Gospel principles vital to correct living
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Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve offered simple counsel Sept. 12 to the Venezuelan members gathered in stake and district conferences: keep God's commandments.
"Remember to pray to Him every morning and night," Elder Nelson said. "Pray with your families, pray in private. Pray to our Heavenly Father in the name of Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Ghost. If you will do this, He will direct you for good in all that you do."
Elder Nelson's words were part of a special stake conference originating in Salt Lake City and broadcast to stake and district meetinghouses throughout Venezuela. Elder H. Aldridge Gillespie of the Seventy; his wife, Sister Virginia Ann Gillespie; and Sister Shirley F. Sainz, a member of the Relief Society general board, also spoke at the historic meeting. (See related article.)
Speaking in Spanish, Elder Nelson scrolled through a familiar list of gospel principles vital to correct living.
"Honor the Sabbath day and keep it holy," he began. "That which you do on the Sabbath day is a sign between you and your Heavenly Father of your respect for Him who said, 'That thou mayest more fully keep thyself unspotted from the world, thou shalt go to the house of prayer and offer up thy sacraments upon my holy day' " (Doctrine and Covenants 59:9).
He encouraged members to partake of the sacrament worthily and regularly. Take upon the name of His Son and remember it always, Elder Nelson added.
Those who pay their tithing with faith and a willing heart can qualify for the abundant blessings promised by Malachi in the Old Testament.
"We need to transform our personal lives in order to be worthy to enter the temple," Elder Nelson said. "We must cleanse ourselves from the sins of the world. It is necessary for us to purify our language, to lift our thoughts, and live our lives in obedience to the commandments of God. We need to live the Word of Wisdom with gratitude and with security that He will bring health and great treasures of knowledge."
Preparing to enter the temple is not difficult, he added. It's a blessing.
Elder Nelson spoke of a harrowing trip he once made on a small airplane. One of the plane's motors exploded an hour after take-off, sending the aircraft into a spiral dive. The dive fortuitously doused the fire sparked by the explosion and the pilot was able to regain control and land the plane safely.
Elder Nelson said he had expected to die inside that distressed plane. But he had lived a life of gospel harmony and felt prepared to meet eternal life. "I was surprised that I was not afraid to die. I remained calm. Why? I knew that my wife and I had been sealed in the temple. We had been sealed eternally to each other and to our 10 precious children."
During their short-time stay in mortality, members have the privilege to work, live, love and choose, Elder Nelson said. "Part of our choice is the decision to participate in the sacred ordinances of the temple. Those opportunities have eternal consequences."
Elder Nelson challenged the Venezuelan members to teach their children, and each other, about Jesus Christ and the Atonement.
"All other things that pertain to our religion are secondary to that," he said. "The Atonement of the Lord assures us of resurrection from the dead and makes it possible for us to obtain eternal life. The Atonement opens the doors to eternal opportunities and, through our faith and repentance, we can live with our families in the presence of our Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ forever."
Elder Gillespie noted the historic nature of the transcontinental stake conference, adding it was a miracle the Venezuelan members could see President Gordon B. Hinckley and listen to his words.
Elder Gillespie emphasized the importance of the temple, comparing a temple recommend to a plane ticket needed to embark on a precious journey. He enlisted President Hinckley's counsel on tithing. Those who faithfully pay their tithing can expect "rice on their plates and clothes on their backs."
Sister Gillespie acknowledged the trouble that many LDS Venezuelans are experiencing.
"It is during the difficult times that we grow and become the child Heavenly Father would like us to be," she said.
Like President Hinckley, Sister Gillespie spoke of a faithful pioneer ancestor who bravely faced difficulty and challenge. "Our Father knows and loves us and will help us."
Sister Sainz spoke of the important role women can play in moving the Church forward in Venezuela.
Each woman has much to offer, she said.
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