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April 2024 General Conference Recap – Saturday Afternoon Session

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Are you looking for talk summaries, quotes, or a recap of the April 2024 General Conference? Here is our recap of the Saturday Afternoon Session.

Elder David A. Bednar

Elder Bednar began by telling the story of a recent temple open house where he led media groups through the temple and explain its purpose. In the celestial room, Elder Bednar indicated to the guests that they would not speak, but could answer questions after exiting the celestial room.

“I have never experienced anything like that in my life! I did not know quiet like that existed in the world. I simply did not believe such stillness was possible.”

Elder Bednar was struck by the sincerity and starkness of the comment from the journalist. For Elder Bednar, it highlighted an important aspect of stillness: tuning out the commotion of our external environment. He said, “I pray the Holy Ghost will enlighten each of us as we consider a higher and holier dimension of stillness in our lives, an inner spiritual stillness of the soul that enables us to know and remember that God is our Heavenly Father, we are His children, and Jesus Christ is our Savior.”

Elder Bednar then related the persecution many of the early Saints experienced and some of the teachings they received to be still. It was a reminder that stillness was a deeper principle than just being quiet. “I believe the Lord’s admonition to be still entails much, much more than simply not talking or not moving,” Elder Bednar taught. “Perhaps His intent is for us to remember and rely upon Him and His power at all times, and in all things, and in all places that we may be in.”

He said, “‘Be still’ may be a way of reminding us to focus upon the Savior unfailingly as the ultimate source of the spiritual stillness of the soul that strengthens us to do and overcome hard things.”

Jesus Christ is the rock of our lives, Elder Bednar continued. Jesus Christ is not the foundation; rather, Jesus Christ is the rock we should build our foundations on. He talked about the symbolic nature of foundations.

“A strong and reliable connection between the ground and a foundation is essential if a structure is to remain sturdy and stable over time. For particular types of construction, anchor pins and steel rods can be used to attach the foundation of a building to bedrock—the hard, solid rock beneath surface material such as soil and gravel. In a similar way, the foundation of our lives must be connected to the rock of Christ if we are to remain firm and steadfast. The sacred covenants and ordinances of the Savior’s restored gospel can be compared to the anchor pins and steel rods used to connect a building to bedrock,” Elder Bednar taught.

As we strive to build this type of foundation, the Lord will provide us opportunities to learn how to be still. “The Lord provides both sacred times and holy places to help us experience and learn about this inner stillness of our souls,” he said. He then shared ways our Sabbath day and temple worship can be sacred places for stillness.

Ultimately, our homes should be the culmination of sacred times and holy places, Elder Bednar urged.

Elder Massimo de Feo

“Living the gospel of Jesus Christ does not remove pain and trails which are necessary to grow,” Elder de Feo opened his talk with. “The gospel is not a way to avoid challenges and problems, but a solution to increase our faith and learn how to deal with them.”

How does the gospel do this? It helps us with our spiritual vision. Elder de Feo talked about a blind man who came to Jesus for healing, who knew He was the Savior. “It is interesting that this blind man, who didn’t have physical sight, recognized Jesus,” he said. “He saw spiritually what he couldn’t see physically, while many others could see Jesus physically but were totally blind spiritually. From this story, we learn more about clear spiritual vision.” Elder de Feo shared multiple principles on how we can do this.

In order to have clear spiritual vision, we need to decide not to listen to the voices of the world around, which can lead to confusion. This is the first principle of gaining the proper perspective. The second? “Leave the natural man behind, repent, and begin a new life in Christ. The way to do it is by making and keeping covenants to rise to a better life through Jesus Christ.”

The third principle Elder de Feo shared was the need to come to Jesus Christ. The blind man could only hear the voice of Christ and strive to find the Savior. With real faith, he sought Jesus and was not distracted from his pursuit.

“This man exercised true faith in Jesus Christ and received a miracle because he asked with real intent—real intent to follow Him,” Elder de Feo said. He closed with his testimony of this truth: “I promise that as we hear the voice of the Lord and allow Him to guide us on the Savior’s covenant path, we will be blessed with clear vision, spiritual understanding and peace of heart and mind throughout our life. This gospel is the answer for everything because Jesus Christ is the answer for everyone.”

