Scott Abbott, Deseret News
SALT LAKE CITY — The 182nd Semiannual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints came to a close Sunday afternoon under clear skies and with a clear charge from church President Thomas S. Monson to "be of good cheer" despite the demands and difficulties of life.
"Although we live in increasingly perilous times, the Lord loves us and is mindful of us," the 85-year-old church leader said. "He is always on our side as we do what is right. He will help us in times of need."
President Monson was the concluding speaker of the two-day conference, during which more than 30 different church leaders addressed a wide variety of gospel subjects. More than 100,000 conference-goers filled the church's 21,000-seat Conference Center and millions more participated in the weekend's five general conference sessions via television, radio, satellite and Internet broadcasts.
In closing the conference, President Monson reminded his listeners that "none of us is immune" from the challenges and frustrations of life.
"Difficulties come into our lives, problems we do not anticipate and which we would never choose," he said. "The purpose of mortality is to learn and to grow to be more like our Father, and it is often during the difficult times that we learn the most, as painful as the lessons may be."
As in all things, President Monson urged Latter-day Saints to follow the example of Jesus Christ in dealing with challenges.
"The Lord admonished, 'Be of good cheer; I have overcome the world,'" he said. "What great happiness this knowledge should bring to us. He lived for us and he died for us. He paid the price for our sins. May we emulate his example. May we show our great gratitude for him by accepting his sacrifice and living lives that will qualify us to return and one day live with him."
President Monson also urged church members to "ever watch over one another, assisting in times of need."
"Let us not be critical and judgmental, but let us be tolerant, ever emulating the Savior's example of loving kindness," he said. "May we willingly serve one another. May we pray for the inspiration to know of the needs of those around us, and then may we go forward and provide assistance."
Sunday's final conference session also featured a charge from Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles to "claim the blessings" that come from genealogical and temple work.
"I have tasted enough of the fruits of this sublime work to know that the keys of Elijah restored to Joseph Smith permit our hearts to be bound and each of us linked to those of our ancestors who are waiting for our help," Elder Scott said. "Through our efforts in holy temples here on earth using the authority delegated by the Savior, our progenitors receive the saving ordinances that allow them to enjoy eternal happiness."
Elder Scott recommended that church members pray about the genealogical and temple work they need to be doing for their ancestors.
"Set aside those things in your life that don't really matter," he said. "Decide to do something that will have eternal consequences."
Elder Robert D. Hales, also a member of the Quorum of the Twelve, noted that for every Christian there is a simple question: "What kind of Christians are we? In other words, how are we doing in our quest to follow Christ?"
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