The President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and his two counselors, sustained by millions worldwide as prophets, seers, and revelators, offered guidance and counsel as they addressed various gospel topics during the 182nd Annual General Conference of the Church at the Conference Center in Salt Lake City, Utah, on March 31—April 1,2012.
President Thomas S. Monson urged priesthood holders to do their duties and find joy in doing so. He said, “Miracles are everywhere to be found when the priesthood is understood, its power is honored and used properly, and faith is exerted. When faith replaces doubt, when selfless service eliminates selfish striving, the power of God brings to pass His purposes.”
In the opening session, President Monson urged members to live the gospel more fully, to oppose evil, and to listen to the talks, saying, “I can assure you that those men and women who will address you have sought heaven’s help and direction as they have prepared their messages. They have been inspired concerning that which they will share with us.
“Our Heavenly Father is mindful of each of us and our needs. May we be filled with His Spirit as we partake of the proceedings of this conference.”
In his Sunday Morning address, President Monson urged members to avoid the distractions of life and remember the things that are of greatest importance: family, service, and living the gospel. He said, “Where did we come from? Why are we here? Where do we go after this life? No longer need these universal questions remain unanswered. From the very depths of my soul and in all humility, I testify that those things of which I have spoken are true.
“Our Heavenly Father rejoices for those who keep His commandments. He is concerned also for the lost child, the tardy teenager, the wayward youth, the delinquent parent. Tenderly the Master speaks to these and indeed to all: ‘Come back. Come up. Come in. Come home. Come unto me.’”
In closing the conference, President Monson reminded listeners that Heavenly Father is mindful of our circumstances and will help us as we pray to Him. He thanked members for their service and said, “My beloved brothers and sisters, I desire with all my heart to do God’s will and to serve Him and to serve you.
“Now as we leave this conference, I invoke the blessings of heaven upon each of you—the building is full. May you who are away from your homes return to them safely. May you ponder the truths you have heard, and may they help you to become even better than you were when conference began two days ago.”
In the Saturday morning session, President Henry B. Eyring, first counselor in the First Presidency, spoke about the power of faith in helping members dealing with adversity, saying, “If we have faith in Jesus Christ, the hardest as well as the easiest times in life can be a blessing. In all conditions, we can choose the right with the guidance of the Spirit. We have the gospel of Jesus Christ to shape and guide our lives if we choose it. And with prophets revealing to us our place in the plan of salvation, we can live with perfect hope and a feeling of peace. We never need to feel that we are alone or unloved in the Lord’s service because we never are.”
During the priesthood session President Eyring emphasized the importance of the sealing power to families and to the priesthood. He said, “Melchizedek Priesthood holders who are fathers in sealed families have been taught what they must do. There is nothing that has come or will come into your family as important as the sealing blessings. There is nothing more important than honoring the marriage and family covenants you have made or will make in the temples of God.”
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, second counselor in the First Presidency, encouraged members to extend mercy and forgiveness to one another to repair damaged relationships. He asked members not to judge one another, gossip, or harm one another.
“The pure love of Christ can remove the scales of resentment and wrath from our eyes, allowing us to see others the way our Heavenly Father sees us: as flawed and imperfect mortals who have potential and worth far beyond our capacity to imagine. Because God loves us so much, we too must love and forgive each other.”
The what of priesthood service is important but the why of priesthood service will help us discover the “fire, passion and power of the priesthood,” said President Uchtdorf during the priesthood session.
“When the Lord advises us to ‘continue in patience until [we] are perfected,’ He is acknowledging that it takes time and perseverance. Understanding the why of the gospel and the why of the priesthood will help us to see the divine purpose of all this. It will give us motivation and strength to do the right things, even when they are hard. Staying focused on the basic principles of gospel living will bless us with clarity, wisdom, and direction.”