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April 2024 General Conference Recap – Sunday 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 Sunday Afternoon Session. 

Elder D. Todd Christofferson

Elder Christofferson spoke about the three kingdoms of glory, their attributes, and God’s desire for us to gain the Celestial Kingdom.

“God’s Plan of Redemption constitutes a universal opportunity for all His children, whenever and wherever they may have lived on the Earth. While the glory of even the least of the Three Kingdoms, the telestial, surpasses all understanding, our Father’s hope is that we will choose, and through the grace of His Son, qualify for the highest, the most glorious of these Kingdoms, where we may enjoy eternal life,” he taught.

“Note that the distinguishing characteristic for the inhabitants of each kingdom is how they relate to the testimony of Jesus, ranging from wholehearted devotion to not being valiant to outright rejection. On each person’s reaction hangs his or her eternal future.”

But what is a testimony of Jesus, Elder Christofferson asked, and what do we do about it?

“It is the witness of the Holy Spirit that He is the Divine Son of God, the Messiah, and Redeemer. It is John’s testimony that Jesus was in the beginning with God, the creator of Heaven and Earth, and in Him was the Gospel, and the Gospel was life, and the life was the light of men. It is the testimony of the Apostles and Prophets that He died, was buried, and rose again the third day, and ascended into heaven. It is the knowledge that there is no other name given whereby salvation comes. It is the testimony, last of all, given by the Prophet Joseph Smith, that He lives, that He is the only begotten of the Father, and that by Him, and through Him, and of Him, the worlds are and were created,” Elder Christofferson said.

What does it mean to be valiant in a testimony of Jesus? We need to wholeheartedly receive Jesus.

“Not being valiant in the witness of the Savior suggests a degree of apathy or casualness—being ‘lukewarm’— as opposed to the people of Ammon in the Book of Mormon, for example, who were ‘distinguished for their zeal towards God,'” Elder Christofferson said. “Being valiant in the testimony of Jesus surely includes nurturing and strengthening that testimony. True disciples do not ignore the seemingly small things that sustain and strengthen their testimony of Jesus.”

He then related a story from the life of Elder John H. Groberg.

“Elder John H. Groberg related the story of a young family living in a small branch in Hawaii in the early 1900s,” he related. “They had been members of the church for about 2 years. From one of their daughters, Khalil, with an undiagnosed disease, and was hospitalized. At church the next Sunday, the father and his son prepared the sacrament as they did most weeks. But as the young father, now to bless the bread, the Branch President, suddenly realizing who was at the sacrament table, jumped up and cried, “Stop! Leave immediately while someone else fixes new Sacrament. Friend, we can’t have you here.” He goes, and then the congregation, sensing the depth of anxiety and embarrassment from all, motioned to his family, and they quietly filed out of the chapel. The family walked along the trail to their small home. There, they sat in a circle, and the father said, ‘Please be silent until I’m ready to speak.'”

After what seemed like an eternity, the father eventually spoke, asserting his love for his children. “I love all of you, and I want us to be together forever as a family. And the only way that can be is for all of us to be good members at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and be sealed by the holy priesthood in the temple.”

The man then asserted that nothing, not even such atrocious behavior, would have them leave their testimonies or covenants.

“My invitation is to act now to secure your place as one who is valiant in the testimony of Jesus,” Elder Christofferson said. “Be zealous in keeping your covenants with God.”

Elder Taylor G. Godoy

Elder Godoy focused his message on how God hears our prayers and answers them in a personalized way. 

At a time when he was hospitalized and struggled to sleep, Elder Godoy saw a sign on the ceiling that said: “Call, don’t fall!” When he asked the nurse, she said it was to prevent further injury and pain by those who might try to move in the darkness. 

“Prayer is the medium of communication with our heavenly Father that allows us to hold and not fall. However, there are circumstances in which we might think that the call has not been heard because we do not receive an immediate response,” he said. 

Elder Godoy then shared multiple scriptural examples of those who called upon God, including Moses, Abraham, and 

Three days before their civil marriage, Elder Godoy and his wife felt distressed when they heard no marriages would be performed because of a strike. They called to God in prayer, and someone told them of a small office on the outskirts where a friend was a mayor. The mayor told them how to get the proper papers. When they approached the office, the officer there refused them. Elder Godoy felt impressed to show his temple recommend. 

“What a surprise we had when we heard the officer say, ‘Why didn’t you tell me that you are from the Church of Christ?'” Elder Godoy related. He got them the correct paperwork. Through this an other miracles, which involved regifting a dog to a secretary, they were able to be married. 

Elder Godoy then shared five ways we can consistently reach for the Lord. 

“First, always think of the Lord as our first option for help. Second call, don’t fall. Turn to God in sincere prayer. third, after praying do all you can to obtain the blessings you pray for. fourth humble yourself to accept the answer in his time and his way. Fifth, don’t stop, keep moving forward on the covenant path.” 

Elder Gary E. Stevenson

Elder Stevenson used the symbol of bridges to teach gospel principles, speaking of many of the monumental bridges he has crossed and seen in his travels as an Apostle. He especially spoke of the iconic Golden Gate Bridge. 

