President Henry B. Eyring, first counselor in the First Presidency, began general conference by welcoming all participating in the event throughout the world.
“You have come to conference to feel inspiration from heaven and to feel closer to our Heavenly Father and to the Lord.”
Those gathered do so in Christ's name, he said. The Lord has promised to be with all who gather as one in His name. “Verily, verily, I say unto you, ... where two or three are gathered together in my name, ... behold, there will I be in the midst of them — even so am I in the midst of you” (Doctrine and Covenants 6:32).
General conference, he added, allows “a multitude of His disciples” to gather as one. As promised, the Lord is with them. “Because He is a resurrected and glorified being, He is not physically everyplace where Saints gather. But, by the power of the Spirit, we can feel that He is here with us today.”
President Eyring spoke of two people who had recently written him letters pleading for help. Both are converts who had previously received clear testimonies of God's love. They knew Joseph Smith restored the Church and that the keys of the priesthood were restored.
“Yet both lamented that feelings of love for the Lord and His love for them were lessening,” he said. “They both wanted, with full heart, for me to help them regain the joy and the feeling of being loved that was theirs as they came into the kingdom of God. Both expressed a fear that if they could not regain in full those feelings of love for the Savior and His Church, the trials and tests they faced would finally overcome their faith.”
They are not alone in their concern, said President Eyring. All have had seeds — or the word of God — planted in their hearts at one time. And each felt the seed was good. It caused their hearts to swell and feel joy. And all have had their faith tested by delayed blessings, by vicious attacks from those determined to destroy their faith, by temptations to sin or, perhaps, by selfish acts and interests.
“Those who are saddened by the loss of the joy they once had are the blessed ones,” he said. “Some do not see the withering of faith within themselves. Satan is clever. He tells those he wishes to be miserable that the joy they once felt was childish self-delusion.”
General conference, he promised, will offer “a precious opportunity” to have hearts softened. Seeds of faith will be received and offer nourishment.
“The seed is the word of God, and it will be poured out on all of us who listen, watch, and read the proceedings of this conference. The music, the talks, and the testimonies have been prepared by servants of God who have sought diligently for the Holy Ghost to guide them in their preparation. They have prayed longer and more humbly as the days of the conference have approached.”
President Eyring asked those viewing or listening to general conference wherever they might be to offer prayers as they listen to the hymns and the messages from the pulpit.
“True testimony will be given to the speakers,” he said. “Their words may be few, but they will be carried into the heart of the humble listener who has come to the conference hungry for the good word of God.”
President Eyring said many times people have listened to his testimony and then asked, “How did you know what I so needed to hear?”
He is not surprised when he cannot remember saying the words.
“I spoke the words of testimony, but the Lord was there, giving them to me and to them in the moment,” he said. “The promise that the Lord will give us words in the very moment we need them applies especially to testimony. Listen carefully to testimonies borne in this conference — you will feel closer to the Lord.”
President Eyring concluded with his testimony of modern-day prophets.
“Thomas S. Monson is His prophet to all the world. The prophets and apostles you will hear in this conference speak for the Lord. They are His servants, authorized to act for Him. He goes before His servants in the world.”
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