Russell M. Nelson

Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (April 7, 1984 – Present)

General Conference Addresses

  • October 2017 General Conference
    • The Book of Mormon: What Would Your Life Be Like without It?
      • “My brothers and sisters, how precious is the Book of Mormon to you? If you were offered diamonds or rubies or the Book of Mormon, which would you choose? Honestly, which is of greater worth to you?”
      • “Death, though difficult for surviving loved ones, is a necessary part of our immortal existence. Death allows us to progress to the next world.”
      • “When I think of the Book of Mormon, I think of the word power. The truths of the Book of Mormon have the power to heal, comfort, restore, succor, strengthen, console, and cheer our souls.”
      • “I promise that as you prayerfully study the Book of Mormon every day, you will make better decisions—every day. I promise that as you ponder what you study, the windows of heaven will open, and you will receive answers to your own questions and direction for your own life. I promise that as you daily immerse yourself in the Book of Mormon, you can be immunized against the evils of the day, even the gripping plague of pornography and other mind-numbing addictions.”
      • “Whenever I hear anyone, including myself, say, “I know the Book of Mormon is true,” I want to exclaim, “That’s nice, but it is not enough!””
  • April 2017 General Conference
    • Drawing the Power of Jesus Christ into Our Lives
      • “It is doctrinally incomplete to speak of the Lord’s atoning sacrifice by shortcut phrases, such as “the Atonement” or “the enabling power of the Atonement” or “applying the Atonement” or “being strengthened by the Atonement.” These expressions present a real risk of misdirecting faith by treating the event as if it had living existence and capabilities independent of our Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ.”
      • “There is no amorphous entity called “the Atonement” upon which we may call for succor, healing, forgiveness, or power. Jesus Christ is the source. Sacred terms such as Atonement and Resurrection describe what the Savior did, according to the Father’s plan, so that we may live with hope in this life and gain eternal life in the world to come. The Savior’s atoning sacrifice—the central act of all human history—is best understood and appreciated when we expressly and clearly connect it to Him.”
      • “It was this very statement of the Prophet that provided the incentive for 15 prophets, seers, and revelators to issue and sign their testimony to commemorate the 2,000th anniversary of the Lord’s birth. That historic testimony is titled “The Living Christ.” Many members have memorized its truths. Others barely know of its existence. As you seek to learn more about Jesus Christ, I urge you to study “The Living Christ.””
      • “True disciples of Jesus Christ are willing to stand out, speak up, and be different from the people of the world. They are undaunted, devoted, and courageous.”
      • “Faith in Jesus Christ propels us to do things we otherwise would not do. Faith that motivates us to action gives us more access to His power.”
      • “We also increase the Savior’s power in our lives when we make sacred covenants and keep those covenants with precision. Our covenants bind us to Him and give us godly power.”
      • “When the Savior knows you truly want to reach up to Him—when He can feel that the greatest desire of your heart is to draw His power into your life—you will be led by the Holy Ghost to know exactly what you should do.”
  • October 2016 General Conference
    • Joy and Spiritual Survival
      • “Life is filled with detours and dead ends, trials and challenges of every kind. Each of us has likely had times when distress, anguish, and despair almost consumed us. Yet we are here to have joy?”
      • “Yes! The answer is a resounding yes! But how is that possible? And what must we do to claim the joy that Heavenly Father has in store for us?”
      • “That’s it! Saints can be happy under every circumstance. We can feel joy even while having a bad day, a bad week, or even a bad year!”
      • “My dear brothers and sisters, the joy we feel has little to do with the circumstances of our lives and everything to do with the focus of our lives.”
      • “Just as the Savior offers peace that “passeth all understanding,” He also offers an intensity, depth, and breadth of joy that defy human logic or mortal comprehension. For example, it doesn’t seem possible to feel joy when your child suffers with an incurable illness or when you lose your job or when your spouse betrays you. Yet that is precisely the joy the Savior offers. His joy is constant, assuring us that our “afflictions shall be but a small moment” and be consecrated to our gain.”
      • “As our Savior becomes more and more real to us and as we plead for His joy to be given to us, our joy will increase.”
      • “As we diligently focus on the Savior and then follow His pattern of focusing on joy, we need to avoid those things that can interrupt our joy.”
      • “Anything that opposes Christ or His doctrine will interrupt our joy. That includes the philosophies of men, so abundant online and in the blogosphere, which do exactly what Korihor did.”
      • “Joy is a gift for the faithful. It is the gift that comes from intentionally trying to live a righteous life, as taught by Jesus Christ.”
  • April 2016 General Conference
    • The Price of Priesthood Power
      • “On reflection, I have marveled at Jimmy and Shawn and what they were willing to do. They have become heroes to me. If I could have the wish of my heart, it would be that each man and young man in this Church would demonstrate the courage, strength, and humility of this father and son. They were willing to forgive and let go of old hurts and habits. They were willing to submit to guidance from their priesthood leaders so that the Atonement of Jesus Christ could purify and magnify them. Each was willing to become a man who worthily bears the priesthood “after the holiest order of God.””
      • “I fear that there are too many men who have been given the authority of the priesthood but who lack priesthood power because the flow of power has been blocked by sins such as laziness, dishonesty, pride, immorality, or preoccupation with things of the world.”
      • “I fear that there are too many priesthood bearers who have done little or nothing to develop their ability to access the powers of heaven. I worry about all who are impure in their thoughts, feelings, or actions or who demean their wives or children, thereby cutting off priesthood power.”
      • “Why would any man waste his days and settle for Esau’s mess of pottage when he has been entrusted with the possibility of receiving all of the blessings of Abraham?”
      • “In a coming day, only those men who have taken their priesthood seriously, by diligently seeking to be taught by the Lord Himself, will be able to bless, guide, protect, strengthen, and heal others. Only a man who has paid the price for priesthood power will be able to bring miracles to those he loves and keep his marriage and family safe, now and throughout eternity.”
      • “He named faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness, charity, and diligence. And don’t forget humility! So I ask, how would our family members, friends, and coworkers say you and I are doing in developing these and other spiritual gifts? The more those attributes are developed, the greater will be our priesthood power.”
      • “How else can we increase our power in the priesthood? We need to pray from our hearts. Polite recitations of past and upcoming activities, punctuated with some requests for blessings, cannot constitute the kind of communing with God that brings enduring power. Are you willing to pray to know how to pray for more power? The Lord will teach you.”
      • “Are you willing to search the scriptures and feast on the words of Christ—to study earnestly in order to have more power?”
      • “The Lord loves to do His own teaching in His holy house. Imagine how pleased He would be if you asked Him to teach you about priesthood keys, authority, and power as you experience the ordinances of the Melchizedek Priesthood in the holy temple.”
      • “If we will humbly present ourselves before the Lord and ask Him to teach us, He will show us how to increase our access to His power.”
      • “Priesthood power can calm the seas and heal fractures in the earth. Priesthood power can also calm the minds and heal fractures in the hearts of those we love.”
  • October 2015 General Conference
    • A Plea to My Sisters
      • “The women of this dispensation are distinct from the women of any other because this dispensation is distinct from any other.”
      • “The kingdom of God is not and cannot be complete without women who make sacred covenants and then keep them, women who can speak with the power and authority of God!”
      • “Today, let me add that we need women who know how to make important things happen by their faith and who are courageous defenders of morality and families in a sin-sick world. We need women who are devoted to shepherding God’s children along the covenant path toward exaltation; women who know how to receive personal revelation, who understand the power and peace of the temple endowment; women who know how to call upon the powers of heaven to protect and strengthen children and families; women who teach fearlessly.”
      • “We need women who have a bedrock understanding of the doctrine of Christ and who will use that understanding to teach and help raise a sin-resistant generation.”
      • “My dear sisters, nothing is more crucial to your eternal life than your own conversion. It is converted, covenant-keeping women—women like my dear wife Wendy—whose righteous lives will increasingly stand out in a deteriorating world and who will thus be seen as different and distinct in the happiest of ways.”
  • April 2015 General Conference
    • The Sabbath Is a Delight
      • “I believe He wanted us to understand that the Sabbath was His gift to us, granting real respite from the rigors of daily life and an opportunity for spiritual and physical renewal. God gave us this special day, not for amusement or daily labor but for a rest from duty, with physical and spiritual relief.”
      • “In Hebrew, the word Sabbath means “rest.” The purpose of the Sabbath dates back to the Creation of the world, when after six days of labor the Lord rested from the work of creation. When He later revealed the Ten Commandments to Moses, God commanded that we “remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.” Later, the Sabbath was observed as a reminder of the deliverance of Israel from their bondage in Egypt. Perhaps most important, the Sabbath was given as a perpetual covenant, a constant reminder that the Lord may sanctify His people.”
      • “No other work transcends that of righteous, intentional parenting!”
      • “Faith in God engenders a love for the Sabbath; faith in the Sabbath engenders a love for God. A sacred Sabbath truly is a delight.”
