Forgive all, bury any inclination to hurt others, President Nelson says Sunday morning
‘I invite you to seek an end to a personal conflict that has weighed you down,’ the church president tells Latter-day Saints
Those who love Christ should end all conflicts in their lives and bury any inclination to hurt others, President Russell M. Nelson said Sunday morning at the 192nd Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City, Utah.
“How can we expect peace to exist in the world when we are not individually seeking peace and harmony?” he said. “Brothers and sisters, I know what I’m suggesting is not easy. But followers of Jesus Christ should set the example for all the world to follow. I plead with you to do all you can to end personal conflicts that are currently raging in your hearts and in your lives.”
Other leaders said God’s children should set aside their mortal myopia, trust his promises and seek a deep relationship with him and Jesus Christ.
They said good works matter and also encouraged church members to share Christ’s gospel naturally by example and by sharing their positive experiences with gospel living.
“In the end, it is the blessing of a close and abiding relationship with the Father and the Son that we seek. It makes all the difference and is everlastingly worth the cost,” said Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.
- President Nelson delivered his second talk of the conference. Three members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles also spoke — Elders Christofferson, Ronald A. Rasband and Gary E. Stevenson.
- The other speakers were Sister Amy A. Wright, second counselor in the Primary General Presidency, and two General Authority Seventies, Elders Michael T. Ringwood and Hugo E. Martinez of Puerto Rico.
What were the themes?
- Forgiving others can end the conflicts that rage inside your heart. President Nelson issued a specific invitation related to this.
- Trust God’s timing and love.
- Love, share and invite others to embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ
- The Bible teaches how to change and how to thrive spiritually in confusing, contentious times.
- More than 1.5 million Latter-day Saint missionaries have sown Christ’s message of peace around the world since 1830, Elder Stevenson said.
- The church will have new Relief Society and Primary general presidencies on Aug. 1.
- There are also six new General Authority Seventies.
- The church announced it grew to 16.8 million members in 2021. See other statistics from the annual report released Saturday here.
What was said
President Nelson addressed “the armed conflict in eastern Europe.”
- “I have been to Ukraine and Russia many times. I love those lands, the people, and their languages. I weep and pray for all who are affected by this conflict. As a church we are doing all we can to help those who are suffering and struggling to survive. We invite everyone to continue to fast and pray for all the people being hurt by this calamity. Any war is a horrifying violation of everything the Lord Jesus Christ stands for and teaches.”
He turned from that to a call for people to love and forgive others as Christ taught.
- “None of us can control nations, or the actions of others, or even members of our own families. But we can each control ourselves. My call today, dear brothers and sisters, is to end the conflicts that are raging in your heart, your home and your life. Bury any and all inclinations to hurt others — whether those inclinations be a temper, a sharp tongue or a resentment for someone who has hurt you. The Savior commanded us to turn the other cheek, to love our enemies and to pray for those who despitefully use us.”
President Nelson encouraged listeners to build positive spiritual momentum in their lives, saying it is more needed than ever because of intensifying evil and darker signs of the times.
- “Positive spiritual momentum will keep us moving forward amid the fear and uncertainty created by pandemics, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions and armed hostilities. Spiritual momentum can help us withstand the relentless, wicked attacks of the adversary and thwart his efforts to erode our personal spiritual foundation.”
He suggested five specific actions to build and maintain positive spiritual momentum.
- “My dear brothers and sisters, with all the pleadings of my heart, I urge you to get on the covenant path and stay there. Experience the joy of repenting daily. Learn about God and how he works. Seek and expect miracles. Strive to end conflict in your life.”
- “As you act on these pursuits, I promise you the ability to move forward on the covenant path with increased momentum, despite whatever obstacles you face. And I promise you greater strength to resist temptation, more peace of mind and freedom from fear, and greater unity in your families.”
President Nelson twice urged listeners to cast Satan’s influence out of their lives and issued a specific invitation.
- “Two weeks from today we celebrate Easter. Between now and then, I invite you to seek an end to a personal conflict that has weighed you down. Could there be a more fitting act of gratitude to Jesus Christ for his Atonement? If forgiveness presently seems impossible, plead for power through the atoning blood of Jesus Christ to help you. As you do so, I promise personal peace and a burst of spiritual momentum.”
Elder Christofferson said it is mortal myopia to expect God to deliver blessings as humans want and that good works matter as part of personal development.
- “No matter what our mortal experience may entail, we can trust God and find joy in him,” he added.
- “God will indeed honor his covenants and promises to each of us. We need not worry about that. ... But not every blessing predicated on obedience to law is shaped, designed and timed according to our expectations. We do our best but must leave to him the management of blessings, both temporal and spiritual.
- “Our repentance and obedience, our sacrifices and our good works do matter. ... These things matter because they engage us in God’s work and are the means by which we collaborate with him in our own transformation from natural man to saint. What our Heavenly Father offers us is himself and his Son, a close and enduring relationship with them through the grace and mediation of Jesus Christ, our Redeemer.”
He said the path to spiritual growth and refinement will not be easy but is worth the effort.
- “In the midst of this refiner’s fire, rather than get angry with God, get close to God. Call upon the Father in the name of the Son. Walk with them in the Spirit, day by day. Allow them over time to manifest their fidelity to you. Come truly to know them and truly to know yourself. Let God prevail.”
