The Message, the Meaning, and the Multitude By Elder Jeffrey R. Holland
Such a quest for faith and conviction is our purpose in these conferences, and by joining with us today, you will realize that this search is a broadly shared endeavor. Look around you. Here on these grounds you see families of all sizes coming from every direction. Old friends embrace in joyful reunion, a marvelous choir is warming up, and protestors shout from their favorite soapbox. Missionaries of an earlier day look for former companions, while recently returned missionaries look for entirely new companions (if you know what I mean!). And photos? Heaven help us! With cell phones in every hand, we have morphed from “every member a missionary” to “every member a photographer.” In the midst of all of this delightful commotion, one could justifiably ask, “What does it all mean?”
Be Faithful, Not Faithless By Stephen W. Owen
However, through our Young Men activities, I was able to build relationships with the other members of my quorum, and they became my friends. In addition, members of the bishopric and Aaronic Priesthood advisers began to take a special interest in my life. They attended my athletic events. They wrote me encouraging notes that I have kept to this day. They continued to keep in touch with me after I went to college and when I left for a mission. One of them was even at the airport when I came home. I will be forever grateful for these good brothers and their combination of love and high expectations. They pointed me heavenward, and life became bright, happy, and joyful.
Spiritual Capacity By Michelle Craig
Recently, I read in the scriptures about another great missionary who obtained his errand from the Lord. Aaron was teaching the king of the Lamanites, who wondered why Aaron’s brother Ammon had not also come to teach him. “And Aaron said unto the king: Behold, the Spirit of the Lord has called him another way.”
The Spirit spoke to my heart: each of us has a different mission to perform, and at times the Spirit may call us in “another way.” There are many ways to build the kingdom of God as covenant-making, covenant-keeping disciples of Jesus Christ. As His faithful disciple, you can receive personal inspiration and revelation, consistent with His commandments, that is tailored to you. You have unique missions and roles to perform in life and will be given unique guidance to fulfill them.
Unwavering Commitment to Jesus Christ By Elder Dale G. Renlund
Brother and Sister Banza were greeted warmly at the branch. They asked some of the persistent questions they had about the nature of God, such as, “If God is a spirit, like the wind, how could we be created in His likeness? How could He sit on a throne?” They had never received a satisfactory answer until the missionaries explained restored doctrine in a brief lesson. When the missionaries left, the Banzas looked at each other and said, “Isn’t this the truth that we have heard?” They continued coming to church and meeting with the missionaries. They knew that baptism in the restored Church of Jesus Christ would have consequences. They would be stripped of their scholarships, their visas would be revoked, and they and their two young children would be required to leave Switzerland. They chose to be baptized and confirmed in October 1979.
Found through the Power of the Book of Mormon By Elder Rubén V. Alliaud
Just before I turned 15, I was invited by my uncle Manuel Bustos to spend some time with him and his family here in the United States. This would be a great opportunity for me to learn some English. My uncle had converted to the Church many years before, and he had a great missionary spirit. That is probably why my mother, without my knowing, spoke with him and said she would agree to the invitation on one condition: that he did not try to convince me to become a member of his Church. We were Catholics, and we had been for generations, and there was no reason to change. My uncle was in complete agreement and kept his word to the point that he didn’t want to answer even simple questions about the Church.
Of course, what my uncle and his sweet wife, Marjorie, could not avoid was being who they were. I was assigned a room that contained a large library of books. I could see that in this library there were roughly 200 copies of the Book of Mormon in different languages, 20 of them in Spanish. One day, out of curiosity, I took down a copy of the Book of Mormon in Spanish.
It was one of those copies with a sky-blue soft cover, with the figure of the angel Moroni on the front. When I opened it, on the first page there was written the following promise: “And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.”
And then it added: “And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.” It is difficult to explain the impact that these scriptures had on my mind and heart. To be honest, I was not looking for “the truth.” I was just a teenager, happy with his life, enjoying this new culture.
Nevertheless, with that promise in mind, I secretly began reading the book. As I read more, I understood that if I really wanted to get anything from this, I had better start to pray. And we all know what happens when you decide not only to read but also to pray about the Book of Mormon. Well, that is just what happened to me. It was something so special and so unique—yes, just the same as what has happened to millions of others around the world. I came to know by the power of the Holy Ghost that the Book of Mormon was true.
I then went to my uncle to explain to him what had happened and that I was ready to be baptized. My uncle could not contain his astonishment. He got into his car, drove to the airport, and returned back with my plane ticket to fly back home, with a note addressed to my mother that simply stated, “I had nothing to do with this!”
