Mike Terry, Deseret News
SALT LAKE CITY — Gratitude is a divine gift that should be cultivated, President Thomas S. Monson admonished church members Sunday morning at the 180th Semiannual General Conference.
"We can lift ourselves, and others as well, when we refuse to remain in the realm of negative thought and cultivate within our hearts an attitude of gratitude," President Monson said.
"If ingratitude be numbered among the serious sins, then gratitude takes its place among the noblest of virtues. Someone has said that gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others," he continued.
President Monson urged that a prayerful life is the key to possessing gratitude and said that pride can destroy gratitude and set up selfishness in its place.
"My brothers and sisters, to express gratitude is gracious and honorable; to enact gratitude is generous and noble; but to live with gratitude ever in our hearts is to touch heaven," he stated.
President Monson also urged church members to express gratitude for the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, too.
In his closing conference address Sunday afternoon, he urged members to show increased kindness toward one another.
"May we ever be found doing the work of the Lord," he said.
President Boyd K. Packer, president of the Quorum of the Twelve, spoke Sunday morning on "Cleansing the Inner Temple." He spoke against pornography, as well as the counterfeits for marriage.
"Pornography will always will repel the spirit of Christ and will interrupt the communications between our Heavenly Father and his children and disrupt the tender relationship between husband and wife," he said.
On counterfeits of marriage, he said, "Some supposed that they were preset and cannot overcome what they feel are inborn tendencies toward the impure and unnatural. Not so! Why would our Heavenly Father do that to anyone? Remember, he is our Father."
He urged members of be alert to "those today who not only tolerate but advocate voting to change laws that would legalize immorality, if a vote would somehow alter the designs of God's laws and nature."
President Packer taught that sin and guilt can be overcome through repentance.
"Repentance is like unto a detergent. Even ground in stains of sin will come out," he said.
Like President Joseph Fielding Smith once advised, President Packer also said once we delete from our minds unworthy things and decide to remain clean, "Don't look back."
President Henry B. Eyring, first counselor of the First Presidency, elaborated on "Trust in God, Then Go and Do."
He said trust in God can bless nations.
"God does not rule in nations, but he is mindful of them," President Eyring said. "He can and does place people in positions of influence who want what is best for the people and who trust in the Lord."
He also said we show our trust in God when we listen with the intent to learn, to repent and then go and do whatever he asks.
"If you trust God enough to listen for his message in every sermon, song and prayer in this conference, you will find it. And if you then go and do what he would have you do, your power to trust in him will grow, and in time, you will be overwhelmed with gratitude to find that he has come to trust you," President Eyring concluded.
Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve spoke Sunday afternoon against becoming addicted to and abusing prescription medications, something even some church members are guilty of.
"In some places, more people die from prescription drug abuse than die from automobile accidents," he said. "Brothers and sisters, stay away from any kind of substance that may trap you — even one sniff of something or one pill or one drink of alcohol can lead to addiction." He urged following a doctor's advice, though.
Elder Ballard also advised against other addiction behaviors, like gambling, video-gaming and texting on cell phones.
"Some 'gamers' claim to spend up to 18 hours a day going through level after level of video games, neglecting all other aspects of their lives.
"Texting on cell phones can become an addiction, causing the important, interpersonal human communication to become lost. Not long ago, a bishop told me two of his youth were standing said by side, texting one another rather than talking to each other," Elder Ballard said.
Priesthood leaders can help those with addictions, he advised, and, where necessary, referrals can be made to qualified licensed counselors and LDS Family Services.
Elder Larry R. Lawrence of the Quorums of the Seventy gave an address on "Courageous Parenting," urging husbands and wives to be united in making parenting decisions.
"Parenting teenagers in the latter days is a very humbling assignment," he said. "... Parents, 'Be strong and of good courage; be not afraid ...'"
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