The 192nd Annual General Conference concluded with the Sunday afternoon session which was under the direction of President Henry B. Eyring, featuring a variety of gospel-centered messages. The overarching message of this final session was finding true conversion in Christ. While each speaker had a lot to say, here are some key takeaways from each talk.
President Dallin H. Oaks: Divine love in the Father’s plan
To begin the session, President Oaks focused his message on God’s love for each and every single one of His children and how this love is incorporated in His plan. He spoke of how this love explains both Church doctrine and policies and used four examples to do so.
— A common misunderstanding of the judgment that ultimately follows mortal life is that good people go to a place called heaven and bad people go to an everlasting place called hell. A loving Heavenly Father has a better plan for His children.
— The teachings and policies of the Lord’s restored Church apply these eternal truths in a way that can be fully understood only in the context of our Heavenly Father’s loving plan for all of His children.
— Finally, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is properly known as a family-centered Church. But not well understood is the reality that our family-centeredness is not limited to mortal relationships.
— In many relationships and circumstances in mortal life, each of us must live with differences. As followers of Christ who should love our fellowmen, we should live peacefully with those who do not believe as we do.
Elder Adeyinka A. Ojediran: The covenant path: The way to eternal life
Elder Ojediran of the Quorum of the Seventy spoke of the expectation God has for each of His children to return to His presence after this life by following the gospel of Jesus Christ. He spoke of accepting the invitation of Christ to partake of ordinances and keep commandments.
“Our gospel learning and teaching deepen our conversion to Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and help us become more like Them,” Elder Ojediran said. “We come unto Christ by exercising faith in Him, repenting daily, making covenants with God as we receive the ordinances of salvation and exaltation and enduring to the end by keeping those covenants.”
Elder Ojediran went on to speak of two main things that Christ emphasized to help people more faithfully keep their covenants: the Holy Ghost and the administration of the sacrament.
“(The Holy Ghost) can be our constant companion to guide us on the covenant path,” Elder Ojediran said. “The Savior instituted the ordinance of the sacrament, that we may always remember Him and have His spirit to be with us.”
Elder Jörg Klebingat: Valiant discipleship in the latter days
Elder Klebingat of the Seventy revolved his message around the importance of remaining a disciple of Christ in these latter days and how to do that. He included both examples of biblical and modern-day prophets of the warnings of the difficulty of being a disciple in the latter days.
“The adversary and his followers have always sought to destroy the works of Christ and His prophets,” Elder Klebingat said. “The Savior’s commandments, if not ignored altogether, have been rationalized into meaninglessness by many in today’s world.”
He went on to let the congregation know that they are not the first to experience opposition to such an extent. Even Jesus Christ experienced doubt and taunting during His earthly ministry.
“The Savior and His early followers dealt with serious internal and external opposition, and we experience the same,” stated Elder Klebingat. “We can accept and respect others without endorsing their beliefs or actions that do not align with the Lord’s will. There is no need to sacrifice truth on the altar of agreeableness and social desirability.”
President Mark L. Pace: Conversion is our goal
President Pace, the Sunday School General President, focused his words and message on having a personal conversion to the gospel rather than relying on the conversion of others.
“To be most effective, your experiences with the scriptures must be your own,” President Pace said. “Reading or hearing about another person’s experiences and insights can be helpful, but that won’t bring the same converting power.”
President Pace went on to remind people of the blessings promised by President Russell M. Nelson for converting homes into sanctuaries of faith:
— Your Sabbath days will be a delight.
— Your children will be excited to learn and live the Savior’s teachings.
— The influence of the adversary in your life and in your home will decrease.
— These changes in your family will be dramatic and sustaining.
As he concluded his remarks, President Pace stated that as we follow the teachings and words of both scriptural and latter-day prophets, blessings of conversion will be sure to come.
Elder Ulisses Soares: In awe of Christ and His gospel
Elder Soares of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles shared his talk on the difference the gospel can make on the path to eternal life and the how it should not be something to be taken lightly or for granted.
