President Henry B. Eyring, First Counselor in The First Presidency
“Where Is the Pavilion?”
President Henry B. Eyring of the First Presidency spoke about overcoming the barriers that separate members from Heavenly Father, His will, and His love through the power of serving others.
President Eyring began by quoting the Prophet Joseph Smith during his time in Liberty Jail when he cried out, “And where is the pavilion that covereth thy hiding place?”
He clarified that “God is never hidden, but sometimes we are, covered by a pavilion of motivations that draw us away from God.”
President Eyring then told a story of his three-year-old granddaughter and her ability to feel the spirit strongly at the open house of the Brigham City Temple.
President Eyring assured that experiences like his young granddaughter’s do not have to end with childhood. Jesus Christ is always there; people allow pavilions or barriers to come between them and the Lord.
“In moments of pain, loneliness, or confusion, we do not need to see Jesus Christ to know that He is aware of our circumstances, and that His mission is to bless.”
Next, President Eyring told of his own personal pavilions in the form of his career and desires for success.
Five years after accepting the call to serve as president of Rick’s College he was offered an appealing new job. After much prayer and pondering, he felt impressed to remain at Rick’s.
“My personal ambitions might have clouded my view of reality and made it hard for me to receive revelation,” President Eyring said, “but God, never hidden from me, was ready with an answer when I sought Him in faith and humility.”
President Eyring said “submitting fully to heaven’s will … is essential to removing the spiritual pavilions we sometimes put over our heads. But it does not guarantee immediate answers to our prayers.”
“The Lord’s delays often seem long; some last a lifetime,” President Eyring said. “But they are always calculated to bless. They need never be times of loneliness or sorrow or impatience.”
President Eyring also stressed the importance of serving others to keep spiritual pavilions at bay.
“As we do what He would have us do for His Father’s children,” President Eyring said, “the Lord considers it kindness to Him, and we feel closer to Him as we feel His love and His approval.”
He closed with a challenge to members to go to the Lord on behalf of someone else and promised they would feel the love of the Savior for that person and a change in their very nature through the Atonement.
President Boyd K. Packer, President of the Quorum of the Twelve
President Boyd K. Packer of the Quorum of the Twelve addressed his words to those members of the Church who have fallen away, are suffering, burdened with weakness and failure and are searching for a way back.
He began by telling a story of his experience while on a Church assignment in Samoa. Stranded by a storm on one island and needing to get to another for a stake conference the next day, they decided to go by boat. There was a narrow passage the boat needed to make it through, made more difficult by the storm. Normally the passage was lit from up high and lower. On this particular occasion, the lower light was not lit.
President Packer related their need for the lower light to those who are currently lost and looking for a way back to the gospel. That light represents the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
“It was understood from the beginning that in mortality we would fall short of being perfect,” President Packer said, leading to the need for the Atonement.
“If you have made no mistakes then you do not need the Atonement,” President Packer said. “If you have made mistakes, and all of us have, whether minor or serious, then you have an enormous need to find out how they can be erased so that you are no longer in darkness.”
Full repentance, President Packer said, comes through turning away from sin and will bring a peace.
President Packer reminded of the importance of the Atonement in the gospel.
“That is the promise of the gospel of Jesus Christ and the Atonement, to take anyone who comes, anyone who will join, and put them through an experience so that at the end of their life they can go through the veil having repented of their sins and having been washed clean through the blood of Christ.”
Sister Linda K. Burton, General Relief Society President
“First Observe, Then Serve”
Sister Linda K. Burton, Relief Society General President, encouraged members to observe the needs of others and then seek to serve them to meet those needs.
Sister Burton began by quoting the Lord’s and President Monson’s many invitations to serve.
“For some, serving or minitering one by one, following the Savior’s example, doesn’t come easily. But with practice, each of us can become more like the Savior as we serve God’s children,” Sister Burton said.
She shared an experience she had in the temple as a young newlywed when an older sister helped her as she was unsure of what to do. That sister, she said, observed her need and immediately sought to serve her.
“Observing and serving sometimes requires great effort,” Sister Burton said.
She told a story of young women helping an autistic classmate receive her Personal Progress medallion through no encouragement by their leaders, just a love for their friend.
Sister Burton encouraged members to seek opportunities to serve “the one” and also serve in the home.
She related a story told by Elder Richard G. Scott that exemplified the idea of serving in the home. One night Elder Scott awoke to soothe his young son with a heart condition instead of letting his wife take care of him. It was that moment in the middle of the night, where he held his son and soothed his tears, that he looked back on gratefully a few months later when his son passed away.
Sister Burton invited members to seek to serve the way that is needed.
“Sometimes we are tempted to serve in a way that we want to serve and not necessarily in the way that is needed at the moment,” she said.
In order to serve in the capacity needed but not necessarily desired, she suggested members ask themselves, “Am I doing this for the Savior, or am I doing this for me?”
By asking that question, Sister Burton said service “will more likely resemble the ministry of the Savior.”
She closed by telling of a recent experience where her willingness to take time out of her busy day to attend the temple gave her the opportunity to serve a young woman in the same way she had been helped all those years ago.
The main message of her talk was to recognize the needs of others and strive to meet those through selfless service.
