My beloved brothers and sisters, I am grateful for the opportunity to speak with you in this Saturday evening session of general conference. In his introduction to the conference this morning, President Russell M. Nelson said that “pure revelation for the questions in your heart will make this conference rewarding and unforgettable. If you have not yet sought for the ministering of the Holy Ghost to help you hear what the Lord would have you hear during these two days, I invite you to do so now.”1 I have sought for that blessing as I have prepared to receive revelation for this visit with you. My earnest prayer is that you may receive revelation from God.
The way to receive revelation from God has not changed from the days of Adam and Eve. It has been the same for all called servants of the Lord from the beginning to the present day. It is the same for you and me. It is always done by exercising faith.2
The teenage Joseph Smith had faith sufficient to ask a question of God, believing that God would answer his heartfelt need. The answer that came changed the world. He wanted to know what church to join to be cleansed of sin. The answer he received encouraged him to keep asking ever-better questions and to act on the continuing flow of revelation that had just begun.3
Your experience can possibly be similar in this conference. You have questions for which you seek answers. You have at least enough faith to hope that you will receive answers from the Lord through His servants.4 You will not have the opportunity to ask aloud for answers from the speakers, but you can ask your loving Father in prayer.
I know from experience that answers will come to fit your needs and your spiritual preparation. If you need an answer that is important to your eternal welfare or that of others, the answer is more likely to come. Yet even then, you may receive—as did Joseph Smith—the answer to be patient.5
If your faith in Jesus Christ has led to a heart softened through the effects of His Atonement, you will be more able to feel the whisperings of the Spirit in answer to your prayers. My personal experience is that the still, small voice—which is real—is clear and discernible in my mind when I feel an internal quiet and submission to the Lord’s will. That feeling of humility can be best described as “Not my will, but thine, be done.”6
This process of revelation is why you will hear speakers teach in this conference what is called the doctrine of Christ.7 Revelation comes to us in proportion to the degree to which we have sought to take the doctrine of Christ into our hearts and implement it in our lives.
You remember from the Book of Mormon that Nephi taught us that faith in Jesus Christ is the key to receiving revelations of truth and the key to having the confidence that we are following the Savior’s direction. Nephi wrote the following words centuries before the birth of Jesus Christ into mortality:
“Angels speak by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore, they speak the words of Christ. Wherefore, I said unto you, feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do.
“Wherefore, now after I have spoken these words, if ye cannot understand them it will be because ye ask not, neither do ye knock; wherefore, ye are not brought into the light, but must perish in the dark.
“For behold, again I say unto you that if ye will enter in by the way, and receive the Holy Ghost, it will show unto you all things what ye should do.
“Behold, this is the doctrine of Christ, and there will be no more doctrine given until after he shall manifest himself unto you in the flesh. And when he shall manifest himself unto you in the flesh, the things which he shall say unto you shall ye observe to do.”8
The Lord will say things through His servants to you and to me today and in the days ahead. He will tell us what things we should do.9 The Savior will not shout commands to you and me. As He taught Elijah:
“And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the Lord. And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake:
“And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.”10
Hearing that voice will come from our faith in Him. With sufficient faith, we will ask for direction with the intent to go and do whatever He asks.11 We will have developed the faith to know that whatever He asks will bless others and that we can be purified in the process because of His love for us.
As our faith in Jesus Christ will have led us to ask the Father for answers, that faith will also have brought the Savior’s softening touch enough for us to hear His direction and be determined and excited to obey. We then will sing the words of the hymn with joy, even when the work is hard: “Sweet is the work, my God, my King.”12
The more we have the doctrine of Christ in our lives and hearts, the more we feel greater love and sympathy for those who have never had the blessings of faith in Jesus Christ or are struggling to maintain it. It is hard to keep the Lord’s commandments without faith and trust in Him. As some lose their faith in the Savior, they may even attack His counsel, calling good evil and evil good.13 To avoid this tragic error, it is crucial that any personal revelation we receive be consonant with the teachings of the Lord and His prophets.
Brothers and sisters, it takes faith to be obedient to the Lord’s commandments. It takes faith in Jesus Christ to serve others for Him. It takes faith to go out to teach His gospel and offer it to people who may not feel the voice of the Spirit or may even deny the reality of the message. But as we exercise our faith in Christ—and follow His living prophet—faith will increase across the world. Because of technology, perhaps more of God’s children will hear and recognize the word of God this weekend than during any other two days in history.
With increasing faith that this is the Lord’s Church and kingdom on earth, more members pay tithing and donate to assist those in need, even as those members face trials of their own. With faith that they are called by Jesus Christ, missionaries across the world have found ways to rise above the challenges created by a pandemic, doing so with courage and good cheer. And in their extra effort, their faith has grown stronger.
Opposition and trials have long been a seedbed for the growth of faith. That has always been true, especially since the beginning of the Restoration and the founding of the Lord’s Church.14
What President George Q. Cannon said long ago is true today and will be until the Savior comes personally to lead His Church and His people: “Obedience to the Gospel brings [people] into very close and intimate relationship with the Lord. It establishes a close connection between men on the earth and our Great Creator in the heavens. It brings to the human mind a feeling of perfect confidence in the Almighty and in His willingness to listen to and answer the supplications of those who trust in Him. In times of trial and difficulty this confidence is beyond price. Trouble may come upon the individual or upon the people, disaster may threaten and every human hope may seem to be overthrown, yet, where [people] have availed themselves of the privileges which obedience to the Gospel brings, they have a sure standing place; their feet are upon a rock that cannot be moved.”15
It is my testimony that the rock upon which we stand is our witness that Jesus is the Christ; that this is His Church, which He leads personally; and that President Russell M. Nelson is His living prophet today.
President Nelson seeks and receives direction from the Lord. He is for me an example of seeking that direction with the determination to follow it. That same determination to be obedient to the Lord’s direction is in the hearts of all those who have spoken or will speak, pray, or sing in this general conference of His Church.
I pray that those across the earth who watch or listen to this conference will have the feeling of the Lord’s love for them. Heavenly Father has answered my prayer that I might feel at least a tiny part of the Savior’s love for you and His love for His Heavenly Father, who is our Heavenly Father.
I testify that Jesus Christ lives. He is our Savior and our Redeemer. This is His Church. He is at its head. He, with His Heavenly Father, appeared in person to Joseph Smith in a grove of trees in New York. The gospel of Jesus Christ and His priesthood were restored through heavenly messengers.16 By the power of the Holy Ghost, I know that is true.
I pray that you may have that same witness. I pray that you will ask Heavenly Father for the faith in Jesus Christ you need to make and keep the covenants that will allow the Holy Ghost to be your constant companion. I leave you with my love and my sure witness in the sacred name of Jesus Christ, amen.