  • October 2014 General Conference
    • Sustaining the Prophets
      • “My dear brothers and sisters, if the Restoration did anything, it shattered the age-old myth that God had stopped talking to His children. Nothing could be further from the truth. A prophet has stood at the head of God’s Church in all dispensations, from Adam to the present day. Prophets testify of Jesus Christ—of His divinity and of His earthly mission and ministry. We honor the Prophet Joseph Smith as the prophet of this last dispensation. And we honor each man who has succeeded him as President of the Church.”
      • “The Lord reveals His will for the Church to His prophet. Yesterday, after we were invited to sustain Thomas S. Monson as President of the Church, we also had the privilege to sustain him, the counselors in the First Presidency, and members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles as prophets, seers, and revelators. Think of that! We sustain 15 men as prophets of God! They hold all the priesthood keys that have ever been conferred upon man in this dispensation.”
      • “The calling of 15 men to the holy apostleship provides great protection for us as members of the Church. Why? Because decisions of these leaders must be unanimous. Can you imagine how the Spirit needs to move upon 15 men to bring about unanimity? These 15 men have varied educational and professional backgrounds, with differing opinions about many things. Trust me! These 15 men—prophets, seers, and revelators—know what the will of the Lord is when unanimity is reached! They are committed to see that the Lord’s will truly will be done. The Lord’s Prayer provides the pattern for each of these 15 men when they pray: “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.””
  • April 2014 General Conference
    • Let Your Faith Show
      • “When we speak of faith—the faith that can move mountains—we are not speaking of faith in general but of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ can be bolstered as we learn about Him and live our religion. The doctrine of Jesus Christ was designed by the Lord to help us increase our faith.”
      • “Whether truth emerges from a scientific laboratory or through revelation, all truth emanates from God. All truth is part of the gospel of Jesus Christ.”
      • “Problems abound in this world because it is populated by imperfect people. Their objectives and desires are heavily influenced by their faith or lack of it. Many put other priorities ahead of God. Some challenge the relevance of religion in modern life. As in every age, so today there are those who mock or decry the free exercise of religion. Some even blame religion for any number of the world’s ills. Admittedly, there have been times when atrocities have been committed in the name of religion. But living the Lord’s pure religion, which means striving to become a true disciple of Jesus Christ, is a way of life and a daily commitment that will provide divine guidance. As you practice your religion, you are exercising your faith. You are letting your faith show.”
      • “Even if “everyone is doing it,” wrong is never right. Evil, error, and darkness will never be truth, even if popular.”
  • October 2013 General Conference
    • Decisions for Eternity
      • “The wise use of your freedom to make your own decisions is crucial to your spiritual growth, now and for eternity. You are never too young to learn, never too old to change. Your yearnings to learn and change come from a divinely instilled striving for eternal progression. Each day brings opportunity for decisions for eternity.”
      • “Each time you look in the mirror, see your body as your temple. That truth—refreshed gratefully each day—can positively influence your decisions about how you will care for your body and how you will use it. And those decisions will determine your destiny. How could this be? Because your body is the temple for your spirit. And how you use your body affects your spirit.”
      • “You were chosen not for your bodily characteristics but for your spiritual attributes, such as bravery, courage, integrity of heart, a thirst for truth, a hunger for wisdom, and a desire to serve others.You developed some of these attributes premortally. Others you can develop here on earth as you persistently seek them.”
      • “It is not surprising, then, that most temptations to stray from God’s plan of happiness come through the misuse of those essential, God-given appetites. Controlling our appetites is not always easy. Not one of us manages them perfectly. Mistakes happen. Errors are made. Sins are committed. What can we do then? We can learn from them. And we can truly repent.”
      • “A strong human spirit with control over appetites of the flesh is master over emotions and passions and not a slave to them. That kind of freedom is as vital to the spirit as oxygen is to the body! Freedom from self-slavery is true liberation!”
      • “But civil governments are heavily influenced by social trends and secular philosophies as they write, rewrite, and enforce laws. Regardless of what civil legislation may be enacted, the doctrine of the Lord regarding marriage and morality cannot be changed. Remember: sin, even if legalized by man, is still sin in the eyes of God!”
  • April 2013 General Conference
    •  Catch the Wave
      • “Our inquiring friends and neighbors not of our faith can also catch the wave. We encourage them to keep all that is good and true in their lives. And we invite them to receive more, especially the glorious truth that through God’s eternal plan, families can be together forever.”
      • “Our living God is a loving God!”
      • “The Book of Mormon is the centerpiece of the Restoration. It was written, preserved, and transmitted under the Lord’s direction. It was translated “by the gift and power of God.” The book of Doctrine and Covenants contains many additional revelations given to the Prophet Joseph Smith. Through him we have received more pages of scripture than we have from any other prophet. In what must have been a wistful moment, he said to the Saints in Nauvoo, Illinois, “I never told you I was perfect; but there is no error in the revelations which I have taught.”
  • October 2012 General Conference
    • Ask the Missionaries! They Can Help You!
      • “Preparation for a mission is important. A mission is a voluntary act of service to God and humankind. Missionaries support that privilege with their personal savings. Parents, families, friends, and donors to the General Missionary Fund may also assist. All missionaries, younger and older, serve with the sole hope of making life better for other people.”
      • “We follow the Lord Jesus Christ and teach of Him. We know that after His glorious triumph over death, the resurrected Lord appeared to His disciples on numerous occasions. He ate with them. He walked with them. Before His final Ascension, He commissioned them to “go … and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” The Apostles heeded that instruction. They also called upon others to help them fulfill the Lord’s command.”
      • “Yes, missionaries can help in many ways. For example, some of you might want to know more about your ancestors. You may know the names of your parents and your four grandparents, but what about your eight great-grandparents? Do you know their names? Would you like to know more about them? Ask the missionaries! They can help you! They have ready access to the vast family history records of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”
      • “Some of you are members but not presently participating. You love the Lord and often think of returning to His fold. But you don’t know how to start. I suggest that you ask the missionaries! They can help you! They can also help by teaching your loved ones. We and the missionaries love you and desire to bring joy and the light of the gospel back into your lives.”
      • “Some of you may want to know how to conquer an addiction or live longer and enjoy better health. Ask the missionaries! They can help you! Independent studies have shown that, as a group, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are a healthy lot. Their death rates are among the lowest and their longevity greater than any yet reported in any well-defined group studied over a lengthy period of time in the United States.”
      • “Some of you may feel that life is busy and frenetic, yet down deep in your heart you feel a gnawing emptiness, without direction or purpose. Ask the missionaries! They can help you! They can help you to learn more about the true purpose of life—why you are here on earth and where you are going after death. You can learn how the restored gospel of Jesus Christ will bless your life beyond anything you can presently even imagine.”
  • April 2012 General Conference
    • Thanks Be to God
      • “Marriage and family are ordained of God. The family is the most important social unit in time and in eternity. Under God’s great plan of happiness, families can be sealed in temples and be prepared to return to dwell in His holy presence forever. That is eternal life! It fulfills the deepest longings of the human soul—the natural yearning for endless association with beloved members of one’s family.”
      • “Just as the body requires daily food for survival, the spirit needs nourishment as well. The spirit is nurtured by eternal truth. Last year we celebrated the 400th anniversary of the King James translation of the Holy Bible. And we have had the Book of Mormon for nearly 200 years. It has now been translated in its entirety or as selections into 107 languages. Because of these and other precious scriptures, we know that God is our Eternal Father and that His Son, Jesus Christ, is our Savior and Redeemer. For these spiritual gifts, thanks be to God!”
      • “God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, but we are not. Each day, ours is the challenge to access the power of the Atonement so that we can truly change, become more Christlike, and qualify for the gift of exaltation and live eternally with God, Jesus Christ, and our families. For these powers, privileges, and gospel gifts, thanks be to God!”
  • October 2011 General Conference
    • Covenants
      • “One of the most important concepts of revealed religion is that of a sacred covenant. In legal language, a covenant generally denotes an agreement between two or more parties. But in a religious context, a covenant is much more significant. It is a sacred promise with God. He fixes the terms. Each person may choose to accept those terms. If one accepts the terms of the covenant and obeys God’s law, he or she receives the blessings associated with the covenant.”
      • “With this renewal, we have received, as did they of old, the holy priesthood and the everlasting gospel. We have the right to receive the fulness of the gospel, enjoy the blessings of the priesthood, and qualify for God’s greatest blessing—that of eternal life.”
      • “After some 4,000 years of anticipation and preparation, this is the appointed day when the gospel is to be taken to the kindreds of the earth. This is the time of the promised gathering of Israel. And we get to participate! Isn’t that exciting? The Lord is counting on us and our sons—and He is profoundly grateful for our daughters—who worthily serve as missionaries in this great time of the gathering of Israel.”
      • “The greatest compliment that can be earned here in this life is to be known as a covenant keeper. The rewards for a covenant keeper will be realized both here and hereafter.”
  • April 2011 General Conference
    • Face the Future with Faith
      • “It is true. We live to die, and we die to live again. From an eternal perspective, the only death that is truly premature is the death of one who is not prepared to meet God.”
