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Afternoon Session: 167th Semiannual General Conference

President Gordon B. Hinckley

President of the church

"We need these conferences. We need them to remind us of our responsibilities and obligations. We must never forget that spirituality must be the dominant focus of all of our activity in the church."

A recent magazine article praised the church as a well-run financial institution of great wealth. It grossly exaggerated the figures.

"The money the church receives from faithful members is consecrated. It is the Lord's purse. Our church facilities are money consuming and not money producing. We are not a financial institution. We are the church of Jesus Christ. The funds for which we are responsible involve a sacred trust, to be handled with absolute honesty and integrity and with great prudence as the dedicated consecrations of the people."

Members are to counsel with the Lord in all undertakings and strive to be better neighbors, better employers and employees.

"Let us be men and women of integrity and honesty in business, in education, in government, in the professions - whatever is our place in life.

"I have a confession to make, my brothers and sisters. It is simply this: I love you. I love the people of this church. I love all who are faithful. I love all who follow the ways of the Lord.

"May God bless you, our beloved friends and associates. Our brethren and sisters. We are proud to be one with you in moving forward this mighty work. We are all in this together. Every man and woman has a part to play. God give us the strength and will to play it well."

Elder David B. Haight

Quorum of the Twelve

President Hinckley's counsel, offered throughout this conference, testifies of the inspiration and foresight he receives from the Lord.

"I know we were hearing the words of our Father from our prophet."

William Clayton's beloved hymn "Come, Come Ye Saints" has become the anthem of the Latter-day Saints. Clayton joined the church in England but later migrated to Nauvoo to be with the saints.

After Joseph Smith was martyred, Clayton made the trek west with the early pioneers. He penned "Come, Come Ye Saints" in the midst of the trek to boost the pioneers' spirits.

"It gave (the pioneers) hope and encouragement."

The hymn's happy words "All is well, all is well" can be our words if we live good lives.

This has been a banner year as the church has celebrated that 150th anniversary of the pioneers' arrival. And a wonderful future lies ahead - but it all hinges on our lives and our examples to others.

As a star baseball player who helped clinch a World Series win in Yankee Stadium, watching the ball fly out of the park to victory seemed to be life's highlight. But "seeing my entire family together" recently in the Los Angeles Temple "was the greatest moment of my life."

"We need to be true to the faith we profess. True to the testimony we have been given. True to his name we have taken."

Elder Dallin H. Oaks

Quorum of the Twelve

For months church members have studied the lives and accomplishments of the pioneers, early and modern. Honoring them requires acting upon the eternal principles that guided their actions.

"Are these pioneer celebrations academic, merely increasing our fund of experiences and knowledge? Or will they have a profound impact on how we live our lives?"

While modern challenges are different from those faced by early pioneers, they are just as dangerous and significant for salvation and for that of those who will follow.

Their foremost quality was faith. "With faith in their leaders and in one another, they stood fast against formidable opposition."

They also exhibited unselfishness, sacrifice, obedience, unity and cooperation. Members exhibit such qualities as guiding principles, wherever they serve in the community, church or at home.

"We see the modern manifestations of these pioneer qualities in the great contributions our brothers and sisters make in a wide variety of private projects and common efforts that require unity and cooperation."

The pioneer legacy of inclusion is needed today to accomplish President Hinckley's call for retention and reactivation of all church members.

A pioneerlike commitment is also needed to demonstrate the gospel principles in individual lives.

Elder Henry B. Eyring

Quorum of the Twelve

The Savior gave Peter and his other apostles a commandment that still stands for each church member: "Feed my lambs."

God's saints have always been under covenant to nourish each other spiritually. We live in a time when the capacity to nourish new church members "must and there for will be poured out upon the faithful Saints."

Each member has tried at some time to nourish another's faith. Sometimes there are disappointments when those attempts are rejected.

"Yet this is a time to feel renewed optimism and hope that our power to nourish will be increased." Such a renewal will begin in each individual heart.

"We can begin today to try to see those we are to nourish as our Heavenly Father sees them and so feel some of what he feels for them."

Children can do things that give us power in faith to nourish others. Youngsters can invite recent converts to a church meeting, smile and greet a new member coming into a chapel. So can adults.

All church members, regardless of calling or station, can nourish others by reaching out in kindness.

Daily scripture study and prayers of faith are the two great keys to inviting the spirit to guide what words we speak to others.

"We can by simple obedience help the Lord to take the lambs, his lambs, into his hands and take them in his arms home to their father, and our father."

