Are you looking for talk summaries, quotes, or a recap of the October 2023 General Conference? Here is our recap of the Saturday Morning Session.
The Saturday morning session began on a somber note as President Henry B. Eyring noted the absence of President Russell M. Nelson and Elder Jeffrey R. Holland due to health issues. He also recognized the passing of Sister Patricia T. Holland earlier in the year and paid tribute to her faithful life.
Elder David A. Bednar
Elder Bednar opened the Conference with a talk focused on “in the path of their duty.”
In his moving address, Elder Bednar eloquently paid tribute to the unsung heroes within The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He commenced his discourse by expressing profound gratitude for the pioneers who arrived in the Salt Lake Valley in 1947. He reflected on President J. Reuben Clark’s touching tribute, emphasizing the unrecorded stalwart souls in church history. Elder Bednar highlighted their faith, describing them as those “in the path of duty,” whose names may be unknown but whose faith and dedication echo through generations.
“President Clark declared, ‘They of the Last Wagon’ pressed forward, worn and tired, footsore, sometimes almost disheartened, borne up by their faith that God loved them, that the restored gospel was true, and that the Lord led and directed the Brethren out in front. He concluded his message with this stirring commendation to these humble souls: ‘Great in faith, great in work, great in righteous living, great in fashioning our priceless heritage, I humbly render my love, my respect, my reverent homage.'”
Elder Bednar passionately quoted President Hunter, offering solace to those whose efforts may go unnoticed: “If you feel that much of what you do… does not make you very famous, take heart.” He stressed the invaluable service rendered by perceptive individuals who provide comfort without expectation, echoing the sentiment that service need not be in the limelight to be significant.
“Your strong faith in Heavenly Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, and your unpretentious, unconsecrated lives inspire me to be a better man and disciple. I love you. I admire you. I thank you, and I commend you,” he said.
Elder Bednar also provided a promise for those who faced desperation for righteous things, saying, “The phrase ‘in the path of their duty’ describes righteous individuals who yearn to become yoked to the Savior through the authorized covenants and ordinances of His gospel but may be prohibited from doing so by factors beyond their control. I promise your personal anguish will be relieved, and your obedience and faithfulness to patiently submit your will to God will be rewarded in the own due time of the Lord. “‘Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.'”
The concept of duty extended to translators and interpreters who disseminate the gospel in various languages. Elder Bednar highlighted their vital role: “Their voices… convey eternal truths,” underscoring the impact of their often-overlooked service. He emphasized the selflessness of their work, acknowledging the profound spiritual implications they facilitate.
Elder Bednar explored the steadfastness of married couples, quoting scripture: “For since the beginning of the world have not men heard… how great things thou hast prepared for them that waiteth for thee.” He admired their patience, trust in God’s timing, and resilience amidst unfulfilled desires. This patient waiting, he noted, exemplifies faith “in the path of duty.”
The speech delved into the nurturing environment provided by nursery leaders and primary teachers. Elder Bednar cited the scripture about receiving children in the name of Christ, stressing their enduring influence on the rising generation. Their love, he stated, echoes Christ’s love, shaping the future of the Church.
The discourse concluded with Elder Bednar’s powerful testimony: “I joyfully witness that Heavenly Father and His beloved Son live and their promises are sure,” reinforcing his confidence in God’s design. He celebrated those faithfully serving “in the path of duty,” reminding the congregation that their uncelebrated efforts are significant in the eyes of God.
Sister Amy A. Wright
Sister Amy A. Wright discussed the importance of spiritual preparation.
“I have learned from personal experience that spiritual preparation for the coming of the Lord is not only essential but the only way to find true peace and happiness,” she said.
She told the parable of the Ten Virgins and how we need to use our own oil, but share the light of Christ. “We need to simplify, focus our efforts, and be gatherers of the Light of Jesus Christ. We need more holy and revelatory experiences.”
“We cannot share our oil, but we can share His Light. Oil in our lamps will not only help us “abide the day” but can also be the means of illuminating the path that leads those we love to the Savior, who stands ready ‘with open arms to receive’ them,” she said.”
