Leaders urged listeners to anchor themselves in Jesus Christ, be one with him and his church, and include others in their “circle of oneness” during seven talks delivered in the Saturday afternoon session of the 194th Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City.

President Russell M. Nelson, who watched the morning session from home, attended the afternoon session. Elder Gary E. Stevenson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles conducted the session.

‘Covenant confident’: Latter-day Saint leaders say prayer, temple covenants provide assurance
194th Annual General Conference talk summaries and photo galleries

Elder David A. Bednar, Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

“Jesus Christ is our Redeemer, our Mediator and our Advocate with the Eternal Father and the rock upon which we should build the spiritual foundation of our lives,” said Elder Bednar, who spoke about finding stillness in a chaotic world through faith in Jesus Christ.

  • “True faith is always focused in and on the Lord Jesus Christ — in him as the Divine and Only Begotten Son of the Eternal Father and on him and the redemptive mission he fulfilled.”
  • He said Latter-day Saints should build on Christ’s foundation as buildings are built on foundations that provide “a strong and reliable connection” to the ground and help them “remain sturdy and stable over time.” In some construction, anchor pins and steel rods attach a foundation to bedrock below soil and gravel.
  • “The sacred covenants and ordinances of the Savior’s restored gospel can be compared to the anchor pins and steel rods used to connect a building to bedrock. Every time we faithfully receive, review, remember and renew sacred covenants, our spiritual anchors are secured ever more firmly and steadfastly to the ‘rock’ of Jesus Christ.”
  • “Today I repeat a principle I previously have emphasized. Our homes should be the ultimate combination of both sacred time and holy place wherein individuals and families can ‘be still’ and know that God is our Heavenly Father, we are his children and Jesus Christ is our Savior.”
Elder Quentin L. Cook, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, speaks during the 194th Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on Saturday, April 6, 2024. | Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

Elder Quentin L. Cook, Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

Elder Cook urged the church to be one with Christ, which he said is the essence of belonging, and to strive “to include others in our circle of oneness.” He noted that qualifications for baptism into God’s kingdom are simple and universal — humility, repentance, taking the name of Jesus Christ, enduring to the end.

  • “It is significant that all the qualifications for baptism are spiritual. No economic or social attainment is necessary. The poor and the rich have the same spiritual requirements,” he said.
  • “Oneness with Christ and our Heavenly Father can be obtained through the Savior’s Atonement. The Lord’s saving mercy is not dependent on lineage, education, economic status or race. It is based on being one with Christ and his commandments.”
  • “Given our ‘likeness’ before God, it makes little sense to emphasize our differences. Some have wrongly encouraged us ‘to imagine people to be much more different from ourselves and from each other than they actually are. (Some) take real, but small differences, and magnify them into chasms,’” he said, quoting Peter Wood.
  • “The most significant choices can be made by almost everyone regardless of talents, abilities, opportunities or economic circumstances. An emphasis on putting family choices first is essential.”
Conferencegoers file in before the Saturday afternoon session of the 194th Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on Saturday, April 6, 2024. | Megan Nielsen, Deseret News

Elder Gerrit W. Gong, Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

Elder Gong said the Easter season is a time to joyfully testify of Jesus Christ’s perfect life, atoning sacrifice and glorious Resurrection, which can provide hope and relief amid life’s most difficult challenges. “When we trust God and his love for us, even our greatest heartbreaks can in the end work together for our good,” he said, sharing the examples of loss and struggle of several church members.

  • “When trials come, often what we most want is for someone to listen and be with us. In the moment, cliché answers can be unhelpful, however comforting their intent. Sometimes we yearn for someone who will grieve, ache and weep with us; let us express pain, frustration, even anger; and acknowledge with us there are things we do not know.”
  • “When we are still, open and reverent, we may feel the beauty, purpose and serenity of the covenant belonging the Lord offers. In sacred moments, he may let us glimpse the larger eternal reality of which our daily lives are part, where small and simple things work together for the good of givers and receivers.”
  • “Jesus Christ’s atonement can deliver and redeem us from sin. But Jesus Christ also intimately understands our every pain, affliction, sickness, sorrow, separation. In time and eternity, his triumph over death and hell can make all things right. He helps heal the broken and disparaged, reconcile the angry and divided, comfort the lonely and isolated, encourage the uncertain and imperfect, and bring forth miracles possible only with God.”
  • “We increase faith and trust in the Lord that all things can work together for our good as we: gain eternal perspective; understand our trials may be ‘but for a small moment’; recognize affliction can be consecrated for our gain; acknowledge accidents, untimely death, debilitating illness and disease are part of mortality; and, trust loving Heavenly Father does not give trials to punish or judge.”