      • “Each individual will make his or her way in a constantly changing world—a world of competing ideologies. The forces of evil will ever be in opposition to the forces of good. Satan constantly strives to influence us to follow his ways and make us miserable, even as he is. And the normal risks of life, such as illness, injury, and accident, will ever be present.”
      • “Warn them that they will encounter people who pick which commandments they will keep and ignore others that they choose to break. I call this the cafeteria approach to obedience. This practice of picking and choosing will not work. It will lead to misery. To prepare to meet God, one keeps all of His commandments. It takes faith to obey them, and keeping His commandments will strengthen that faith.”
      • “How you deal with life’s trials is part of the development of your faith. Strength comes when you remember that you have a divine nature, an inheritance of infinite worth. The Lord has reminded you, your children, and your grandchildren that you are lawful heirs, that you have been reserved in heaven for your specific time and place to be born, to grow and become His standard bearers and covenant people. As you walk in the Lord’s path of righteousness, you will be blessed to continue in His goodness and be a light and a savior unto His people.”
  • October 2010 General Conference
    • Be Thou an Example of the Believers
      • “This commandment is one of many that have been renewed because the gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored in its fulness. Missionaries serve now just as they did in New Testament times. The book of Acts describes early missionary labors of the Apostles and other disciples following the Lord’s mortal ministry.”
      • “As a member of the Church, reach out to those you do not know and greet them warmly. Each Sunday extend a hand of fellowship to at least one person you did not know before. Each day of your life, strive to enlarge your own circle of friendship.”
      • “Many years ago two colleagues of mine—a nurse and her doctor husband—asked me why I lived the way I did. I answered, “Because I know the Book of Mormon is true.” I let them borrow my copy of the book, inviting them to read it. A week later they returned my book with a polite “thanks a lot.” I responded, “What do you mean, thanks a lot? That’s a totally inappropriate response for one who has read this book. You didn’t read it, did you! Please take it back and read it; then I would like my book back.” Admitting that they had only turned its pages, they accepted my invitation. When they returned, they said tearfully, “We have read the Book of Mormon. We know it is true! We want to know more.” They learned more, and it was my privilege to baptize both of them.”
      • “Each exemplary follower of Jesus Christ can become an effective member missionary. Members and full-time missionaries may walk arm in arm in bringing the blessings of the gospel to cherished friends and neighbors. Many of them are of Israel, now being gathered as promised. This is all part of the preparation for the Second Coming of the Lord. He wants each of us truly to be an example of the believers.”
  • April 2010 General Conference
    • Generations Linked in Love
      • “When I think of the love I feel for each member of our family, I sense, to a slight degree, the love that our Heavenly Father bears for His children. While the family is under attack throughout the world, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints proclaims, promotes, and protects the truth that the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children.”
      • “Because of the Atonement, these consummate blessings can be realized by each of God’s children who obey His eternal laws. Through the ages, many of His children have had access to the blessings of the gospel, but many more have not. Before the foundation of the world, our Heavenly Father instituted the ordinance of baptism for those who die without a knowledge of the gospel. He loves those children too.”
  • October 2009 General Conference
    • Ask, Seek, Knock
      • “This timeless offer to provide personal revelation is extended to all of His children. It almost sounds too good to be true. But it is true! I have received and responded to that heavenly help. And I have learned that I always need to be ready to receive it.”
      • “Years ago, while immersed in the task of preparing a talk for general conference, I was aroused from a sound sleep with an idea impressed strongly upon my mind. Immediately I reached for pencil and paper near my bed and wrote as rapidly as I could. I went back to sleep, knowing I had captured that great impression. The next morning I looked at that piece of paper and found, much to my dismay, that my writing was totally illegible! I still keep pencil and paper at my bedside, but I write more carefully now.”
      • “Revelation from God is always compatible with His eternal law. It never contradicts His doctrine. It is facilitated by proper reverence for Deity.”
      • “Patience and perseverance are part of our eternal progression.”
  • April 2009 General Conference
    • Lessons from the Lord’s Prayers
      • “In other words, if one is to be forgiven, one must first forgive.”
      • “If companionship of the Holy Ghost is that important, we should pray for it too. We should likewise help all converts and our children cultivate the gift of the Holy Ghost. As we so pray, the Holy Ghost can become a vital force for good in our lives.”
      • “A closing prayer in a Church meeting need not include a summary of each message and should not become an unscheduled sermon. Private prayers can be as long as we want, but public prayers ought to be short supplications for the Spirit of the Lord to be with us or brief declarations of gratitude for what has transpired.”
  • October 2008 General Conference
    • Celestial Marriage
      • “The subject of marriage is debated across the world, where various arrangements exist for conjugal living. My purpose in speaking out on this topic is to declare, as an Apostle of the Lord, that marriage between a man and a woman is sacred—it is ordained of God. I also assert the virtue of a temple marriage. It is the highest and most enduring type of marriage that our Creator can offer to His children.”
      • “That proclamation on the family helps us realize that celestial marriage brings greater possibilities for happiness than does any other relationship. The earth was created and this Church was restored so that families could be formed, sealed, and exalted eternally.”
      • “Mercifully, God’s great plan of happiness and its eternal blessings can be extended to those who did not have the opportunity to hear the gospel in mortality. Temple ordinances can be done vicariously for them.”
  • April 2008 General Conference
    • Salvation and Exaltation
      • “Thus the ministry of the Apostles—the First Presidency and the Twelve—is to bring about that unity of the faith and to proclaim our knowledge of the Master. Our ministry is to bless the lives of all who will learn and follow the “more excellent way” of the Lord. And we are to help people prepare for their potential salvation and exaltation.”
      • “Our Heavenly Father wants husbands and wives to be faithful to each other and to esteem and treat their children as an heritage from the Lord. In such a family we study the scriptures and pray together. And we fix our focus on the temple. There we receive the highest blessings that God has in store for His faithful children.”
      • “When giving necessary correction, do it quietly, privately, lovingly, and not publicly. If a rebuke is required, show an increase of love promptly so that seeds of resentment may not remain. To be persuasive, your love must be sincere and your teachings based on divine doctrine and correct principles.”
  • October 2007 General Conference
    • Scriptural Witnesses
      • “The Bible and the Book of Mormon are both witnesses of Jesus Christ. They teach that He is the Son of God, that He lived an exemplary life, that He atoned for all mankind, that He died upon the cross and rose again as the resurrected Lord. They teach that He is the Savior of the world.”
      • “Today, Saints living in many nations of the earth gratefully hold the Bible (the stick of Judah) and the Book of Mormon (the stick of Ephraim) bound as one in their hands.”
      • “Willingly we share scriptures of the Restoration with people across the world. The Book of Mormon records the personal ministry of the resurrected Lord to people of ancient America.”
  • April 2007 General Conference
    • Repentance and Conversion
      • To repent from sin is not easy. But the prize is worth the price. Repentance needs to be done one step at a time. Humble prayer will facilitate each essential step. As prerequisites to forgiveness, there must first be recognition, remorse, then confession.”
      • “Thus, when Jesus said “repent,” He asked us to change—to change our mind, knowledge, and spirit—even our breath. A prophet explained that such a change in one’s breath is to breathe with grateful acknowledgment of Him who grants each breath.”
      • “Brothers and sisters, that means conversion! Repentance is conversion! A repentant soul is a converted soul, and a converted soul is a repentant soul.”
  • October 2006 General Conference
    • The Gathering of Scattered Israel
      • “As prophesied by Peter and Paul, all things were to be restored in this dispensation. Therefore, there must come, as part of that restoration, the long-awaited gathering of scattered Israel. It is a necessary prelude to the Second Coming of the Lord.”
      • “The Book of Mormon is central to this work. It declares the doctrine of the gathering. It causes people to learn about Jesus Christ, to believe His gospel, and to join His Church. In fact, if there were no Book of Mormon, the promised gathering of Israel would not occur.”
      • “Zion is wherever righteous Saints are. Publications, communications, and congregations are now such that nearly all members have access to the doctrines, keys, ordinances, and blessings of the gospel, regardless of their location.”
      • “Spiritual security will always depend upon how one lives, not where one lives. Saints in every land have equal claim upon the blessings of the Lord.”
  • April 2006 General Conference
    • Nurturing Marriage
      • “But these things I do know: I know “that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children.” I know that the earth was created and that the Lord’s Church was restored so that families could be sealed and exalted as eternal entities. And I know that one of Satan’s cunning methods of undermining the work of the Lord is to attack the sacred institutions of marriage and the family.”
      • “Marriage brings greater possibilities for happiness than does any other human relationship. Yet some married couples fall short of their full potential. They let their romance become rusty, take each other for granted, allow other interests or clouds of neglect to obscure the vision of what their marriage really could be. Marriages would be happier if nurtured more carefully.”
      • “I realize that many mature members of the Church are not married. Through no failing of their own, they deal with the trials of life alone. Be we all reminded that in the Lord’s own way and time, no blessings will be withheld from His faithful Saints.”