“Jesus Christ is the “hope in thine end.” Nothing we have, or have not done, is beyond the reach of His infinite and eternal sacrifice. He is the reason why it is never the end of our story.”
Elder Robert M. Daines
In his message, Elder Robert M. Daines shares powerful stories to convey essential principles about recognizing God’s love amidst the perceived rules and regulations of religious life. The first story recounts a man who, due to a brain injury, becomes face blind, highlighting the struggle to identify people beyond mere rules. The second story is personal, depicting Elder Daines’ own realization of his spiritual face blindness towards his mother, seeing her as a rule maker rather than understanding her sacrifices and love.
Spiritual Face Blindness: Elder Daines uses the concept of face blindness to symbolize the difficulty some people have in recognizing God’s love behind religious rules. He suggests that many individuals struggle to perceive God as a loving father and may feel lost in a thicket of rules, wondering if God truly loves them.
“I suspect you know someone, perhaps you are someone, who suffers from a kind of spiritual face blindness. You may struggle to see God as a loving father. You may look heavenward and see not the face of love and mercy, but a thicket of rules through which you must wend your way.”
The Importance of Seeing Jesus: Elder Daines emphasizes the importance of focusing on Jesus and feeling His love. He quotes the request from outsiders in the Gospel of John, “Sir, we would like to see Jesus,” highlighting the universal desire to understand and feel the love of Christ.
“We want to see Jesus for who he is and to feel his love. This should be the reason for most of what we do in the church, and certainly, of every sacrament meeting.”
Understanding God’s Love: Elder Daines stresses the need to comprehend God’s love and mercy, not just the rules. He urges individuals to study the life of Jesus in the Gospels to understand the depth of God’s compassion and love for humanity.
“The more you learn about the Savior, the easier it would be to trust in his mercy and his infinite love, and the more you will trust and love your Heavenly Father.”
Covenants as Relationships: He explains that covenants are not merely rules to earn God’s love but are windows to perceive God’s mercy. Understanding and shaping one’s life around God’s love are the true essence of covenants.
“Our challenge is to understand and shape our life to that love. We try to see through our covenants as if through a window to the face of the Father’s mercy.”
Serving to Understand: Elder Daines suggests that serving others is a way to truly understand God’s love. By actively participating in the work of the Church and serving others, individuals can stand in the river of God’s love and become vessels of His mercy.
“To serve in this church is to stand in the river of God’s love for his children. Grab a pick and shovel and join the team. Help carry his love to his children, and some of it will splash on you.”
In summary, Elder Daines urges believers to move beyond the surface level of religious rules and seek the profound love of God. By focusing on Jesus, understanding His love, valuing covenants as relationships, and actively serving others, individuals can overcome spiritual face blindness and truly experience the mercy and love of God.
Elder Carlos A. Godoy
In his talk, Elder Carlos A. Godoy shares a transformative experience he had in Peru, emphasizing the importance of faithfulness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the impact of our decisions on future generations. He begins by recounting a chance encounter with a taxi driver named Omar. This encounter led Elder Godoy to a profound realization: that moments of divine intervention can occur in unexpected places. After recognizing Omar’s past affiliation with the Church, Elder Godoy resolved to guide him back to the faith.
“Why am I sharing this experience with you? I’m sharing it for two purposes. First, to address those good members who, for some reason, have fallen away from the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. And second, to address those participating members today who may not be as faithful to their covenants as they should be. In both cases, generations ahead of them are impacted, and blessings and promises that were reserved for their posterity are at risk.”
Divine Intervention and Guiding Others: Elder Godoy’s experience with Omar illustrates the power of divine intervention in our lives. He quotes Omar asking, “You are Mormon, aren’t you?” This moment becomes a turning point, highlighting the importance of seizing opportunities to guide others back to the faith.
