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Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

“This has been a magnificent general conference. We have truly been edified. If there is one preeminent objective of general conference, it is to build faith in God the Father and our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,” Elder Quentin L. Cook said.

In his remarks, Elder Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles built on the foundations of that faith as he delivered the concluding address of the 187th Annual General Conference on Sunday afternoon, April 2.

“Personal foundations, like many worthwhile pursuits, are usually built slowly one layer, one experience, one challenge, one setback and one success at a time,” Elder Cook said.

Just as repetition and consistent effort are required to gain physical or mental capacity, the same is true in spiritual matters, Elder Cook said. “We do this by consecrated commitment to sacred sacrament meetings, scripture study, prayer and serving as called,” Elder Cook explained.

He shared an experience he had when he was 15 years old and his older brother was considering a potential mission call. Their “wonderful father,” a less active member of the Church, wanted his brother to continue his education rather than serve a mission. Elder Cook said that in a discussion, he and his brother concluded that “his decision on whether to serve a mission depended on three issues: 1. Was Jesus Christ divine? 2. Was the Book of Mormon true? 3. Was Joseph Smith the prophet of the restoration?

“As I prayed sincerely that night, the Spirit confirmed to me the truth of all three questions. I also came to understand that almost every decision I would make for the rest of my life would be based on the answers to those three questions,” Elder Cook said. In looking back, he recognized that primarily because of his mother, he had the foundations in place to receive a spiritual confirmation that evening.

“I believe weekly participation in sacred sacrament meetings has spiritual implications we do not fully understand. Pondering the scriptures regularly — rather than reading them occasionally — can substitute a superficial understanding for a sublime life-changing enhancement of our faith,” Elder Cook said.

Faith is a principle of power. To illustrate, Elder Cook shared the account found in Luke 8 of the woman who had an issue of blood for 12 years. “You will remember that she had faith that if she could but touch the border of the Savior’s garment she would be healed. When she did so, she was healed immediately,” Elder Cook said. Her faith was such that touching the border of the garment drew upon the healing power of the Son of God, he said.

“I have contemplated this account all my adult life. I realize that our personal prayers and supplications to a loving Father in Heaven in the name of Jesus Christ can bring blessings into our lives beyond our ability to comprehend. The foundations of faith, the kind of faith that this woman demonstrated, should be the great desire of our hearts,” Elder Cook said.

“However, initial foundations of faith, even with spiritual confirmation, do not mean that we will not face challenges. Conversion to the gospel does not mean all our problems will be solved,” Elder Cook said.

“Adversity should not be viewed as either disfavor from the Lord or a withdrawal of His blessings. Opposition in all things is part of the refiner’s fire to prepare us for an eternal celestial destiny.”

Elder Cook asked, “What then are the blessings of faith? What does faith accomplish? The list is almost endless:

“Our sins can be forgiven because of faith in Christ.

“As many as have faith have communion with the Holy Spirit.

“Salvation comes through faith on Christ’s name.

“We receive strength according to our faith in Christ.

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“None enter the Lord’s rest save those who wash their garments in Christ’s blood because of their faith.

“Prayers are answered according to faith.

“Without faith among men, God can do no miracle among them.”

“I am grateful for the fortifications of the foundations of faith that have come from this conference,” Elder Cook said in closing. “My plea is that we will make the sacrifices and have the humility necessary to strengthen the foundations of our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.”

vjohnson@deseretnews.com

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