Elder Brent H. Nielson

Elder Nielson discussed how, as a young man in the law, he would prepare witnesses for trial. “It didn’t take long for me to realize that the very same terms I was using everyday as a lawyer, were also the terms I used in my gospel conversations: witness and testimony,” Elder Nielson shared. As a new General Authority Seventy, he wanted to understand his duties as a witness and a testifier.

In this General Conference message, he wanted “to make a record of what I have both seen and heard during my sacred ministry as a Seventy of the Lord Jesus Christ. And in doing so, I testify to you, Heavenly Father and His benevolent Son, Jesus Christ, who suffered, died, and rose again to offer eternal life to God’s children. I testify of a marvelous work and a wonder, and that the Lord has set His hand once again to restore His gospel on the earth through His living prophets and apostles. I testify that based upon what I have both seen and heard, there has never been a better time to be a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints than today.”

Elder Nielson shared multiple personal examples of how the message of the gospel is expanding across the world. He found strength in members in New Zealand, the Philippines, and Singapore as he visited them on assignment. He testified of the profound witness he has of the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ as it continues to fill the earth. Elder Nielson then made this witness more personal.

“I testify that I have seen with my own eyes what Nephi saw: you, the covenant saints, in every land, armed with righteousness and the power of God,” he said. “You know what I know.”

Elder Jose L. Alonso

Where can we find divine peace? In whom can we place our trust?

“The profound questions of the soul, those that surface in our darkest hours and highest trials, are addressed through the unwavering love of Jesus Christ,” Elder Alonso testified. 

As we seek the better understand the gospel of Jesus Christ and better understand His Atoning sacrifice, we will be forever changed. “As we diligently seek spiritual guidance, we embark on a deeply transformative odyssey that strengthens our testimony,” Elder Alonso taught. We can do this by putting the Savior at the center of our lives. 

Elder Alonso shared multiple scriptural examples of Christ focusing on doing the will of His father as he performed many miracles, healing and feeding both physically and spiritually. What do these examples teach us? 

“When confronted with challenges, it’s easy to become engrossed in our difficulties,” Elder Alonso said. “However, Jesus Christ exemplified the power of focusing on His Father, offering gratitude and acknowledging that solutions to our trials do not always lie within ourselves, but with God.”

We gain power when we bring our problems to Christ. “Adopting this Christ-centric perspective empowers us with the fortitude and insight to turn our trials into victories, reminding us that with the Savior, what seems like a major problem can become a pathway to greater spiritual progress,” Elder Alonso taught.

Jesus Christ is our hope and answer. We gain the courage to persevere and the peace that passes all understanding with Him.

Elder Gerrit W. Gong

Elder Gong began by sharing a Chinese story that illustrates how fickle the world can be. In the story, a boy finds a beautiful horse only to be thrown from it and injured. Then, a conscripting army arrives and because of the boy’s journey, he does not have to go to war. Elder Gong testified that God can use all things for our good.

“All things for our good’ — a remarkable promise, comforting assurance from God Himself,” Elder Gong said. “In a miraculous way, the purpose of creation and the nature of God is to know the beginning and end, to bring about all that is for our good, and to help us become sanctified and holy through Jesus Christ’s grace and atonement.”

To ultimately do the most good, we must be good and seek perfection in Jesus Christ. If we rely on ourselves alone, we will be beset by our weaknesses and afflictions.

“When trials come, often what we most want is someone to listen and be with us,” Elder Gong said. “In the moment, cliché answers can be unhelpful, however comforting their intent. Sometimes, we yearn for someone who will grieve, ache, and weep with us; let us express pain, frustration, sometimes even anger, and acknowledge with us there are things we do not know. When we trust God in His love for us, even our greatest heartbreaks can, in the end, work together for our good.”

Elder Gong shared stories from the lives of Latter-day Saints who sought to catch the vision of this principle, including a man with a debilitating illness serving as a stake president, a grieving woman who gave her deceased mother’s oxygen tank to a woman in need, and a woman who saw a traumatic boating accident overcome her fear of water in order to be baptized.

“Even in tragedy, spiritual preparation may remind us Heavenly Father knew when we felt most vulnerable and alone,” Elder Gong said. He pointed to the Book of Mormon as evidence that Jesus is the Christ and God fulfills His prophecies. He also invited us “to seek holiness in the house of the Lord more frequently.”