Addressing Inactivity and Lost Blessings: Elder Godoy reflects on the scenario of inactive or non-participating members, like Omar, whose decisions impact their posterity. He states, “It is so sad when we come across inactive members… Their children and grandchildren have been precluded from the protection and blessings of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.” This emphasizes the lost blessings and promises due to inactivity, highlighting the importance of returning to the Covenant path.
The Need for Valiant Faithfulness: Elder Godoy discusses the lukewarm attitude some members exhibit, postponing commitments like attending church or paying tithing. He emphasizes the necessity of being valiant, stating, “Shouldn’t we be more valiant and less lukewarm for our own sake and for the sake of our posterity?”
He continues, ““Just as yesterday’s decisions impact today’s realities, decisions of today will impact our future and the future of our family members.””
Future Impact of Current Decisions: Drawing on President Dallin H. Oaks’ teachings, Elder Godoy emphasizes the significance of considering the future consequences of our present decisions. He highlights the contrast between those who focus only on the present and those who plan for eternity, urging members to evaluate where their choices will lead. He quotes President Oaks, “Decisions of today will impact our future and the future of our family members.”
Invitation to Return and Be Valiant: Elder Godoy extends a heartfelt invitation, echoing President Russell M. Nelson’s words: “Now, if you have stepped off the path, they invite you with all the hope of my heart to please come back.” This invitation is a call to action, urging members to return to the Covenant path and embrace the blessings available within the Church.
In his message, Elder Godoy emphasizes the need for members to be valiant, make decisions that align with the teachings of the Gospel, and guide others back to the faith. Through personal experiences and teachings from Church leaders, he underscores the profound impact of faithfulness on individuals and their posterity, urging all to make choices that lead to eternal blessings.
Elder D. Todd Christofferson
Purpose of Gathering: Elder Christofferson begins by emphasizing the divine purpose of the Gathering. It serves as a defense and refuge for the Covenant people, protecting them from the natural consequences of disobedience. Additionally, the Gathering brings the blessings of salvation and exaltation to all who receive them.
Importance of Covenant: He highlights the significance of the covenant made through baptism, connecting individuals to the promises given to ancient prophets like Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. This covenant is fundamental to the Gathering.
“When we embrace the gospel and are baptized, we take upon ourselves the sacred name of Jesus Christ.”
Keys of Gathering: Elder Christofferson explains the keys of the Gathering of Israel given to Joseph Smith, including the dispensation of the Gospel of Abraham. These keys allow the spread of the gospel to all parts of the Earth and the gathering of people into the covenant.
Sealing Power: Elder Christofferson emphasizes the critical role of the sealing power, restored through Elijah. This power validates all priesthood ordinances, making them binding both on Earth and in heaven. It applies not only to temple ordinances but also to individual ordinances like baptism, ensuring their validity beyond death.
“The sealing power is a perfect manifestation of the justice, mercy, and love of God.”
Temple Building and Operation: The sealing power is closely tied to the building and operation of temples. Temples serve as places where essential ordinances are performed, and the sealing power confers legitimacy upon these ordinances, ensuring their efficacy in the eternities.
Eternal Family Relationships: Elder Christofferson emphasizes the eternal significance of family relationships, particularly through marriage. The highest manifestation of the sealing power is in the eternal union of a man and a woman, linking humankind through generations. Without these sealings, the purpose of Earth’s creation would be frustrated.
“Without the sealings that create eternal families and link generations here and hereafter, we will be left in eternity with neither roots nor branches…”
Hope in Christ: Elder Christofferson acknowledges the imperfect present, where not everyone can experience the ideal family situation. However, he reassures that faithfulness in keeping gospel covenants provides the opportunity for exaltation. Even those who have experienced broken family relationships can restore these links through the sealing power.
“To you who have experienced the heartache of a divorce in your family… you can add strength to your chain and perhaps restore the broken links.”
Ultimate Blessing: The ultimate blessing of the sealing power is the eternal connection of families. Through this power, families can be formed and sealed, aligning with God’s plan for His children’s eternal destiny.
“No one can be exalted alone.”
