LDS leaders focus on families

Apr 1 2012 - 7:27am

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(ERIN HOOLEY/Standard-Examiner) Joshua, left, 9, and Tyson Burns, 8, of Cheyenne, Wyo., look at one of the waterfalls outside the Conference Center and the view of the temple at the 182nd General Conference of the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Saturday.
(ERIN HOOLEY/Standard-Examiner) Joshua, left, 9, and Tyson Burns, 8, of Cheyenne, Wyo., look at one of the waterfalls outside the Conference Center and the view of the temple at the 182nd General Conference of the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Saturday.

SALT LAKE CITY -- Placing value in families and children was a central theme Saturday morning during the 182nd General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Leaders spoke of making time for families and putting families ahead of spending time at church meetings.

"The ultimate end of everything in this church is to see a husband and wife and their children happy at home, protected by the principles and laws of the gospel, sealed safely in the covenants of the everlasting priesthood," said Boyd K. Packer, president of the Quorum of the Twelve. "We learn far more about what really matters from our children than we ever did from our parents."

Packer also reiterated the stance on marriage he has voiced for the last few years.

"It is meant that children should have two parents, both a father and a mother. No other pattern or process can replace this one," Packer said. "The creation of life is a great responsibility for a married couple. It is the challenge of mortality to be a worthy and responsible parent."

LDS Church President Thomas S. Monson spoke of his faith that the work of the church would go forward.

"From a small beginning 183 years ago, our presence is now felt throughout the world," he said. "No cause, no force in the entire world can stop the work of God. Despite what comes, this great cause will go forward."

Cheryl A. Esplin, second counselor in the Primary presidency, spoke of teaching children to understand.

"Sometimes the most powerful way to help our children understand a doctrine is to teach in the moment of what they are experiencing at the time," Esplin said. "If we are ready and we let the spirit guide in these situations, our children will be taught with understanding."

The pattern of a heavenly family as seen through earthly families was discussed by Elder Paul E. Koelliker, of the Quorum of the Seventy, who spoke of his wedding day.

"I thought I loved (my wife) on that day, but I had only begun to see the vision of love," he said. "As each of our children and grandchildren entered our lives, our love has been expanded to love each of them equally."

Koelliker spoke of the love of the savior and the patterns of the gospel in people's lives.

He told of two missionaries who were curtly turned away by a man who was angry when they approached his door.

He said the man's heart was softened and he invited them back when he saw the senior missionary put his arm around his companion "It is when we yield to his will and his pattern that the spirit is felt."

Henry B. Eyring, first counselor in the First Presidency, spoke of overcoming trials.

He said all things, even trials, are for good.

"Fear not what man can do, for God shall be with you forever and ever," Eyring said.

He said in order to overcome challenges, members must build lasting foundations in the truth.

"The metal framework around which the substance of our faith is poured is the gospel of Jesus Christ, with all its covenants, ordinances and principles," he said.

Leadership changes

* Richard J. Maynes, 61, was named to the Presidency of the Seventy, succeeding Elder Steven E. Snow.

* Called as general authorities to serve in the First Quorum of the Seventy are Larry Echo Hawk, Robert C. Gay and Scott D. Whiting.

Echo Hawk, a top official for the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs, will resign to accept the position.

The 63-year-old Echo Hawk is a member of the Pawnee Nation. He has worked for Indian Affairs since 2009.

Echo Hawk was elected as the attorney general for Idaho in 1990, the first Native American in the country to be elected as a state attorney general.

He ran unsuccessfully as a Democrat in 1994 for governor of Idaho.

* Called as members of the Presiding Bishopric are Gary E. Stevenson, presiding bishop; Gerald Causse, first counselor; and Dean M. Davies, second counselor.

H. David Burton was released as presiding bishop. His responsibilities included overseeing the City Creek Center. The complex opened March 22.

* A new Relief Society general presidency was also announced. Linda K. Burton was called as the general president of the Relief Society, the church's organization for women. Carole M. Stephens and Linda S. Reeves will serve as first and second counselors. Julie B. Beck, Silvia H. Allred and Barbara Thompson were released.

The conference concludes today with sessions at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

The Associated Press and newsroom.lds.org contributed to this story.

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