      • “True happiness is predicated upon personal purity. Scripture commands: “Be ye clean.” Marriage should ever be a covenant to lift husbands and wives to exaltation in celestial glory.”
      • “To appreciate—to say “I love you” and “thank you”—is not difficult. But these expressions of love and appreciation do more than acknowledge a kind thought or deed. They are signs of sweet civility. As grateful partners look for the good in each other and sincerely pay compliments to one another, wives and husbands will strive to become the persons described in those compliments.”
      • “Suggestion number two—to communicate well with your spouse—is also important. Good communication includes taking time to plan together. Couples need private time to observe, to talk, and really listen to each other. They need to cooperate—helping each other as equal partners. They need to nurture their spiritual as well as physical intimacy. They should strive to elevate and motivate each other. Marital unity is sustained when goals are mutually understood. Good communication is also enhanced by prayer. To pray with specific mention of a spouse’s good deed (or need) nurtures a marriage.”
  • October 2005 General Conference
    • Jesus Christ—the Master Healer
      • “I recognize that, on occasion, some of our most fervent prayers may seem to go unanswered. We wonder, “Why?” I know that feeling! I know the fears and tears of such moments. But I also know that our prayers are never ignored. Our faith is never unappreciated. I know that an all-wise Heavenly Father’s perspective is much broader than is ours. While we know of our mortal problems and pain, He knows of our immortal progress and potential. If we pray to know His will and submit ourselves to it with patience and courage, heavenly healing can take place in His own way and time.”
      • “When sore trials come upon us, it’s time to deepen our faith in God, to work hard, and to serve others. Then He will heal our broken hearts. He will bestow upon us personal peace and comfort. Those great gifts will not be destroyed, even by death.”
  • April 2005 General Conference
    • Now Is the Time to Prepare
      • “That glorious goal seems mighty distant if one is discouraged by worldly trouble and gloom. I remember when a friend having a difficult day exclaimed, “Oh, why was I ever born?” God’s plan answers his question. We came into this life to acquire a physical body. We may fall in love and be married. We may have children and experience the trials of mortal life. (Please forgive me for mentioning children and the trials of life in the same breath. I sense that they are both part of our growing process.) The Church was restored—the earth was created—so that those families could be sealed in holy temples. Otherwise, the whole earth would be “utterly wasted.””
      • “Those who choose the Lord’s way will likely endure persecution. But their reward is certain.”
      • “Now is the time to show reverent respect for one’s physical body. It serves as the tabernacle for one’s spirit throughout all eternity. Physical appetites are to be controlled by the will of one’s spirit.”
      • “We cannot wish our way into the presence of God. We are to obey the laws upon which those blessings are predicated.”
  • October 2004 General Conference
    • Senior Missionaries and the Gospel
      • “Such marvelous couples are engaged in the work of reclaiming souls who have previously made covenants to take upon themselves the name of Jesus Christ.”
      • “All of us may preach the gospel by precept and example. The word gospel means “good news.” The good news is the Lord Jesus Christ and His message of salvation. Jesus equated the gospel with both His mission and with His ministry in mortality.”
  • April 2004 General Conference
    • Roots and Branches
      • “Each of us has ancestral roots. Each man has received some genetic markers that are just like those of his father. Each woman has received some genetic markers that are just like those of her mother. In addition, each of us has received other genetic gifts that make us unique.”
      • “Because we have a spirit as well as a physical body, we also have spiritual roots that go way back. They shape our values, our beliefs, and our faith. Spiritual roots guide our commitment to the ideals and teachings of the Lord.”
      • “Converts need to strengthen their religious roots. President Gordon B. Hinckley has taught that each convert needs a friend, a responsibility, and nurturing by the good word of God. With such roots to support them and their children, precious converts become pioneers for their own families to follow.”
      • “Personal identity is much more than a passport photograph. We also have roots and branches. Divinity is rooted in each of us. “We all are the work of [our Creator’s] hand.” We are eternal beings. In premortal realms, we brethren were foreordained for our priesthood responsibilities. Before the foundation of the world, women were prepared that they may bear children and glorify God.”
  • October 2003 General Conference
    • Personal Priesthood Responsibility
      • “Only as an individual can you develop a firm faith in God and a passion for personal prayer. Only as an individual can you keep the commandments of God. Only as an individual can you repent. Only as an individual can you qualify for the ordinances of salvation and exaltation. And when your wife is sealed to you, her power and potential will increase yours.”
      • “You never will be released from responsibilities related to your personal and family development.”
      • “With this doctrinal history in mind, it is clear that one cannot buy the priesthood. Scripture declares that “no man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron.””
  • April 2003 General Conference
    • Sweet Power of Prayer
      • “The sweet power of prayer can be intensified by fasting, on occasion, when appropriate to a particular need.”
      • “Prayers can be offered even in silence. One can think a prayer, especially when words would interfere. We often kneel to pray; we may stand or be seated. Physical position is less important than is spiritual submission to God.”
      • “Not all of our prayers will be answered as we might wish. Occasionally the answer will be no. We should not be surprised. Loving mortal parents do not say yes to every request of their children.”
  • October 2002 General Conference
    • “Blessed Are the Peacemakers”
      • “Peace can prevail only when that natural inclination to fight is superseded by self-determination to live on a loftier level.”
      • “The gospel did not begin with the birth of the Babe in Bethlehem. It is everlasting. It was proclaimed in the beginning to Adam and Eve. Portions of the gospel have been preserved in many cultures. Even heathen mythologies have been enriched by fragments of truth from earlier dispensations.”
      • “Men really are brothers because God really is our Father.”
  • April 2002 General Conference
    • How Firm Our Foundation
      • This Church stands on a unique foundation, anchored to a bedrock of timeless truth. Brothers and sisters, the holy cause in which we are engaged did not begin in 1820 in the state of New York. It did not begin in Bethlehem. It did not begin in the Garden of Eden. The underpinnings of the everlasting gospel were in place even before the world was.”
  • October 2001 General Conference
    • “Set in Order Thy House”
      • “Brothers and sisters, I nearly lost my life learning a lesson that I now give to you. As we go through life, even through very rough waters, a father’s instinctive impulse to cling tightly to his wife or to his children may not be the best way to accomplish his objective. Instead, if he will lovingly cling to the Savior and the iron rod of the gospel, his family will want to cling to him and to the Savior.”
      • “In discharging these duties, we need both the Church and the family. They work hand in hand to strengthen each other. The Church exists to exalt the family. And the family is the fundamental unit of the Church.”
      • “An understanding of God’s great plan of happiness, however, fortifies our faith in the future. His plan provides answers to ageless questions: Are all our sympathies and love for each other only temporary—to be lost in death? No! Can family life endure beyond this period of mortal probation? Yes! God has revealed the eternal nature of celestial marriage and the family as the source of our greatest joy.”
  • April 2001 General Conference
    • Personal Preparation for Temple Blessings
      • “The temple is the house of the Lord. The basis for every temple ordinance and covenant—the heart of the plan of salvation—is the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Every activity, every lesson, all we do in the Church, point to the Lord and His holy house. Our efforts to proclaim the gospel, perfect the Saints, and redeem the dead all lead to the temple. Each holy temple stands as a symbol of our membership in the Church, as a sign of our faith in life after death, and as a sacred step toward eternal glory for us and our families.”
      • “Temple ordinances, covenants, endowments, and sealings enable individuals to be reconciled with the Lord and families to be sealed beyond the veil of death. Obedience to temple covenants qualifies us for eternal life, the greatest gift of God to man. Eternal life is more than immortality. Eternal life is exaltation in the highest heaven—the kind of life that God lives.”
      • “With each ordinance is a covenant—a promise. A covenant made with God is not restrictive, but protective. Such a concept is not new. For example, if our water supply is not clean, we filter the water to screen out harmful ingredients. Divine covenants help us to filter out of our minds impurities that could harm us. When we choose to deny ourselves of all ungodliness, we lose nothing of value and gain the glory of eternal life. Covenants do not hold us down; they elevate us beyond the limits of our own power and perspective.”
  • October 2000 General Conference
    • Living by Scriptural Guidance
      • “That brings us to the question of where do we obtain the guidance we need. We turn to Him who knows us best—our Creator. He allowed us to come to earth with freedom to choose our own course. In His great love, He did not leave us alone. He provided a guide—a spiritual road map—to help us achieve success in our journey. We call that guide the standard works, so named because they—the Holy Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price—constitute the standard by which we should live. They serve as a standard of reference, as are standards of time, weights, and measures that are kept in national bureaus of standards.”
      • “Many years ago a medical colleague chastised me for failing to separate my professional knowledge from my religious convictions. That startled me because I did not feel that truth should be fractionalized. Truth is indivisible.”
      • “Danger lurks when we divide ourselves with expressions such as “my private life,” “my professional life,” or even “my best behavior.” Living life in separate compartments can lead to internal conflict and exhausting tension. To escape that tension, many people unwisely resort to addicting substances, pleasure seeking, or self-indulgence, which in turn produce more tension, thus creating a vicious cycle.”
