On the brisk fall morning of Sunday, Oct. 1, saints from all over the world gathered to hear the global leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints testify of Jesus Christ. Leaders invited listeners to step onto His covenant path, no matter their present circumstances.
Esther Abuyeh, a lifelong member of the Church from Ghana, traveled 20 hours to Salt Lake City to attend General Conference in person. She said it is something she has always wanted to do.
“It’s so close and personal and you feel they are talking directly to you … I felt the spirit, I loved every single bit of it,” Abuyeh said.
Because of eyesight challenges, President M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve shared his testimony instead of a prepared talk.
Elder Ballard testified that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ have been revealed in the latter day, and that the Gospel has been restored by the prophet Joseph Smith.
“I think it’s one of the most glorious and wonderful things that anyone in this world can know,” he said.
Young Women General President Emily Belle Freeman talked about the covenant path and developing a relationship with Jesus Christ.
“A covenant is not only about a contract, although that is important. It’s about a relationship,” she said.
President Freeman said that the degree of commitment one has to their covenants will match the degree of relationship one wants to have with the Lord.
“No matter the heaviness of our story, or the current course of our path, He will invite us to walk with Him,” she said.
President Freeman said one’s placement and pace on the covenant path is not as important as their individual progress. She invited all to invest in their relationship with Jesus Christ by making covenants, no matter their condition.
Josh Afatia from Anchorage, Alaska said President Freeman’s talk caused him to ponder his relationship with the Lord.
“We need to … develop that relationship with Heavenly Father, with Jesus christ and really get to know who they are to us and … how they can help us,” he said.
Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the Quorum of the Twelve told the story of the prodigal son, highlighting the joy of the father when the son returns home. He said this is how Heavenly Father feels when His children who have strayed from Him choose to come back.
Easton Jacob attended the Sunday morning session and said he noticed returning to the covenant path as a common theme throughout the session.
“There’s always hope, and you can always come back to the covenant path. I love how they said that at this conference,” he said.
Elder Uchtdorf said welcoming back church members who have strayed is not about comparing, it is about healing.
“Though choices may have taken you far away from the Savior and His Church, the Master Healer stands at the road that leads home, welcoming you,” he said.
Elder Henry B. Eyring, second counselor in the Quorum of the Twelve, said in the coming days it will be impossible to survive spiritually without the guiding presence of the Holy Ghost.
He quoted the Doctrine and Covenants which say the Holy Ghost will be a constant, unchanging companion to those who have faith.
“I testify that the Lord has kept His promise. The Holy Ghost is being sent to the faithful covenant members of The Church of Jesus Christ,” President Eyring said.
He said when he feels distant from the Lord, he ponders what in his life he can repent of. He said that as he repents, he strengthens his relationship with Christ and feels the spirit more abundantly in his life.