The Sunday afternoon session of the October 2017 LDS General Conference started with the somber announcement that Robert D. Hales passed away peacefully in the hospital surrounded by family and friends a few hours previous. This sad news lead into a beautiful rendition of come oh thou king of kings sung by the mormon tabernacle choir.
M. Russell Ballard was the first speaker of the session and he started out his message by thanking all of the LDS volunteers around the world that helped with the relief efforts in Texas. He then spoke about pioneers and how we are all making the trek through life. He asked us to evaluate if our journey is leading us to the blessings that the lord has promised us. He cautioned us to be careful of where our footsteps take us on this trek through life. He counseled us to continually keep the doctrine of Christ. He also cautioned us to be weary of those who entice us with get rich quick schemes. Lastly, he told us to be wise and aware and to embrace all of god’s children regardless of gender, race, religion, or any other factor.
The second speaker was Tad R. Callister. He gave a riveting talk about the book of Mormon and Joseph Smith. He said that the book of Mormon is the keystone of the LDS religion and that there could not have been such a book if Joseph Smith was not called as a prophet of God. He said that the book of Mormon is God’s priceless gift to us, and that we have the opportunity to defend the book of Mormon. He closed with counseling us to make the book of Mormon the keystone of our testimony.
Joni L. Koch was the next speaker and he spoke about church unity. He said that the lord expects the church to be one. He counseled us to leave behind our differences and concentrate on our mutual gospel goals. He also cautioned us to not find fault with the leaders of the LDS church or any member of the LDS church, but to celebrate each person’s strengths. He ended his message by saying that as we become one in the LDS church, we will become one with Christ.
Next Stanly G. Ellis spoke about how the trials and challenges in our lives make us stronger and strengthen our faith. He started by asking the congregation if we trust our heavenly father. He said that “hard is good” and that even Jesus Christ had to go through suffering on this earth which in turn made him stronger. He said that hard will always be a constant in our life but we can choose our reaction to hard things. He closed by explaining that our Heavenly Father wants what is best for us, and he lead us to what is best for us.
Then Adilson de Paula Parrella spoke about three truths that we have gained from the first vision. He said that the first truth that we have gained is that God calls prophets to instruct, guide, and lead us. He counseled us to always act when our living prophets speak. Secondly, he said that from the first vision we gained the truth of the true nature of God, which is that he is a being with flesh and bones. Lastly, he said that the third truth that we have gained from the first vision is the knowledge of the sacred mission of Jesus Christ.
Ian S. Arden was the next speaker and he spoke about ways we can gain Christ’s light in our lives. He counseled us to seek learning by study and faith. He also said that we learn truth through the Holy Ghost. He counseled us to study, ponder, and pray. Lastly he told us to hold fast to what we already know and stay strong until additional information comes.
The next speaker was Jose L. Alonso and his message was geared towards loving one another. He said that love is a combination of actions and feelings and that without service, love is dead. He shared a story about a young boy getting run over by a car and how the boy’s parents were able to forgive the teenage boy that ran over their son. He said that the parents, through God’s grace, were able to forgive the boy and become close to him and his family. He counseled us to follow the example of our savior. In closing he explained that as we serve and forgive others we can have an increase of joy and happiness in our lives.
The last speaker of the afternoon session was Neil L. Anderson. Elder Anderson spoke about trusting the words of the prophets. He explained the process that each prophet goes through when preparing their general conference messages. He explained that these messages come by much pondering, prayer, and fasting. He said that the teachings of general conference are the things the Lord wants us to hear now and in the months to come. He also explained that their greatest desire as prophets, seers, and revelators is to please the Lord and to bring others unto him. He closed with a heed to listen to the prophets messages from this conference and to act on those things that have been shared in general conference. The Mormon Tabernacle Choir closed the session by singing Israel Israel God is calling.
Listening to this session of general conference I was overcome with the feeling that the prophets were speaking truth and that I need to act on their counsel continuously. I hope that we can all ponder these messages and continue to learn for them until the next LDS general conference in April.