Consistent and Resilient Trust By Elder L. Todd Budge
Our son Dan got very sick on his mission in Africa and was taken to a medical facility with limited resources. As we read his first letter to us after his illness, we expected that he would be discouraged, but instead he wrote, “Even as I lay in the emergency room, I felt peace. I have never been so consistently and resiliently happy in my life.”
As my wife and I read these words, we were overcome with emotion. Consistently and resiliently happy. We had never heard happiness described that way, but his words rang true. We knew that the happiness he described was not simply pleasure or an elevated mood but a peace and joy that come when we surrender ourselves to God and put our trust in Him in all things. We too had had those times in our lives when God spoke peace to our souls and caused us to have hope in Christ even when life was hard and uncertain.
Finding Joy in Sharing the Gospel By Cristina B. Franco
At the Salt Lake airport, my mother and brother met a seven-year-old girl who was returning home from a skiing trip with her family. Her parents noticed how long she had been talking to my mom and brother and decided to join them. They introduced themselves and their daughter as Eduardo, Maria Susana, and Giada Pol. There was a natural and warm connection to this sweet family.
Both families were excited to be traveling together on the same flight to Buenos Aires, Argentina. As their conversation continued, my mother noted that until that moment, they’d never heard about the restored Church of Jesus Christ. One of the first questions Susana asked was “Would you tell me about that beautiful museum with the golden statue on top?”
My mom explained that the beautiful edifice was not a museum but a temple of the Lord where we make covenants with God so we can return to live with Him one day. Susana confessed to my mom that before their trip to Salt Lake, she had prayed for something to strengthen her spirit.
During the flight, my mom bore her simple but strong testimony of the gospel and invited Susana to find the missionaries in her hometown. Susana asked my mom, “How will I find them?” My mom replied, “You can’t miss them; they are either two young men dressed in white shirts and ties or two nicely dressed young women, and they always wear a tag showing their name and also ‘The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.’”
The families exchanged phone numbers and said goodbye at the Buenos Aires airport. Susana, who since then has become my good friend, has told me many times that she felt so sad to leave my mom at the airport. She said, “Your mom glowed. I can’t explain it, but she had a brightness about her that I didn’t want to leave behind.”
As soon as Susana got back to her hometown, she and her daughter, Giada, went to share this experience with Susana’s mom, who lived just a few blocks away from their home. As they were driving, Susana happened to see two young men walking down the street dressed as my mom had described. She stopped her car in the middle of the street, got out, and asked these two young men, “Are you by chance from the Church of Jesus Christ?”
They said, “Yes.” “Missionaries?” she asked. They both replied, “Yes, we are!” She then said, “Get into my car; you’re coming home to teach me.”
Two months later, Maria Susana was baptized. Her daughter, Giada, was also baptized when she turned nine. We are still working on Eduardo, whom we love no matter what. Since then, Susana has become one of the greatest missionaries I have ever met. She is like the sons of Mosiah, bringing many souls to Christ. In one of our conversations, I asked her, “What is your secret? How do you share the gospel with others?”
She told me, “It is very simple. Every day before I leave my house, I pray, asking Heavenly Father to direct me to someone who needs the gospel in their life. I sometimes take a Book of Mormon to share with them or pass-along cards from the missionaries—and when I start talking to someone, I simply ask them if they have heard about the Church.”
Your Great Adventure By Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf
May I remind you that God does not need you to “sell” the restored gospel or the Church of Jesus Christ. He simply expects you not to hide it under a bushel. And if people decide the Church is not for them, that is their decision. It does not mean you have failed. You continue to treat them kindly. Nor does it exclude that you invite them again.
The difference between casual social contacts and compassionate, courageous discipleship is—invitation! We love and respect all of God’s children, regardless of their position in life, regardless of their race or religion, regardless of their life’s decisions. For our part, we will say, “Come and see! Find out for yourself how walking the path of discipleship will be rewarding and ennobling.” We invite people to “come and help, as we try to make the world a better place.”
And we say, “Come and stay! We are your brothers and sisters. We are not perfect. We trust God and seek to keep His commandments. “Join with us, and you will make us better. And, in the process, you will become better as well. Let’s take this adventure together.”
…And to those who have not yet begun, why delay? If you want to experience the wonders of this great spiritual journey, set foot upon your own grand adventure! Speak with the missionaries. Speak with your Latter-day Saint friends. Speak with them about this marvelous work and a wonder. It’s time to begin!
Knowing, Loving, and Growing By Elder Hans T. Boom
It is that love, that light that needs to shine and brighten our surroundings as we go about our daily lives. People will notice the light and will be drawn to it. That is the kind of missionary work that will draw others to “come and see, come and help, and come and stay.” Please, when you have received your witness about this great work and our part in it, let us rejoice together with our beloved Prophet Joseph Smith, who declared, “For I had seen a vision; I knew it, and I knew that God knew it, and I could not deny it.”