Saturday morning session of LDS General Conference preaches to come and learn of Christ
From the very first strains of the Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square singing, in person, the hymn “Jesus The Very Thought of Thee,” the theme of General Conference was clear: Come unto Christ, he loves you, learn of him.
In his opening remarks, President Russell M. Nelson invited those participating to listen for three things during conference: pure truth, the pure doctrine of Christ and pure revelation.
“Contrary to the doubts of some, there really is such a thing as right and wrong,” Nelson said. “There really is absolute truth — eternal truth.”
One of the plagues of our day is that too few people know where to turn for truth, he added.
“I can assure you that what you will hear today and tomorrow constitutes pure truth. The pure doctrine of Christ is powerful. It changes the life of everyone who understands it and seeks to implement it in his or her life,” he said.
“The doctrine of Christ helps us find and stay on the covenant path. Staying on that narrow but well-defined path will ultimately qualify us to receive all that God has. Nothing could be worth more than all our Father has! Finally, pure revelation for the questions in your heart will make this conference rewarding and unforgettable.”
“If you have not yet sought for the ministering of the Holy Ghost to help you hear what the Lord would have you hear during these two days, I invite you to do so now. Please make this conference a time of feasting on messages from the Lord through His servants. Learn how to apply them in your life,” Nelson implored.
Nelson was then followed by other Apostles and leaders in the church, all of whom spoke in some aspect of the character and love of Christ, his compassion, becoming like him, sharing that message with others and the need for church attendance.
In his talk, “The Great Possession,” Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve said, “When the love of God sets the tone for our own lives, for our relationship to each other and ultimately our feeling for all humankind, then old distinctions, limiting labels and artificial divisions begin to pass away, and peace increases.”
“You are a beloved child of heavenly parents. Your Father in Heaven loves you so perfectly that He sent His Son Jesus Christ to atone for you and for me,” said Sister Bonnie Cordon, Young Women’s president. “The Savior’s love for us is unfailing — even when we fail! Nothing can separate us from the love of God.”
She added, “Remembering this love can help you push back the confusion of the world that tries to weaken your confidence in your divine identity and blind you of your potential.”
In his talk, “The Savior’s Abiding Compassion,” Elder Ulisses Soares of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles noted, “The compassionate attitude of Jesus is rooted in charity, namely, in His pure and perfect love, which is the essence of His atoning sacrifice.”
“Compassion is a fundamental characteristic of those who strive for sanctification, and this divine quality intertwines with other Christian traits such as mourning with those who mourn and having empathy, mercy and kindness. The expression of compassion for others is, in fact, the essence of the gospel of Jesus Christ and a marked evidence of our spiritual and emotional closeness to the Savior,” Soares added.
“As we intentionally strive to incorporate a compassionate attitude into our way of life, as exemplified by the Savior, we will become more sensitive to people’s needs,” Soares said.
“With that increased sensitivity, feelings of genuine interest and love will permeate our every action,” Soares added. “The Lord will recognize our efforts, and we will surely be blessed with opportunities to be instruments in His hands in softening hearts and bringing relief to those whose ‘hands hang down.'”
Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve also addressed the love of God.
“We need not hesitate to call upon God, even when we feel unworthy.” he said. “We can rely on the mercy and merits of Jesus Christ to be heard. As we abide in God’s love, we depend less and less on the approval of others to guide us.
“In acknowledging that God loves us perfectly, we each might ask, ‘How well do I love God? Can He rely on my love as I rely on His? Would it not be a worthy aspiration to live so that God can love us not just in spite of our failings but also because of what we are becoming?'”
In concluding the morning session, President Dallin H. Oaks, first counselor in the First Presidency, instructed members why it is important for all people to attend their churches, mosques and synagogues.
“We are concerned that attendance in all of these is down significantly, nationwide. If we cease valuing our churches, for any reason, we threaten our personal spiritual life and significant numbers separating themselves from God reduces His blessings to our nations,” Oaks said.
LDS Members who forego Church attendance and rely only on individual spirituality separate themselves from these gospel essentials: the power and blessings of the priesthood, the fulness of restored doctrine and the motivations and opportunities to apply that doctrine, Oaks said.
“They forfeit their opportunity to qualify for an eternal perpetuation of their family,” he added.
President Henry B. Eyring, second counselor in the First Presidency, conducted the session and recognized they were broadcasting from the large conference center although very few were in the room. That is the first time in two years a conference and the choir has broadcast from the large auditorium.
Nelson added that all were vaccinated and all were observing social distancing and did all they can do to observe church and government wishes on how to handle COVID-19 issues.