President Eyring conducted this opening session.
President Thomas S. Monson: Welcome to Conference
- I am happy to announce that two weeks ago the membership of the Church reached fifteen million.
- It has scarcely been one year since I announced the lowering of the age of missionary service. Since that time, the number of full-time missionaries serving has increased from 58,500 in October 2012 to 80,333 today. What a tremendous and inspiring response we have witnessed!
- Now is the time for members and missionaries to come together, to work together, to labor in the Lord’s vineyard to bring souls unto Him. He has prepared the means for us to share the gospel in a multitude of ways, and He will assist us in our labors if we will act in faith to fulfill His work.
Elder Robert D. Hales: “General Conference: Strengthening Faith and Testimony”
- Wherever we are in this world, however we receive these proceedings, I testify that we are gathered in His conference.
- Children and youth love to be included. We make a serious mistake if we assume that conference is above their intellect and spiritual sensitivity.
- What is said is not as important as what we hear and what we feel. That is why we make an effort to experience conference in a setting where the still, small voice of the Spirit can be clearly heard, felt, and understood.
- [Citing President Lee]: There will be some things that take patience and faith. You may not like what comes from the authority of the Church. It may contradict your personal views. It may contradict your social views. It may interfere with some of your social life. But if you listen to these things, as if from the mouth of the Lord himself, with patience and faith, the promise is that ‘the gates of hell shall not prevail against you; and the Lord God will disperse the powers of darkness from before you and cause the heavens to shake for your good and His name’s glory.
- The greatest blessings of general conference come to us after the conference is over.
Elder Ulisses Soares: Be Meek and Lowly of Heart
- As we take Christ’s name upon us, it is expected that we strive to emulate His attributes and change our character to become more like Him each day.
- Meekness is vital for us to become more Christlike. Without it we won’t be able to develop other important virtues. Being meek does not mean weakness, but it does mean behaving with goodness and kindness, showing strength, serenity, healthy self-worth, and self-control.
- I believe only those who are humble are able to acknowledge and understand the Lord’s answers to their prayers. The humble are teachable, recognizing how dependent they are on God, and desiring to be subject to His will. The humble are meek and have the ability to influence others to be the same. God’s promise to the humble is that He will lead them by the hand. I truly believe that we will avoid detours and sadness in our lives as long as we walk hand-in-hand with the Lord.
- One of the most beautiful modern-day examples of meekness that I am aware of is that of Brother Moses Mahlangu. His conversion began in 1964 when he received a copy of the Book of Mormon. He was fascinated as he read this book, but it was not until the early 70’s that he saw an LDS Church sign on a building in Johannesburg, South Africa as he was walking down a street. Brother Mahlangu was intrigued and entered the building to learn more about the Church. He was kindly told that he could not attend the services or be baptized because the country’s laws did not allow it at that time. Brother Mahlangu accepted that decision with meekness, humility, and without resentment, but he continued to have a strong desire to learn more about the Church. He asked the Church leaders if they could leave one of the meetinghouse windows open during the Sunday meetings so he could sit outside and listen to the services. For several years, Brother Mahlangu’s family and friends attended church regularly ‘through the window’. One day in 1980 they were told that they could attend church and also be baptized. What a glorious day for Brother Mahlangu.
Sister Carole Stephens: “Do We Know What We Have?”
- There exists today a great need for men and women to cultivate respect for each other as sons and daughters of God and reverence for our Father in Heaven and His priesthood—His power and authority.
- … sisters who don’t have priesthood holders in their homes need never feel alone. They are blessed and strengthened through the ordinances they have received and the covenants they keep. They should not hesitate to reach out when help is needed. Elder M. Russell Ballard taught that every woman in the Church needs to know that she has a bishop, an elders quorum president, a home teacher, and other worthy priesthood holders who she can rely on to come into her home and assist her and, as Sister Rosemary M. Wixom added, to “give a blessing.”
- We all need each other. Sons of God need daughters of God, and daughters of God need sons of God. We have different gifts and different strengths. 1 Corinthians chapter 12 emphasizes the need for sons and daughters of God, each one of us, to fulfill our individual roles and responsibilities according to the Lord’s plan “that all may benefit.”
Elder Edward Dube: Look Ahead and Believe
- As a boy, while working in the fields with my mother, she taught me one of the most important lessons in life. It was late in the morning, the sun was up and we had been hoeing for what I thought to be a very long time. I stopped to look back at what we had accomplished, and said to my mother, “Look at all we have done!” Mother did not respond. Thinking that she had not heard me, I repeated what I had said a little louder. She still did not reply. Raising my voice a little higher I repeated again. Finally, she turned to me and said, “Edward, never look back, look ahead at what we still have to do.”
- [Quoting Elder L. Tom Perry] I never feel that we as a people are living up to our real potential. My sense is that we do not always work together that we are still too much interested in aspirations for personal honors and success, and show too little interest in the common goal of building the kingdom of God
Elder David A. Bednar: The Windows of Heaven
- As we live the law of tithing, we often receive significant but subtle blessings that are not always what we expect and easily can be overlooked.
- Often as we teach about the law of tithing, we emphasize the immediate, dramatic, and readily recognizable temporal blessings that we receive. And surely such blessings do occur. Yet some of the diverse blessings we obtain as we are obedient to this commandment are significant but subtle. Such blessings can only be discerned if we are both spiritually attentive and observant.
- The imagery of the “windows” of heaven used by Malachi is most instructive. Windows allow natural light to enter into a building. In like manner, spiritual illumination and perspective are poured out through the windows of heaven and into our lives as we honor the law of tithing.
- In that first council meeting I was impressed by the simplicity of the principles that guided our deliberations and decisions. In the financial operations of the Church, two basic and fixed principles are observed. First, the Church lives within its means and does not spend more than it receives. Second, a portion of the annual income is set aside as a reserve for contingencies and unanticipated needs. For decades, the Church has taught its membership the principle of setting aside additional food, fuel, and money to take care of emergencies that might arise. The Church as an institution simply follows the same principles that are taught repeatedly to the members.
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf: Come, Join With Us
- Once there was a man who dreamed that he was in a great hall where all the religions of the world were gathered. He realized that each religion had much that seemed desirable and worthy. He met a nice couple who represented The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and asked: “What do you require of your members?” “We do not require anything,” they replied. “But the Lord asks that we consecrate all.”
- The man said, “Now I’m confused. Why would anyone want to join such a church?” The couple smiled and said, “We thought you would never ask.”
- Another reason is because the Church provides opportunities for doing good. Believing in God is commendable, but most people want to do more than listen to inspirational sermons or dream of their mansions above. They want to put their faith into practice. They want to roll up their sleeves and become engaged in this great cause.
- Some struggle with unanswered questions about things that have been done or said in the past. We openly acknowledge that in nearly two hundred years of Church history—along with an uninterrupted line of inspired, honorable, and divine events—there have been some things said and done that could cause people to question. Sometimes questions arise because we simply don’t have all the information and we just need a bit more patience. When the entire truth is eventually known, things that didn’t make sense to us before will be resolved to our satisfaction. Sometimes there is a difference of opinion as to what the “facts” really mean. A question that creates doubt in some can, after careful investigation, build faith in others.
- And, to be perfectly frank, there have been times when members or leaders in the Church have simply made mistakes. There may have been things said or done that were not in harmony with our values, principles, or doctrine. I suppose the Church would only be perfect if it were run by perfect beings. God is perfect, and His doctrine is pure. But He works through us—His imperfect children—and imperfect people make mistakes.