The final session of General Conference is now upon us–it seems like this weekend has just zoomed by. It’s been a wonderful experience to listen to the words and counsel of living Propehts, Seers, Revelators, and Apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ.

1:00 p.m Conducting Thomas S. Monson, First Counselor, First Presidency

Choir Mormon Tabernacle Choir

Choir sings I Saw Another Angel Fly

1:06 p.m. Invocation J. E. Jenson First Quorum of the Seventy

1:07 p.m. Choir sings Jesus the Very Thought of Thee

1:10 p.m. Boyd K. Packer Acting President Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

On 7/26/1847 Brigham Young and others climbed Ensign Peak and raised an Ensign to the Nations. It was not what they possessed that made them great. It was what they knew–they were Apostles, and held the Holy Priesthood. They busied themselves plowing fields and getting ready for the winter to come.

We are bound to the standards of the Gospel by covenant. We are not free to alter the standards. We must live by them. All are instructed sufficiently to know good from evil. Repentance is a remedy for when we stumble. Teach our children to avoid every kind of immorality. We must be completely faithful in marriage. We must pay a faithful tithing. We must attend Sacrament Meeting and renew our covenants through the Sacrament.

The early saints knew it was their obligation to establish stakes in Zion. They had endured much persecution. There will be no end of opposition, even today. The nature of it changes; but, it never ends.

Now the stakes of Zion are in the 1000′s and are all over the world. The members number in the millions in 160 nations, over 200 languages. Some live with fear of what awaits us in this ever darkening world.

If we live moral lives and honor the priesthood we need not live in fear. We can live where we wish and do as we wish. Each stake is a defense, a refuge and a standard. The Temples are even closer.

Opposition. No end to it. Some is very mean spirited. Some clergy oppose us. They do what we never do. We do not attack and oppose them as they do us.

The strangest lie about the saints is that we are not Christian. These people do not know much about our Church. You can not elevate yourself by putting others down. We are all children of God. We are all raising families in this world.

Those who come out of the world into the Church have found refuge. Elder Oaks on the signing WWII armistice, can’t imagine such a signing for the war on terrorism and evil in the world today.

Activity in the Church centers in the family. A worthy LDS family is a standard to the world. Each of us is to be a standard. Let our light so shine before men to see our good works. All the struggles in past generations have brought us where we are today with the restoration. All comes together in this Dispensation of the Fullness of Times.

We are part of this work, just as were the early saints on Ensign Peak. The Church is our refuge. There is safety here because it is centered in the Gospel of Christ. Principles of the Gospel taught by the Church are a guide for each of us. Our homes will be a refuge in this world. They will be ensigns to the word and refuges of the gathering storm. ‘

The ensign is Christ Himself. Many events will yet occur that will tax our faith and courage. We need not apologize for the Church or our history. Willingly defend the Church’s history. Teach Christ’s gospel (This is great stuff. I like this boldness of defending the Church and its history.)

The Church will prosper and prevail. He is absolutely certain.

1:26 p.m. David A. Bednar Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

He has worked often with those members who are less active. He told these folks they were missed, and they asked why they were not actively participating in the Gospel. While each answer was different, there was a common theme.

1. Someone said something offended them.

2. No one reached out to me–unfriendly

3. I disagree with the Bishop’s counsel

There are many more examples and reasons. “I was offended by” was the recurring theme.

Most of the less active people still had a testimony of the restored Gospel; but, were not presently participating in the Church. No blessings of the sacrament, cut off from the Holy Ghost, leaving barriers to spiritual growth of their children and grand children. The time to stop being offended is now. You need the blessings of the restored Gospel of Christ.

Offense does occur in our interactions with others; however, it is impossible for another can offend us. This is a fundamentally false. It is a choice we make. It is not a condition imposed on us by someone else.

There are things to act, and things to be acted upon in this life. We are endowed with agency. We are to act, not just be acted upon. To believe someone can offend us diminishes our moral agency.

Being offended is a symptom of a deeper spiritual malady. 1 Nephi 19:9 on Christ’s suffering.

Ephesians 4:12-13. Perfecting is used actively here. The Church is not a well provisioned rest home for the already perfected–Elder Neal A. Maxwell.