Elder Rasband said religious freedom helps heal the world’s problems.
- “There is another scourge sweeping the globe; attacks on your and my religious freedom. This growing sentiment seeks to remove religion and faith in God from the public square, schools, community standards and civic discourse. Opponents of religious freedom seek to impose restrictions on expressions of heart-felt convictions. They even criticize and ridicule faith traditions.”
- “Brothers and Sisters, I invite you to champion the cause of religious freedom. It is an expression of the God-given principle of agency. Religious freedom brings balance to competing philosophies. The good of religion, its reach, and the daily acts of love which religion inspires only multiply when we protect the freedom to express and act on core beliefs.”
He shared four principles of religious freedom.
- “First, religious freedom honors the first and second great commandments placing God at the center of our lives … Second, religious freedom fosters expressions of belief, hope and peace … Third, religion inspires people to help others … Fourth, freedom of religion acts as a unifying and rallying force for shaping values and morality.”
Elder Stevenson asked Latter-day Saints to simply, naturally love, share with and invite people to the gospel of Jesus Christ. He also noted that the church now has sent out 1.5 million missionaries since its founding in 1830.
- “Through Christlike love for others, we preach with eloquence the glorious, life-transforming properties of Christ’s gospel, and we participate significantly in the fulfilling of his great commission.”
- “By sharing our positive experiences in the gospel with others, we take part in fulfilling the Savior’s great commission.”
- “In our digital age, members often share messages through social media. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of uplifting things you might find worthy of sharing. This content offers invitations to ‘come and see,’ ‘come and serve’ and ‘come and belong.’”
Sister Wright shared New Testament stories and lessons to show that “another way to say ‘go, and sin no more’ could be ‘go forth and change.’”
- “Because of Christ, our decision to ‘go forth and change’ can also allow us to ‘go forth and heal.’ For he is the source of healing all that is broken in our lives.
- “There is nothing in your life that is broken that is beyond the curative, redeeming and enabling power of Jesus Christ.”
- “With the depiction of this father in the parable of the prodigal son, the Savior emphasized that forgiveness is one of the noblest gifts we can give one another and most specifically ourselves. Unburdening our hearts through forgiveness isn’t always easy, but through the enabling power of Jesus Christ, it is possible.”
- “Waiting upon the Lord can be a sacred place. A place of polishing and refining where we can come to know the Savior in a deeply personal way. ... A place where spiritual perseverance requires us to exercise faith in Christ by intentionally choosing him again and again and again. I know this place and I understand this type of waiting.”
Elder Ringwood shared Old Testament stories to show God’s perfect love for each person.
- “Brothers and sisters, we are the focus of our Heavenly Father’s plan and the reason for our Savior’s mission. Each of us, individually is their work and their glory.”
- The Old Testament “teaches the role of prophets in uncertain times and God’s hand in a world that was confused and often contentious. It is also about humble believers who faithfully looked forward to the coming of our Savior, just as we look forward to and prepare for his Second Coming — his long-prophesied, glorious return.”
Elder Martinez focused his remarks on self-reliance and how it can be taught to children and to youth.
- “Striving to be self-reliant is part of our work along the covenant path to strengthen our faith in Jesus Christ and be joyfully bound to him by the covenants and ordinances of salvation and exaltation. Self-reliance is a doctrine of the gospel of Jesus Christ and not a program. It is a process that lasts a lifetime, and not an event.”
- “We ought not to think of God’s plan as a cosmic vending machine where we (1) select a desired blessing, (2) insert the required sum of good works, and (3) the order is promptly delivered.” — Elder Christofferson
- “Whenever we show Christlike love towards our neighbor, we preach the gospel — even if we do not voice a single word. ... By demonstrating Christ’s love to others, we may cause those who see our good works to glorify our Father which is in heaven. We do this expecting nothing in return.” — Elder Stevenson
- “It matters little whether people accept or reject our love — or our message. How they react is not within our control. What we do and who we are certainly is.” — Elder Stevenson
- “I spent countless hours at a cancer treatment facility united in my suffering with many who were yearning to be healed. Some lived; others did not. I learned in a profound way that deliverance from our trials is different for each of us, and therefore our focus should be less about the way in which we are delivered and more about the Deliverer Himself. Our emphasis should always be on Jesus Christ! Exercising faith in Christ means trusting not only in God’s will but also in his timing. For he knows exactly what we need and precisely when we need it.” — Sister Wright
Venue and attendance
- The Conference Center is open to the ticketed public for the first time in 30 months.
- The Conference Center’s capacity is 21,000, but the church limited attendance to 10,000 because of construction on and around Temple Square for the renovation of the Salt Lake Temple.
- The general public hadn’t attended a conference session since October 2019.
Prayers and hymns
Elder Shayne M. Bowen, a General Authority Seventy, gave the opening prayer. Elder Benjamín De Hoyos, a General Authority Seventy from Mexico, offered the closing prayer.
The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square performed live for the weekly broadcast of “Music & the Spoken Word” from the Conference Center immediately before the Sunday morning session began. You can watch it here.
- During the session, the choir sang “High on the Mountain Top,” “Press Forward Saints,” “I Know That My Redeemer Lives,” “How Firm a Foundation,” “If the Savior Stood Beside Me” and “It is Well with My Soul.”