      • “In family council we determined that our best time for scripture study was 6:00 A.M. At that hour our little ones were very sleepy but supportive. Occasionally we had to awaken one when a turn came to read. I would be less than honest with you if I conveyed the impression that our family scripture time was a howling success. Occasionally it was more howling than successful. But we did not give up.”
  • April 2000 General Conference
    • The Creation
      • “I testify that the earth and all life upon it are of divine origin. The Creation did not happen by chance. It did not come ex nihilo (out of nothing). And human minds and hands able to build buildings or create computers are not accidental. It is God who made us and not we ourselves.”
      • “The Creation, great as it is, is not an end in itself but a means to an end. We come to the earth for a brief period of time, endure our tests and trials, and prepare to move onward and upward to a glorious homecoming. Our thoughts and deeds while here will surely be more purposeful if we understand God’s plan and are thankful for and obedient to His commandments.”
  • October 1999 General Conference
    • A Testimony of the Book of Mormon
      • “When you read the Book of Mormon, concentrate on the principal figure in the book—from its first chapter to the last—the Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God. And look for a second undergirding theme: God will keep His covenants with the remnants of the house of Israel.”
      • “This unique mortal mission of the Lord—the gospel as He defined it—we know as the Atonement. The fulness of the gospel, therefore, connotes a fuller comprehension of the Atonement.”
      • “Each individual who prayerfully studies the Book of Mormon can also receive a testimony of its divinity. In addition, this book can help with personal problems in a very real way. Do you want to get rid of a bad habit? Do you want to improve relationships in your family? Do you want to increase your spiritual capacity? Read the Book of Mormon! It will bring you closer to the Lord and His loving power. He who fed a multitude with five loaves and two fishes —He who helped the blind to see and the lame to walk —can also bless you! He has promised that those who live by the precepts of this book “shall receive a crown of eternal life.””
  • April 1999 General Conference
    • Our Sacred Duty to Honor Women
      • “Tonight I am attending with a son, sons-in-law, and grandsons. Where are their mothers? Gathered in the kitchen of our home! What are they doing? Making large batches of homemade doughnuts! And when we return home, we will feast on those doughnuts. While we enjoy them, these mothers, sisters, and daughters will listen intently as each of us speaks of things he learned here tonight. It’s a nice family tradition, symbolic of the fact that everything we learn and do as priesthood bearers should bless our families.”
      • “Because mothers are essential to God’s great plan of happiness, their sacred work is opposed by Satan, who would destroy the family and demean the worth of women.”
      • “We who bear the holy priesthood have a sacred duty to honor our sisters. We are old enough and wise enough to know that teasing is wrong. We respect sisters—not only in our immediate families but all the wonderful sisters in our lives. As daughters of God, their potential is divine. Without them, eternal life would be impossible. Our high regard for them should spring from our love of God and from an awareness of their lofty purpose in His great eternal plan.”
  • October 1998 General Conference
    • We Are Children of God
      • “When death claims an individual in the prime of life, we take comfort in knowing that the very laws which do not allow life to persist here are the same laws that will be implemented at the time of the Resurrection, when the body will be endowed with immortality.”
      • “A perfect body is not required to achieve a divine destiny. In fact, some of the sweetest spirits are housed in frail frames. Great spiritual strength is often developed by those with physical challenges precisely because they are challenged. Such individuals are entitled to all the blessings that God has in store for His faithful and obedient children.”
      • “Just as physical strength requires exercise, so spiritual strength requires effort. Among the most important of spiritual exercises is prayer. It engenders harmony with God and a desire to keep His commandments. Prayer is a key to wisdom, virtue, and humility.”
      • “As children of God, we should not let anything enter the body that might defile it. To allow sensors of sight, touch, or hearing to supply the brain with unclean memories is a sacrilege.”
  • April 1998 General Conference
    • A New Harvest Time
      • “With that, natural affection between generations began to be enriched. This restoration was accompanied by what is sometimes called the Spirit of Elijah—a manifestation of the Holy Ghost bearing witness of the divine nature of the family.”
      • “In describing these achievements, I realize that for some who are less involved in this work, I may have intensified feelings of guilt. I apologize for that. I know that fear and unfamiliarity may stand in your way.”
  • October 1997 General Conference
    • Spiritual Capacity
      • “But we can also learn much from a man who has spent his entire lifetime in striving to be more like the Lord. More than 87 years ago, Gordon B. Hinckley was an infant cradled in the arms of his loving parents. That newborn babe looked much as any other, I presume. An infant’s body is tiny, and its spiritual capacities are undeveloped. While the body may reach the peak of its maturation in a few years, the development of the spirit may never reach the limit of its capacity, because there is no end to progression.”
      • “Among President Hinckley’s spiritual attributes is that of compassion. He is sympathetic to people and feels a strong urge to help them. I have watched him weep with those who mourn and rejoice when Saints are blessed. Such compassion can come to anyone whose heart has truly been touched by the Spirit of the Lord.”
      • “President and Sister Hinckley have demonstrated that the capacity to understand increases as one learns and then teaches with diligence. Unless illness interferes, age does not diminish—it augments—the capacity for spiritual development.”
  • April 1997 General Conference
    • Endure and Be Lifted Up
      • “Children are prone to do such dangerous things simply because they have not acquired the wisdom their parents have. Similarly, we as children of our Heavenly Father may foolishly want to get “out of the boat” before we arrive at destinations He would like us to reach. The Lord teaches over and over that we are to endure to the end. This is a dominant theme of the scriptures.”
      • “Blessings bestowed by God are always predicated upon obedience to law. Applied to my analogy, we are first to get “on the boat” with Him. Then we are to stay with Him. And if we don’t get “out of the boat” before we should, we shall reach His kingdom, where we will be lifted up to eternal life.”
      • “Energy is always required to provide lift over opposing forces. These same laws apply in our personal lives. Whenever an undertaking is begun, both the energy and the will to endure are essential. The winner of a five-kilometer race is declared at the end of five kilometers, not at one or two. If you board a bus to Boston, you don’t get off at Burlington. If you want to gain an education, you don’t drop out along the way—just as you don’t pay to dine at an elegant restaurant only to walk away after sampling the salad.”
      • “When we know without a doubt that Jesus is the Christ, we will want to stay with Him. When we are surely converted, the power to endure is ours.”
      • “Marriage—especially temple marriage—and family ties involve covenant relationships. They cannot be regarded casually. With divorce rates escalating throughout the world today, it is apparent that many spouses are failing to endure to the end of their commitments to each other. And some temple marriages fail because a husband forgets that his highest and most important priesthood duty is to honor and sustain his wife.”
      • “When priorities are proper, the power to endure is increased. And when internalized, those priorities will help keep you from “going overboard.” They will protect you from cheating—in marriage, in the Church, and in life.”
  • October 1996 General Conference
    • The Atonement
      • “Before we can comprehend the Atonement of Christ, however, we must first understand the Fall of Adam. And before we can understand the Fall of Adam, we must first understand the Creation. These three crucial components of the plan of salvation relate to each other.”
      • “But mortal life, glorious as it is, was never the ultimate objective of God’s plan. Life and death here on planet Earth were merely means to an end—not the end for which we were sent.”
      • “To be redeemed is to be atoned—received in the close embrace of God with an expression not only of His forgiveness, but of our oneness of heart and mind.”
      • “Jesus was the only one who could offer such an infinite atonement, since He was born of a mortal mother and an immortal Father. Because of that unique birthright, Jesus was an infinite Being.”
      • “When we comprehend His voluntary Atonement, any sense of sacrifice on our part becomes completely overshadowed by a profound sense of gratitude for the privilege of serving Him.”
  • April 1996 General Conference
    • “Thou Shalt Have No Other Gods”
      • “Sadly, many individuals don’t know where to find God, and exclude Him from their lives. When spiritual needs arise, they may look to the left, the right, or round about. But looking to other people on the same level cannot satisfy spiritual shortages. When the immortal spirit is starved, hunger persists for something more filling. Even when material success comes, there is a hollow ache—if living well falls short of living worthily. Inner peace cannot be found in affluence accompanied by spiritual privation.”
      • “No matter where we live or in what position we serve, all of us need to determine which way we face. God’s commandments serve as a standard against which priorities can be measured. Our respect for the first commandment fashions our feelings for all the others.”
      • “If we break God’s first commandment, we cannot escape retribution. If we allow any other person or cause to come before allegiance to Him, we will reap a bitter harvest.”
      • “Praying helps us to face trials in life. Prayer centers our attitudes precisely. With that focus, we do not wander to the right or left through land mined with traps of temptation. Disciples do not flirt with danger at the jagged edge of disaster. Experienced mountain climbers do not lean toward the dangerous edge but toward safety, with ropes and other safeguards to secure them to those they trust. So it is with us. When we climb mountainous challenges of life, we should lean toward our Master and be yoked with him, clinging tightly to the iron rod of the gospel, to family, and to trusted friends.”
