“I am … thankful and honored to once again work more closely with my beloved fellow Brethren of the Quorum of the Twelve,” Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf said during the Sunday afternoon session of general conference.
“Most of all, I am deeply humbled and very happy to be a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints where millions of men, women and children are willing to lift where they stand — in whatever capacity or calling — and strive with all their hearts to serve God and His children, building the kingdom of God.”
Speaking during the final session of the 188th Annual General Conference held on Easter Sunday, Elder Uchtdorf focused his remarks on “the greatest day in history.”
“To find the most important day in history, we must go back to that evening almost 2,000 years ago in the Garden of Gethsemane when Jesus Christ knelt in intense prayer and offered Himself as a ransom for our sins,” he said. “It was during this great and infinite sacrifice of unparalleled suffering in both body and spirit that Jesus Christ, even God, bled at every pore.”
Out of perfect love the Savior gave all “that we might receive all,” he said.
“His supernal sacrifice, difficult to comprehend, only to be felt with all our heart and mind, reminds us of the universal debt of gratitude we owe Christ for His divine gift.”
Elder Uchtdorf recounting the experience of the Savior — of being brought before religious and political authorities who mocked Him, His sentence to a shameful death, His sacrifice upon the cross and then His lifeless body laid in a borrowed tomb.
“And then, on the morning of the third day, Jesus Christ, the Son of the Almighty God, emerged from the tomb as a glorious, resurrected being of splendor, light and majesty,” Elder Uchtdorf said.
Recognizing there are many events throughout history that have profoundly affected the destiny of nations and peoples, Elder Uchtdorf said none “begin to compare to the importance of what happened on that first Easter morning.”
“What is it that makes the infinite sacrifice and the Resurrection of Jesus Christ the most important event in history — more influential than world wars, cataclysmic disasters and life-changing scientific discoveries?” he asked.
Because of Jesus Christ, all can live again. Because of Jesus Christ, all are able to live with God.
“On that most important day in history, Jesus the Christ opened the gates of death and cast aside the barriers that prevented us from passing into the holy and hallowed halls of everlasting life,” he said. “Because of our Lord and Savior, you and I are granted a most precious and priceless gift — regardless of our past, we can repent and follow the path that leads to celestial light and glory, surrounded by the faithful children of Heavenly Father. This is what we celebrate on Easter Sunday — we celebrate life.”
In spite of the knowledge of a Beloved Savior who provides a way for all to be forgiven, purified and exalted, there are many in the world today who are either not aware of or do not believe in the gift Christ has given to every person.
“Those who find a way to truly ‘behold the Man,’ find the doorway to life’s greatest joys and the balm to life’s most demanding despairs,” he said. “So, when you are encompassed by sorrows and grief, ‘behold the Man.’ When you feel lost or forgotten, ‘behold the Man.’ When you are despairing, deserted, doubting, damaged, or defeated, ‘behold the Man.’
“He will comfort you. He will heal you and give meaning to your journey. He will pour out His Spirit and fill your heart with exceeding joy.”
As individuals truly “behold the Man,” they learn of Him, seek to align their lives with Him, repent, strive to refine their natures to grow closer to Him, keep the commandments and live up to the sacred covenants they have made.
“In other words, we become His disciples,” he said.
As an individual learns to “behold the Man” their burdens are lightened, peace is deepened, and the promise of a blessed future inspires and upholds during the bends and bumps in life’s journey.
“As you accept His sacrifice, become His disciple, and finally reach the end of your earthly journey, what will become of the sorrows you have endured in this life?” he asked. “They will be gone.”
Through Christ, all disappointments, betrayals, persecutions, suffering, heartache, guilt, shame and anguish will be forgotten. As individuals “behold the Man” they will find meaning, joy and peace in this life and in the life to come.
“The most important day in the history of mankind was the day when Jesus Christ, the Living Son of God, won the victory over death and sin for all of God’s children. And the most important day in your life and mine is the day when we learn to ‘behold the man;’ when we see Him for who He truly is; when we partake with all our heart and mind of His atoning power; when with renewed enthusiasm and strength we commit to follow Him. May that be a day that recurs over and over and over again throughout our lives.”