God will pour out heaven's powers upon us when we work to preserve the sacred harvest of souls.

Elder Duane B. Gerrard

Quorums of the Seventy

The plan of salvation comprises all that is required to complete our mortal journey and progress to the exaltation enjoyed by our Father in Heaven.

Through his divine work, he makes this plan available to all.

The Lord created a beautiful Earth for his children and mortal bodies that our temples for our spirits.

"If cared for properly, our bodies can be truly a joy and a pleasure in our flight through life."

Living correct principles such as love, honesty, kindness, patience, humility, repentance, faith and a host of others are necessary to successfully follow the correct "flight plan of life."

If we do make mistakes, the Lord expects us to learn from bad decisions - correcting our lives through repentance and forgiveness.

"And thus by so doing even failure can become success."

All will experience the severe turbulence of life, such as the loss of a loved one or financial disaster. These are times of utmost peril, when one's testimony is tested and tried.

"We then must rely on our inner strength, a knowledge of the gospel which reminds us of the principles we hold dear and the comfort that comes when we endure all things and rely on the Savior and allow his spirit to warm us with his cloak of love."

Prepare to follow the plan of salvation by staying active in church, paying tithes, praying regularly, staying morally clean and being an example of goodness.

Elder Wayne M. Hancock

Quorums of the Seventy

There are legions of unsung heroines in our midst - valiant sisters with strong testimonies of Jesus Christ.

"Among these noble women are those, who through the tragedy of divorce or untimely death of a husband, are asked to take on additional employment to provide for family and self." Their burdens are frequently overlooked by those in two-parent families.

"Wise are the bishop, priesthood leader and Relief Society president who ensure that carefully selected home and visiting teachers are given the opportunity to assist her."

Other devout sisters, both single and married, have been unable to have children of their own. Their maternal instincts prompt them to care for other's children as if they were their own.

"What a wonderful gift it is to have a such a special aunt whose humble abode and loving personal interest makes for a joyous second home."

There is the patient woman whose husband is a good man but hasn't joined the church or brought the blessings of the priesthood into their home.

"She quietly but fervently prays for that good Samaritan in the church who can uniquely reach out and relate to her husband in a Christ-like way to lead him to the church where he can feel welcomed, needed and loved."

There are many faithful daughters of Heavenly Father who bless our lives. May we follow Christ's example by being sensitive to their needs, as "our actions affirm to our noble sisters: `Daughter, be of good comfort.' "

Elder J. Kent Jolley

Quorums of the Seventy

The gospel of Jesus Christ applies to all people.

Since the beginning, the gospel was designed to bless the lives of everyone, without exception.

"Regarding this, the Apostle Peter said, `I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.' "

While serving a mission in South America more than 40 years ago, the work was slow and discouraging at times.

"Now as I return to that great continent for my present assignment, I marvel at how the Lord has blessed it and how he is making the gospel readily available to everyone, regardless of their circumstances."

All can grasp the gospel; it is simple. With the help of the Holy Ghost, earnest seekers can easily understand the gospel and receive its great personal blessings.

A family that was part of a home-teaching assignment included a father who had been inactive for decades and feared he could not understand the gospel.

Home teaching visits focused on the simplicity of the gospel, and the father soon realized he could understand its principles. The man now attends church and is preparing to go with his his family to the temple.

"Our own honest study of the gospel will show us how simple, pure and universal its precepts are."

Janette Hales Beckham

Released, Young Women

Appreciate the experiences that help make faith a reality.

"In order to have faith, or know that we have faith, we need to have experience with faith."

Recognizing the teachings of the Spirit is an important part of helping faith become a reality. There are many distractions as we learn to discern the Spirit's promptings.

"President Ezra Taft Benson reminded us that `the world shouts louder than the whisperings of the Holy Ghost.' Each of us has to learn to be sensitive and to listen to the whisper."

A woman once said she'd like to keep her children locked in the temple to protect them from the world's shouts. That solution would keep them innocent but absent of experience. It is experience that helps us know good and evil - and recognize the promptings of the Spirit.

"Experience can also help us recognize when good feelings are lacking. . . . You cannot do wrong and feel right. It is impossible."

Our Heavenly Father, knowing that we would make mistakes, provided a Savior for us.

"We need to know how the atonement works in our lives and how good feelings can be regained and retained when mistakes have been made."

Fundamentals of daily living - scripture reading, family prayer, family home evening - provide the experiences that make faith a reality.

"Through our own repeated efforts, our faith can become a reality."