“My beloved brothers and sisters, when we truly are in awe of Jesus Christ and His gospel, we are happier, we have more enthusiasm for God’s work and we recognize the Lord’s hand in all things,” Elder Soares said.
As he continued his message, he spoke of how spiritual apathy, or a lack of spiritual satisfaction, can be something that Satan uses to draw God’s children from the Holy Ghost. According to Elder Soares, this is exactly what happened to the Nephites in the “Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ,” and he invited the congregation to stay spiritually in awe.
“My beloved brothers and sisters, I pray that we will ever stand in awe of Jesus Christ and His complete, infinite and perfect love,” Elder Soares said. “May the remembrance of what our eyes have seen and our hearts have felt increase our amazement at the Savior’s atoning sacrifice, which can heal us of our spiritual and emotional wounds and help us to draw closer to Him.”
Elder Randy D. Funk: Come into the fold of God
Elder Funk of the Seventy focused his message on fully converting to the gospel of Christ and all the blessings that come along with converting to Him. To better illustrate his message, he used a sheepfold as an example of the fold of God.
“Among us there may be some who feel they are at the edge of the flock, perhaps thinking they are less needed or valued or that they don’t belong in the fold,” Elder Funk said. “And, as in the sheepfold, in the fold of God we sometimes step on one another’s toes and need to repent or forgive.”
As he proceeded in his message, Elder Funk spoke of four specific blessings that Alma promised to those who entered into the fold of God. According to him, one that enters into the fold of God may be redeemed of God, be numbered with those of the first resurrection, have eternal life and have the Lord’s Spirit poured abundantly upon them.
“My dear friends, please continue the journey — and help others — to come fully into the fold of God,” Elder Funk said. “The blessings of the gospel of Jesus Christ are immeasurable because they are eternal.”
Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf: Offer your whole souls
Elder Uchtdorf spoke about offering up one’s soul as a disciple of Christ and how to do so with balance. No matter how much or how little we give, it is enough if it is done with the right intentions.
“To many of us, such a standard of whole-souled commitment seems out of reach,” Elder Uchtdorf said. “We are already stretched so thin. How can we balance the many demands of life with our desires to offer our whole souls to the Lord?”
According to Elder Uchtdorf, the key to completely and fully offering one’s whole soul unto Christ is to do so consistently. It can’t be something that happens rarely or nonchalantly. A whole-souled commitment, just like discipleship, is a constant goal.
“This is how we offer our whole souls — by sacrificing anything that’s holding us back and consecrating the rest to the Lord and His purposes,” stated Elder Uchtdorf. “Your loving Father in Heaven knows your heart. You can love and serve His children. And your efforts are purifying your heart and preparing you for a glorious future.”
President Russell M. Nelson: Now is the time
To conclude the session, President Nelson shared a poem by Henry Van Dyke that speaks of learning from the past and preparing for the future. According to President Nelson, while these are good things to keep in mind, now is the time to act.
“Now is the time we can learn,” President Nelson stated. “Now is the time we can repent. Now is the time we can bless others and ‘lift up the hands which hang down.'”
To end his remarks, President Nelson announced that 44 temples are currently under construction and he announced 17 new temples in the following locations:
— Wellington, New Zealand
— Brazzaville, Republic of the Congo
— Barcelona, Spain
— Birmingham, United Kingdom
— Cusco, Peru
— Maceió, Brazil
— Santos, Brazil
— San Luis Potosí, Mexico
— Mexico City Benemérito, Mexico
— Tampa, Florida
— Knoxville, Tennessee
— Cleveland, Ohio
— Wichita, Kansas
— Austin, Texas
— Missoula, Montana
— Montpelier, Idaho
— Modesto, California
“These temples will bless countless lives on both sides of the veil,” President Nelson said. “I love you, my dear brothers and sisters. More importantly, the Lord loves you.”
Although conference has come to an end, each of the talks from this session as well as others can be accessed online for further study and consideration.