Personal Testimony: Elder Christofferson bears his personal testimony, affirming the reality of the sealing power and its binding nature both on Earth and in heaven. He testifies of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, making immortality and exalted family relationships possible.
“I testify that the sealing power and authority restored to the Earth through the Prophet Joseph Smith are real… I testify that the Atonement of Jesus Christ has made immortality, authority, and the possibility of exalted family relationships a reality.”
Invitation and Promise: Elder Christofferson concludes by inviting members to seek the privilege of the sealing power. He promises that those who faithfully seek it will obtain this blessing, either in time or eternity.
“I promise that if you faithfully seek that privilege, in time or eternity, it will surely be yours.”
In summary, Elder Christofferson’s message revolves around the divine purpose of the Gathering of Israel, emphasizing the essential role of the sealing power in connecting families for eternity and ensuring the efficacy of priesthood ordinances. He underscores the importance of family relationships, expressing hope in Christ for those in challenging family situations and bearing a strong personal testimony of the reality and significance of the sealing power.
Elder Ian S. Ardern
Elder Arden took his audience on a vivid journey through the heart of Africa, a journey where he witnessed the dire conditions faced by many members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and their neighbors. He described the barren landscape, malnourished children, and families lacking basic necessities like clean water. Despite these challenges, he found hope and compassion in the most unexpected places, as he and his companions visited a community health project funded by the Church Humanitarian Services, UNICEF, and the Ugandan government.
Elder Arden shared the profound impact of the Church’s humanitarian efforts, which were made possible through the donations of members worldwide. He emphasized the importance of Christ’s Second Great Commandment: “to Love Thy Neighbor.” This principle was illustrated through the parable of the Good Samaritan, where compassion and love for others were demonstrated in action.
Throughout his speech, Elder Arden highlighted several key principles:
Compassion and Love: Elder Arden emphasized the importance of compassion, citing examples from the life of Jesus Christ. He noted Christ’s ability to heal the sick and afflicted, showcasing profound empathy and kindness.
“Have you any that are lame or blind or halt, or that are deaf or afflicted in any manner? Bring them together, and I will heal them, for I have compassion upon you.”
Individual Contributions: He stressed the significance of individual efforts, no matter how small they might seem. He referenced the story of the boy who offered his five loaves and two fishes to feed a multitude, highlighting the principle of magnification through Christ.
“It is sufficient to give or to do what you are able, and then to allow Christ to magnify your effort.”
Collaboration and Assistance: Elder Arden expressed gratitude for collaborations with other organizations and encouraged financial contributions from individuals. He emphasized that compassion does not require personal knowledge of those in need but rather a willingness to help.
“It is unlikely you will know the recipients of your time, dollars, and dimes, but compassion does not require us to know them; it only requires us to love them.”
Responding to Needs: He urged the listeners to respond promptly to various needs, including natural disasters and the emotional wounds of discouragement and despair. He stressed the importance of acting swiftly and effectively to alleviate suffering.
“Our church humanitarian efforts find us quickly responding to natural disasters and binding up the world’s widening wounds of disease, hunger, infant mortality, malnutrition, displacement, and the often unseen wounds of discouragement, disappointment, and despair.”
Turning Hearts to Others: Elder Arden echoed the teachings of President Nelson, emphasizing the joy and peace that come from turning one’s heart to the well-being of others. He testified that this act of love and service brings fulfillment and spiritual growth.
“I testify that each of us will have an increase of joy, peace, humility, and love as we respond to President Nelson’s call to turn our hearts to the well-being of others…”
In conclusion, Elder Arden’s message served as a powerful reminder of the transformative impact of compassion and love in action. Through personal efforts, collaboration, and timely responses to various needs, individuals can make a significant difference in the lives of others, echoing the teachings of Christ and fulfilling His commandment to love our neighbors.
President Dallin H. Oaks
In his comprehensive talk, President Dallin H. Oaks eloquently expounded upon the unique doctrines and beliefs that distinguish his faith from others, shedding light on the profound intricacies of the Latter-day Saint theology. With a focus on the church’s core principles, President Oaks emphasized the boundless love of our Heavenly Father for all His children and His divine plan that offers eternal glory to each soul.
