Elder Neil L. Andersen: Not by chance, but by choice

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Elder Neil L. Andersen (Mormon Newsroom)

Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles addressed the brethren of the LDS Church during Saturday night’s priesthood session, focusing his remarks on the importance of making a conscious choice to strengthen faith in Jesus Christ.

Elder Andersen said, “I ask myself, how does the Savior see my faith, and tonight I ask you, how does the Savior see your faith?”

He taught that faith is a substance, source of power and and a gift from heaven, and is available only to those who choose to believe.

The apostle proceeded to tell the story of Aroldo Cavalcante, a member of the church born in Brazil, who exercised great faith.

After being baptized at the age of 21, he dedicated his time to prepare and serve a mission.

Calvalcante faced many difficulties. He worked at a bank and attended night classes at the local university. Despite his many obligations, Elder Anderson said, “Undaunted by the obstacles before him, he moved forward with tremendous faith.”

Calvancante was able to serve a mission at 23 years old and is currently serving as the Stake President of the Recife Brazil Viagen Stake.

Elder Andersen reminded the men of the church that as Saints with the priesthood, faith must be strengthened daily.

“We have been given something more: the priesthood of God, the power of God restored to Earth by holy angels. This makes you different. You no longer stand on neutral ground. Your faith will growth not by chance, but by choice,” the apostle said.

The choice to strengthen faith can be done through a variety of practices.

Reading the Book of Mormon is a way members can strengthen their faith. Elder Anderson also encouraged Saints to follow the guidance of the First Presidency and the Twelve Apostles.

“Although your beginning fire may be small, righteous choices bring greater confidence in God and your faith grows,” he said. “The difficulties of morality are against you, and evil forces lurk in the darkness, hoping to extinguish your faith. But as you continue to make good choices, trust in God, and follow his son, the Lord sends increased light and knowledge and your faith becomes settled and unwavering.”

In connection to this remark, Elder Andersen told a story of Elder Openshaw, a missionary serving in the Marshall Islands Majuro Mission.

While on his mission, Openshaw’s mother, father and two of his siblings were killed in a plane crash. While this tragedy gave him every reason to end his mission service and go home, he chose to stay. It was what his parent would have wanted.

Openshaw testified, “I know without a shadow of a doubt that I will see my family again. …God’s omnipotent hand has been so apparent in helping (me) and my brothers throughout (this) very difficult challenge.”

Elder Andersen concluded, “I promise you that your faith, through the grace of Jesus Christ, will one day allow you to stand with those you love, clean and pure in the presence of God.”

Other General Conference news:

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Slideshow: General Conference Saturday, Oct. 3, 2015

Women’s general session:

President Dieter F. Uchtdorf: Now is a part of eternity

Sister Carol F. McConkie: The Lord’s agents

Sister Linda S. Reeves: Rewards will come

 Sister Rosemary M. Wixom: Divine nature within you

Saturday morning session:

President Dieter F. Uchtdorf: It works!

Elder M. Russell Ballard: God is at the helm

Elder Richard J. Maynes: The joy of living a Christ-centered life

Sister Neill F. Marriott: Yielding our hearts to God

Elder Francisco J. Vinas: The pleasing word of God

Saturday afternoon session:

Elder Dallin H. Oaks: Strengthened by the Atonement of Jesus Christ

Elder Bradley D. Foster: It’s never too early and it’s never too late

Elder Robert D. Hales: Meeting the challenges of today’s world

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland: Behold thy mother

Priesthood session:

Sunday morning session:

President Thomas S. Monson: Be an example and a light

Elder Ronald A. Rasband: Love one another

Elder Gary E. Stevenson: Fulness of times

Elder Dale G. Renlund: Through God’s eyes

President Russell M. Nelson: A plea to my sisters

Elder Gregory A. Schwitzer: Let the clarion trumpet sound

Elder Claudio R.M. Costa: That they do always remember him

Sunday afternoon session:

President Henry B. Eyring: The Holy Ghost as your companion

Elder D. Todd Christofferson: Why the church

Elder Von G. Keetch: Blessed and happy are those who keep the commandments of God

Sister Carole M. Stephens: If ye love me, keep my commandments

Elder Allen D. Haynie: Remembering in whom we have trusted

Elder Kim B. Clark: Eyes to see and ears to hear

Brother Devin G. Durrant: My heart pondereth them continually

Elder Koichi Aoyagi: Hold on thy way

Elder David A. Bednar: Chosen to bear testimony of my name

Other conference-related coverage:

LDS Quorums of the Seventy now called General Authority Seventies

LDS Church members anticipate counsel on LGBT acceptance

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Music and the Spoken Word: A Mormon gift to the world

Mormons encouraged to review past sessions before General Conference

Slideshow: General Conference Saturday, Oct. 3, 2015

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