Elder Walter F. Gonzalez of the Presidency of the Seventy
“Learning with Our Hearts”
Elder Walter F. Gonzalez of the Presidency of the Seventy spoke of gaining knowledge through the heart with the aid of the Spirit in order to truly come unto Christ.
He quoted from “The Little Prince” by Antoine de Saint-Exupery to summarize this concept. “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”
Elder Gonzalez warned of using the Internet to learn all things, as some things can only be obtained through the heart.
He made an analogy between the Internet and a “celestial web.”
“We access this celestial source when we do things such as reading the scriptures, hearkening to the living prophet and praying,” Elder Gonzalez said. “It is also important to take time to be still and feel and follow the celestial promptings.”
He then cautioned that sin and forgetting the Lord restrict access to this “celestial web.”
“Being quick to remember the Lord by praying with all the energy of heart and bringing to mind our spiritual experiences expands our ability to see and feel the things of Christ.”
He relayed the stories of Alma and Helaman to convey the importance of remembering the Lord in order to have His Spirit.
“Remembering God helps us to feel and live,” he said.
Receiving knowledge through the heart is key to gaining a testimony of Jesus Christ.
“Those who receive knowledge, not from flesh and blood but from our Heavenly Father, do know of a surety that Jesus is the Christ and this is His Church.”
Through receiving knowledge of the heart, Elder Gonzalez said, one will truly come unto Christ.
Elder Gonzalez closed with a promise that Christ is there and will not leave anyone alone. “I promise and testify to you that when all doors seem to be closed, when everything else seems to fail, He will not fail you. Christ will help and is the way out whether the struggle is with an addiction, depression, or something else.”
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve
“The First Great Commandment”
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve spoke of the importance of following the first and most important commandment to love God.
He began by paraphrasing the story of the Apostles following the crucifixion of the Savior. After the resurrected Savior had ascended to heaven, the apostles went back to their old lives.
When they returned to their careers as fishermen, their efforts were fruitless. The Savior came to Peter and asked him three times, “Do you love me?” Peter responded, “yes” each time.
The Lord asked, “‘Then, Peter, why are you here? Why are we back on this same shore, by these same nets? … What I need are disciples — and I need them forever,'” Elder Holland said, “‘I need someone to feed my sheep and save my lambs.'”
Then Elder Holland suggested that the same question that the Lord asked Peter will be asked of everyone on judgment day.
He then reminded members that “the crowning characteristic of love is loyalty,” quoting Jesus. “If ye love me, keep my commandments.”
The way to demonstrate love for the Lord, Elder Holland said, is through “a life of devoted discipleship.”
Elder Holland said discipleship is a lifetime pursuit. “The Crucifixion, Atonement, and Resurrection of Jesus mark the beginning of a Christian life, not the end of it,” Elder Holland said.
Elder Holland then expressed his fear for those who are either not members of the church or who have fallen away.
“I fear that you face a lot of long nights and empty nets,” he said, and called them to come back to lend a hand in the service of God.
“Your Father in Heaven expects your loyalty and your love at every stage of your life,” Elder Holland said.
He closed by answering that question asked of Peter by the Lord for himself and those listening to his talk, saying, “For every one of us … ‘Yea, Lord, we do love thee.’ And having set our hand to the plough, we will never look back until the work is finished and love of God and neighbor rules the world.”
President Thomas S. Monson, President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Sunday Morning Message
President Thomas S. Monson closed the Sunday morning session of Conference with his personal testimony and experiences of prayers being answered.
He began by reminiscing on his past 49 years of apostolic service and encouraging others to do the same with their own lives.
“I would recommend this same exercise to you — namely, that you take an inventory of your life and look specifically for the blessings, large and small, you have received.”
Through his retrospection, President Monson said he gained a strong knowledge that prayers are answered.
President Monson displayed the connection between personal inspiration and the answering of prayers through a story of his visit to the South Pacific.
He felt impressed to counsel with the district president, who in turn had been praying for guidance on engaging members in missionary work.
“My brothers and sisters, the Lord’s purposes are often accomplished as we pay heed to the guidance of the Spirit,” President Monson said.
On another occasion, President and Sister Monson were impressed to visit an elderly widow on their way home. When they arrived this widow asked for a blessing, as she was ready to return to heaven if it was the Lord’s wish. She had been praying for President Monson to visit and give her a blessing
A similar connection between inspiration and another’s prayers occurred when President Monson was able to help a friend who was contemplating suicide by following a prompting he received.
President Monson told the story of an encounter with a young man who was struggling with the decision to go on a mission or not. The young man helped President Monson and his wife on a cold night when their car had broken down. Through that experience and further communication following the unexpected meeting, President Monson was able to encourage the young man to go on a mission, answering many prayers offered by his parents.
“I believe our meeting was an answer to a mother’s and father’s heartfelt prayers for the son they cherished,” President Monson said.
He finished with a story of 3,000 youth praying for successful repairs on the JumboTron that was an integral part of their program they would perform for the Kansas City Missouri Temple dedication.
“I never cease to be amazed by how the Lord can motivate and direct the length and breadth of His kingdom and yet have time to provide inspiration concerning one individual.”
President Monson closed by ensuring the audience that the Savior loves them. “He wants to bless us. He wants us to seek His help. As He guides us and directs us, and as He hears and answers our prayers, we will find the happiness here and now that He desires for us.”