Leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints gathered Saturday in an undisclosed "small auditorium" in the Church Office Building for the 190th Semiannual General Conference.
The evening session was presided over by Elder Dallin H. Oaks, the first counselor of The First Presidency.
Since April 2018, the Saturday evening session has alternated between the Priesthood Session (April) for all holders of priesthood ages 12 and older and the Women’s Session (October) for all women ages 8 and up. The other four sessions (Saturday morning, Saturday afternoon, Sunday morning, Sunday afternoon) are for all members of the Church and those interested in the faith.
A prerecorded song by The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square from a 2016 broadcast featured the hymn, "Lead Kindly Light," after the invocation.
Following Oaks was the concluding speaker of the evening session, President Russell M. Nelson, who is the 17th president and prophet of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
He spoke about the Church not being that of Joseph Smith or of Mormon. He reiterated the full name of the Church and is announcing a new initiative with a symbol. He said:
To help us remember Him and to identify The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as the Lord’s Church, we are pleased to introduce a symbol that will signify the central place of Jesus Christ in His Church.
This symbol includes the name of the Church contained within a cornerstone. Jesus Christ is the chief cornerstone.
At the center of the symbol is a representation of Thorvaldsen’s marble statue, the Christus. It portrays the resurrected, living Lord reaching out to embrace all who will come unto Him.
Nelson additionally called for another worldwide fast saying, "Let us prayerfully plead for relief from this global pandemic." He explained further:
How do we fast? Two meals or a period of 24 hours is customary. But you decide what would constitute a sacrifice for you, as you remember the supreme sacrifice the Savior made for you. Let us unite in pleading for healing throughout the world.
Elder Dallin H. Oaks, the first counselor of The First Presidency, spoke after Eyring expounding on the priesthood of God. He said:
The priesthood is a divine power and authority held in trust to be used for God’s work for the benefit of all of His children. Priesthood is not those who have been ordained to a priesthood office or those who exercise its authority. Men who hold the priesthood are not the priesthood. While we should not refer to ordained men as the priesthood, it is appropriate to refer to them as holders of the priesthood.
He went onto explain that the power of the priesthood exists both in the Church and in the family organization. He said:
Priesthood authority is also exercised, and its blessings realized in the families of Latter-day Saints. By families, I mean a priesthood-holding man and a woman who are married and their children. I also include the variations from the ideal relationships such as caused by death or divorce.
He added that Satan is anxious to confuse people's thinking about the operations of the priesthood of God. To have clarity, Oaks advised that members, "Follow the test the Savior taught. Look to the fruits - the results."
A prerecorded hymn, "I Am A Child Of God," from October 2016 by The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square was broadcast prior to Elder Henry B. Eyring, second counselor of The First Presidency, took to the pulpit.
Eyring said preparing for this conference changed him. He said his preparation took him to a record of an event in the Restoration.
I had read about that event many times but it had always been to me a report of an important meeting that involved Joseph Smith, the prophet of the Restoration. But this time I saw in the account how the Lord leads us, His disciples, in His Church. I saw what it means for us mortals to be led by the Savior of the world, the Creator who knows all things, past, present and future. He teaches us step by step and guides us never forcing.
He recounted a meeting that took place on April 3, 1836, in the Kirtland Temple in Ohio seven days after it was dedicated. He said after reading and studying that account recorded in the Doctrine and Covenants section 110, that the Holy Ghost confirmed to him that it was true.
He concluded saying:
I invite all who hear this message or read these words to have faith that the Lord is leading the Restoration of His gospel and His Church. He goes before us. He know s the future perfectly. He invites you to the work. He joins you in it. He has in place a plan for your service. He loves you.
Relief Society General President Jean B. Bingham followed Petelo and talked about God's work beginning with Adam and Eve.
She said as children were born to Adam and Eve, they taught their family what they had learned from heavenly messengers. She continued:
They were focused on helping their children also understand and embrace those principles that would make them happy in this life, as well as prepared to return to their heavenly parents after having increased their abilities and proved their obedience to God. In the process, Adam and Eve learned to appreciate their differing strengths and supported one another in their eternally-significant work.
She continued by reciting President Russell M. Nelson who taught that women who are endowed in the temple have priesthood power in their lives. She added that Nelson further explained:
... that 'the heavens are just as open to women who are endowed with God’s power flowing from their priesthood covenants as they are to men who bear the priesthood.' And he encouraged every sister to “draw liberally upon the Savior’s power to help your family
Enzo Serge Petelo, member of the Meadow Wood Ward, Provo Utah Edgemont Stake, also spoke about how the priesthood blesses young people.
He said, "The priesthood is the authority to administer the ordinances and covenants of the Savior’s gospel to those who are worthy to receive them. Through these priesthood ordinances and sacred covenants comes the full blessings of the Savior’s Atonement that helps us achieve our divine destiny."
You can be a beacon of light to all those who are unsure of themselves. The light within you will shine so bright that everyone you interact with will be blessed by just being in your company.
Laudy Ruth Kaouk, member of the Slate Canyon 14th Ward (Spanish), Provo Utah Stake, followed Elder Gong with a message about how the priesthood blesses youth.
Regardless of your circumstances, you can always have access to priesthood blessings.
Kaouk continued by saying, "Priesthood blessings can help us overcome these challenges and receive peace as we move forward into the future. I hope that we strive to live worthy of receiving these blessings."
She advised the youth not to hesitate to ask for a blessing when needed for extra guidance. She said, "It is in our difficult moments that we need the Spirit to help us the most."
Elder Gerrit W. Gong of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles was the first speaker of the evening session. He spoke about preparing for Easter. He said:
Anniversaries, including this bicentennial, highlight patterns of restoration.3 In celebrating the ongoing Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ, we also prepare for Easter. In both, we rejoice in the return of Jesus Christ.
He added, "The sacred events between Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday are the story of hosanna and hallelujah. Hosanna is our plea for God to save. Hallelujah expresses our praise to the Lord for the hope of salvation and exaltation. In hosanna and hallelujah we recognize the living Jesus Christ as the heart of Easter and latter-day Restoration."
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