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The scriptures remain a key to one's spiritual protection, declared President Boyd K. Packer, president of the Quorum of the Twelve.

In his Saturday afternoon conference address, President Packer said that happiness depends upon living the standards established by the Savior and set forth in His scriptures.

"Parents today wonder if there is a safe place to raise children," he said. "There is a safe place. It is in a gospel-centered home. We focus on the family in the Church and we counsel parents everywhere to raise their children in righteousness."

The prophets have warned that the last days will be fraught with peril, he said. By reading the scriptures, individuals can recognize dangerous patterns to avoid and remain watchful and diligent.

Even though the prophetic visions of the present day can be disturbing, President Packer said he views the future "with feelings of positive optimism."

"The scriptures hold the keys to spiritual protection," he added. "They contain the doctrines and laws and ordinances that will bring each child of God to a testimony of Jesus Christ and their Savior and Redeemer."

Enormous efforts have been made to produce the scriptures in many languages with footnotes and cross references. "We seek to make them available to all who wish to learn. They teach us where to go and what to do. They offer hope and knowledge."

The Church leader counseled members to make scripture reading a regular routine. Blessings will follow, he promised.

"There is in the scriptures a voice of warning, but there is also great nourishment. If the language of the scriptures at first seems strange to you, keep reading. Soon you will come to recognize the beauty and power found on those pages."

It was Paul who taught that "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness" (2 Timothy 3:16).

Today's members live in dangerous times, acknowledged President Packer. "Nevertheless, we can find hope and peace for ourselves and for our families. Those living in sorrow, despairing at the possibility of a child being rescued from where the world has taken them, must never give up."

Children who are taught an understanding of the scriptures early in life will come to know the path they should walk and will be more inclined to remain on that path, he said, and those who stray will have to ability to return.

"If you are set on a course of faith and activity in the Church, stay on course and keep your covenants," he counseled. "Continue forward until the time when the Lord's blessings will come to you and the Holy Ghost will be revealed as a moving force in your life."

For those who have strayed, there is a way back, he said. "Jesus Christ has prescribed a very clear method for us to repent and find healing in our lives."

President Packer said it is the gospel that teaches people to be happy, to have faith rather than fear, to find hope and overcome despair and to leave darkness and turn toward everlasting light.