Instructed and inspired: Conference speakers share poignant personal reflections, timeless truths

Published: Saturday, Oct. 5 2013 11:10 p.m. MDT

“There is no superior career, and no amount of money, authority or public acclaim that can exceed the ultimate rewards of family. Whatever else a woman may accomplish, her moral influence is no more optimally employed than here.”

Striving for peace

Elder Holland’s talk on mental illness centered in part on his own experience with what he called a “psychic blow” that gave him a firsthand look at the abyss of depression. He mentioned others — Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill and former LDS Church President George Albert Smith — who have struggled with it.

“However bewildering they may be, these afflictions are some of the realities of mortal life, and there should be no more shame in acknowledging them than acknowledging a battle with high blood pressure or the sudden appearance of a malignant tumor.”

Elder Holland reminded those who struggle with depression that “hope is never lost,” and he urged listeners to, “if things continue to be debilitating, seek the advice of reputable people with certified training, professional skills and good values.”

And he reminded those without such challenges to “help by being merciful, non-judgmental and kind.”

Reach out with love

Elder M. Russell Ballard encouraged church members to reach “out with love to share the truths of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.”

Elder Ballard challenged every member of the church to reach out to just one person between now and Christmas. If they will do that, he said, “millions will feel the love of the Lord Jesus Christ. What a wonderful gift to the Savior.”

Core beliefs

Elder L. Tom Perry of the Quorum of the Twelve opened the general priesthood meeting — the first broadcast live on television and over the Internet — by outlining how the doctrine of the church is summarized in its Articles of Faith and by urging young men to “use your bright minds to study and learn the Articles of Faith and the doctrines they teach.”

“They are among the most important and certainly the most concise statement of doctrine in the church,” he said. “If you will use them as a guide to direct your studies of the gospel of Jesus Christ, you will find yourself prepared to declare your witness of the restored truth to the world.”

‘You can do it’

President Uchtdorf expressed sadness at having seen “men filled with potential and grace disengage from the challenging work of building the kingdom of God because they had failed a time or two.

“These were men of promise who could have been exceptional priesthood holders and servants of God,” he said. “But because they stumbled and became discouraged they withdrew from their priesthood commitments and pursued easier but less worthy endeavors.”

He reminded his listeners “our destiny is not determined by the number of times we stumble but by the number of times we rise up, dust ourselves off, and move forward.”

“Even those who set their hearts upon divine goals may still occasionally stumble, but they will not be defeated,” President Uchtdorf said. “They trust and rely upon the promises of God. They will rise up again with a bright hope in a righteous God and the inspiring vision of a great future. They know they can do it now.”

Help the needy

President Henry B. Eyring of the First Presidency said the parable of the Good Samaritan provides three assurances the Lord gives to priesthood holders. “First,” he said, “the Lord will give you, if you ask, the feelings of the compassion he feels for those in need. Second, he will provide others, like the innkeeper, to join with you in your service. And third, the Lord, like the good Samaritan, will more than recompense all who join in giving help to those in need.”

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