During a time when many are praying for relief — for help in carrying their burdens of grief, loneliness and fear — President Henry B. Eyring spoke of “The Comforter” during the General Women's Session of the 185th Annual General Conference for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
“My message to you tonight is that you can and must be an important part of his giving comfort to those who need comfort,” President Eyring, first counselor in the First Presidency, told LDS women gathered across the globe.
Thousands filled the Conference Center in downtown Salt Lake City for the meeting, which was translated and sent to millions around the world via television, radio and the Internet.
President Thomas S. Monson presided at the broadcast, which was also attended by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, second counselor in the First Presidency; other church leaders; and members of the Relief Society, Young Women and Primary general presidencies and boards.
Also speaking during the General Women’s Session were Sister Bonnie L. Oscarson, Young Women general president; Sister Carole M. Stephens, first counselor in the Relief Society general presidency; and Sister Cheryl A. Esplin, second counselor in the Primary general presidency. Sister Linda K. Burton, Relief Society general president, conducted the meeting; a choir of women, young women and girls from the Salt Lake Valley provided the music.
During a year when the church is celebrating the 100th anniversary of family home evening and the 20th anniversary of “The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” President Eyring and the general leaders delivered messages that focused on homes and families.
President Eyring said in the past few weeks he has watched God’s children pleading in prayer that their burdens would be lightened. “The miracle of the loads being lightened came in a way the Lord promised,” he said. “He and Heavenly Father sent the Holy Ghost as the comforter to his disciples to help.”
Recently, he continued, three generations of a family were grieving at the death of a 5-year-old boy, who died accidentally while with his family on a vacation. “I was granted the opportunity to watch once again how the Lord blesses the faithful with relief and the strength to endure.”
President Eyring met with the family and tried to tell them that he mourned for them, but that only the Lord knew and could experience perfectly their pain and grief.
“In the hour we sat together, they spoke far more than I did. I could feel in their voices and see in their eyes that the Holy Ghost was touching them. They spoke of what happened and how they felt in words of simple testimony. The Holy Ghost had already given them the peace that comes with the hope of eternal life, when their son, who died without sin, could be theirs forever. The comforter had come, bringing hope, courage and increased strength for all of us.”
President Eyring said Latter-day Saints lighten the loads of others best by helping the Lord strengthen them. “That is why the Lord included in our charge to comfort others the command to be his witnesses at all times and in all places.”
He said a loving Heavenly Father allows his son to provide, by his atoning sacrifice, the hope that comforts. “The father and the son send the Holy Ghost to comfort and strengthen disciples of the master in their journey.”
President Eyring said the Lord has asked each Latter-day Saint to help bear one another’s burdens. “We have promised to do it. I bear my testimony that the Lord through his Atonement and Resurrection has broken the power of death. I give my witness that the living Christ sends the Holy Ghost, the comforter, to those we are pledged to help him comfort.”
Sister Oscarson said the world needs steadfast defenders of the Family Proclamation.
“We need to boldly defend the Lord’s revealed doctrines describing marriage, families, the divine roles of men and women and the importance of homes as sacred places, even when the world is shouting in our ears that these principles are outdated, limiting or no longer relevant.”
Sister Stephens told the worldwide congregation of women that they are each part of God’s family.
“Sisters, we belong; we are loved; we are needed; we have a divine purpose, work, place and role in the church and kingdom of God and in his eternal family,” she said.
Sister Esplin likened LDS women to a full can of soda, which will not collapse under pressure, as does an empty soda can.
“When filled with the spirit and with gospel truth, we have the power to withstand the outside forces of the world that surround and push against us,” she said.
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