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Prophet calls for tolerance, kindness toward those who don't share LDS beliefs

Published: Sunday, April 7 2013 6:50 p.m. MDT

President Thomas S. Monson speaks at the afternoon session of the 183rd Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on Sunday, April 7, 2013.

Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — Under an overcast sky dark with unfulfilled promises of rain all weekend, the 183rd Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints closed Sunday afternoon with a plea from their prophet that church members follow the example of Jesus Christ to be “tolerant of, as well as kind and loving to those who do not share our beliefs and our standards.”

“I pray that we may be aware of the needs around us,” LDS Church President Thomas S. Monson continued as the concluding speaker of the two-day conference. “There are some, particularly among the young, who are tragically involved in drugs, immorality, pornography and so on. There are those who are lonely, including widows and widowers, who long for the company and concern of others. May we ever be ready to extend to them a helping hand and a loving heart.”

President Monson also observed that today’s Latter-day Saints are living at a time when there are both significant challenges and meaningful opportunities in the world.

“There are, of course, those times when we experience disappointments, heartaches and even tragedies in our lives,” he said. “However, if we will put our trust in the Lord, he will help us through our difficulties, whatever they may be. The Psalmist provided this assurance: ‘Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning’.”

The Sunday afternoon general conference session began with messages from two members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland and Elder Dallin H. Oaks. Elder Holland spoke about the power of belief, and suggested that “in moments of fear or doubt or troubling times, hold the ground you have already won.”

“In the growth we all have to experience in mortality … issues (may) surface the resolution of which is not immediately forthcoming,” he said. “Hold fast to what you already know and stand strong until additional knowledge comes.

“The size of your faith or the degree of your knowledge is not the issue — it is the integrity you demonstrate toward the faith you do have and the truth you already know. Nourish your little seedling however small it may be and one day you will reap mature fruit from a mature tree.”

Similarly, he said, “when problems come and questions arise do not start your quest for faith by saying how much you do not have. That is like trying to stuff a turkey through the beak!

“Now let me be clear on this point,” he continued. “I am not asking you to pretend to faith you do not have. I am asking you to be true to the faith you do have. Sometimes we act as if an honest declaration of doubt is a higher manifestation of moral courage than is an honest declaration of faith. It is not!

“Be as candid about your questions as you need to be; life is full of them on one subject or another. But if you and your family want to be healed, don’t let those questions stand in the way of faith working its miracle.”

Elder Holland also urged his listeners to “be patient with human frailty — your own as well as that of those who serve with you in this church led by volunteer men and women.”

“Except in the case of his only perfect Begotten Son, imperfect people are all God has ever had to work with since time began,” Elder Holland said. “That must be terribly frustrating to him, but he deals with it. So should we. And when you see imperfection, remember that the limitation is not in the divinity of this work.”

Elder Oaks used the four New Testament gospels to examine how the LDS Church and its members qualify as followers of Jesus Christ. Using the scriptures he explored such concepts as baptism, repentance, obedience to the Lord’s commandments, sacramental communion and prayer.

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