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  • 00:00:00,000 --> 00:00:03,290 How blessed we are to assemble again

  • in this worldwide conference under the direction

  • and leadership of our dear prophet and President,

  • Thomas S. Monson.

  • President, we love you, and we sustain you with all our heart.

  • During my professional life as a pilot,

  • I relied greatly on the precision and reliability

  • of computer systems but rarely had

  • to work my own personal computer.

  • In my office work as an executive,

  • I had assistants and secretaries who kindly helped me

  • with the tasks.

  • All this changed in 1994, when I was

  • called as a General Authority.

  • My calling consisted of many wonderful opportunities

  • to minister, but it also included a great deal of Church

  • office work--more than I ever thought possible.

  • To my shock, the main tool to stay on top of my work

  • was a personal computer.

  • For the first time in my life, I had

  • to delve into this strange, mystifying, incomprehensible

  • world.

  • From the start, the computer and I

  • were not on the friendliest of terms.

  • Able tech people tried to teach me how to use the computer.

  • They literally stood behind me, reaching

  • over my shoulder, their fingers moving quickly

  • and tapping a percussive symphony against the keyboard.

  • "See?" they would say proudly.

  • "That's how you do it."

  • I did not see.

  • It was a rocky transition.

  • My learning curve was more like a brick wall.

  • It took a great deal of time, repetition, patience,

  • no small amount of hope and faith,

  • lots of reassurance from my wife,

  • and many liters of a diet soda that shall remain nameless.

  • 00:02:06,230 --> 00:02:12,060 Now, 22 years later, I am surrounded

  • by computer technology.

  • I have an email address, a Twitter account,

  • and a Facebook page.

  • I own a smartphone, a tablet, a laptop, and a digital camera.

  • And while my tech skills may not quite

  • measure up to those of a typical seven-year-old,

  • for a septuagenarian, I do all right.

  • But I have noticed something interesting.

  • The more adept I get at technology,

  • the more I take it for granted.

  • 00:02:52,370 --> 00:02:54,440 For a large part of human history,

  • communication happened at the speed of a horse.

  • Sending a message and getting a reply

  • could take days or even months.

  • Today our messages travel thousands of miles

  • into the sky or thousands of meters beneath the oceans

  • to reach someone on the other side of the world,

  • and if there is a delay of even a few seconds,

  • we get frustrated and impatient.

  • It seems to be human nature: as we become more familiar

  • with something, even something miraculous and awe-inspiring,

  • we lose our sense of awe and treat it as commonplace.

  • Taking for granted our modern technologies and conveniences

  • may be a relatively small matter.

  • But sadly, we sometimes take a similar attitude

  • toward the eternal and soul-expanding doctrine

  • of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

  • In the Church of Jesus Christ, we have been given so much.

  • We are surrounded by such an astonishing wealth

  • of light and truth that I wonder if we truly

  • appreciate what we have.

  • Think of those early disciples who

  • walked and talked with the Savior

  • during His earthly ministry.

  • Imagine the thanksgiving and reverence

  • that must have flooded their hearts

  • and filled their minds when they saw

  • Him risen from the tomb, when they

  • felt the wounds in His hands.

  • Their lives would never be the same!

  • Think of the early Saints of this dispensation who

  • knew the Prophet Joseph and heard

  • him preach the restored gospel.

  • Imagine how they must have felt to know

  • that the veil between heaven and earth

  • had parted again, shedding light and knowledge upon the world

  • from our celestial home above.

  • But most of all, think of yourself.

  • Think of how you felt when for the first time

  • you believed and understood that you are truly a child of God;

  • that Jesus Christ willingly suffered for your sins

  • so that you may be clean again; that priesthood power is

  • real and can bind you to your loved ones for time

  • and for all eternity; that there is a living

  • prophet on the earth today.

  • Isn't that wonderful and amazing?

  • Considering all of this, how could it ever

  • be possible that we of all people

  • would not be excited about attending our Church worship

  • services?

  • Or get tired of reading the holy scriptures?

  • I suppose this could only be possible

  • if our hearts were past feeling to experience gratitude

  • and awe for the sacred and sublime gifts

  • God has granted us.

  • Life-changing truths are before our eyes and our fingertips,

  • but sometimes we sleepwalk on the path of discipleship.

  • Too often we let ourselves be distracted

  • by the imperfections of our fellow members

  • instead of following the example of our Master.

  • We tread a path covered with diamonds,

  • but we can scarcely distinguish them from ordinary pebbles.

  • When I was a young man, my friends

  • would ask me about my religion.

  • Often I would start to explain the differences,

  • like the Word of Wisdom.

  • Other times I would emphasize the similarities

  • with other Christian religions.

  • None of this would impress them very much.

  • But when I talked about the great plan of happiness

  • our Father in Heaven has for us as His children,

  • I had their attention.

  • I remember trying to draw the plan of salvation

  • on a blackboard in a classroom of our chapel

  • in Frankfurt, Germany.

  • I made circles that represented premortal life, mortality,

  • and the return to our Heavenly Parents after this life.

  • As a teenager, how I loved to share this exciting message.

  • When I explained these principles

  • in my own simple words, my heart would

  • overflow with gratitude for a God who loves His children

  • and a Savior who redeemed all of us from death and hell.

