Jesus Christ is the strength of parents, and covenants provide power in life and a pathway to exaltation in heaven, leaders said Saturday afternoon during the 193rd Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

All parents feel somewhat inadequate, Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, said.

  • “Fortunately, there is a divine source of help for parents: It is Jesus Christ,” he said. He added, “The Savior will help you, guide you and encourage you. Seek his help. Inquire of the Lord! Just as Jesus Christ is the strength of youth, Jesus Christ is also the strength of parents.”

He said no matter how parents may feel, their love for the child qualifies them, Elder Uchtdorf said.

  • “A parent’s love for a child is one of the strongest forces in the universe,” he said. “It’s one of the few things on this earth that can truly be eternal.”

He noted that some parents may feel their relationship with a child is less than ideal.

  • “That’s where the Savior’s power comes in. He heals the sick, and he can heal relationships. He multiplies bread and fish, and he can multiply the love and the joy in your home.”

He encouraged parents to be prayerful, seek revelation for their parenting through the Holy Ghost and pray to see their children as God sees them. Christ can make weak things strong and provide miracles.

  • “With God’s help, you can learn to know your children in a pure and heavenly way,” he said.
  • “Does that mean you and your family will be picture-perfect? No. But you will get better. Through the Savior’s grace, little by little, you’ll develop more of the attributes parents need: love for God and his children, patience, selflessness, faith in Christ and courage to make righteous choices.”

Elder Dale G. Renlund, Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

Elder Renlund outlined the place covenants play in Latter-day Saint doctrine.

  • “Keeping covenants made in baptismal fonts and in temples also provides us with strength to withstand mortality’s trials and heartaches.”
  • “Before the earth was created, God established covenants as the mechanism by which we, his children, could unite ourselves to him. Based on eternal, unchanging law, He specified the non-negotiable conditions whereby we are transformed, saved and exalted.”
  • “The term covenant path refers to a series of covenants whereby we come to Christ and connect to him. Through this covenant bond, we have access to his eternal power. The path begins with faith in Jesus Christ and repentance, followed by baptism and receiving the Holy Ghost.”

Covenants such as baptism, temple endowment and temple sealing (for marriage and family) provide direction, maturity, eternal perspective, Godly motivation, increased capacity, protection from evil and greater power to resist temptation, he said.

  • “Keeping covenants made in baptismal fonts and in temples also provides us with strength to withstand mortality’s trials and heartaches. The doctrine associated with these covenants eases our way and provides hope, comfort and peace.”
  • “As you walk the covenant path, from baptism to the temple and throughout life, I promise you power to go against the natural worldly flow — power to learn, power to repent and be sanctified, and power to find hope, comfort and even joy as you face life’s challenges. I promise you and your family protection against the influence of the adversary, especially when you make the temple a major focus in your life.”

Elder Renlund said those who identify themselves completely with their covenants become covenant children of God and inheritors of his kingdom.

President Bonnie H. Cordon, Young Women general president, and her counsellors Sister Michelle D. Craig and Sister Becky Craven hold hands after being released during the 193rd Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City on Saturday, April 1, 2023. | Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

Announcements

President Dallin H. Oaks, first counselor in the First Presidency, announced a new Young Women presidency, changes to the Young Men presidency and five new General Authority Seventies.

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The church also released a new statistical report for 2022, which showed the church now has grown beyond 17 million members.

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Additional speakers

Elder Peter F. Meurs, a General Authority Seventy serving in the Asia Area Presidency, said that in 1990, he fell asleep at the wheel and caused a head-on car accident that caused injuries to several members of his family. He faced ongoing, deep feelings of guilt and remorse.

  • “Whether you are carrying the burden of unresolved sin, suffering because of an offense committed against you long ago, or struggling to forgive yourself for an accidental mistake, you have access to the healing, redeeming power of the Savior Jesus Christ.”

Elder Randall K. Bennett, a General Authority Seventy serving in the North America Central Area Presidency, said he suffered from anxiety as a boy when his parents struggled in their marriage and ultimately divorced.

  • “Cherishing my patriarchal blessing while I was young blessed me with courage when I was discouraged, comfort when I was fearful, peace when I felt anxious, hope when I felt hopeless and joy when I needed it most.”

Elder Craig C. Christensen, a General Authority Seventy and president of the South America South Area, said that true godly joy was bought with the blood of Jesus Christ and is worth any necessary life change.

  • “Repentance brings joy because it prepares our hearts to receive the influence of the Holy Ghost. To be filled with joy means to be filled with the Holy Ghost. Our joy increases as we work daily to bring the Spirit into our lives.”

Elder Evan A. Schmutz, a General Authority Seventy and first counselor in the Utah Area Presidency, said intentionally trusting the doctrine of Christ changes the way one lives their life.

  • Jesus did not speak of the possibility of rain and flood and wind in our lives; He spoke of the certainty that storms will arise. The variable in the parable is not whether storms will come but how we have responded to his loving invitation to both hear and do what he has taught. There is no other way to survive.
  • When we have built our houses on the foundation of a covenantal relationship with Christ, we are trusting the doctrine of Christ and, as we come unto him, we have his promise of eternal life. People who trust the doctrine of Christ endure to the end.

Elder Benjamin De Hoyos, who was released as a General Authority Seventy on Saturday, said that temple and family history are one and the same work in the church.

  • “As we follow the guidance of the prophets and learn how to do our family history and perform the temple ordinances for our ancestors, we will experience great joy to the point we will not want to stop doing it.”

The Hollands have COVID-19

As noted Saturday morning, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles did not attend the Saturday morning session because he and his wife have COVID-19, said President Dallin H. Oaks, first counselor in the First Presidency, who conducted the session. Elder Holland watched conference from home, he said in a tweet.

A BYU combined choir sings during the 193rd Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City on Saturday, April 1, 2023. | Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

BYU choir provides music

A combined choir from Brigham Young University provided the music for the Saturday afternoon session.

  • The students sang “How Firm a Foundation,” “The Lord is My Shepherd,” “The Lord is My Light” and “Abide With Me, ’Tis Eventide.”

The opening prayer was provided by Elder Alan R. Walker, a General Authority Seventy from Argentina and second counselor in the church’s South America South Area Presidency.

The closing prayer was given by Sister Tracy Y. Browning, second counselor in the Primary General Presidency.

Ben Roberts, 21, and Makayle Thompson, 21, both students at Utah Valley University, arrive for the Saturday afternoon session of the 193rd Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on Saturday, April 1, 2023. | Spenser Heaps, Deseret News

Conference so far

  • Conference actually began with leadership sessions earlier this week. On Thursday, the First Presidency announced 61 new Area Seventies.
  • During the Saturday morning session earlier today, Elder Gary E. Stevenson said the Book of Mormon shares the greatest Easter story ever told. He encouraged church members to make Easter as rich in tradition among Latter-day Saints as Christmas is.
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Other speakers in the morning were President Henry B. Eyring, President Bonnie H. Cordon, and Elders Quentin L. Cook, Gerrit W. Gong, Carl B. Cook and Allen D. Haynie.