“Jesus’s teachings were not meant to be theoretical,” Elder Oaks said. “Always they were to be acted upon Following Christ is not a casual or occasional practice, but a continuous commitment and way of life that applies at all times and in all places.”
Elder Oaks presented the church’s commitment to marriage between men and women, care of the poor and needy, humanitarian service and missionary outreach “to all the world” as additional examples of how Latter-day Saints follow Jesus’ New Testament teachings.
“From modern revelation, unique to the restored gospel, we know that these teachings are part of God the Father’s plan for the salvation of his children,” Elder Oaks said. “Under that plan we are all heirs of our heavenly parents.
“This means, as we are told in the New Testament, that we are ‘heirs of eternal life,’ and that if we come to the Father, we are to ‘inherit all things’ — all that he has — a concept our mortal minds can hardly grasp. But at least we can understand that achieving this ultimate destiny in eternity is only possible if we follow our Savior, Jesus Christ, who taught that ‘no man cometh unto the Father but by me.’ We seek to follow him and become more like him, here and hereafter.”
A third apostle, Elder D. Todd Christofferson, was the Sunday afternoon conference session’s final speaker (not counting President Monson’s brief concluding remarks). He focused his remarks on the role of Jesus Christ as the Redeemer of mankind.
“Without (the Savior’s) redemption from death and from sin, we have only a gospel of social justice,” Elder Christofferson said. “That may provide some help and reconciliation in the present, but it has no power to draw down from heaven perfect justice and infinite mercy. Ultimate redemption is in Jesus Christ and in him alone.”
Because Latter-day Saints follow and love Jesus Christ, he said, “we seek to participate in and further his redemptive work.”
“The greatest service we can provide to others in this life, beginning with those of our own family, is to bring them to Christ through faith and repentance so that they may experience his redemption – peace and joy now, and immortality and eternal life in the world to come,” Elder Christofferson said. “The work of our missionaries is a magnificent expression of the Lord’s redeeming love. As his authorized messengers, they offer the incomparable blessings of faith in Jesus Christ, repentance, baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost, opening the way to spiritual rebirth and redemption.”
Genealogy and temple work also allows church members to “assist in the Lord’s redemption of those beyond the grave,” he added.
Elder Christofferson pointed out that there is also an element of redemption that is temporal.
“Jesus is said to have gone about healing the sick and infirm, supplying food to hungry multitudes and teaching a more excellent way,” he said. “This kind of redemptive work means helping people with their problems. It means befriending the poor and the weak, alleviating suffering, righting wrongs, defending truth, strengthening the rising generation and achieving security and happiness at home. Much of our redemptive work on earth is to help others grow and achieve their just hopes and aspirations.”
Four members of the Seventy also spoke during the closing session. Elder Christoffel Golden Jr. explained how “the doctrine of the Father and the Son is the doctrine of the eternal family.” Elder Enrique R. Falabella shared six things he has learned during the course of his life, noting that “these and many lessons are learned in a home, the place that can become a piece of heaven here on earth.” Elder Erich W. Kopischke testified that “having the Holy Ghost as our constant companion is the ultimate indicator of being accepted by God.” And Elder Bruce D. Porter expressed his feeling that “even in a darkening world, we as Latter-day Saints may sing with joy knowing that the powers of heaven are with God’s church and his people.”
Music for the session was provided once again by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
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