Church leaders encouraged members to have a “mighty change of heart” and hold fast to the Savior amid today’s contention during the Saturday morning session of the 192nd Annual General Conference.
This was the first session since the pandemic with an in-person audience. Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve admonished members to “press on” and “heed not” to evil influences during the challenges and conflicts of mortality.
Gospel covenants and ordinances operate like a “compass,” pointing people to their connection with the Lord as they progress along the covenant path.
“As covenant-making and covenant-keeping disciples of Jesus Christ, we can be blessed to take ‘courage, for the Lord is on our side’ and pay no attention to evil influences and secular scoffing,” Elder Bednar said. “Press on. Hold fast. Heed not.”
One specific challenge of today is the powerful impact of the internet. One person’s voice can be multiplied exponentially whether it’s true or false, Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of Twelve said.
Some view the First Presidency and the Quroum of the Twelve as having worldly motives like political, business and cultural leaders, Elder Andersen said. The words of the Lord through his prophets are often contrary to the thinking and trends of the world.
“It is heartbreaking for all of us when harsh or dismissive words about the Savior, His followers, and His Church are spoken or published by those who once stood with us, took the sacrament with us, and testified with us of the divine mission of Jesus Christ,” Elder Andersen said.
But the Lord has taught people then and now how to live in a contemptuous world, Elder Andersen said — by being peacemakers.
“By the shield of our faith in Jesus Christ, we become peacemakers, quenching, meaning to calm, cool or extinguish, all the fiery darts of the adversary,” Elder Andersen said.
President Russell M. Nelson called for peace amid today’s conflict and said the gospel of Jesus Christ has never been needed more than it is today.
“As followers of Jesus Christ, we plead with leaders of nations to find peaceful resolutions to their differences,” President Nelson. “We call upon people everywhere to pray for those in need, to do what they can to help the distressed, and to seek the Lord’s help in ending any major conflicts.
President Nelson said members have a sacred responsibility to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with others. He reaffirmed the Lord’s expectation for every worthy, able young man to serve a mission.
“All missionaries teach and testify of the Savior,” President Nelson said. “The spiritual darkness in the world makes the light of Jesus Christ needed more than ever.”
President M. Russell Ballard, acting president of the Quorum of the Twelve, reiterated President Nelson’s call for every worthy, able young man to serve a mission.
For a time, President Ballard said his parents did not attend church because his father became so involved in saving his automobile dealership and supporting a family. He was grateful for their enthusiastic support of his decision to serve a mission, and for good friends who helped him make the decision.
President Ballard said missionaries will come to know the Savior through their experiences and grow spiritually in serving Him. “I testify that my mission is where I came to know that my Heavenly Father and my Savior Jesus Christ know and love me.”
Another way to find peace is by “becoming as a child” as the Savior taught. President Henry B. Eyring, Second Counselor of the First Presidency, said becoming as a child allows individuals to have the strength to stand steady during times of peril.
“I have learned from experience that the Holy Ghost speaks most often in a quiet voice, heard most easily when one’s heart is meek and submissive, like that of a child,” President Eyring said.
Becoming like a child is not always easy to accept, he said, and some may see it as being weak. But the Savior Himself prayed to His Father for strength to do His will.
General Authority Seventy Elder Eduardo Gavarret encouraged members to obtain a “mighty change of heart” by coming unto Christ and committing to follow his commandments.
“This change of heart is not an event; it takes faith, repentance and constant spiritual work to happen,” Elder Gavarett said. “It begins when we desire to submit our will to the Lord, and it materializes when we enter into and keep covenants with Him.”
Another way to find peace is by attending church meetings and developing relationships with fellow attendees. Sister Reyna I. Aburto, second counselor in the Relief Society General Presidency, emphasized the support that comes from Church communities and the contributions of its members.
“Sometimes we are givers and sometimes we are receivers, but we are all one family in Christ,” Sister Aburto said. “His Church is the structure He has given to guide and bless us as we worship Him and serve each other.”
Elder Larry S. Kacher of the Quorum of the Seventy discussed climbing what he calls the “Ladder of Faith.” The ladder suggests that faith is not static, but can go up or down according to the choices one makes.
Potential stumbling blocks can become steppingstones in climbing the “ladder of faith,” Elder Kacher said. “Unbelief blocks our ability to see miracles, whereas a mindset of faith in the Savior unlocks the powers of heaven.”