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Forgive, have faith and root out discrimination, LDS leaders teach Saturday afternoon

By Genelle Pugmire - Daily Herald | Oct 1, 2022
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Over 10,000 people attend the afternoon session of the 192nd semi-annual General Conference in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022.
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Members of the General Authority bow their heads as they listen to a missionary choir during the afternoon session of the 192nd semi-annual General Conference in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022.
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M. Russell Ballard, Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, speaks during the afternoon session of the 192nd semi-annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022.
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Attendees leave the afternoon session of the 192nd semi-annual General Conference in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022.
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Elder Ulisses Soares, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, speaks during the afternoon session of the 192nd semi-annual General Conference in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022.
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Elder James W. McKonkie III, a General Authority Seventy, speaks during the afternoon session of the 192nd semi-annual General Conference in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022.
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Jorge F. Zeballos, a General Authority Seventy, speaks during the afternoon session of the 192nd semi-annual General Conference in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022.
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Elder D. Todd Christofferson, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, speaks during the afternoon session of the 192nd semi-annual General Conference in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022.

Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints gathered Saturday afternoon for the second session of the 192nd Semi-annual General Conference of the church and to be taught and edified by their leaders.

Those who spoke encouraged members to find strength in Jesus Christ, in traditional marriages and to share that strength with the world.

A choir of full-time missionaries provided the music for this session.

Elder M. Russell Ballard, acting president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, followed the choir, which sang the hymn “Faith in Every Footstep.” He spoke of the strength and courage of the early church pioneers. Ballard encouraged those living today to walk with faith in their footsteps.

“I testify that as we follow Jesus Christ with footsteps of faith, there is hope. There is hope in the Lord Jesus Christ. There is hope for all in this life. There is hope to overcome our mistakes, our sorrows and struggles, and our trials and troubles. There is hope in repentance and being forgiven and in forgiving others. I testify that there is hope and peace in Christ. He can carry us today through difficult times. He did it for the early pioneers and He will do it now for each one of us,” Ballard said.

“Let us follow Jesus Christ with faith in every footstep. We need to serve the Lord and serve one another. We need to strengthen ourselves spiritually by keeping and honoring our covenants. We should not lose the sense of urgency to keep the commandments,” he added.

Ballard noted that, “Satan tries to dull our commitment and our love for God and the Lord Jesus Christ. Please remember that if anyone should lose their way, we will never be lost to our savior. With the blessing of repentance, we can turn to Him. He will help us learn, grow and change as we strive to stay on the covenant path.

Sister Kristin M. Yee, second counselor in the Relief Society General Presidency, talked about the healing path of forgiveness.

Speaking of Christ, Yee said, “Through His infinite atonement, you can forgive those who have hurt you and who may never accept responsibility for their cruelty to you. It is usually easy to forgive one who sincerely and humbly seeks your forgiveness. But the savior will grant you the ability to forgive anyone who has mistreated you in any way. Then their hurtful acts can no longer canker your soul.”

“The Lord requires us to forgive for our own good,” Yee said. “But He does not ask us to do it without His help, His love, His understanding.”

We are children of God and we can be perfected in Him, taught Elder Paul Johnson, of the Presidency of the Seventy.

“We are children of God with a majestic destiny. We can be changed to become like Him and have a ‘fullness of joy.’ Satan, on the other hand, would have us be miserable like he is,” he said.

“We have the ability to choose whom we follow. When we follow Satan, we give him power. When we follow God, He gives us power,” Johnson added.

Elder Ulisses Soares, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, addressed being in partnership with the Lord in marriages. The church teaches that heterosexual marriage “is central to His plan for His children and for the well-being of society.”

“The restored gospel of Jesus Christ proclaims the principle of full partnership between woman and man, both in mortal life and in the eternities. Although each possesses specific attributes and divinely appointed responsibilities, woman and man fill equally relevant and essential roles in God’s plan of happiness for His children,” Soares said. “This was evident from the very beginning when the Lord declared that ‘it was not good that the man should be alone, wherefore (He would) make an help meet for him.’ In the Lord’s plan, a ‘help meet’ was a companion who would walk shoulder to shoulder with Adam in full partnership.”

Soares added, “In fact, Eve was a heavenly blessing in Adam’s life. Through her divine nature and spiritual attributes, she inspired Adam to work in partnership with her to achieve God’s plan of happiness for all mankind.”

Elder James McConkie III of the Seventy told a personal experience of his family.

“In 2013 my wife, Laurel, and I were called to serve as mission leaders in the Czech Slovak Mission. Our four children served with us,” he said. “We were blessed as a family with brilliant missionaries and by the remarkable Czech and Slovak Saints. We love them. As our family entered the mission field, something Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin taught went with us. In a talk titled ‘The Great Commandment’ Elder Wirthlin asked, ‘Do you love the Lord?’ His counsel to those of us who would answer ‘yes’ was simple and profound. ‘Spend time with Him. Meditate on His words. Take His yoke upon you. Seek to understand and obey.'”

Elder Wirthlin then promised transformative blessings to those willing to give time and place to Jesus Christ, McConkie explained.

Talking from his own line of work as an engineer, Elder Jorge F. Zeballos of the Seventy told his story of learning how to build a life resistant to the adversary.

He learned he had qualified to take the class that would teach him how to design buildings and other structures that could then be considered “anti-seismic.”

“The day finally arrived for my first class on this subject. The first words from the professor were the following, ‘You are surely anxious to begin this course and learn how to design anti-seismic structures,’ to which many of us eagerly nodded our heads,” Zeballos said. “Then the professor said, ‘I am sorry to tell you that this is not possible, for I cannot teach you how to design a building that is against, that is “anti-,” or that is opposed to an earthquake. This makes no sense because earthquakes will occur anyway, whether we like it or not.’ Then he added, ‘What I can teach you is how to design structures that are seismic-resistant, structures that can resist the forces coming from an earthquake, so that the structure remains standing without suffering any serious damage and can then continue offering the service for which it had been conceived.'”

The event of an earthquake, Zeballos said, leaves its mark even on structures that were correctly designed and built — such as cracks, fallen furniture or ceilings, and broken windows. But this well-designed and well-built edifice, he added, will fulfill its purpose of protecting its occupants, and with some repairs, it will recuperate its original condition.

“In similar fashion, the buffetings of the adversary can also cause ‘cracks’ or some partial damage in our lives, in spite of our efforts to build our lives according to the perfect divine design,” he said. “These ‘cracks’ can manifest themselves through feelings of sadness or remorse for having committed some errors and for not having done everything perfectly, or for feeling that we are not as good as we want to be.”

Completing the session, Elder D. Todd Christofferson spoke of the doctrine of belonging, which has three parts: gathering the Lord’s covenant people, importance of service and sacrifice, and the centrality of Jesus Christ in belonging.

“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in its early beginnings was made up largely of white North American and northern European Saints with a relative handful of Native Americans, African Americans and Pacific Islanders. Now, eight years away from the 200th anniversary of its founding, the church has greatly increased in numbers and diversity in North America and even more so in the rest of the world. As the long-prophesied latter-day gathering of the Lord’s covenant people gains momentum, the church will truly be comprised of members from every nation, kindred, tongue and people,” he said.

“Having been given this privilege, we cannot permit any racism, tribal prejudice or other divisions to exist in the latter-day Church of Christ. The Lord commands us, ‘Be one; and if ye are not one ye are not mine,'” Christofferson taught.

“We should be diligent in rooting prejudice and discrimination out of the Church, out of our homes and most of all out of our hearts. As our church population grows ever more diverse, our welcome must grow ever more spontaneous and warm. We need one another,” he concluded.

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