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The Mormon Tabernacle Choir provides music during the Saturday morning session of the 185th Annual General Conference on April 4, 2015.

President Boyd K. Packer, President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, began his Saturday morning conference address with a memory of his college courtship with his future wife, Donna Smith.

Their relationship eventually led to marriage in the Salt Lake Temple, commencing “the great adventure of our lives.”

Over the years, President Packer has taught an important principle: “The end of all activity in the Church is to see that a man and a woman with their children are happy at home and sealed together for time and for all eternity.”

God commanded His children to multiply and replenish the earth. That commandment has never been rescinded, he noted.

“It is essential to the plan of redemption and is the source of human happiness,” he said. “Through the righteous exercise of this power, we may come close to our Father in Heaven and experience a fullness of joy, even Godhood. The power of procreation is not an incidental part of the plan of happiness; it is the key to happiness.”

He said: “If you suppose that the full-blown rapture of young romantic love is the sum total of the possibilities which spring from the fountains of life, you have not yet lived to see the devotion and the comfort of married love. ...

“Married couples are tried by temptation, misunderstandings, financial problems, by family crises, by illness, and all the while love grows stronger. Mature love has a bliss not even imagined by newlyweds.”

True love requires reserving until after marriage the sharing of procreative powers. When entered into worthily, this process combines the most exquisite and exalted physical, emotional, and spiritual feelings associated with the word love.

“That part of life has no equal, no counterpart, in all human experience,” he said. “It will, when covenants are made and kept, last eternally.”

President Packer said romantic love is, by itself, incomplete; it is a prelude.

“Love is nourished by the coming of children, who spring from the fountain of life entrusted to couples in marriage. Conception takes place in a wedded embrace between husband and wife.”

Temptations are ever present, he cautioned “Because the adversary cannot beget life, he is jealous toward all who have that supernal power.” He said Satan will tempt, if he can, to degrade, to corrupt, and, if possible, to destroy this gift by which, we may, “if we are worthy, have eternal increase.”

“The only legitimate, authorized expression of the powers of procreation is between husband and wife, a man and a woman, who have been legally and lawfully married,” President Packer said.

“Anything other than this violates the commandments of God,” he declared. “Do not yield to the awful temptations of the adversary, for every debt of transgression must be paid ‘till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing’ ” (Matthew 5:26).

President Packer said, “Nowhere is the generosity and mercy of God more manifest than in repentance. ...

“Our spirits are damaged when we make mistakes and commit sins,” he said. “But unlike the case of our mortal bodies, when the repentance process is complete, no scars remain because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ.”

President Packer then spoke of worthy people who are unable to bear children or who do not marry. There is comfort in remembering that God is the Father. “All the love and generosity manifest in the ideal earthly father is magnified in Him who is our Father and our God beyond the capacity of the mortal mind to comprehend.”

President Packer concluded with a tribute to Sister Donna Smith Packer, his wife of nearly 70 years.

“Toward the end of our mortal days together, I am grateful for each moment with her by my side and for the promise the Lord has given that there will be no end.”

The LDS Church News is an official publication of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The publication's content supports the doctrines, principles and practices of the Church.