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Adam Fondren, Deseret News
Jared Payne, who is in the chaplain program at BYU, takes a selfie with his wife, Tiffany; son, Ryan; and daughter, Baylee, following the Sunday morning session of the LDS Church’s 187th Semiannual General Conference in Salt Lake City on Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017.

Despite light showers of rain, thousands gathered in the Conference Center in downtown Salt Lake City for the Sunday morning session of the 187th Semiannual General Conference of the Church.

President Henry B. Eyring, first counselor in the First Presidency, spoke on the topic, "Fear not to do good."

President Eyring was in Idaho when the Teton Dam broke on June 5, 1976. "A wall of water came down. Thousands fled from their homes. Thousands of homes and businesses were destroyed. Miraculously, fewer than 15 people were killed," he said.

"What I saw there, I have seen whenever Latter-day Saints stand firmly on the rock of a testimony of Jesus Christ. Because they have no doubt He watches over them, they become fearless. They ignore their own trials to go to the relief of others. And they do so out of love for the Lord, asking for no recompense."

President Eyring said that he has seen the miracle of faith driving out doubt and fear in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma in Puerto Rico, St. Thomas and Florida, "where Latter-day Saints partnered with other churches, local community groups and national organizations to begin clean-up efforts."

Recent disasters like hurricanes and earthquakes, and contention in families and communities, makes it seem like the whole earth is in commotion, Sister Jean B. Bingham, Relief Society general president, said in her remarks which opened the session. But joy can still be had by all.

"Lasting joy is found in focusing on our Savior, Jesus Christ, and living the gospel as demonstrated and taught by Him," she said. "The more we learn about, have faith in and emulate Jesus Christ, the more we come to understand that He is the source of all healing, peace and eternal progress."

Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles spoke on the "exceeding great and precious promises" of Heavenly Father "whereby we can become partakers of the divine nature. His plan defines our eternal identity and the pathway we must follow to learn, change, grow and, ultimately, dwell with Him forever."

Priesthood ordinances and sacred covenants are essential in the ongoing process of spiritual rebirth, Elder Bednar said. "Ordinances that are received worthily and remembered continually open the heavenly channels through which the power of godliness can flow into our lives. Covenants that are honored steadfastly and remembered always provide purpose and the assurance of blessings in both mortality and for eternity," he said.

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Elder Donald L. Hallstrom, General Authority Seventy, and Elder W. Craig Zwick, who was released and made an emeritus General Authority Seventy on Saturday, and Bishop W. Christopher Waddell of the Presiding Bishopric also spoke during the session.

President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, second counselor in the First Presidency, conducted the session. Elder Michael T. Ringwood and Elder Jose A. Teixeira, General Authority Seventies, offered the prayers.

Music was provided by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir with Mack Wilberg directing and Andrew Unsworth and Clay Christiansen at the organ.