  • I was so proud of this message of love, joy, and hope.

  • Some of my friends would say that this message felt familiar

  • even though such things were never taught

  • in their religious upbringing.

  • It was as if they had always known these things to be true,

  • as if I was simply casting light on something

  • that was always and deeply rooted in their hearts.

  • I believe every human being carries in his or her heart

  • some form of fundamental questions regarding

  • life itself.

  • Where did I come from?

  • Why am I here?

  • What will happen after I die?

  • These kinds of questions have been

  • asked by mortals since the dawn of time.

  • Philosophers, scholars, and pundits

  • have spent their lives and fortunes for answers.

  • I am grateful that the restored gospel of Jesus Christ

  • has answers to the most complex questions in life.

  • These answers are taught in The Church of Jesus Christ

  • of Latter-day Saints.

  • They are true, they are plain, they

  • are straightforward and easy to understand.

  • They are inspired, and we teach them

  • to our three-year-olds in the Sunbeams class.

  • Brothers and sisters, we are eternal beings,

  • without beginning and without end.

  • We have always existed.

  • We are the literal spirit children

  • of divine, immortal, and omnipotent Heavenly Parents!

  • We come from the heavenly courts of the Lord our God.

  • We are of the royal house of Elohim, the Most High God.

  • 00:10:36,800 --> 00:10:39,240 We walked with Him in our premortal life.

  • We heard Him speak, witnessed His majesty, learned His ways.

  • Isn't that amazing?

  • 00:10:49,330 --> 00:10:54,860 You and I participated in a Grand Council where our beloved

  • Father presented His plan for us--that we would come

  • to earth, receive mortal bodies, learn to choose between good

  • and evil, and progress in ways that would not otherwise be

  • possible.

  • When we passed through the veil and entered this mortal life,

  • we knew that we would no longer remember the life before.

  • There would be opposition and adversity and temptation.

  • But we also knew that gaining a physical body

  • was of paramount importance for us.

  • Oh, how we hoped that we would quickly

  • learn to make the correct choices,

  • withstand the temptations of Satan,

  • and eventually return to our beloved parents in heaven.

  • We knew we would sin and make mistakes--perhaps even serious

  • ones.

  • But we also knew that our Savior, Jesus Christ,

  • had pledged to come to earth, live a sinless life,

  • and voluntarily lay down His life in an eternal sacrifice.

  • We knew that if we gave our heart to Him,

  • trusted Him, and strived with all the energy of our soul

  • to walk in the path of discipleship,

  • we could be washed clean and once again enter

  • the presence of our beloved Father in Heaven.

  • So, with faith in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ,

  • you and I accepted by our free will Heavenly Father's plan.

  • That is why we are here on this beautiful planet earth--because

  • God offered us the opportunity, and we chose to accept it.

  • Our mortal life, however, is only temporary

  • and will end with the death of our physical body.

  • But the essence of who you and I are will not be destroyed.

  • Our spirits will continue living and await the Resurrection--a

  • free gift to all by our loving Heavenly Father and His Son,

  • Jesus Christ.

  • At the Resurrection, our spirits and bodies

  • will be reunited, free from pain and physical imperfections.

  • After the Resurrection, there will be a Day of Judgment.

  • While all will eventually be saved

  • and inherit a kingdom of glory, those who trust in God

  • and seek to follow His laws and ordinances

  • will inherit lives in the eternities

  • that are unimaginable in glory and overwhelming in majesty.

  • That Day of Judgment will be a day of mercy and love--a day

  • when broken hearts are healed, when tears of grief are

  • replaced with tears of gratitude,

  • when all will be made right.

  • Yes, there will be deep sorrow because of sin.

  • Yes, there will be regrets and even anguish because

  • of our mistakes, our foolishness,

  • and our stubbornness that caused us to miss opportunities

  • for a much greater future.

  • But I have confidence that we will not only

  • be satisfied with the judgment of God; we will be astonished

  • and overwhelmed by His infinite grace,

  • mercy, generosity, and love for us, His children.

  • If our desires and works have been good,

  • if we have faith in a living God,

  • then we can look forward to what Moroni called "the pleasing bar

  • of the great Jehovah, the Eternal Judge."

  • My beloved brothers and sisters, my dear friends,

  • does it not fill our hearts and minds with wonder

  • and awe to contemplate the great plan of happiness our Heavenly

  • Father has prepared for us?

  • Does it not fill us with unspeakable joy

  • to know of the glorious future that is prepared

  • for all who wait upon the Lord?

  • If you have never felt such wonder and joy,

  • I invite you to seek, study, and ponder

  • the simple yet profound truths of the restored gospel.

  • "Let the solemnities of eternity rest upon your minds."

  • Let them bear testimony unto you of the divine plan

  • of salvation.

  • If you have felt these things before, I ask you today,

  • "Can [you] feel so now?"

  • Recently I had the opportunity to travel to Belfast, Ireland.

  • While there, I noticed the Belfast Coat of Arms, which

  • includes the motto "Pro tanto quid retribuamus,"

  • or "What shall we give in return for so much?"

  • I invite each of us to consider this question.

  • What shall we give in return for the flood of light and truth

  • God has poured out upon us?

  • Our beloved Father simply asks that we live by the truth

  • we have received and that we follow