  • October 1995 General Conference
    • Perfection Pending
      • “Mortal perfection can be achieved as we try to perform every duty, keep every law, and strive to be as perfect in our sphere as our Heavenly Father is in his. If we do the best we can, the Lord will bless us according to our deeds and the desires of our hearts.”
      • “Meanwhile, brothers and sisters, let us do the best we can and try to improve each day. When our imperfections appear, we can keep trying to correct them. We can be more forgiving of flaws in ourselves and among those we love. We can be comforted and forbearing.”
  • April 1995 General Conference
    • Children of the Covenant
      • “Rewards for obedience to the commandments are almost beyond mortal comprehension. Here, children of the covenant become a strain of sin-resistant souls. And hereafter, President Hunter, Emily, other children of the covenant, and “each generation would be linked to the one which went on before … [in] the divine family of God.” Great comfort comes from the knowledge that our loved ones are secured to us through the covenants.”
  • October 1994 General Conference
    • The Spirit of Elijah
      • “In the century since then, much has been accomplished. More and more people are becoming excited about discovering their roots, and the Church is doing its best to help them. The Church adopted the term family history to encourage this activity among all its members, especially those who might be intimidated by the word genealogy. In addition, 2,150 busy and productive family history centers have been established throughout the world. For example, the FamilySearch® Center in the Joseph Smith Memorial Building has served hundreds of thousands of visitors, at least two-thirds of whom have found something in the computer file about their ancestors.”
      • “Here, on this side of the veil, there are limitations of available time and temples. This means that choosing to identify and perform ordinances for our own kindred should receive our highest priority. The Spirit of Elijah will inspire individual members of the Church to link their generations, rather than submit lists of people or popular personalities to whom they are unrelated.”
  • April 1994 General Conference
    • “Teach Us Tolerance and Love”
      • “I have been impressed to speak on the subject of tolerance—a virtue much needed in our turbulent world. But in discussing this topic, we must recognize at the outset that there is a difference between tolerance and tolerate. Your gracious tolerance for an individual does not grant him or her license to do wrong, nor does your tolerance obligate you to tolerate his or her misdeed. That distinction is fundamental to an understanding of this vital virtue.”
      • “Yet His children can be so intolerant with one another. Neighboring factions, whether they be identified as groups or gangs, schools or states, counties or countries, often develop animosity. Such tendencies make me wonder: Cannot boundary lines exist without becoming battle lines? Could not people unite in waging war against the evils that beset mankind instead of waging war on each other? Sadly, answers to these questions are often no. Through the years, discrimination based on ethnic or religious identity has led to senseless slaughter, vicious pogroms, and countless acts of cruelty. The face of history is pocked by the ugly scars of intolerance.”
      • “Fortunately, we in the Church rarely have to make such a decision. We consider love of neighbor an integral part of our mission. And while we serve one another, we continue to build a spiritual house of refuge on the cliffs above. Such a sanctuary becomes a blessing for all mankind. We are but the builders; the architect is almighty God.”
      • “Intolerance seeds contention; tolerance supersedes contention. Tolerance is the key that opens the door to mutual understanding and love.”
      • “In latter days, devoted disciples of the Lord are just as firm. Real love for the sinner may compel courageous confrontation—not acquiescence! Real love does not support self-destructing behavior.”
  • October 1993 General Conference
    • Constancy amid Change
      • “Brothers and sisters, these Heavenly Beings love you. Their love is as constant as is the greatest love of earthly parents.”
      • “But there is another personage about whom you should be reminded. Satan also exists and seeks “that all men might be miserable like unto himself” (2 Ne. 2:27).”
      • “I speak now of category two—unchanging plans. A great council in heaven was once convened, in which it seems that all of us participated. There our Heavenly Father announced His plan. Scriptures refer to this plan of God by many names. Perhaps out of deference to the sacred name of Deity, or to depict its broad scope, it is also called the plan of happiness, the plan of salvation, the plan of redemption, the plan of restoration, the plan of mercy, the plan of deliverance, and the everlasting gospel. Prophets have used these terms interchangeably. Regardless of designation, the enabling essence of the plan is the atonement of Jesus Christ. As it is central to the plan, we should try to comprehend the meaning of the Atonement. Before we can comprehend it, though, we must understand the fall of Adam. And before we can fully appreciate the Fall, we must first comprehend the Creation. These three events—the Creation, the Fall, and the Atonement—are three preeminent pillars of God’s plan, and they are doctrinally interrelated.”
      • “Before leaving our discussion of unchanging plans, however, we need to remember that the adversary sponsors a cunning plan of his own. It invariably attacks God’s first commandment for husband and wife to beget children. It tempts with tactics that include infidelity, unchastity, and other abuses of procreative power. Satan’s band would trumpet choice, but mute accountability.”
      • “The Savior and His servants do not speak words of complacency but teach what people need to know. Through the ages, history attests that contemporary critics have pressed Church leaders to modify a decree of the Lord. But such is eternal law, and it cannot be altered. Not even for His Beloved Son could God change the law that required the Atonement. Divine doctrines cannot be squeezed into compact molds to make them fit fashionable patterns of the day. Nor can they be fully expressed on a bumper sticker.”
      • “Another unchanging principle, brothers and sisters, is that of your eventual judgment. Each of you will be judged according to your individual works and the desires of your hearts.”
  • April 1993 General Conference
    • Honoring the Priesthood
      • “He chose to honor us with His priesthood. So we honor Him by honoring His priesthood—both its power and those who bear it. By so doing, men, women, and children throughout the world will be blessed. Honoring the priesthood fosters respect, respect promotes reverence, and reverence invites revelation.”
      • “Differences exist in practice and organization between the Lord’s Church and man-made institutions. Men and women may form associations for and among themselves and be governed by stipulations that are mutually acceptable.”
      • “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, however, is neither a democracy nor a republic. His is a kingdom—the kingdom of God on earth. His is a hierarchical church, with ultimate authority at the top. The Lord directs His anointed servants. They testify to all the world that God has again spoken. The heavens have been opened. A living linkage has been formed between heaven and earth in our day.”
      • “That supreme authority is supported by a firm foundation following an organizational pattern established anciently. Jesus Christ is the chief cornerstone, with Apostles and prophets and all the gifts, powers, and blessings that characterized the Church in earlier days.”
      • “In contrast, the kingdom of God is governed by the authority of the priesthood. It is not conferred for honor, but for a ministry of service. Priesthood titles are not created by man; neither are they for adornment, nor do they express mastership. They denote appointment to service in the work of the Lord. We are called, sustained, and ordained—not by ourselves, but “by prophecy, and by the laying on of hands by those who are in authority, to preach the Gospel and administer in the ordinances thereof.” (A of F 1:5; see also Heb. 5:4.)”
  • October 1992 General Conference
    • Where Is Wisdom?
      • “Because of our sacred regard for each human intellect, we consider the obtaining of an education to be a religious responsibility. Yet opportunities and abilities differ. I believe that in the pursuit of education, individual desire is more influential than institution, and personal faith more forceful than faculty.”
      • “So my counsel then—and now—is to continue your education wherever you are, whatever your interest and opportunity, however you determine you can best serve your family and society.”
      • “Mankind’s unfamiliarity with the scriptures has sometimes brought sorrow to great numbers of people over long periods of time. The suffering that has resulted from such ignorance is truly tragic.”
      • “Today we are seriously concerned with the increasing incidence of human infection with HIV (Human Immunosuppressive Virus) and variant viruses and the associated outbreak of AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome). An epidemic has been forecast—a plague fueled by a vocal few who exhibit greater concern for civil rights than for public health, a plague abetted by the immoral. Some live in lust as though God’s commandment to be chaste was written with an asterisk, exempting them from obeying. And regrettably, as in previous plagues, many innocent victims are doomed to suffer. Where is wisdom?”
      • “Again I pose the question once asked by Job: “Where shall wisdom be found?” (Job 28:12.) Answer: It emanates from the Lord.”
  • April 1992 General Conference
    • Doors of Death
      • “Irrespective of age, we mourn for those loved and lost. Mourning is one of the deepest expressions of pure love.”
      • “Life does not begin with birth, nor does it end with death.”
      • “As seedlings of God, we barely blossom on earth; we fully flower in heaven.”
      • “The miracle of the resurrection, wondrous as it will be, is marvelously matched by the miracle of our creation in the first place.”
      • “Meanwhile, we who tarry here have a few precious moments remaining “to prepare to meet God.” (Alma 34:32.) Unfinished business is our worst business. Perpetual procrastination must yield to perceptive preparation. Today we have a little more time to bless others—time to be kinder, more compassionate, quicker to thank and slower to scold, more generous in sharing, more gracious in caring.”
  • October 1991 General Conference
    • “These … Were Our Examples”
      • “When the choir sang “The Lord’s Prayer,” for example, audiences were hushed and attentive. They seemed to understand, without fully knowing either the language or the history of the song.”