“Everything we believe and every promise God has made to His Covenant people come together in the temple. This is the Lord’s eternal purpose. It is His eternal perspective. It is His eternal promise.

Brother Michael T. Nelson

Brother Nelson focused his remarks on Book of Mormon stories that help families and leaders strengthen youth, including the story of the 2,000 Stripling Warriors.

“Through studying this account, Helaman was a man that the young Ammonites could trust,” Brother Nelson said. “He helped them develop and mature in righteousness. They knew and loved him, and word that he should be their leader.” Brother Nelson shared important points from this story before address bishops.

“Bishops today can lead their uniquely gifted youth in blessing the ward and gathering Israel,” he said. When Helaman and his young warriors faced challenges, Helaman was resolute. He trusted in the Lord and knew God would help and deliver them.

The parents of the Stripling Warriors were instrumental in also helping these young men. In addition to parents, other leaders stood alongside Helaman. “No one serving in the Lord’s kingdom serves alone,” Brother Nelson taught. “The Lord has blessed us with wards and stakes. Through His restored organization, we have the resources, wisdom, and inspiration to meet any challenge.”

When we partner with the Lord, we can trust that we are aligned with His vision for the youth we serve with. “It is relationships in the lives of the youth that have the greatest influence on their choices. The youth will learn the pattern of revelation as they participate with us,” he said.

“We can be powerful examples to the youth of how disciples of Christ live today,” he continued. In fact, faithful parents are praying for such examples. Brother Nelson said, “No program can replace the influence of loving, covenant-keeping adults.”

Elder Quentin L. Cook

The Atonement of Jesus Christ became truly real for Elder Cook when he was 25 and learned that his 86-year-old grandfather was near death. When he rushed home, Elder Cook recalled some of the profound advice his grandfather gave him, recalling his own life story.

“My grandfather’s primary counsel to me was to avoid any sense of entitlement or privilege because of these faithful ancestors. He told me my focus should be on the Savior and the Savior’s Atonement. He said we are all children of a loving Heavenly Father, regardless of who our earthly ancestors are.”

Elder Cook’s talk focused on oneness and especially oneness with Jesus Christ and His commandments. He highlighted a Doctrine and Covenants section 20.

“The content of this revelation is truly remarkable,” Elder Cook said. “It teaches us the significance and role of the Savior, and how to access his power and blessings through his atoning grace.” He noted how it also contains essential doctrine, requirements for baptism, and the sacrament prayers.

“It is significant that all the qualifications for baptism are spiritual,” Elder Cook continued. “No economic or social attainment is necessary; the poor and the rich have the same spiritual requirements. There are no race, gender, or ethnicity requirements. The Book of Mormon makes it clear that all are invited to partake of the Lord’s goodness; black and white, bond and free, male and female, are alike unto God.”

While we are all alike unto God, we must use our moral agency to choose Him.

“The Lord makes it clear that all have moral agency and are free to choose liberty and eternal life through the Great Mediator of all men,” Elder Cook taught. We must “hearken unto His great commandments and be faithful unto His words and choose eternal life. To receive the blessings of the Savior’s atonement, we must affirmatively exercise our moral agency.”

Striving to be the best we can be is a worthwhile endeavor and when our moral agency is threatened by temptations, distractions, and worldly choices, we should remember the things of eternal significance. We are in control and our worship of God is a choice that we make. Elder Cook made it clear he wasn’t speaking against other pursuits, but our priorities.

“When efforts relating to educational and occupation are elevated above the family or being one with Christ, the unintended consequences can be significantly adverse,” he said. We also need to include others. “We should strive to include others in our circle of oneness if we are to follow President Russell Nelson’s admonition to gather scattered Israel on both sides of the veil.”

Elder Cook closed with his testimony of Christ’s power to unite us as one. 

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Aleah Ingram
Aleah Ingram
Aleah is a graduate of Southern Virginia University, where she studied English, Creative Writing, and Dance. She now works full time as a marketing and product manager, writer, and editor. Aleah served a mission in California and loves baking, Lang Leav poetry, Gaynor Minden pointe shoes, and Bollywood movies.

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