SALT LAKE CITY -- A story of a 12-year-old boy worried about the possibility of his hard-earned $5 bill being lost in the laundry, and his turning to prayer for its safekeeping, was the message President Thomas S. Monson offered at the Sunday morning session of the 181st Semiannual General Conference.
It was a story from his own childhood, as prayer was a theme for several of the Sunday talks.
Monson, now 84, said when he recovered his money in his youth in accordance with his prayer, he learned an important lesson.
"Since that time of long ago, I have had countless prayers answered," he said. "Not a day has gone by that I have not communicated with my Father in Heaven through prayer."
Monson encouraged others to follow his example.
"If you do not now have such a relationship with your Father in Heaven, I urge you to work toward that goal."
Monson also spoke about changing moral standards that have led people away from keeping the Ten Commandments and from following advice Jesus Christ gave in his Sermon on the Mount.
"Our Father in Heaven is the same yesterday, today and forever," he said, noting that these standards have not changed as the world's observance of them has.
Henry B. Eyring, first counselor in the First Presidency, also spoke Sunday morning about an answer to a prayer.
He told a story of fervent prayer after he had agreed to speak at a university graduation, then was told he could not fulfill his responsibility of acting as a witness of Christ during his presentation.
"Like the Red Sea parting, I found a news article," he said. "The university had been honored for doing what the church had learned to do in our humanitarian efforts across the world. And so in my talk, I described what we and they had done to lift people in great need.
"I said that I knew that Jesus Christ was the source of the blessings that had come into the lives of those who they had served."
Having made that statement, Eyring said he was nervous as he ended his speech.
But he was relieved later to hear the university president say he believed he had heard the words of God in Eyring's talk.
Eyring's Sunday message also was about how members may transform their lives by keeping promises made in baptism. Those promises include becoming charitable witnesses of God and to endure in doing so to the ends of their lives, he said.
Elder J. Devn Cornish, of the Quorum of the Seventy, talked Sunday afternoon about the privilege of prayer.
After telling about an answer to a prayer that he would find a quarter on the street, he said that if Heavenly Father would answer his minor prayer, he also would answer those for major needs.
"I am led to believe that our Heavenly Father loves us so much that the things that are important to us become important to Him, just because He loves us," he said.
Cornish outlined a formula for prayer gleaned from several sources, including New Testament scripture Matthew 6:9-15.
He said those who pray should speak to Heavenly Father in an attitude of worship, acknowledging dependence upon the Lord by giving Him praise and thanks, then asking for the things that are needed.
Cornish also outlined asking for forgiveness of sins as well as asking for help in forgiving others. He warned about the need to ask for God's protection and to show reverence for Him.
Cornish also warned about feeling too bad about one's behavior to pray.
"It is as tragic to think we are too sinful to pray as it is for a very sick person to believe he is too sick to go to the doctor," he said.
In her Sunday morning talk, Elaine S. Dalton, president of the church's Young Women's organization, spoke to the fathers of the church who are raising daughters.
"The most important thing a father can do for his (daughter) is to love (her) mother," she said, quoting a former church president, David O. McKay.
"By the way you love her mother, you will teach your daughter about tenderness, loyalty, respect, compassion and devotion. She will learn from your example what to expect from young men and what qualities to seek in a future spouse."
She spoke of her own efforts and those of others in the Young Women's organization to influence the teenage daughters of the church.
"Your example, as her father, speaks louder than our important words," she said, encouraging fathers to seek after virtue in raising their daughters.
"Your personal virtue will model for your daughters, and also your sons, what true strength and moral courage are," she said. "Your personal purity will give you power."
Elder Quentin L. Cook, of the Quorum of the Twelve, spoke of the power of Jesus Christ to not only atone for sins but to compensate for life's unfairness.
He said in life, people may find peace by looking for an eternal perspective:
"All wrongs will be righted, and we will see with perfect clarity and faultless perspective and understanding."