      • “Just think of the good you can do if you accept a difficult challenge and pursue knowledge—then use it to bless others.”
      • “Temperance can protect each of us from the aftermath of excess.”
      • “Brotherly kindness overcomes the rudeness of selfish intent. Each of us can develop brotherly kindness at home, at school, at work, or at play.”
      • “Godliness is not a product of perfection; it comes of concentration and consecration.”
  • April 1991 General Conference
    • Listen to Learn
      • “The time to listen is when someone needs to be heard.
      • “Even with normal hearing, some couples seem not to listen to one another. Taking time to talk is essential to keep lines of communication intact. If marriage is a prime relationship in life, it deserves prime time! Yet less important appointments are often given priority, leaving only leftover moments for listening to precious partners.”
  • October 1990 General Conference
    • Choices
      • “I would suggest three questions you might ask yourself as you consider your options. Whether they are once-in-a-lifetime or routine daily decisions, serious reflection on these three questions will help clarify your thinking. You might wish to review these questions first alone and then with your husband. They are: 1. “Who am I?” 2. “Why am I here?” 3. “Where am I going?” Truthful answers to these three questions will remind you of important anchors and unchanging principles.”
      • “As you consider these fundamental questions, it will become clear that decisions you first thought to be purely personal virtually always impact the lives of others. In answering these questions, then, you must be mindful of the broader circle of family and friends who will be affected by the consequences of your choice. This self-evaluation will be a silent examination. No one else will hear your replies. Though I will suggest some answers, the ultimate responses must be uniquely yours.”
      • “Many may profess a measure of faith in God, but without sincere repentance, faith cannot be fully operative.”
  • April 1990 General Conference
    • “Thus Shall My Church Be Called”
      • “Note carefully the language of the Lord. He did not say, “Thus shall my church be named.” He said, “Thus shall my church be called.””
      • “Despite its use in ninety-eight verses of the Bible, the term saint is still not well understood. Some mistakenly think that it implies beatification or perfection. Not so! A saint is a believer in Christ and knows of His perfect love. The giving saint shares in a true spirit of that love, and the receiving saint accepts in a true spirit of gratitude. A saint serves others, knowing that the more one serves, the greater the opportunity for the Spirit to sanctify and purify.”
      • “The foundation of the Church is the reality that God is our Father and that His Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ, is the Savior of the world. The witness and inspiration of the Holy Ghost confirm those realities.”
  • October 1989 General Conference
    • Woman—Of Infinite Worth
      • “A worthy woman personifies the truly noble and worthwhile attributes of life. A faithful woman can become a devoted daughter of God—more concerned with being righteous than with being selfish, more anxious to exercise compassion than to exercise dominion, more committed to integrity than to notoriety. And she knows of her own infinite worth.”
      • “Opportunities for development of spiritual and intellectual potential are equal. Masculinity has no monopoly on the mind, and femininity has no exclusive dominion over the heart. The highest titles of human achievement—teacher, educated professional, loyal employee, faithful friend, student of the scriptures, child of God, disciple of Christ, trusted companion, loving parent—are earned under a uniform requirement of worthiness.”
      • “A woman is a master communicator. And she communicates best in humble prayer. How many of us first learned to pray beside the bended knees of our mothers? Surely she knows that her children can walk alone only when they have found their pathway to Father in Heaven through prayer.”
      • “Her self-esteem cannot be based on physical features, possession or lack of a particular talent, or comparative quantities of anything. Her self-esteem is earned by individual righteousness and a close relationship with God. Her outward glow is generated by goodness within. And her patience is much more apparent than any imperfection.”
      • “Her saintly calling is opposed by Satan. He would shatter the family unit and demean the worth of woman. He would triumph if one man would offend or fail to honor her, or if one woman would deny her infinite worth and behave beneath her dignity. The vulgar portrayal of her beauty as an object of lust, the vile invasion of her private purity, should provoke righteous indignation from all caring people.”
  • April 1989 General Conference
    • The Canker of Contention
      • “His peace is personal. But that spirit of inner peace is driven away by contention. Contention does not usually begin as strife between countries. More often, it starts with an individual, for we can contend within ourselves over simple matters of right and wrong. From there, contention can infect neighbors and nations like a spreading sore.”
      • “My concern is that contention is becoming accepted as a way of life. From what we see and hear in the media, the classroom, and the workplace, all are now infected to some degree with contention. How easy it is, yet how wrong it is, to allow habits of contention to pervade matters of spiritual significance, because contention is forbidden by divine decree.”
      • “Scriptures repeatedly warn that the father of contention opposes the plan of our Heavenly Father. Satan’s method relies on the infectious canker of contention. Satan’s motive: to gain personal acclaim even over God Himself.”
      • “Leaders of the Church are targets for attack by those who stir contention. This is true even though not a single leader has called himself or herself to a position of responsibility.”
      • “Dissecting doctrine in a controversial way in order to draw attention to oneself is not pleasing to the Lord.”
  • October 1988 General Conference
    • Addiction or Freedom
      • “Drugs are the modern “mess of pottage” for which souls are sold. No families are free from risk.”
      • “Often, however, agency is misunderstood. While we are free to choose, once we have made those choices, we are tied to the consequences of those choices. We are free to take drugs or not. But once we choose to use a habit-forming drug, we are bound to the consequences of that choice. Addiction surrenders later freedom to choose. Through chemical means, one can literally become disconnected from his or her own will!”
  • April 1988 General Conference
    • “With God Nothing Shall Be Impossible”
      • “The Lord has often chosen to instruct His people in their times of trial. Scriptures show that some of His lasting lessons have been taught with examples terrible as war, commonplace as childbearing, or obvious as hazards of deep water. His teachings are frequently based on common understanding, but with uncommon results. Indeed, one might say that to teach His people, the Lord employs the unlikely.”
      • “The second requisite I have classified as focus. Imagine, if you will, a pair of powerful binoculars. Two separate optical systems are joined together with a gear to focus two independent images into one three-dimensional view. To apply this analogy, let the scene on the left side of your binoculars represent your perception of your task. Let the picture on the right side represent the Lord’s perspective of your task—the portion of His plan He has entrusted to you. Now, connect your system to His. By mental adjustment, fuse your focus. Something wonderful happens. Your vision and His are now the same. You have developed an “eye single to the glory of God” (D&C 4:5; see also Morm. 8:15). With that perspective, look upward—above and beyond mundane things about you. The Lord said, “Look unto me in every thought” (D&C 6:36). That special vision will also help clarify your wishes when they may be a bit fuzzy and out of focus with God’s hopes for your divine destiny. Indeed, the precise challenge you regard now as “impossible” may be the very refinement you need, in His eye.”
  • October 1987 General Conference
    • Keys of the Priesthood
      • “Why is the power to act in the name of God more important? Because it is of eternal significance. We should understand the source of our authority and something of the keys that control its power. They may benefit every man, woman, and child who now lives, who has lived, and who yet will live upon the earth.”
      • “For you as the receiver, obligations accompany the keys. You must know applicable laws and obey them. Loyalty is expected. And you should understand the power of your instrument. Obedience, loyalty, and understanding are implicit with your acceptance of those keys.”
      • “Loyalty to him who has keys to call and to release you, even though he is an imperfect human being, will develop unity essential to success.”
  • April 1987 General Conference
    • Life after Life
      • “As President Benson spoke, my thoughts momentarily flashed back some years ago to a conversation I had with a book publisher. He was interested in the topic of possible continuation of life after what we know as death. The publisher asked if I could contribute stories from patients who had come close enough to death to experience the other side and yet had survived to share those accounts. Sensing public interest in that subject, he would entitle the book Life after Life. When I considered that request, I remembered many such incidents which had been whispered in confidence to me over the years. But those seemed too sacred to share in a worldly way, especially to the benefit of a commercial venture. Besides, what would be the validity of isolated stories of life after life without supporting testimonies of witnesses?”
      • “Gratefully and positively, I affirm that there is life after life, first in the spirit world and then in the Resurrection, for each and every one of us. I know that God lives and that Jesus the Christ is his Son. He is “the resurrection, and the life” (John 11:25). He lives. He is my Master. I am his servant.”
  • October 1986 General Conference
    • “Joy Cometh in the Morning”
      • “My sweetheart has done that. Through our many long years of postgraduate study, professional responsibilities, and a growing family, she did not complain.”
      • “Above all, courtesy to companions cannot be defiled by disobedience to the law of chastity. That sin is joy’s deadly poison. The first morning’s glance in the mirror cannot reflect joy if there is any recollection of misdeeds the night before. The surest step toward joy in the morning is virtue in the evening! Virtue includes courtesy to companions all day long.”
      • “I learned long ago that a period of uninterrupted scriptural study in the morning brings enduring enrichment.”
      • “So, in faith, modern Israel is commanded to obey the Word of Wisdom. It becomes our token of a covenant with the Lord—a spiritual separator of covenant Israel from the rest of the world.”
