Church leaders address youth, focus on covenants in evening session of general conference

Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the Quorum of the Twelve addressed the church on Saturday evening. He spoke about finding higher joy through Jesus Christ. (Jessica Spencer)

Thousands gathered at the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on the evening of Saturday, April 6, to listen to religious leaders speak at the 194th Annual General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The Saturday evening session centered on faith in Jesus Christ, serving Him and feeling a higher sense of joy through Him. Members of the Church tuned in from around the world to hear these messages.

Two of the speakers directed their remarks specifically to the youth of the Church.

Sister Andrea Muñoz Spannaus, second counselor in the Young Women General Presidency, addressed the youth. She drew from the story of David and Goliath and spoke of five key strengths to spiritual victory in a difficult world.

The five strengths were: love of God; faith in the Savior, Jesus Christ; the knowledge of one’s true identity; daily repentance; and one’s access to God’s power.

“When Jesus Christ came to earth, He suffered for our sins, and He took upon Himself our sorrows, our pains, our weaknesses, and our physical and mental illnesses. That’s why He knows how to help us,” she said.

General Authority Seventy Elder Steven R. Bangerter also directed his remarks to the youth of the Church and encouraged them to learn who they truly are as children of God.

“Our Father in Heaven will answer your prayers, especially your prayers offered during the private times of your life. He will reveal to you your foreordained gifts and talents, and you will feel His love envelop you, if you will sincerely ask and genuinely desire to know,” he said.

Elder Bangerter spoke specifically of protecting private moments in one’s life and taking time to connect with God.

Karissa Gillespie, a Utah Valley University student who sang in the choir during conference, said this concept stood out to her.

“I think that was a reminder to me of key moments where I’ve had spiritual experiences and I’ve felt God’s love,” she said.

Going forward, Gillespie said she wants to take more time to be intentional about having spiritual moments in her life.

“Singing in the choir has been helpful for me to kind of think, ‘OK, how am I going to actually remember God in my daily life? And how am I going to continually remember that He loves me?’”

General Authority Seventy Elder Matthew L. Carpenter spoke about covenants with God, specifically the covenant of being sealed to a spouse in the temple in order to be married for eternity.

“If we make and keep covenants with God, the blessings associated with our covenants can extend beyond this life and be sealed upon us, or preserved, forever,” he said.

Aurelia Allan, from Ogden, said this message was one she felt was specifically for her.

“I just got engaged, and I am getting married this summer, so that’s been on my mind a lot — the power of sealing and the power of covenants,” she said.

Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the Quorum of the Twelve concluded the conference session by speaking about how to find a higher joy in one’s life through Jesus Christ.

The Utah Valley Institute Choir closed the Saturday evening session of general conference with “Amazing Grace.” (Jessica Spencer)

“Joy is the very purpose of God’s plan for His children.” Elder Uchtdorf said. “It is promised to those who walk the path of discipleship, follow the teachings and example of the Savior, keep His commandments, and honor the covenants they make with Him.”

The Utah Valley Institute Choir concluded the meeting with a rendition of “Amazing Grace,” ending the meeting in a way that continued the focus on Jesus Christ.

Spencer Fleming, a BYU student from Littleton, Colorado, participated in the Utah Valley Institute Choir and commented on the experience of singing this iconic hymn in general conference.

“As I was listening to ‘Amazing Grace’ at the end, it says ‘grace has brought me safe thus far and grace will lead me home.’ And I just love the fact that we can rely on Christ, and that through … His grace, through Christ, we are able to make it to our home.”

The 194th Annual General conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will continue through the afternoon of Sunday, April 7, 2024.

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