Church leaders encouraged members to have a ‘big change of heart’ and cling to the Savior amid today’s dispute during the Saturday morning session of the 192nd Annual General Conference .
It was the first session since the pandemic with an in-person audience. Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve urged members to “persevere” and “disregard” evil influences during the challenges and conflicts of mortality.
The covenants and ordinances of the gospel function like a “compass,” showing people their connection to the Lord as they progress along the covenant path.
“As followers of Jesus Christ who make and keep covenants, we can be blessed to take ‘courage, for the Lord is on our side’ and pay no heed to evil influences and secular mockery,” said said Elder Bednar. “Press. Hold on. Pay no attention.
A specific challenge today is the powerful impact of the Internet. A person’s voice can be multiplied exponentially whether it is true or false, said Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve.
Some see the First Presidency and the Qurum of Twelve as having worldly motivations like political, business and cultural leaders, Elder Andersen said. The words of the Lord through His prophets are often contrary to worldly thinking and trends.
“It is heartbreaking for all of us when harsh or dismissive words about the Savior, His disciples, and His Church are spoken or published by those who have stood with us, partake of the sacrament with us, and testified with us of the divine mission of Jesus Christ,” Elder Andersen said.
But the Lord taught people past and present how to live in a world of contempt, Elder Andersen said, by being peacemakers.
“By the shield of our faith in Jesus Christ, we become peacemakers, quenching, that is, calming, cooling or quenching, all the fiery darts of the adversary,” Elder Andersen said.
President Russell M. Nelson called for peace in today’s conflict and said the gospel of Jesus Christ has never been more needed than it is today.
“As followers of Jesus Christ, we implore the leaders of the nations to find peaceful solutions to their differences,” President Nelson said. “We call on people everywhere to pray for those in need, to do what they can to help those in need, and to seek the Lord’s help to end any major conflict.
President Nelson said members have a sacred responsibility to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with others. He reaffirmed that the Lord expects every worthy and able young man to serve a mission.
“All missionaries teach and testify of the Savior,” President Nelson said. “Spiritual darkness in the world makes the light of Jesus Christ more necessary than ever.”
Mr. Russell Ballard, acting president of the Quorum of the Twelve, reiterated President Nelson’s call for every worthy and able young man to serve a mission.
For a time, President Ballard said his parents didn’t go to church because his father was so committed to saving his car dealership and supporting a family. He was grateful for their enthusiastic support of his decision to go on a mission and for the good friends who had helped him make that decision.
President Ballard said missionaries will come to know the Savior through their experiences and grow spiritually as they serve Him. “I testify that my mission is when I learned that my Heavenly Father and my Savior Jesus Christ know and love me.
Another way to find peace is to “become like a child,” as the Savior taught. Henry B. Eyring, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, said that becoming a child gives individuals the strength to stand steady in times of peril.
“I have learned from experience that the Holy Ghost most often speaks in a quiet voice, heard most easily when the heart is soft and submissive, like that of a child,” President Eyring said.
Becoming like a child isn’t always easy to accept, he says, and some may see it as a weakness. But the Savior Himself prayed to His Father for strength to do His will.
Eduardo Gavarret, General Authority Seventy, encouraged members to achieve a “great change of heart” by coming to Christ and committing to keep His commandments.
“This turnaround is not an event; it takes faith, repentance, and constant spiritual work to get there,” Elder Gavarett said. “It begins when we desire to submit our will to the Lord, and it materializes when we make and keep covenants with Him.
Another way to find peace is to attend church meetings and develop relationships with other attendees. Sister Reyna I. Aburto, second counselor in the Relief Society general presidency, highlighted the support that comes from Church communities and the contributions of its members.
“Sometimes we give and sometimes we receive, but we are all one family in Christ,” Sister Aburto said. “His Church is the structure he has given to guide and bless us as we worship him and serve one another.”
Larry S. Kacher of the Quorum of the Seventy spoke of climbing what he calls “the ladder of faith.” The ladder suggests that faith is not static, but can go up or down depending on the choices one makes.
Potential stumbling blocks can become stepping stones to climb “the ladder of faith,” Elder Kacher said. “Disbelief blocks our ability to see miracles, while a mindset of faith in the Savior releases the powers of heaven.”