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Companionships a blessing of gospel living

- Draw near to the Lord

and the family

- Share assignments- Offer friendship to converts

Companionship with the Saints is one of many benefits of Church membership, said Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin of the Quorum of the Twelve.

"My heart is warmed by the fellowship we share as Latter-day Saints."

Speaking Saturday afternoon, Elder Wirthlin told of the commandment and blessing to "meet together oft, to fast and to pray, and to speak with one another concerning the welfare of our souls. In general conference and in other Church meetings around the world, we come together seeking companionship - the good company of brothers and sisters in the gospel and the comfort of sweet communion with the Spirit of God. In our worship services, the presence of that Spirit fills our hearts with love for God and for our fellow Saints."

He said the very best friends are those in the family. "My best friend is Elisa, my eternal companion. She is the heart of our home and has inspired us to draw nearer to the Lord. . . . The sweet companionship of eternal marriage is one of the greatest blessings God has granted to His children."

Elder Wirthlin then spoke of compassion of Christlike friends that deeply touch and change lives.

"In this Church, prayers for help are often answered by the Lord through simple, daily service of caring brothers and sisters."

Many Church assignments, he explained, are shared with companions. "Ever since the Lord sent out His disciples two by two, companionships have advanced the work of the Kingdom." He said the missionary, home teaching and visiting teaching programs of the Church have been organized on this "divine model."

"We would hope that new converts would be given special attention by home teachers and visiting teachers," he continued. "When you visit your assigned members, you bring with you the light of the gospel, the love and Spirit of the Lord. Work closely with your assigned companion to carry out your visits with all diligence."

Speaking of missionaries, Elder Wirthlin said, "In this wonderful work of saving souls, there is tremendous fellowship and camaraderie."

In addition said Elder Wirthlin, "President Hinckley has asked us repeatedly to extend the hand of fellowship to newly baptized members. . . . New converts need to form new friendships; they need constant companions who encourage them, answer their questions and `keep them in the right way.' " (Moro. 6:4.)

He also talked about the companionship of the Holy Ghost and said it is "one of the choicest blessings we can receive."