Elder David A. Bednar: 'The hearts of the children shall turn'
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The youth of the rising generation have a key role to play in the work of salvation, Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve said in his conference address Saturday afternoon.
"The spirit of Elijah affects people inside and outside of the Church," he said. "However, as members of Christ's restored Church, we have the covenant responsibility to search out our ancestors and provide for them the saving ordinances of the gospel. ...
"For these reasons we do family history research, build temples and perform vicarious ordinances. For these reasons Elijah was sent to restore the sealing authority that binds on earth and in heaven. We are the Lord's agents in the work of salvation and exaltation that will prevent the 'whole earth from being smitten with a curse' (Doctrine and Covenants 110:15) when He returns again. This is our duty and great blessing."
Focusing his message on the ministry and Spirit of Elijah foretold by Moroni in his initial instructions to Joseph Smith, Elder Bednar shared the importance of the role of Elijah in the restoration of all things. Because Elijah held the sealing power of the Melchizedek Priesthood and was the last prophet to do so before the time of Jesus Christ, he was instrumental in restoring the fullness of the Melchizedek Priesthood, and all of the ordinances belonging to the Kingdom of God.
"This sacred sealing authority is essential for priesthood ordinances to be valid and binding both on earth and in heaven," he said. "The restoration of the sealing authority by Elijah in 1836 was necessary to prepare the world for the Savior's second coming and initiated a greatly increased and worldwide interest in family history work."
Elder Bednar spoke of the importance of the Spirit and work of Elijah, teaching that the greatest responsibility of members is to seek after their dead to seal their children and their dead for the fullness of the dispensation of times — a dispensation to meet the promises made by Jesus Christ before the foundation of the world for the salvation of man.
"I now invite the attention of the young women and the young men and children of the rising generation as I emphasize the importance of the Spirit of Elijah in your lives today," he said. "My message is intended for the entire Church in general — but for you in particular. ... Many of you may think family history work is to be performed primarily by older people. But I know of no age limit described in the scriptures or guidelines announced by Church leaders restricting this important service to mature adults. You are sons and daughters of God, children of the covenant and builders of the kingdom. You need not wait until you reach an arbitrary age to fulfill your responsibility to assist in the work of salvation for the human family. ...
"It is no coincidence that FamilySearch and other tools have come forth at a time when young people are so familiar with a wide range of information and communication technologies. Your fingers have been trained to text and tweet to accelerate and advance the work of the Lord — not just to communicate quickly with your friends. The skills and aptitude evident among many young people today are a preparation to contribute to the work of salvation. ...
"My beloved young brothers and sisters, family history is not simply an interesting program or activity sponsored by the Church; rather, it is a vital part of the work of salvation and exaltation. You have been prepared for this day and to build up of the kingdom of God. You are here upon the earth now to assist in this glorious work."