“When the bridge is complete, with its two powerful towers firmly in place and piers anchored in the foundation of bedrock, it is an image of strength and beauty. Today, I invite you to look at the stately bridge with its ascending twin towers, built on a strong foundation, through a gospel lens,” he said. 

Our two towers in the gospel are the two great commandments—to love God and to love others. Elder Stevenson went in-depth on these two commandments. 

“To love the Lord centers first on your heart, your very nature. The Lord asked you to love with all your soul, your entire consecrated being, and to love with all your mind, your intelligence and intellect. Love for God is not limited or finite; it is infinite and eternal.”

To love God becomes more graspable when we remember that God has said, “If we ye love me, keep my commandments.” That is something we can do, Elder Stevenson said. He shared a story of collecting a dime in tithing from a struggling widow and her remarkable faith. 

“Loving the Lord leads to eternal happiness,” he taught before moving on to the second tower of our gospel bridge, to love our fellowman. Our love of the Lord is not complete if we do not love our neighbors. 

“Jesus further taught, ‘On these two commandments hang all along the prophets.’ This is very instructive. There is an important interdependency between loving the Lord and loving one another. For the Golden Gate Bridge to perform its design function, both towers are equally strong, with equal power to bear the weight of the suspension cables, the roadway, and the traffic crossing the bridge. Without this engineering symmetry, the bridge could be compromised, even leading to collapse,” he said. 

How do we build our own bridge of faith and devotion, Elder Stevenson asked. “Well, we just start!” he said. 

Elder Mathias Held

Once, while driving in a foreign city, Elder Held took a wrong turn and ended up on an express highway with no way to turn around. Elder Held related this to the consequences of sin, repenting, and learning and developing towards eternal life. 

“This experience caused me to think about how, in our lives, we sometimes make wrong decisions and how we must live with the consequences humbly and patiently until we are able to change our course again. Life is all about making choices. Our Father in Heaven gave us the divine gift of agency precisely so that we could learn from the right ones and also from the wrong ones. We correct our wrong choices when we repent. This is where growth happens,” he shared. 

In order to utilize our agency, we must have opposing choices placed in front of us. 

“The Book of Mormon also reminds us that we have been instructed sufficiently and that the Spirit of Christ has been given to every one of us to know good and evil. In life, we constantly confront many important choices. For example, choosing whether or not we will follow God’s commandments, choosing to have faith and recognize when miracles happen, or skeptically waiting for something to happen before choosing to believe,” Elder Held taught. 

We will face difficult times and we can choose our reactions. We will face times of labor, times of peace, times of war, times of health, and times of sickness. 

“We can seek to learn from the experience and ask for our Lord’s help and support, or we can think that we are on our own in this trial and that we must suffer it alone. We can adjust ourselves to the new reality, or we can decide not to change anything. In the darkness of night, we can turn on our light,” he continued. 

In a world full of darkness and confusion, it is easy to have fear or anxiety. 

“We can rest assured that our difficulties, sorrows, afflictions, and pains do not define us,” Elder Held said. “Rather, it is how we go about them that will help us grow and draw closer to God. It is our attitudes and choices.”

Elder Neil L. Andersen

“Across the world, there is a growing feeling drawing us to the House of the Lord,” Elder Andersen began, speaking of the vitality and growth of the Lord’s church. 

“Have you wondered why the Lord would direct His prophet to now the Earth with His holy temples?” Elder Andersen pondered. “Why would He, at this specific time, give the needed prosperity to His Covenant people, that through their sacred tithes, hundreds of houses of the Lord could be built?”

It is breathtaking to see the wondrous work of God, Elder Andersen said, contrasting it with the knowledge that the world would be in distress in these last days. In the midst of such commotion and prophesied evils, Elder Andersen counseled us not to despair. 

“With this prophesied commotion and disbelief in the world, the Lord promised that there would be a covenant people, a people eagerly awaiting His return are people who stand in holy settings and are not moved out of their place. He spoke of a righteous people resisting the deceptions of the adversary, disciplining their faith, thinking celestial, and trusting completely in the Savior Jesus Christ,” Elder Andersen continued.

Elder Andersen spoke on how the temple brings us power and spoke powerfully of youth today who are standing up for temples and attending them. 

“We are spiritually assured of our true identity in the purposes of life. As we are faithful, we are blessed with protection from temptations and distractions. We feel our Savior’s love as He lifts us from our difficulties and sorrows. We are armed with the power of God. In His holy house, we take His name more completely upon us.” 

“Regularly performing ordinances for our ancestors in the temple brings a sweet and sure confirmation that life continues beyond the veil,” he continued. 

Elder Andersen closed with an invitation to more regularly attend the temple and make it a part of our lives. 

“Beloved friends, if we are able, and if not already, increased our attendance at the temple, let us regularly find more time to worship in the house of the Lord. Let us pray for the temples that have been announced, that properties will be purchased, and that the sacred dedications will bring the approval of Heaven and the visit of angels. The temple is literally the house of the Lord. I promise you, as you come worthily and prayerfully to His holy house, you will be armed with His power, His name will be upon you, His angels will have charge over you, and you will grow up in the blessing of the Holy Ghost.”

