SALT LAKE CITY — During Sunday afternoon's final session of a worldwide general conference, Latter-day Saint leaders continued a weekend-long theme of dealing with trials by relying on divine help, ministering and loving.
That divine help is available in the temple, said President Russell M. Nelson, who announced 12 new temples on Sunday afternoon during the final address of the 188th Semiannual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
"My dear brothers and sisters, the assaults of the adversary are increasing exponentially, in intensity and variety," he said. "Our need to be in the temple on a regular basis has never been greater. I plead with you to take a prayerful look at how you spend your time. Invest time in your future and in that of your family.
"If you have reasonable access to a temple, I urge you to find a way to make an appointment regularly with the Lord — to be in his holy house — then keep that appointment with exactness and joy. I promise you that the Lord will bring the miracles He knows you need as you make sacrifices to serve and worship in His temples."
He said each church members needs the ongoing spiritual strengthening and tutoring "only possibel in the House of the Lord. The church's new emphasis on spiritual learning in the home makes it another possible sanctuary, he added.
"The new home-centered, church-supported integrated curriculum has the potential to unleash the power of families, as each family follows through conscientiously and carefully to transform their home into a sanctuary of faith."
President Henry B. Eyring, second counselor in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, shared an intimate example from his own home, where the physical ailments suffered by his wife, Kathleen, limit her to only a few words per day.
"We face trials that come from having mortal bodies," he said. "All of us (also) live in a world where Satan’s war against truth and against our personal happiness is becoming more intense. The world and your life can seem to you to be in increasing commotion.
"My reassurance is this: The loving God who allowed these tests for you also designed a sure way to pass through them. Heavenly Father so loved the world that he sent his Beloved Son to help us."
Every morning and night, President Eyring sits with his wife, voices a prayer and sings hymns. She mouths the words. One recent day, she softly but clearly said "try, try, try," when he sang the line, "Try to show kindness in all that you do."
"I think that she will find, when she sees him, that our Savior has put his name into her heart and that she has become like him," President Eyring said. "He is carrying her through her troubles now, as he will carry you through yours."
He said some may feel that their faith and hope are being overcome by their troubles, but he said they can rely on God.
"You can pray with confidence for the Lord to lead you to love someone for him," he said. "He answers the prayers of meek volunteers like you."
Elder Gary E. Stevenson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said the church's new ministering initiative, announced in April, helps unlock divine help for others.
"May we raise our sights to this prophetic vision, so we can shepherd souls toward the temple and ultimately to our Savior, Jesus Christ. He does not expect us to perform miracles. He only asks that we bring our brothers and sisters unto him for he has the power to redeem souls."
Ministering goes beyond being nice, he said: "Done in the Lord’s way, ministering can have a far-reaching influence for good that ripples throughout all eternity."
The calling of a ministering brother or sister does not begin in Elders' Quorum or Relief Society, Elder Stevenson said.
"Who is a shepherd? Every man, woman and child in the kingdom of God is a shepherd. No calling is required. From the moment we emerge from the waters of baptism we are commissioned to this work."
The responsibility is rooted in Christ's ministering to each church member.
"We enjoy the blessing of being individually ministered to by Jesus Christ. Simultaneously, we have a responsibility to provide ministering assistance to others around us as shepherds ourselves."
He urged members to learn lessons from a modern shepherd with a flock of 2,000 today. The shepherd told Elder Stevenson that "the sooner they found lost sheep, before the sheep drifted too far from the flock, the less likely the sheep were to be harmed. Recovering lost sheep required much patience and discipline."
Elder Dale G. Renlund of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said each person's agency determines who they are and will become.
"Our Heavenly Father wants to help and bless us, but we do not always let him," he said. "Our Heavenly Father’s goal in parenting is not to have his children do what is right; it is to have his children choose to do what is right, and ultimately become like him."
While "God wants us to be on the covenant path," he said, "he gives us the dignity of choosing. Indeed, God desires, expects, and directs that each of his children choose for himself or herself. He will not force us."
Elder Renlund said commandments are not whimsical or arbitrary but linked to developing godliness, receiving joy and returning to Heavenly Father.
"Agency allows us to choose to get on the path, or not. It allows us to get off, or not," he said.
Christ provides a way back onto the path for all.
"After baptism, all members slip off the path — some of us even dive off. Therefore, exercising faith in Jesus Christ, repenting, receiving help from him and being forgiven are not one-time events but lifelong processes, processes that are repetitive and iterative. This is how we 'endure to the end.'"
"No matter how long we have been off the path or how far away we have wandered, the moment we decide to change, God helps us return. From God’s perspective, through sincere repentance and pressing forward with a steadfastness in Christ, once back on the path, it will be as if we were never off."
Elder Matthew Carpenter a General Authority Seventy said "mortal infirmities can refine us and deepen our reliance upon God."
"Jesus Christ can change our hearts, heal us from the effects of injustice or abuse we may experience, and strengthen our capacity to bear loss and heartache, bringing us peace to help us endure the trials of our lives, healing us emotionally."
He can also heal people from sin, Elder Carpenter said.
"Our spiritual healing requires us to submit ourselves to the conditions our Savior has outlined," he said. "We must not delay. We must act today."
Elder Robert C. Gay of the Presidency of the Seventy that Christ's healing is available to all.5 comments on this story
"Can any one of you imagine our Savior letting you and your burdens go unnoticed by him? The Savior looked upon the Samaritan, the adulterer, the tax collector, the leper, the mentally ill and the sinner with the same eyes," he said. "All were children of His Father, and all were redeemable. Can you imagine him turning away from someone with doubts about their place in God’s kingdom or from anyone afflicted in any manner?
"I can’t. In the eyes of Christ each soul is of infinite worth. No one is preordained to fail. Eternal life is possible for all."