The purpose of general conference is fulfilled only if listeners are willing to act and to change, Elder Donald L. Hallstrom of the Presidency of the Seventy said in his priesthood session sermon of general conference.
He told of being a bishop in the Church and counseling a man about challenges in the man’s life. The man responded, “Bishop, I have a bad temper, and that’s just the way I am!”
“That statement stunned me that night and has haunted me ever since,” Elder Hallstrom reflected. “Once this man decided — once any of us conclude — ‘That’s just the way I am,’ we give up our ability to change. We might as well raise the white flag, put down our weapons, concede the battle and just surrender — any prospect of winning is lost. While some of us may think that does not describe ourselves, perhaps every one of us demonstrates by at least one or two bad habits, ‘That’s just the way I am.’”
He said that the congregation was attending the priesthood meeting “because who we are is not who we can become.”
He posed the questions: “What is expected of a holder of the priesthood of God? What changes are required of us to become the manner of men we ought to be?
In response, he said:
“We need to be priesthood men!”
“We should be different because we hold the priesthood — not arrogant or prideful or patronizing — but humble and teachable and meek.”
“We need to serve!”
Elder Hallstrom said, “Avoiding our most important duty to serve our wives and children, not accepting or passively fulfilling callings in the Church, or not caring about others unless it is convenient, is not who we should be. Selfishness is the antithesis of priesthood responsibility, and if it is a trait of our character, we need to change.”
“We need to be worthy!”
“Dear brethren, we need to wake up to how commonly accepted practices in the world choke our power in the priesthood,” he declared. “If we think we can even flirt with pornography or violations of chastity or dishonesty in any form and not have it negatively affect us and our families, we are deceived.”
Elder Hallstrom said, “The only complete response to the question posed by Jesus Christ, ‘What manner of men ought ye to be,’ is the one He succinctly and profoundly gave, ‘Even as I am’ (3 Nephi 27:27).”