Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve opened the Saturday afternoon session of general conference by addressing the importance of fear.
Elder Bednar related a time when he experienced fearful dread as a child after accidentally breaking a store window while playing with friends. “I realized immediately I was doomed to spend the remainder of my life in prison,” he joked. However, Elder Bednar recognized the inevitable fear we all feel for a variety of reasons and advised how to dispel fear through faith and knowledge in Jesus Christ.
“Notably, one of the first effects of the Fall was for Adam and Eve to experience fear. This potent emotion is an important element of our mortal existence,” Elder Bednar said. “Can we hush the fears that so easily and frequently beset us in our contemporary world?” He answered this with three basic principals: look to Christ, build upon the foundation of Christ and press forward with faith in Christ.
Look to Christ
Elder Bednar recounted the Bible story of Peter walking on water (Matthew 14:27–31). As Peter miraculously walked on water he became afraid of the waves and wind and began to sink. “We can be blessed to conquer our fears and strengthen our faith as we follow the Lord’s instruction,” Elder Bednar said.
Build upon the foundation of Christ
Elder Bednar quoted several scriptures to explain the importance of a foundation built upon Christ. “Ordinances and covenants are the building blocks we use to construct our lives upon the foundation of Christ and his Atonement” he said. This foundation can help calm fear.
Press forward with faith in Christ
Difficulties are inevitable and the future uncertain, but peace can be maintained, Elder Bednar explained. “Exercising faith in and on the holy name of Jesus Christ, meekly submitting to his will and timing in our lives and humbly acknowledging his hand in all things yield the peaceable things of the kingdom of God that brings joy and eternal life,” he said.
In contrast with the fears typically experienced is godly fear. “Unlike worldly fear that creates alarm and anxiety, godly fear is a source of peace, assurance and confidence,” Elder Bednar said.
He explained that godly fear comes from respect and awe for the Lord Jesus Christ. “Thus godly fear grows out of a correct understanding of the divine nature and mission of the Lord Jesus Christ, a willingness to submit our will to his will and a knowledge that every man and woman will be accountable for his or her own sins in the day of judgment.”
Elder Bednar said this fear dispels mortal fears. “It even subdues the haunting concern that we never can be good enough spiritually and never will measure up to the Lord’s requirements and expectations,” he said. He reminded the audience that “our works and desires alone do not and cannot save us,” but, “we are made whole only through the mercy and grace available through the Savior’s infinite and eternal atoning sacrifice.”