'Spiritually fed': Powerful sermons highlight Sunday's conference sessions (+photos)
- Addictions that impair agency, contradict moral beliefs and destroy good health
- Addictions or predilections that occupy time that could be used for better purposes
- Ideology or political beliefs that are inconsistent with the gospel of Jesus Christ
- Forces that violate sincerely held religious principles
For example, he said, “there are many voices now telling women how to live. They often contradict each other. Of particular concern are philosophies that criticize or diminish respect for women who choose to make the sacrifices necessary to be mothers, teachers, nurturers or friends to children.
“If we allow our culture to reduce the special relationship that children have with mothers and grandmothers and others who nurture them, we will come to regret it,” Elder Cook said.
“Our challenge,” Elder Cook continued, “is to avoid bondage of any kind, help the Lord gather his elect and sacrifice for the rising generation. We must always remember that we do not save ourselves. We are liberated by the love, grace and atoning sacrifice of the Savior If we are true to his light, follow his commandments and rely on his merits, we will avoid spiritual, physical and intellectual bondage as well as the lamentation of wandering in our own wilderness, for he is mighty to save.”
Strength, peace and perspective
Speaking right after Elder Cook, Elder Neil L. Andersen discussed the power of the priesthood and its equal availability to both men and women. He observed “we sometimes overly associate the power of the priesthood with men in the church.”
“The priesthood is the power and authority of God given for the salvation and blessing of all — men, women and children,” Elder Andersen said. “A man may open the drapes so the warm sunlight comes into the room, but the man does not own the sun or the warmth it brings. The blessings of the priesthood are infinitely greater than the one who is asked to administer the gift.
“To receive the blessings, power and promises of the priesthood in this life and the next is one of the great opportunities and responsibilities of mortality,” he continued. “As we are worthy, the ordinances of the priesthood enrich our lives on earth and prepare us for the magnificent promises of the world ahead.”
However, Elder Andersen said, “seeing through the lens of mortality does not always give a complete understanding of the workings of God. But his gentle reminder, ‘My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ reassures us that with time and eternal perspective we will see things ‘as they really are,’ and more completely understand his perfect love.”
Decisions for eternity
Elder Russell M. Nelson added his voice to Elder Oaks’ in declaring that “marriage between a man and a woman is fundamental to the Lord’s doctrine and crucial to God’s eternal plan.”
“Marriage between a man and a woman is God’s pattern for a fullness of life on earth and in heaven,” Elder Nelson said. “God’s marriage pattern cannot be abused, misunderstood or misconstrued. Not if you want true joy.”
Elder Nelson said “civil governments have a vested interest in protecting marriage because strong families constitute the best way of providing for the health, education, welfare and prosperity of rising generations.”
“But civil governments are heavily influenced by social trends and secular philosophies as they write, re-write and enforce laws,” he continued. “Regardless of what civil legislation may be enacted, the doctrine of the Lord regarding marriage and morality cannot be changed. Remember: Sin, even if legalized by man, is still sin in the eyes of God!”
While he urged church members to follow Jesus’ example of kindness and compassion and to “value the rights and feelings of all of God’s children, we cannot change (God’s) doctrine. It is not ours to change. His doctrine is ours to study, understand and uphold.”
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