He began by quoting the fundamental truth declared by Jesus Christ, “In my Father’s house are many mansions,” highlighting the plurality of heavenly destinations awaiting God’s children. President Oaks then said, “Foremost among that doctrine is the fact that our Heavenly Father loves all His children so much that He wants us all to live in a kingdom of glory forever.”
These kingdoms, he revealed, are determined by the choices made during our earthly existence. He emphasized, “all will be resurrected and proceed to the final judgment of the Lord Jesus Christ,” where individuals will be assigned to specific kingdoms in accordance with their desires and choices made on Earth.
A pivotal aspect of this celestial plan, as detailed by President Oaks, is the concept of exaltation in the Celestial Kingdom, the highest degree of glory.
“Another unique doctrine and practice of The Restored Church is the revealed commandments and covenants that offer all the children of God the sacred privilege of qualifying for the highest degree of glory in the Celestial Kingdom.”
He underscored the indispensable role of eternal marriage, proclaiming, “gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose.” This eternal marriage, he elucidated, is a sacred covenant available to all the faithful, forming the cornerstone of exaltation. President Oaks reverently referred to the 1995 Proclamation on the Family, highlighting its immutable doctrine that defines mortal family relationships as the crucible for eternal development.
Furthermore, President Oaks delved into the nature of the three kingdoms of glory: the Celestial, Terrestrial, and Telestial, drawing from the Apostle Paul’s descriptions. He explained that the Terrestrial Kingdom, akin to the popular concept of heaven, is designated for honorable individuals who were righteous but not valiant in their testimony of Jesus Christ. The Telestial Kingdom, on the other hand, is for those who reject the Savior and transgress divine limits, thus residing in a state of spiritual darkness. President Oaks quoted modern revelation, emphasizing that individuals in these kingdoms are those “who received not the gospel of Christ, neither the testimony of Jesus,” and they include those who are liars, sorcerers, adulterers, and whoremongers.
President Oaks also expounded on the transformative power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, emphasizing that it challenges individuals not just to acquire knowledge but to become something greater. He stressed, “The Gospel of Jesus Christ is a plan that shows us how to become what our Heavenly Father desires us to become.” Through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, he reassured, individuals can repent and realign with the covenant path, preparing to meet God.
Moreover, President Oaks illuminated the merciful aspects of God’s plan, referencing Doctrine and Covenants Section 138, where the prophet Joseph F. Smith received revelations about the post-mortal existence. He elucidated that faithful elders, even in the spirit world, continue their labors in preaching the Gospel of repentance and redemption. He also shed light on the Millennium, a thousand-year period following the Second Coming of the Savior, during which essential ordinances can be performed for those who did not receive them in mortal life.
Central to President Oaks’ discourse was the concept of agency, emphasizing that God does not compel anyone into a sealing relationship against their will. He reiterated, “He will force no one into a sealing relationship against his or her will.” The blessings of such relationships are assured for those who honor their covenants willingly.
“In addition, we know that the Millennium, the thousand years that follow the Second Coming of the Savior, will be a time to perform the required ordinances for those who have not received them in their mortal lives,” President Oaks continued. “There’s much we do not know about the three major periods in the Plan of Salvation and their relationship to one another: one, the premortal spirit world; two, mortality; and three, the next life. But we do know these eternal truths: salvation is an individual matter, but exaltation is a family matter.”
In conclusion, President Dallin H. Oaks’ profound discourse illuminated the intricate tapestry of Latter-day Saint beliefs, emphasizing the unconditional love of God, the eternal nature of families, the significance of eternal marriage, the transformative power of the Gospel, the reality of different kingdoms of glory, and the agency of every individual. Through his meticulous exposition, President Oaks reinforced the unique doctrines of his faith, providing a detailed and profound understanding of the church’s teachings, rooted in the boundless love and wisdom of our Heavenly Father.