Leaders teach of strength that comes from discipleship during General Conference Sunday morning session

On the Sunday morning session attendees gathered to hear from the prophet, apostles and leaders of the Church. Church leaders taught the strength that comes from discipleship during the Sunday morning session of the 192nd Semiannual General Conference on Oct. 1. (Abby Gunderson)

Church leaders emphasized the strength that comes from discipleship during the Sunday morning session of the 192nd Semiannual General Conference on Oct. 1.

President Henry B. Eyring conducted the session, with President Russell M. Nelson presiding. President Nelson said he thinks of everyone often and is amazed by their testimonies. He reminded the audience that he, like Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, loves them dearly.

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles teaches that this image is used instead of a cross. Church leaders taught the strength that comes from discipleship during the Sunday morning session of the 192nd Semiannual General Conference on Oct. 1. (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints)

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles opened the session.

Elder Holland spoke of the symbol of the cross often used in Christianity. He said the Church does not want to highlight Jesus Christ’s agonizing suffering but hopes to convey gospel identity and to make clear the Church is not “generalized Christianity.”

Instead of the cross, Elder Holland taught, the Church uses a small image of the resurrected Christ emerging in glory from the tomb with the wounds of His crucifixion.

Sister J. Anette Dennis, the first counselor in the Relief Society general presidency, reminded listeners of the wounded individuals facing judgment.

“How often do we judge others based on their outward appearance and actions, or lack of action?” Sister Dennis asked. “If we fully understood, we would instead react with compassion and a desire to help instead of adding to their burdens with our judgment.”

Dennis reminded individuals of Christ’s commandment to love one another. “We are commanded to love others, not to judge them,” she said. “Instead, we can pick up the Savior’s yoke of love and compassion,” Dennis said.

Elder Gerrit W. Gong of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles addressed the audience as friends and spoke about God’s plan of happiness and taught that families can be united through eternity, even despite potential conflicts.

“As we offer the miracle of His grace and forgiveness to each other, the mercy we receive and the mercy we offer can help make life’s injustices just,” Gong said.

Gong warned to not procrastinate repentance, as the blessings of repentance come sooner when the act is not put off.

Elder Joseph W. Sitati, an Emeritus General Authority, taught of God’s patterns: that Heavenly Father gives his children “witnesses of truth to govern our lives so we will know Him and have the blessings of peace and joy.” God, Elder Sitati said, manifests Himself in many different ways.

“We do not need to be deceived,” Elder Sitati said. “The miracle of intelligent life constantly plays before us. And a brief gaze and reflection upon the wonders of the heavens arrayed with numberless stars and galaxies prompts the souls of the believing heart to proclaim my God, how great Thou art.”

Steven J. Lund, the Young Men General President, spoke on the Spirit of God’s response to the youth who attended For Strength of Youth conferences. There are many similar environments of growth and spiritual discovery, including missions, sacrament meetings, FSY conferences, camps and more, but attendees must “press forward with a steadfastness in Christ” to stay in that place of growth.

“For some of us, it may require an exercise of trusting in the Lord even to attend sacrament meeting,” President Lund said. “Once there, the healing influence of the Lord’s sacrament, infusions of gospel principles and the nurture of the church community can send us home on higher ground.”

Elder Lund invited individuals to remember all they had learned, the sacrifices they have made and of Heavenly Father’s love.

Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said that parables are the “defining feature of the Lord Jesus Christ’s masterful approach to teaching.”

“Simply defined,” Elder Bednar said, “the Savior’s parables are stories used to compare spiritual truths with material things and mortal experiences.”

Bednar said to fully understand and receive the enlightenment of a parable, one must apply their faith in God and express their willingness to learn.

President Nelson said he recognizes this is a complicated time in the history of the world and that it is common to feel exhausted and overwhelmed, but that there are possibilities for rest. He spoke of the Savior’s promise: “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

Through repentance, President Nelson said, everyone has an opportunity to be redeemed from weakness, mistakes and sin.

“Dear brothers and sisters, my message to you today is that because Jesus Christ overcame this fallen world and because He atoned for each of us, you too can overcome this sin-saturated, self-centered and often exhausting world,” President Nelson said.

Overcoming the world will bless lives, but requires much of God’s children. President Nelson encouraged individuals to trust Christ’s word more than man’s, delight in truth, denounce deception and become “humble followers of Christ.” He said to choose to refrain from anything that drives the Spirit away and “give away even our favorite sins.”

While overcoming the world does not ensure perfection, President Nelson taught, resistance to sin will increase. He taught that hearts will soften as faith in Jesus Christ increases.

“Living the doctrine of Christ can produce the most powerful, virtuous cycle, creating spiritual momentum in our lives,” President Nelson said.

President Nelson said the adversary does not want individuals to discover the power of Jesus Christ. “Yoking yourself with the Savior means you have access to His strength and redeeming power,” he said.

President Nelson also encouraged individuals to take charge of their testimonies and find rest from the world through their covenants. He promised that as one honors their covenants above all other commitments and lets God prevail in their lives, they will receive greater peace, confidence, joy and rest.

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