In the opening address of the 2020 April General conference President Nelson said:
“Though today’s restrictions relate to a virulent virus, life’s personal trials stretch far beyond this pandemic. Future trials could result from an accident, a natural disaster, or an unexpected personal heartache.
How can we endure such trials? The Lord has told us that “if ye are prepared ye shall not fear.”1 Of course, we can store our own reserves of food, water, and savings. But equally crucial is our need to fill our personal spiritual storehouses with faith, truth, and testimony.”2
The October General conference provides another opportunity for each of us to “Hear Him” through the teachings and testimonies of His chosen servants. The prophet Amos taught, “Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.” 3
As we consider the teachings of prophets and apostles during 2018 and 2019, we realize they did not know the type of calamities that were coming. Yet they were inspired to teach us and to prepare us perfectly for the most difficult challenges and trials that have accompanied the Covid-19 pandemic. We are modern day witnesses of the powerful fulfilment of God’s prophetic preparation of His people by those whom He has called as Prophets, Seers, and Revelators.
“I am optimistic about the future. But I am also not naïve about the days ahead. We live in a world that is increasingly contentious. If we are to have any hope of sifting through the myriad of voices and the philosophies of men that attack truth, we must learn to receive revelation.”President Russell M. Nelson, “Revelation for the Church, Revelation for Our Lives,” 2018 April General Conference.
Consider some of the prophetic messages we have received from President Russell M Nelson in the last 2 years:
Revelation: “I am optimistic about the future. But I am also not naïve about the days ahead. We live in a world that is increasingly contentious. If we are to have any hope of sifting through the myriad of voices and the philosophies of men that attack truth, we must learn to receive revelation.” 4
Ministering: “For months we have been seeking a better way to minister to the spiritual and temporal needs of our people in the Savior’s way. Effective ministering efforts are enabled by the innate gifts of the sisters and by the incomparable power of the priesthood. We all need such protection from the cunning wiles of the adversary.” 5
Repentance: “Thus, when Jesus asks you and me to “repent,”6 He is inviting us to change our mind, our knowledge, our spirit—even the way we breathe. He is asking us to change the way we love, think, serve, spend our time, treat our wives, teach our children, and even care for our bodies.” 7
Home – Center of Gospel Learning: “I promise that as you diligently work to remodel your home into a center of gospel learning, over time your Sabbath days will truly be a delight. Your children will be excited to learn and to live the Savior’s teachings, and the influence of the adversary in your life and in your home will decrease. Changes in your family will be dramatic and sustaining.” 8
Gathering Israel: “Our message to the world is simple and sincere: we invite all of God’s children on both sides of the veil to come unto their Savior, receive the blessings of the holy temple, have enduring joy, and qualify for eternal life.” 9
Priesthood Power: “Every woman and every man who makes covenants with God and keeps those covenants, and who participates worthily in priesthood ordinances, has direct access to the power of God. Those who are endowed in the house of the Lord receive a gift of God’s priesthood power by virtue of their covenant, along with a gift of knowledge to know how to draw upon that power.” 10
We demonstrate our testimony of the importance of the Savior’s modern-day prophets and apostles by listening to their teachings and responding to their invitations. As we listen and re-read their messages, we receive promptings through the Holy Ghost. These promptings allow the Savior’s specific messages, tailored for each of us based on our current individual needs, to enter our hearts and speak to our souls. This is one of the important ways that we keep our baptismal covenant to “Always remember Him,” heed His plea to “Come unto Me,” and obey Heavenly Father’s direction to “Hear Him!”
Right in the middle of the Nephite-Lamanite war chapters in the Book of Mormon, the Nephites are inspired and led by Moroni to remember the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ and to keep His commandments. The Nephites “Hear Him!” through His servant and then experience a period of prosperity and peace. Mormon, providing a commentary on this period, writes, “…those who were faithful in keeping the commandments of the Lord were delivered at all times…” and “…there never was a happier time among the people of Nephi… than in the days of Moroni.” 11
It is our prayer that during this time of sickness, tragic loss, turmoil, and change that we can all find the same kind of peace, assurance, and joy felt by the Nephites in their day of turmoil and trial. May each of us, personally and as families, prepare spiritually to “Hear Him.” Then may we consecrate our time in a reverent setting where we can focus and listen to the Lord’s prophets and apostles during General Conference. Afterwards, may we faithfully and carefully study and ponder their words.
At the General Conference in October, those assigned will speak by the power of the Holy Ghost. Their messages will help turn our hearts to the Lord Jesus Christ and help us to “Come Unto Me” and to “Hear Him.”
“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” 12
“Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will shew you to whom he is like: He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock.” 13
- President Russell M. Nelson, “Opening Remarks – Church of Jesus Christ,” 2020 April General Conference.
- “Holy Bible,” Old Testament, Amos 3:7
- President Russell M. Nelson, “Revelation for the Church, Revelation for Our Lives,” 2018 April General Conference.
- President Russell M. Nelson, “Ministering – Church of Jesus Christ,” 2018 April General Conference.
- “Holy Bible,” New Testament, Luke 13 verses 3 & 5.
- President Russell M. Nelson, “We Can Do Better and Be Better – Church of Jesus Christ,” 2019 April General Conference.
- President Russell M. Nelson, “Becoming Exemplary Latter-day Saints – Church of Jesus Christ,” 2018 October General Conference.
- President Russell M. Nelson, “Let Us All Press On – Church of Jesus Christ,” 2018 April General Conference.
- President Russell M. Nelson, “Spiritual Treasures – Church of Jesus Christ,” 2019 October General Conference.
- “Book of Mormon,” Alma 50, selections from verses 22 & 23.
- “Holy Bible,” New Testament, Matthew 11:28
- “Holy Bible,” New Testament, Luke 6:47-48