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LDS conference session Saturday evening focused on drawing closer to Christ

By Genelle Pugmire - Daily Herald | Oct 1, 2022
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Draper resident Jon Oldham takes a selfie with his children and their friend in front of the conference center of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints between sessions of the 192nd semi-annual General Conference in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022.
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A choir comprising children and youth from the South Jordan area, under the direction of Alison Unsworth, with Linda Margetts and Andrew Unsworth at the organ, sings during the Saturday evening session of general conference in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022.
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Sister Michelle D. Craig, second counselor in the Young Women General Presidency, speaks during the Saturday evening session of general conference at the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022.
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People wander around the exterior of the conference center of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints between sessions of the 192nd semi-annual General Conference in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022.

For a third time on Saturday, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day gathered around their TV sets, computers, smart phones and radios to listen to their church leaders during the 192nd Semi-annual General Conference.

The evening session has typically been for either the women and girls of the church or for the men and boys. This is the second time a general session has been held. The choir consisted of children and youth from the South Jordan area.

Starting the session was Bishop Gérald Caussé, presiding bishop of the church. He spoke on the responsibilities of caring for the earth and God’s creations — including his children.

“These wonderful creations were prepared entirely for our benefit and are living proof of the love the creator has for His children. The Lord declared, ‘Yea, all things which come of the earth … are made for the benefit and the use of man, both to please the eye and to gladden the heart,'” Caussé said. “However, the divine gift of creation does not come without duties and responsibilities. These duties are best described by the concept of stewardship. In gospel terms, the word stewardship designates a sacred spiritual or temporal responsibility to take care of something that belongs to God, for which we are accountable.”

As taught in the holy scriptures, earthly stewardship includes the following principles:

First principle: The entire Earth, including all life thereon, belongs to God, the creator, has entrusted the earth’s resources and all forms of life to our care, but He retains full ownership.

Second principle: As stewards of God’s creations, we have a duty to honor and care for them. As God’s children, we have received the charge to be stewards, caretakers and guardians of His divine creations.

“Beyond being simply a scientific or political necessity, the care of the earth and of our natural environment is a sacred responsibility entrusted to us by God, which should fill us with a deep sense of duty and humility. It is also an integral component of our discipleship. How can we honor and love Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ without honoring and loving their creations?” Caussé said.

Sister Michelle Craig, of the Relief Society General Presidency, taught that, “As disciples of Jesus Christ, we believe and can grow in important truths — keeping covenants, even when it is not easy, and acting in faith.

“When your faith, your family, or your future are challenged — when you wonder why life is so hard when you are doing your best to live the gospel — remember that the Lord told us to expect troubles. Troubles are part of the plan and do not mean you’ve been abandoned; they are part of what it means to be His,” Craig said. “Jesus Christ recognized the abundance of her all where others saw only her lack. The same is true with each of us. He doesn’t see our lack as failure but rather as an opportunity to exercise faith and to grow.”

While taking of the sacrament one Sunday, Elder Kevin Pearson, of the Seventy, noted the words of the sacrament prayers. In the prayer on the bread, it asked if one is will to take upon them Christ’s name.

Pearson then asks, “Are you still willing? How many times have we witnessed unto God that we are willing?”

“Partaking of the sacrament is not a passive religious ritual implying our mere consent. It is a powerful reminder of the reality and centrality of Christ’s infinite atonement, and the need to always remember Him and keep His commandments,” Pearson said. “Willingness to focus on the savior is so crucial, it is the central message of the two most quoted scriptures in the church — the sacrament prayers. Understanding the truth of what Heavenly Father so willingly offers each of us, through His only begotten son, should evoke our utmost efforts to always be willing in return.”

“If we embrace the narrative that the church consists primarily of outdated or politically incorrect social policies, unrealistic personal restrictions and time commitments, then our conclusions about willingness will be equally flawed. We should not expect the principle of willingness to trend positively with social media influencers or TikTok enthusiasts. The precepts of men rarely align with divine truth,” Pearson added.

Carnal security is seeking for, and trusting in, worldly things instead of Christ. In other words, looking through a secular lens instead of a spiritual lens. “Only ‘by the power of the Holy Ghost, can we know the truth of all things’ and be not deceived,” Pearson said.

He added that discipleship is not cheap, because the companionship of the Holy Ghost is priceless.

Elder Denelson Silva, of the Seventy, spoke of courage to proclaim truth.

“When we agree to believe in the truth, to follow it, and when we make an effort to become true disciples of Jesus Christ, we do not receive a certificate with a guarantee that we will not make mistakes, that we will not be criticized, that we will not be tempted to walk away from the truth, or even that we will not experience afflictions. But the knowledge of the truth teaches us that when we enter the straight and narrow path that will take us back to the presence of Heavenly Father, there will always be a way to escape [these problems]; there will always be the possibility of doubting our doubts before doubting our faith; and finally, we have a guarantee that we will never be alone when we go through afflictions, for God visits His people in the midst of their afflictions.”

Elder Neil L. Andersen, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, spoke of drawing closer to the savior.

“We realize that as evil increases in the world, our spiritual survival, and the spiritual survival of those we love, will require that we more fully nurture, fortify and strengthen the roots of our faith in Jesus Christ,” Andersen said.

The apostle Paul counseled us to be rooted, grounded, and settled in our love for the savior and our determination to follow Him, Andersen noted.

“Today and the days ahead require more focused and concentrated effort, guarding against diversions and carelessness. Even with the increasing worldly influences around us, we need not fear. The Lord will never desert His covenant people,” Andersen said.

The Sunday sessions of General Conference will be held at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. in the Salt Lake Conference Center.

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