President Mark L. Pace

President Pace spoke on the power of the holy scriptures, especially as we read in our homes and with our families. 

“While reading the books of Holy Scripture, we have observed the panorama of God’s teachings to His children in all the major gospel dispensations. In every dispensation, we have seen a familiar pattern: God restores or reveals the Gospel of Jesus Christ through His prophets; that people follow the prophets and are greatly blessed,” President Pace said. He also related the events of apostasy that has impacted past dispensations. 

What’s different about this dispensation? What has the lord provided for us today? One answer that came to President Pace is the scriptures and particularly the Book of Mormon. 

“Sometimes reading the Book of Mormon is just about feeling connected to God today, nourishing the soul, finding strength and spirituality before heading out to face the world, or finding healing after a rough day out in the world. We study the scriptures so the Holy Ghost, the great teacher, can deepen our conversion to Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and help us become more like them,” President Pace said. 

He then shared some scriptures that personally impacted him from his recent Come, Follow Me study. One of the scriptures was the story of intentional parenting of Lehi and Sariah. It reminded him of his own mother’s tender guidance. 

“When I was a young boy, maybe 11 or 12 years old, my mother asked me, ‘Mark, do you know for yourself by the Holy Ghost that the gospel is true?’ Her question surprised me. I had always tried to be a good boy, and I thought that was enough. But my mother, like Lehi, knew something more was needed. I needed to act and know for myself. I replied that I had not yet had that experience, and she didn’t seem surprised at all by my answer. She then said something I have never forgotten. I remember her words to this day. ‘Heavenly Father wants you to know for yourself, but you must put in the effort. You need to read the Book of Mormon and pray to know by the Holy Ghost. Heavenly Father will answer your prayers,'” he shared. 

The following experience of reading the Book of Mormon continues in Elder Pace’s life today and helped him build a pattern of scripture study. 

President Russell M. Nelson

President Nelson began his remarks by noting that this Conference marks 40 years since he had been called as an Apostle, along with President Dallin H. Oaks. He then invited us to soak in the messages of General Conference. 

When President Nelson was born, there were only 6 operating temple in the Church. He spoke briefly on the history of temples, and the recent purchase of the Kirtland Temple from the Community of Christ. 

“The Kirtland Temple has unusual significance in the restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Several events that took place there had been prophesied for millennia and were essential for the Lord’s restored Church to fulfill its Latter-Day mission,” President Nelson said. 

The most important was the visitation of the Lord Jesus Christ in the Kirtland Temple on April 6, 1836. The Lord accepted the temple and made the beautiful promise of manifesting Himself to His people. 

“This significant promise applies to every dedicated temple today,” President Nelson said. “I invite you to ponder what the Lord’s promise means for you personally.”

President Nelson then spoke of the visions of Moses, Elias, and Elijah in the Kirtland temple and the restoration of priesthood keys. 

“The significance of these keys being returned to the Earth by three heavenly messengers, under the direction of the Lord, cannot be overstated.”

The power of these priesthood keys is “infinite” and “breathtaking,” President Nelson continued. He invited us to ponder how our lives might be different if we did not have priesthood keys.

“Without priesthood keys, none of us would have access to essential ordinances and covenants that bind us to our loved ones eternally and allow us eventually to live with God,” he said. 

While many organizations make life better, no other organization than God’s restored Church “will influence life after death.” 

“I invite you to consider carefully the following three statements: One, the gathering of Israel is evidence that God loves all of His children everywhere. Two, the gospel of Abraham is further evidence that God loves all of His children everywhere; He invites all, the Gentiles, the Black and White, bond and free, male and female. All are alike unto God. And three, the sealing power is superlative evidence of how much God loves all of His children everywhere and wants each of them to choose to return to Him,” President Nelson counseled. 

He turned back to the Kirtland Temple and its history. 

“Joseph Smith dedicatory prayer of the Kirtland Temple is a tutorial about how the temple spiritually empowers you and me to meet the challenges of life in these last days. I encourage you to study that prayer recorded in D&C Section 109. That dedicatory prayer, which was received by revelation, teaches that the temple is a House of Prayer, a House of Fasting, a House of Faith, a House of Learning, a House of Glory, a House of Order, a House of God. This list of attributes is much more than a description of a temple; it is a promise about what will happen to those who serve and worship in the house of the Lord.”

President Nelson with a powerful and personal promise, stating: 

“My dear brothers and sisters, here is my promise: Nothing will help you more to hold fast to the iron rod and worshiping in the temple as regularly as your circumstances permit. Nothing will protect you more as you encounter the world’s mists of darkness. Nothing will bolster your testimony of the Lord Jesus Christ and His atonement or help you understand God’s magnificent plan more. Nothing will soothe your spirit more during times of pain. Nothing will open the heavens more. Nothing.”

At the close of his message, President Nelson announced 15 new temples would be built in coming years.

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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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