Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve spoke of the power of the Lord and the importance of his teachings in the Saturday afternoon session of general conference.
“With mercy and compassion (the Savior) took upon himself our iniquity and transgressions, thus redeeming us and satisfying the demands of justice for all who would repent and believe on his name,” Elder Cook said.
Elder Cook spoke of this sacrifice being beyond mortal comprehension. The enabling power allows individuals to “thrive and bloom if we are rooted in our love of the Savior and humbly follow his teachings.”
The ability to thrive “despite the many terrible circumstance that surround us” relies on religious observance embedded into individuals’ hearts at home, Elder Cook said.
Tearfully Elder Cook told of an uncle who was killed in World World II. He used the story to illustrate that death is not the end. “If we faithfully have family prayer, scripture study, family home evening, priesthood blessings and Sabbath day observance our children will know what time it is at home. They will be prepared for an eternal home in heaven regardless of what befalls them in a difficult word. It is vitally important that our children know they are loved and safe at home,” he said.
Elder Cook reiterated the importance of husbands and wives to this practice — in particular, their roles as equal partners. “They have different, but complementary responsibilities,” he said. Decisions are to be made jointly, “after seeking guidance from the Lord. The goal is an eternal family.”
The role of the church is an important part of this goal, Elder Cook explained. “The church provides the organization and means for teaching the gospel of Jesus Christ to all of God’s children.”
Elder Cook emphasized that the church does not dive by class or rank. “In the world there is rampant contention, iniquity and a major emphasis on divergent cultures and inequality.” The ward family is another important unit to progression, happiness and personal effort to be more Christlike, he explained.
He also addressed the importance of all members receiving the gospel in their native language. “It is important for members to understand the gospel in the language of their heart so they can pray and act in accordance with gospel principles,” Elder Cook said. “We must have hearts knit in unity and love,” despite any differences in language or cultural traditions.
Elder Cook recognized that questions with regard to gospel teachings are not uncommon. “We should be careful not to be critical or judgmental of those with concerns, great or small. At the same time, those with concerns should do everything they can to build their own faith and testimony.” He emphasized the importance of basic practices such as praying, pondering, studying and living gospel principles.
He addressed the assertion of some that there is more doubt and unbelief than in the past and that more members are leaving the church today than every before. “That is simply not true,” Elder Cook said. He repeated twice, “the church has never been stronger.”
Elder Cook reiterated the power of the Atonement. “If the grim realities you are facing at this time seem dark and heavy and almost unbearable, remember that in the soul-wrenching darkness of Gethsemane and the incomprehensible torture and pain of Calvary, the Savior accomplished the Atonement, which resolves the most terrible burdens that occur in this life,” he said.
“On this Easter weekend, as one of the Savior’s apostles, I bear solemn witness of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. I know he lives. I know his voice. I testify of His divinity and the reality of the Atonement.”