overcome hardships.
“When you are faced with a test of faith — stay within the safety and security of the household of God,” Elder Andersen said. “There is always a place for you here. No trial is so large we can’t overcome it together.”
Elder Dallin H. Oaks
“Protect the Children”
Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve addressed the importance of protecting the children in a world that is increasing in selfishness and neglect.
“Children are highly vulnerable,” Elder Oaks said. “They have little or no power to protect or provide for themselves, and little influence on so much that is vital to their well-being. Children need others to speak for them, and they need decision-makers who put their well-being ahead of selfish adult interest.”
Elder Oaks expressed his point by stating facts used to support his opinion that there are millions of children who are “victimized by evil adult crimes and selfishness.” Among these facts, he recalled a United Nation report that estimated nearly 2 million children are victimized each year through prostitution and pornography. He also relayed facts that included that the national birthrate in the U.S. is the lowest that it has been in 25 years. There has been an average of 40 million abortions per year, and eight million children die before the age of five due to diseases both treatable and preventable.
“Parents or other caregivers or teachers or peers who demean, bully, or humiliate children or youth can inflict harm more permanent than physical injury,” Elder Oaks said. “Making a child or youth feel worthless, unloved or unwanted can inflict serious and long-lasting injury on his or her emotional well-being and development.”
Elder Oaks also discussed the issue of divorce and the potential negative effects it could have on children.
“The most powerful teaching of children is by the example of their parents,” Elder Oaks said. “Divorcing parents inevitably teach a negative lesson.”
Elder Oaks challenged members of the Church to become as little children and to be their caregivers and protectors.
“I pray that we will humble ourselves as little children and reach out to protect our little children, for they are the future, for us, for our Church, and for our nations,” Elder Oaks said.