Elder Robert D. Hales: 'General conference: Strengthening faith and testimony'
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“I testify that we are gathered in [the Savior’s] conference,” said Elder Robert D. Hales of the Quorum of the Twelve in his Saturday morning remarks. “I also testify that we will hear His word, for He has said, ‘Whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same,’” (Doctrine and Covenants 1:38).
Elder Hales noted that conferences have always been a part of the true Church of Jesus Christ. Adam, Moses, the Savior, Peter and the early Saints all gathered multitudes to teach and hear the gospel.
“These conferences are always under the direction of the Lord, guided by His Spirit,” said Elder Hales. Speakers are not assigned topics but “through fasting, prayer, study and pondering, we learn the message that He wants us to give.”
Speaking to the young members of the Church, Elder Hales said, “I promise that if you will listen, you will feel the Spirit well up within you. The Lord will tell you what He wants you to do.”
Elder Hales explained that through conferences, individuals can receive the word of the Lord meant just for them. “This is possible because the Holy Ghost carries the word of the Lord unto our hearts in terms we can understand.”
Elder Hales said that when he takes notes during conference he does not always write the exact words of the speaker; instead, he writes the personalized direction of the Spirit. “What is said is not as important as what I hear and what I feel.
“Oh, how we need general conference!” he said. “Through conferences our faith is fortified and our testimonies deepened. And when we are converted, we strengthen each other to stand strong amid the fiery darts of these last days.”
Noting that in recent decades the Church has largely been spared the terrible misunderstandings and persecutions experienced by early Saints, Elder Hales warned that will not always be so. “The world is moving away from the Lord faster and farther than ever before.”
Elder Hales promised that those who will listen and obey the prophets, “including those who will speak in this very conference,” will be strengthened and protected. He noted, however, that the greatest blessings come after the conference is over. “Remember the pattern recorded frequently in scripture: we gather to hear the words of the Lord, and we return to our homes to live them.”
In addition to personal and family scripture study, Heavenly Father wants the members to study and apply lessons from conference, Elder Hales said. “I testify that those who put their trust in the Lord and heed this counsel in faith will gain great strength to bless themselves and their families for generations to come.”
He concluded, “I bear my special witness that the Lord Jesus Christ lives and stands at the head of this Church. This is His general conference. I promise you in His name that if you pray with sincere desire to hear your Heavenly Father’s voice in the messages of this conference, you will discover that He has spoken to you to help you, to strengthen you and to lead you home into His presence.”
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