SALT LAKE CITY — On a stunning Easter morning under blue cloudless skies, Mormon leaders asked LDS Church members to act in one accord like a kaleidoscope of butterflies, unique and different but working together to make the world a more beautiful and fruitful place.
President Russell M. Nelson expressed optimism for a future he said is full of opportunities as he gave his first talk as the new leader of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints during a full session of an international general conference. He spoke Saturday night in priesthood session.
"Our Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ, will perform some of his mightiest works between now and when he comes again," President Nelson said. "We will see miraculous indications that God the Father and his Beloved Son preside over this earth in majesty and glory."
But he and others called on Latter-day Saints to work together in unanimity, unity, accord with each other and in alignment the Godhead.
President Nelson described the example of the faith's senior leadership.
"When we convene as a Council of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve, our meeting rooms become rooms of revelation," he said. "The Spirit is palpably present. As we wrestle with complex matters, a thrilling process unfolds as each apostle freely expresses his thoughts and point of view. Though we may differ in our initial perspectives, the love we feel for each other is constant. Our unity helps us discern the Lord’s will for his church.
"In our meetings, the majority never rules! We listen prayerfully to one another and talk with each other until we are united. Then when we have reached complete accord, the unifying influence of the Holy Ghost is spine-tingling! We experience what the Prophet Joseph Smith knew when he taught, 'By union of feeling we obtain power with God.'"
Jesus Christ set a perfect example of unity with his Father, said Sister Reyna Isabel Aburto, a native of Nicaragua and second counselor in the Relief Society General Presidency. She cited the Bible to show how his disciples followed that model after his death, the men continuing "with one accord in prayer and supplication with the women."
She said LDS congregations act in unity like Christ's ancient disciples each week during meetings, testifying of Christ, studying the word together and ministering to each other in love.
"They were one in purpose, in love and in works," Sister Aburto said of those disciples. "They knew who they were, they knew what they had to do, and they did it with love for God and for each other. They were part of a magnificent kaleidoscope moving forward with one accord."
Latter-day Saints can follow their example, she said, by trying to draw closer to Christ. That will give them determination to "be one in the kaleidoscope of our families, wards and communities; and we will minister to each other in newer, better ways."
"We are on this journey together," she added. "In order to reach our sublime destiny, we need each other, and we need to be unified."
Sister Aburto said the power of unity is on display in LDS priesthood quorums and Relief Societies during monthly council meetings instituted in January. Those meetings are intended to help all Mormons "be more active participants in our ward or branch kaleidoscope — a place where we all fit in, and where we are all needed."
They also leverage different strengths and experiences.
"Revelation is scattered among us," she said, "and when we put that revelation together, we see more."
Meeting and sharing empowers everyone.
"Every one of our paths is different, yet we walk them together," she said. "Our path is not about what we have done or where we have been; it is about where we are going and what we are becoming, in unity."
The first half of the morning session was a kaleidoscope of sorts itself, with speakers from North and South America and Europe, as noted by President Nelson.
President Dallin H. Oaks, first counselor in the First Presidency, spoke about how small and simple things over a significant period of time result in powerful spiritual uplift and growth.
"To move upstream toward our eternal goal, we must constantly keep paddling. It helps if we are part of a team who are paddling together, like a rowing crew in action," he said.
President Henry B. Eyring, second counselor in the First Presidency, and Elder Larry Y. Wilson, a General Authority Seventy, spoke about aligning with the Godhead and receiving the companionship of the Holy Ghost.
President Eyring held up Joseph Smith’s experience as a guide. First, he said, Joseph decided his own wisdom was insufficient. Then he asked God. He obeyed inspiration when it was difficult. He accepted correction and comfort. He even obeyed when he faced mortal danger on the road to Carthage.
Finally, "he prayed to know the needs and hearts of others and how to help them for the Lord. Joseph prayed for the Saints in distress when he was in prison," President Eyring said. "It has been my opportunity to observe the prophets of God as they pray, ask for inspiration, receive direction, and act on it."
He said inspiration will help Mormons minister to others for the Lord: "He has placed you in the way of other children of God to serve them for him."
"Great ministers have qualified for the Holy Ghost as a nearly constant companion," President Eyring added. "And they have qualified for the gift of charity, which is the pure love of Christ. Those gifts have grown in them as they have used them in serving out of love for the Lord."
Elder Wilson, a General Authority Seventy and executive director of the church’s Temple Department, said those who put their faith in Jesus Christ receive an incomparable gift, "life in Christ." It is not a gift that should be taken for granted, said
He offered guidelines to more frequently enjoy "the extraordinary privilege to have the Holy Spirit for our guide." First, he said, align one's life with God's commandments to gain spiritual confidence. Second, ask God not to solve a problem but for guidance how one can be part of the solution. Third, pray frequently and use the pattern frequently.
"Being spiritually self-reliant is to be able to hear the Lord’s voice through His Spirit for one’s own life," he said.
Elder Massimo De Feo, a General Authority Seventy from Italy, said pure love is the foundation stone of daily life and "a requirement for every true disciple of Jesus Christ."
"True disciples love to listen to the voice of the Spirit and of the prophets, and are not confused by the voice of the world," he added. "(They) love to stand in holy places and love to make holy the places where they stand."7 comments on this story
Elder Claudio Zivic, a General Authority Seventy from Argentina, said that trials of faith require obedience, which also provides strength for overcoming sin.
He laid out a formula for remaining faithful and enduring to end. "1. Daily, pray and read the scriptures. 2. Weekly, partake of the sacrament with a broken heart and a contrite spirit. 3. Pay our tithing and our monthly fast offering. 4. Every two years — every year for the youth — renew our temple recommends. 5. Throughout our whole lives, serve in the work of the Lord."