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Elder Dallin H. Oaks: 'Followers of Christ'

Published: Friday, July 3 2015 2:11 a.m. MDT

Elder Dallin H. Oaks, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, speaks at the afternoon session of the 183rd Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on Sunday, April 7, 2013.  (Kristin Murphy, Deseret News) Elder Dallin H. Oaks, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, speaks at the afternoon session of the 183rd Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on Sunday, April 7, 2013. (Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)

In his Sunday afternoon address, Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve utilized the four gospels of the New Testament — Matthew, Mark, Luke and John — to teach how members qualify as "followers of Christ."

Jesus taught that baptism was essential (John 3:5). "He began His ministry by being baptized, and He and His followers baptized others. We do likewise."

Jesus taught repentance (Matthew 4:17). "That is still His servants' message to the world."

Jesus gave commandments and affirmed that keeping the commandments would require His followers to leave what He called "that which is highly esteemed among men" (Luke 16:15) and "the tradition of men" (Mark 7:8, 13).

"Latter-day Saints understand that we should not be 'of the world' or bound to 'the tradition of men,' but, like other followers of Christ, we sometimes find it difficult to separate ourselves from the world and its traditions," said Elder Oaks. "Some model themselves after worldly ways because, as Jesus said of some whom He taught, they 'love the praise of men more than the praise of God.' These failures to follow Christ are too numerous and too sensitive to list here. They range all the way from worldly practices like political correctness and extremes in dress and grooming to deviations from basic values like the eternal nature and function of the family."

President Thomas S. Monson speaks at the morning session of the 183rd Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on Sunday, April 7, 2013. (Kristin Murphy, Deseret News) President Thomas S. Monson speaks at the morning session of the 183rd Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on Sunday, April 7, 2013. (Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)

Jesus taught that those who love Him will keep His commandments.

"Following Christ is not a casual or occasional practice, but a continuous commitment and way of life that applies at all times and in all places," he said.

Jesus instituted the ordinance of the sacrament, commanding His followers to partake in remembrance of Him (JST Matthew 26:22, 24). "Members ... follow that commandment each week by attending a worship service in which we partake of the bread and water and covenant that we will always remember Him and keep His commandments."

Jesus taught that "men ought always to pray" (Luke 18:1).

"Like other Christians, we pray in all our worship services," Elder Oaks said. "We also pray for guidance and we teach that we should have frequent personal prayers and daily kneeling prayers as a family."

President Thomas S. Monson speaks at the afternoon session of the 183rd Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on Sunday, April 7, 2013.  (Kristin Murphy, Deseret News) President Thomas S. Monson speaks at the afternoon session of the 183rd Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on Sunday, April 7, 2013. (Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)

The Savior called 12 apostles to assist in His Church and gave them the keys and authority to carry on after His death (Mark 3:14-15). The restored Church follows this example in its organization and in its conferral of keys and authority on apostles.

Jesus taught that God created male and female, and that a man should leave his parents and cleave to his wife (Mark 10:6-8). "Our commitment to this teaching is well known."

Jesus taught to forgive others (Matthew 18:21-35). "We all know of inspiring examples of Latter-day Saints who have given loving forgiveness, even for the most serious wrongs."

Christ taught to give to the poor (Matthew 25: 31-46). Today's members make generous contributions to charities and give personal service. The Church's global humanitarian service also relieves suffering across the world, especially during time of disaster.

President Thomas S. Monson shakes hands with Elder Jeffrey R. Holland as he leaves the morning session of the 183rd Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on Sunday, April 7, 2013. (Kristin Murphy, Deseret News) President Thomas S. Monson shakes hands with Elder Jeffrey R. Holland as he leaves the morning session of the 183rd Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on Sunday, April 7, 2013. (Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)

Jesus also taught His followers to take His teachings to all nations. Today the Church has more than 60,000 missionaries in more than 150 countries and territories.

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