'Spiritually fed': Powerful sermons highlight Sunday's conference sessions (+photos)

Published: Sunday, Oct. 6 2013 9:15 p.m. MDT

Elder Richard G. Scott spoke of the personal strength that can come into individual lives through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

"It is a fundamental truth that through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, we can be cleansed," Elder Scott said. "We can become virtuous and pure. However, sometimes our poor choices leave us with long-term consequences. One of the vital steps to complete repentance is to bear the short- and long-term consequences of our past sins."

Elder Scott urged his listeners to "fill your life with service to others."

"As you lose your life in the service of Father in Heaven's children," he said, "Satan's temptations lose power in your life."

Falter or finish?

On the day before what would have been his 65th wedding anniversary, President Monson spoke personally and movingly of his wife's recent death and his assurance that God is with us in times of adversity as he concluded the Sunday morning session.

"Our Heavenly Father, who gives us so much to delight in, also knows that we learn and grow and become stronger as we face and survive the trials through which we must pass," said the 86-year-old church leader, who observed the 50th anniversary of his call to the church's Quorum of the Twelve during this conference.

"We know that there are times when we will experience heartbreaking sorrow, when we will grieve, and when we may be tested to our limits. However, such difficulties allow us to change for the better, to rebuild our lives in the way our Heavenly Father teaches us, and to become something different from what we were — better than we were, more understanding than we were, more empathetic than we were, with stronger testimonies than we had before."

For President Monson, the passing of his beloved wife, Frances, six months ago was such a time of sorrow and grief.

"She was the love of my life, my trusted confidant and my closest friend," he said. "To say that I miss her does not begin to convey the depth of my feeling."

At such times, President Monson said, "a fundamental question remained to be answered by each of us: Shall I falter, or shall I finish?"

Those who have made the gospel of Jesus Christ the center of their lives find that "this is what will pull us through whatever comes our way," President Monson said.

"We will still experience difficult challenges, but we will be able to face them, to meet them head on and to emerge victorious. From the bed of pain, from the pillow wet with tears, we are lifted heavenward by that divine assurance and precious promise: 'I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.' Such comfort is priceless."

As he concluded his remarks, President Monson urged his listeners to "have a commitment to our Heavenly Father that does not ebb and flow with the years or the crises of our lives."

"Only the Master knows the depths of our trials, our pain and our suffering," he said. "He alone offers us eternal peace in times of adversity ... Whether it is the best of times or the worst of times, he is with us. He has promised that this will never change."

Forms of bondage

Elder Quentin L. Cook was the first speaker in the Sunday afternoon session of conference, and he spoke about four different kinds of bondage that are “destructive of the human spirit” and “pernicious in today’s culture.” He identified:

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