  • April 1986 General Conference
    • In the Lord’s Own Way
      • “Scriptures teach us that the poor—especially widows, orphans, and strangers—have long been the concern of God and the godly. The poor have been especially favored by the law.”
      • “With these teachings throbbing in our ears, stated and restated in accounts to all people in all days of recorded scripture, let our thoughts return to the homeless, beggars in boats, human beasts of burden, and to multitudes stricken with poverty.”
      • “Is it possible to be faithful to our solemn obligation to care for the poor and needy, to lift them and to love them—worldwide?”
      • “Ours is not to judge; ours is a covenantal obligation to care for the poor and the needy, to prepare for their rejoicing when the Messiah shall come again. (See D&C 56:18–19.)”
      • “The Lord’s “own way” includes, first, reliance on self, then on the family. As parents care for their children, they, in turn, may reciprocate when parents become less able. Family pride promotes solicitude for each member, taking priority over other assistance.”
      • “Limitations do exist. Measures of relief are at best temporary. Storehouses can provide only for some temporal needs. All people cannot be brought to the same living standards. And all needed things cannot be achieved by goods or gold.”
      • “To care fully for the poor, we must help the poor to change. As they are taught and abide doctrines of Deity, spiritual strength will come that enlightens the mind and liberates the soul from the yoke of bondage. When people of the earth accept the gospel of Christ, their attitudes change. Their understanding and capabilities increase.”
  • October 1985 General Conference
    • Self-Mastery
      • “Your spirit acquired a body at birth and became a soul to live in mortality through periods of trial and testing. Part of each test is to determine if your body can become mastered by the spirit that dwells within it.”
      • “As you work during the productive years of life, whether at home or in the field, in the factory or at a workbench, reputation is built and character is forged as you develop self-mastery. Faithful payment of tithing is part of that process. It defends you against dishonesty or shabby temptations. Courageous accountability for your own actions becomes a cherished prize.”
      • “Remember, my dear one, not an age in life passes without temptation, trial, or torment experienced through your physical body. But as you prayerfully develop self-mastery, desires of the flesh may be subdued.”
      • “It is not a question of when “meaningful life” begins or when the spirit “quickens” the body. In the biological sciences, it is known that life begins when two germ cells unite to become one cell, bringing together twenty-three chromosomes from both the father and from the mother. These chromosomes contain thousands of genes. In a marvelous process involving a combination of genetic coding by which all the basic human characteristics of the unborn person are established, a new DNA complex is formed. A continuum of growth results in a new human being. The onset of life is not a debatable issue, but a fact of science.”
      • “Now, as a servant of the Lord, I dutifully warn those who advocate and practice abortion that they incur the wrath of Almighty God, who declared, “If men … hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit depart from her, … he shall be surely punished.””
  • April 1985 General Conference
    • Reverence for Life
      • “This war, labeled “abortion,” is of epidemic proportion and is waged globally. Over fifty-five million abortions were reported worldwide in the year 1974 alone. Sixty-four percent of the world’s population now live in countries that legally sanction this practice. In the United States of America, over 1.5 million abortions are performed annually. About 25–30 percent of all pregnancies now end in abortion. In some metropolitan areas, there are more abortions performed than live births. Comparable data also come from other nations.”
      • “These slogans begin with proper concern for the health of the mother. Infrequently, instances may occur in which the continuation of pregnancy could be life-threatening to the mother. When deemed by competent medical authorities that the life of one must be terminated in order to save the life of the other, many agree that it is better to spare the mother. But these circumstances are rare, particularly where modern medical care is available.”
      • “Another contention raised is that a woman is free to choose what she does with her own body. To a certain extent this is true for all of us. We are free to think. We are free to plan. And then we are free to do. But once an action has been taken, we are never free from its consequences. Those considering abortion have already exercised certain choices.”
  • October 1984 General Conference
    • Protect the Spiritual Power Line
      • “Consider the power to learn. How essential it is for progress, whether one’s career is professional or that of a salesman, a farmer, or a homemaker. But learning can be misused! A sharp mind, misdirected, can cut into that line of spiritual power. Some “learned” souls delight in leading others astray, all in the so-called name of learning. Years later their victims may realize that they have climbed their ladder of learning, only to find it leaning against the wrong wall.”
      • “Misused, the power of love can cut off spiritual power. The abuse of the power to love can result in no love at all. Only its cheap facsimiles of lewdness and lust remain in the wake of pleasure without conscience. Instead of feasting at the banquet table of bounteous love with his own posterity, one is left with scraps from the table—only the refuse from what might have been.”
      • “The ashes of burned “love” smolder with the smoke of sadness. Yet the embers of evil still burn. But as loud voices argue on, let us remember that those who advocate abortion have already been born! Those who freely deny God with their amoral and agnostic practices will one day find that He may just as freely deny them!”
      • “Worship strengthens our power line to deity. There can be no true worship without sacrifice, and there can be no true sacrifice without a cause. The cause that earns our love and priority is the cause of Jesus Christ.”
  • April 1984 General Conference
    • Call to the Holy Apostleship
      • “A wide array of feelings has flashed through my heart since I heard the call that will change my life. The first feeling is that of personal inadequacy. That feeling is intensified as I think of the incomparable power of Elders LeGrand Richards and Mark E. Petersen, whose absence we keenly sense. They were, to me, dear friends as well as esteemed leaders. Then, as I look about and see the strength of those more qualified and able than I, I truly am humbled by this calling.”
      • “While nominally I come to you from the science of surgery and its mother of medicine, in a truer sense, I have been forged from the stern discipline of law—not the laws of men, as mastered by our brethren of the legal profession, but the eternal and unchanging laws of our Divine Creator. The surgeon soon learns the incontrovertibility of divine law. He knows that hopes and wishes are sometimes simply powerless sham. Desired blessings come only by obedience to divine law, and in no other way. My lifetime thus far has been focused on learning those laws. Only as the laws are known, and then obeyed, can the blessings we desire be earned. To this extent, there will be little difference for me in the activities of the past and those of the future. The endless laws of the Lord are the doctrines taught by His Apostles.”
      • “The testimony that I bear is but an echo of the resounding testimonies of the eighty-four who previously have received this call to the Twelve since the spring of 1820. I know that God the Father and the Son appeared to usher in this last great dispensation of eternal truth. I testify that we are of the house of Israel, specifically of the lineage of Joseph, bearing the birthright and charged with the irrevocable responsibility to prepare the world for the second coming of the Savior. Then, numberless multitudes among every nation, kindred, tongue, and people will eventually join in proclaiming that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

Other Talks

  • 1993 Parliament of the World’s Religions, Chicago IL, September 2, 1993
    • Combatting Spiritual Drift—Our Global Pandemic
      • “But spiritual progress has lagged behind. We see evidences of increasing ethnic strife and hatred. Nationalism seems to be taking priority over brotherly love. Violence and civil wars are raging. Divorce and diminishing regard for the sanctity of human life have eroded the strength of the family—the basic unit of society. Immorality, infidelity, and promiscuity—once shunned—are now tolerated and even condoned. We have witnessed the insidious intrusion of pornography, with its attendant denigration of the human soul. And gambling, which preys upon the poor and the compulsive, has crept from the realm of the illegal into the arena of governmental sponsorship.”
      • “The dismal dusk of today’s spiritual drift provides a rare opportunity for the radiance of religion to light the way to a new tomorrow. This can happen only as we proclaim eternal truths that have the power to engender spiritual strength.”
      • “when divine doctrines are compromised to accommodate social pressures, religious institutions become no more relevant in their mission than other agencies of good intent. At the same time, we should be models of tolerance of others whose sacred beliefs may differ from our own. We recognize that if one religion is persecuted, all are attacked.”
  • September 1987 General Women’s Meeting
    • Lessons from Eve
      • “Thus, priesthood is the power of God. Its ordinances and covenants are to bless men and women alike. By that power, the earth was created. Under the direction of the Father, Jehovah was the creator. As Michael, Adam did his part. He became the first man. But, in spite of the power and glory of creation to that point, the final link in the chain of creation was still missing. All the purposes of the world and all that was in the world would be brought to naught without woman—a keystone in the priesthood arch of creation. When Eve was created—when her body was made by God—Adam exclaimed, “Bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of man” (Moses 3:23). From the rib of Adam, Eve was formed (see Gen. 2:22; Moses 3:22; Abr. 5:16). Interesting to me is the fact that animals fashioned by our Creator, such as dogs and cats, have thirteen pairs of ribs, but the human being has one less with only twelve. I presume another bone could have been used, but the rib, coming as it does from the side, seems to denote partnership. The rib signifies neither dominion nor subservience, but a lateral relationship as partners, to work and to live, side by side.”
      • “I’m glad Sister Nelson has not tried to be a “supermom.” But she has been a “soothing” mom. This she has done simply by being herself.”
      • “I plead with the women of the Church to accept individual responsibility to know and to love the Lord. Communicate with him. He will impress upon your mind inspiration and personal revelation to give you strength.”

Articles in Church Publications

Other Publications and Resources

One thought on “Russell M. Nelson

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *