Sow Christ’s message of peace around the world and run to help those who are hurting, leaders told members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Saturday during the first day of the faith’s 192nd Annual General Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah.

“Contention violates everything the Savior stood for and taught,” President Russell M. Nelson said. “I love the Lord Jesus Christ and testify that his gospel is the only enduring solution for peace. His gospel is a gospel of peace.”

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He and other church leaders asked members to help stop suicide and all forms of abuse and be peacemakers who help reduce contention online and everywhere else.

They spoke to a global audience from the Conference Center, where the doors opened for the first time in 30 months and 10,000 attended because the pandemic has subsided. The audience was limited to 50% capacity, however, because of renovation work around the Salt Lake Temple.

President Nelson didn’t mention Ukraine by name but referred to the suffering there, saying “the world has been rocked by a conflict that is raining terror on millions of innocent men, women and children.”

Thousands have died and more than 10.5 million people have been displaced, nearly 25% of Ukraine’s population, The Associated Press reported. Nearly 10% of the population, over 4.1 million people, have fled the country as refugees, UNHCR reported.

The church has responded by providing $8 million directly to various relief agencies. Local church leaders and congregations across Western Europe are heavily involved in helping refugees.

“We call upon people everywhere to pray for those in need, to do what they can to help the distressed and to seek the Lord’s help in ending any major conflicts,” President Nelson said.

But global conflict also emphasizes the need for missionaries to plant the peaceable message of Jesus Christ worldwide, he said.

“His gospel is the only answer when many in the world are stunned with fear. This underscores the urgent need for us to follow the Lord’s instruction to his disciples to ‘go ... into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature,’” he said. “We have the sacred responsibility to share the power and peace of Jesus Christ with all who will listen and who will let God prevail in their lives.

Sustained again during the Saturday’s sessions as the church’s prophet-leader, President Nelson reiterated the half-century call for all able, worthy young men to serve missions. He also asked the young women to seek personal revelation whether they should serve, too.

“As an apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ, I call upon you young men, and those young women who desire to serve a mission, to begin right now to talk with your parents about serving a mission,” said President M. Russell Ballard, acting president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

“I also invite you to talk with your friends about serving a mission and if one of your friends is not sure about serving, encourage them to talk with their bishop. Commit to yourselves and to Heavenly Father that you will serve a mission.”

The church said its membership has grown to 16.8 million members and announced new Relief Society and Primary general presidencies — one includes a Black woman for the first time — and six new General Authority Seventies.

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The day’s 20 speakers focused church members on helping others and answering the world’s problems with the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

“Every person who has made covenants with God has promised to care about others and serve those in need,” President Nelson said.

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles called life one of the greatest gifts and made direct impassioned pleas both to Latter-day Saint adults to watch over the church’s youth and to young people to seek help for suicide ideation.

“We must commit ourselves fully to that gift of life and run to the aid of those who are at risk of giving up this sacred gift,” he said. “Leaders, advisers, friends, family — watch for signs of depression, despair or anything hinting of self-harm. Offer your help. Listen. Make some kind of intervention as appropriate.”

He spoke directly to young people experiencing suicide ideation.

“To any of our youth out there struggling, whatever your concerns or difficulties, death by suicide is manifestly not the answer,” Elder Holland said. “It will not relieve the pain you are feeling or that you see yourself causing. In a world that so desperately needs all the light it can get, please do not minimize the eternal light God put in your soul before this world was. Talk to someone. Ask for help. Do not destroy a life that Christ gave his life to preserve.”

He said the church offers young people the most significant ways “to both find good and do good at such a needful time.”

“You can bear the struggles of this mortal life because we will help you bear them. You are stronger than you think. Help is available, from others and especially from God. You are loved and valued and needed. We need you.”

Another leader delivered a resounding denouncement of all forms of abuse.

“There is no place for any kind of abuse — physical, sexual, emotional, or verbal — in any home, any country or any culture,” said Elder Patrick Kearon of the presidency of the Seventy. “Nothing a wife, child or husband might do or say makes them ‘deserve’ to be beaten. No one, in any country or culture, is ever ‘asking for’ aggression or violence from someone else in authority or by someone who is bigger and stronger.”

He said those who have endured abuse, neglect, bullying, domestic violence or other kinds of suffering can heal and experience personal survival stories with the help of Jesus Christ.

“You have in fact already been rescued; you have already been saved — by the one who has suffered the very torment you are suffering and endured the very agony you are enduring,” he said. “Jesus has overcome the abuses of this world to give you power to not only survive, but one day, through him, to overcome and even conquer — to completely rise above the pain, the misery, the anguish and see them replaced by peace.”

Elder Kearon said abuse survivors are defined not by the abuse but by their “eternally existing identity as a son or daughter of God ...” and said abuse is never the fault of the survivor.

“When you have been a victim of cruelty, incest or other perversion, you are not the one who needs to repent; you are not responsible ...,” he said. “Whatever has happened to you, (God) is not ashamed of you or disappointed in you. He loves you in a way you have yet to discover. And you will discover it as you trust in his promises and as you learn to believe him when he says you are ‘precious in his sight.’”

Help will come from the church, which Sister Reyna I. Aburto said is its members.

“My fellow disciples of Christ, let us not underestimate the marvelous work the Lord is doing through us, his church, despite our shortcomings. Sometimes we are givers and sometimes we are receivers, but we are all one family in Christ. His church is the structure he has given to guide and bless us as we worship him and serve each other,” said Sister Aburto, second counselor in the outgoing Relief Society General Presidency.

Multiple speakers provided counsel on how to build and maintain consistent, steady peace and faith. They focused on covenants.

Nothing is more important, said President Jean B. Bingham, outgoing Relief Society general president.

“The key to lasting happiness is living the gospel of Jesus Christ and keeping our covenants,” she said.

President Henry B. Eyring, second counselor in the First Presidency, invited listeners to make and keep the covenants Christ offers through The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He promised they would strengthen those that do.

“When the storms in life come, you can be steady because you are standing on the rock of your faith in Jesus Christ,” he said. “That faith will lead you to daily repentance and consistent covenant keeping. Then you will always remember him. And through the storms of hatred and wickedness, you will feel steady and hopeful.”

Elders David A. Bednar and Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said covenant keeping and following Christ’s example can help Latter-day Saints navigate the polarized voices on social media, evil influences and anti-religious fervor.

“I frankly do not have the ability to describe adequately the precise nature and power of our covenant connection with the resurrected and living Son of God,” Elder Bednar said. “But I witness that the connections with him and Heavenly Father are real and are the ultimate sources of assurance, peace, joy and the spiritual strength that enable us to ‘fear not, though the enemy deride.’ As covenant-making and covenant-keeping disciples of Jesus Christ, we can be blessed to take ‘courage, for the Lord is on our side’ and pay no attention to evil influences and secular scoffing.”

Elder Andersen suggested Latter-day Saints should be peaceable followers of Christ, but said, “Peacemakers are not passive; they are persuasive in the Savior’s way.”

“How does a peacemaker calm and cool the fiery darts?” he said. “Certainly not by shrinking before those who disparage us. Rather, we remain confident in our faith, sharing our beliefs with conviction, but always void of anger or malice.”

During the women’s session on Saturday night, Elder Dale G. Renlund of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said the church’s Young Women Theme includes truths about heavenly parents, divine nature, eternal destiny and sacred covenants.

He said the church’s doctrine about heavenly parents is real and powerful. What is known about mother in heaven is summarized in the church’s Gospel Topics, he said.

“Once you have read what is there, you will know everything that I know about the subject. I wish I knew more,” Elder Renlund said. “You, too, may still have questions and want to find more answers. Seeking greater understanding is an important part of our spiritual development, but please be cautious. Reason cannot replace revelation.”

“Speculation will not lead to greater spiritual knowledge,” he added, “but it can lead to deception or divert our focus from what has been revealed. For example, the Savior taught His disciples: ‘always pray unto the Father in my name’ We follow this pattern and direct our worship to our Heavenly Father in the name of Jesus Christ, and do not pray to heavenly mother.”

That exactness is important, he said.

“We cannot create our own path and expect God’s promised outcomes,” he said.