In the restored Church, the members are the clinical material necessary for growth. Inexperienced teacher learns valuable lessons by teaching those who don’t listen or care. The Church is a learning laboratory, which prepares us for an inevitable reality: Someone in the Church will offend us in word or deed, likely more than once. The saints can be insincere and tactless. Only we can determine how we react. We can choose not to be offended.

Alma 61:2, 9. A great indicator of our own spiritual maturity is how we react to others. We can choose not to be offended. “It mattereth not”

1. Learn about and apply Christ’s teachings on interacting with others. Love them that hate you. Love your enemies. Matthew 5:44, 46-48. If someone offends us, our first obligation is not to take offense. Then we should communicate privately with that person.

2. We all know members who stay away because they are offended. Prayerfully consider such an individual and approach them with an invitation to return. Remember how you should carry this out, not with pride. Perhaps share this talk with someone.

He witnesses the reality of a Living Savior.

1:42 p.m. A. Roger Merrill Sunday School President

Alma 29:1-2 quoted. As he pondered these words they became personal–back when he was a missionary.

Alma 29:3. But behold I am a man, and sin in my wish. The Lord loves all his children and has a plan for them. This humbled him.

As he read this, the spirit confirmed to him that this was real–that Alma was a real person. It was clear to him that he was receiving a spiritual witness of the Book of Mormon’s truthfulness.

We need to teach by the spirit–but also receive by the spirit. We receive the Holy Ghost after baptism. We receive this great gift. The scriptures are replete with the doctrine of receiving. Ask and ye shall receive is throughout scripture. D&C 88:33 quoted.

In Church meetings and our scripture study, some of us will receive more than others–why?

1. They seek. We live in an entertainment and spectator world. We are spiritually passive. When we focus on receiving via the spirit things improve. Receive is a verb, a principle of action. A fundamental expression of faith.

2. They feel. Until we learn to heed our spiritual feelings we won’t recognize the spirit. What do we feel the spirit prompts us to do?

3. They intend to act. To receive a witness we must ask with real intent.

The Book of Mormon is the word of God. We are in the presence of modern Apostles and Prophets.

1:50 p.m. Craig A. Cardon Second Quorum of the Seventy

Related a story about priesthood and moving mountains with his four year old son.

1823 Moroni appeared to Joseph Smith and quoted several verses to him, including Malachi. In 1829 John the Baptist restored the Aaronic Priesthood. Others restored keys in following years, until all the keys of the dispensation were committed to Joseph Smith.

The Lord instructed Joseph on the importance of Temples. The crowning temple ordinance is available only to a man and woman.

The priesthood has the power to change our very natures. This is in the perfecting of individual hearts. We will put off the natural man. We can be refined through service to others. D&C 121 again reviewed. Let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly. The priesthood through the spirit moves individuals closer to God.

2:00 p.m. Choir and Congregation Sing Come Ye Children of the Lord

2:03 p.m. Don R. Clarke Second Quorum of the Seventy

Story of this grandfather who lost his sight and came into financial trouble. The only safety and security is through keeping Christ’s commandments. Jim Drinkwater was a crippled man whom God trusted to help a blind man. How do we come instruments in God’s hands?

1. Have love for God’s children. Love God with all your heart, mind and soul. Then love thy neighbor. Charity or love is the greatest principle that exists. When we love God’s children we are given an opportunity to help them.

2. We must be willing to journey. We need to step outside our surroundings. God has asked us to journey.

3. Fasting and Prayer–so that God will grant unto us a portion of His Spirit.

We also need to be receptive of the promptings of the Holy Ghost. If we obey the Spirit’s prompting, God’s confidence in us increases.

2:13 p.m. Keith R. Edwards Second Quorum of the Seventy

The world holds Christ as a thing of not. Christ’s suffering was for us to keep us from suffering as He did; however, suffering is a part of life. We can learn spiritual lessons from suffering.

Paul wrote suffering will allow us to know Christ better. We can be joint heirs with Christ. Suffering is an experience that will come without seeking it. My God My God, why has Thou forsaken me?

Some always keep their focus on Christ, regardless of their lot. Abraham was one. Joseph who was sold. Ruth the widow. All the Nephi’s and both Almas. Joseph Smith as well.

