SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) – A pandemic version of General Conference began Saturday. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints deciding once again to not welcome the world to Salt Lake City. Instead, a virtual conference was broadcasted around the world from the headquarters of the Church.
Strong words of faith, love, hope, and respect came from Church leaders on day 1 of General Conference. Leadership of the Church and only those invited to speak were inside the Conference Center for each of the five broadcasts sent around the world.
This is the third session of General Conference where Downtown Salt Lake City is relatively empty for the first Saturday of April. Traditionally, the Conference Center and Temple Square are filled with people. But as this pandemic continues, General Conference remains virtual.
President Russell M. Nelson began the Saturday morning session with a truth we have all experienced, “This last year has been one for the record books, no doubt we have each learned things we did not learn previously.”
The Prophet of the Church welcomed the world to gather as a “global family” to worship Jesus Christ on this Easter weekend. The talks were filled with messages of hope, love and faith; but also strong words of respect.
This lesson of respect began first with children. Joy Jones, who serves as the General President of the Church’s Primary, said, “to our Heavenly Father, children have never been secondary – they have always been primary.”
She continued speaking of children, “we never harm them, physically, verbally or emotionally in any way. Even when tensions and pressures run high 4.24 instead we love children and do all we can to combat the evils of abuse”
There was also strong and clear guidance when it comes to how we treat each other.
Elder Gary E. Stevenson of the Quroum of the Twelve Apostles said, “as followers of Jesus Christ we are heartbroken to hear of recent attacks on people who are Black, Asian, Latino or of any other group. Prejudice, racial tension or violence should never have any place in our neighborhoods, communities or within the Church.”
We are to respect each other and remember our differences make us strong.
Elder Gerritt W. Gong of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said, “Disciples of Jesus Christ come from everywhere, in every shape, size, hue, age – each with talents, righteous desires and immense capacities to bless and serve.”
There was plenty of talk about the pandemic and how challenging that has been.
Elder Dale G. Renlund addressed the uncertainty and unfairness we are seeing in the world right now.
He said, “my heart aches for those who face such unfairness, but I declare with all my aching heart that Jesus Christ both understands unfairness and has the power to provide a remedy. Nothing compares to the unfairness He endured. It wasn’t fair that He experienced all the pains and afflictions of mankind. It wasn’t fair that He suffered for my sins and mistakes and for yours. But He chose to do so because of His love for us and for Heavenly Father. He understands perfectly what we are experiencing.”
The topic of children continued with a look at how the Church can give support to all Children. Elder Neil L Andersen said, “If an unanticipated child is expected, let us reach out with love, encouragement, and when needed, financial help, strengthening a mother in allowing her child to be born and continue his or her journey in mortality.”