Elder Brent H. Nielson, Presidency of the Seventy

Elder Nielson began his work career with a firm specializing in trial law. He said he found that the terms he used as a lawyer were the same as those in gospel conversations.

  • “‘Witness’ and ‘testimony’ are terms that we use as we share our knowledge and feelings about the truthfulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ.”
  • He referred to scripture when he was called to the Seventy: “The Seventy are also called ... to be especial witnesses unto the Gentiles and in all the world.” “As you can imagine,” he said, “my eyes were drawn to the term ‘especial witness.’ It became clear to me that I had a responsibility to bear my witness; to testify of the name of Jesus Christ wherever I traveled in the world.”
  • Elder Nielson will receive emeritus status on Aug. 1. He said that in his travels as an “especial witness” he has seen church growth across the globe. He said there now are 71,000 young missionaries baptizing 20,000 people a month. “I am an eyewitness to the ongoing restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ and the fulfilling of the prophecy of Joseph Smith that ‘the truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly and independent, till it has penetrated every continent, visited every clime, swept every country and sounded in every ear.’”
  • “I testify that I have seen with my own eyes what Nephi saw: You, the covenant Saints in every land, armed with righteousness and the power of God.”
Sister Milica Pauković of Serbia scans the tickets of conferencegoers before the Saturday afternoon session of the 194th Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on Saturday, April 6, 2024. | Megan Nielsen, Deseret News

Elder Massimo De Feo, General Authority Seventy

Elder De Feo said he learned a few months ago he would lose his eyesight if he didn’t receive intravitreal injections — shots into his wide-open eye — every four weeks for the rest of his life. He shared three principles he learned about clear spiritual vision from the biblical story of Bartimaeus.

  • “The first principle we learn is, we keep a clear spiritual vision when we focus on Jesus Christ and stay true to what we know to be true.”
  • “The second principle: We keep a clear spiritual vision when we leave the natural man behind, repent and begin a new life in Christ.”
  • “The third principle: We keep a clear spiritual vision when we hear the voice of the Lord and allow him to guide us.”
  • “May we cry our testimony of Him, louder than the voices around us, in a world that needs to hear more of Jesus Christ and not less.”

Elder José L. Alonso, General Authority Seventy

Elder Alonso said people can find joy by putting Jesus Christ at the center of their lives. He said joy is a gift available to all who reach out with faith and embrace the peace and redemption he freely offers.

  • “The profound questions of the soul, those that surface in our darkest hours and highest trials, are addressed through the unwavering love of Jesus Christ. ... It is through his infinite Atonement that we are offered a gift beyond measure — one of hope, healing and the assurance of his constant, enduring presence in our lives.”
  • “As we diligently seek spiritual guidance, we embark on a deeply transformative odyssey that strengthens our testimony. Comprehending the vastness of our Heavenly Father’s and Jesus Christ’s perfect love, our hearts are filled with gratitude, humility and a renewed desire to pursue the path of discipleship.”
  • “President Russell M. Nelson taught that when the focus of our lives is on God’s plan of salvation ... and Jesus Christ and his gospel, we can feel joy regardless of what is happening — or not happening — in our lives. Joy comes from and because of him.”
People look out at the waterfall at the Conference Center during the afternoon session of the 194th Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on Saturday, April 6, 2024. | Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

Brother Michael T. Nelson, second counselor in the Young Men Presidency

Brother Nelson taught that Christ’s church assists parents to raise children. He said young people can be blessed by the relationships sought with them by parents, local church leaders and the members of their stakes, wards and branches.

  • “The entire ward will be blessed and strengthened as members focus on the rising generation,” he said. “Despite our imperfections and shortcomings, Heavenly Father invites each of us, through the companionship of his Spirit, to reach out to others.”
  • “Acting on promptings from the Lord builds relationships of love and trust. It is relationships in the lives of the youth that have the greatest influence on their choices.”
  • “We can be powerful examples to the youth of how disciples of Christ live today. Faithful parents are praying for these examples in the lives of their children. No program can replace the influence of loving, covenant-keeping adults.”

Music for the session was provided by a BYU-Idaho student choir. Prayers were provided by Elder Ryan K. Olsen of the Seventy and President Emily Belle Freeman, the Young Women general president.

The morning session was attended by 15,032. Afternoon attendance was 15,629.

The church reintroduced the standby line for seating in the Conference Center on Saturday. The standby line had not been employed since October 2019 because of the pandemic and the extensive renovation of the Salt Lake Temple, which took up space on Temple Square where the standby line was.

The standby line provides access both to overflow seating on Temple Square and for potential access into the Conference Center. The line begins at the Tabernacle on Temple Square.