The purpose of suffering is not always apparent at the time. Joseph was comforted in Liberty Jail–all these things shall give thee experience and will be for thy good.

God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son. Let us remember the Savior’s scars in His hands suffered for us. We should only appreciate the suffering, rather than compare it with Christ’s. We could never endure Christ’s suffering, both body and spirit. But we can have a greater appreciation for His sacrifice.

Jesus Christ is the world’s Savior. We can receive a remission through Christ’s Atonement. He is the only begotten of the Father.

2:23 p.m. Larry W. Gibbons Second Quorum of the Seventy

The complexity of the human body reinforces his belief in God as a Creator. He doesn’t believe in an accident for all of creation.

Commandments are guideposts to keep us out of trouble and to bring us a fullness in this life. We are enhanced rather than diminished by commandments. Keeping the commandments makes all the difference in this life and the next.

D&C 88:22 quote.

Too many of us are not committed to fully living all the commandments. Bidding Babylon farewell is our obligation. We can’t keep a summer cottage in Babylon. No man can serve two masters.

Matt 5:13. We lose our savor when we lose our differences with the world. We must stop drifting. Our personal habits should be different from the world. We should take a stand and say this is right and this is wrong.

We can be in the world; but we must hold to the Lord’s standards. Let’s sell the summer cottage in Babylon.

JST Luke 14:28 quoted.

Settle this in your hearts. Let us be settled. Let us completely yield our hearts to God. The only true security in life is keeping the commandments. Worldly success is hollow without keeping the commandments.

It is good to settle early in life issues such as, honesty, chastity, word or wisdom, and the like. Don’t drift, wander, or dabble. Do not flirt with evil. Don’t give Satan any home field advantage.

2:32 p.m. Jeffery R. Holland Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
Story of the new BYU professor who hiked in the mountains of Provo, who listened to two hours of Prophets’ counsel. She later became a member of the Church, after sitting atop Y mountain and being introduced to living apostles and prophets.

We are coming to the close of this marvelous General Conference and the counsel of prophets and apostles. All of the brethren have hoped and prayed this conference will be uplifting to those who have heard it.

Three Things General Conference Declare:

1. They declare unequivocally there is a living Prophet on the earth. We live in a troubled time. All face opposition and travail. Only the Rod of Iron, God’s word can bring us through safely in these times. Otherwise any can fall into forbidden paths. We have heard the Word of God these past two days. Some say the brethren are out of touch. Never in his personal or professional life has he associated with any who are more in touch than the brethren. Their grasp of moral and societal issues is greater than any think tank on earth. He knows how good they are and how hard they work. It is not trivial matter to declare to the world prophecy; but they do so declare it.

2. They mark a call to action.–both in our own lives and those in the lives around us. As surely was the conference theme or rescue in 1856, so is the theme of this conference. It may not be snow and cold, but here are those who still need. Those who are in need can be rescued by those who know more and have more. Those who need are on our right hand and left hand. Load your wagon and drive in any direction. Open your heart and your hand to those in the 21st century’s Martin’s Cove.

3. Declaration to all the Word: Jesus is the Christ. Christ and God the Father appeared to the boy Joseph and who again restored His Church. Christ came to earth in poverty and humility in order to save us. For those who have no hope, who think you have done too wrong for too long–this conference call out to you: My hand is stretched out still! All we need to do is repent and come unto Him. His arm is extended all the day long. His is the pure Love of Christ, which never faileth. This is Christ’s Church based on His redeeming Love.

Gordon B. Hinckley is a Prophet, whose life and voice we cherish. He will now conclude this conference.

2:47 p.m. President Gordon B. Hinckley, Prophet, Seer and Revelator

These conferences are a miracle. There is nothing to compare with them in the whole world. All who have spoken have done well. Unfortunately there is not time to hear from all the General Authorities. The prayers and music have all inspired us. We are grateful for the conference center and the technology that have carried the words to the world

We wish there were peace in the world. We pray for it. May God’s spirit dwell in your homes.

2:49 p.m. Choir closes conference with We Thank Thee O God For A Prophet (thus on to Eternal Perfection . . . One of the MOST touching closing hyms I have ever witnessed in any Church meeting)

2:55 p.m. Benediction offered by Donald L. Staheli Second Quorum of the Seventy