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The newly called Primary general presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints made their public speaking debut on Friday, April 29, as part of BYU Women’s Conference.
Sister Joy D. Jones, Sister Jean B. Bingham and Sister Bonnie H. Cordon were sustained to lead the LDS Church’s children’s organization on Saturday, April 2.
On the second day of the two-day conference, the women discussed the “threads” individuals can weave together to create stronger family unity.
“Now, as you consider the knitting that is occurring in your individual families, ponder, please, how meaningful threads such as scripture study, prayer, family councils and temple service might knit your hearts more closely together in love, unity and appreciation for one another,” said Sister Jones, Primary general president.
Now in its 40th year, the annual conference co-sponsored by the Relief Society organization and BYU drew some 15,000 women to the Provo campus to listen to more than 200 presenters share insights on the conference theme “One in Charity.”
In addition to the Primary general presidency, Friday’s lineup included remarks by Sister Linda K. Burton, Relief Society general president, as well as Elder Dale G. Renlund of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and his wife, Sister Ruth L. Renlund.
“The Lord can use us wherever we are, if we allow him, to bless the lives of others,” said Elder Renlund during the closing session.
Elder and Sister Renlund shared ways individuals can make a difference in the lives of others as they become “one in charity.”
“At the center of desirable and Christlike attributes is the pure love of Christ,” Sister Renlund said. “Conversion to Jesus Christ and his Atonement underlies our ability to develop … the pure love of Christ.”
The pure love of Christ — or charity — is selfless and self-sacrificing and emanates from a pure heart and a good conscience, Elder Renlund said. Charity, under the guidance of the Holy Ghost, leads to unity among the followers of the Savior.
“Charity is more than an act or action,” he said. “Charity is an attitude, a state of heart and mind that accompanies one’s actions. It is to be an integral part of one’s nature. In fact, all things are to be done in charity. Charity casts out all fears and it is a prerequisite for entering the kingdom of heaven.”
Charity stems from true conversion and comes as a natural consequence of personal testimony, Sister Renlund said. “It’s pretty clear that the pure love of Christ is a prerequisite for the Lord’s work. It is in fact the foundation on which unity is built.”
In offering the keynote address Friday morning, Sister Burton focused on the “Two Great Commandments” — “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind” and “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” (Matthew 22:35-39).
Sister Burton noted the many who have heeded the recent invitation issued to members of the church to pray about how to help God’s children, including the 60 million refugees throughout the world. “Thank you for keeping the two great commandments — loving your neighbors to demonstrate your love for Heavenly Father,” she said.
That love is what Relief Society is all about, Sister Burton said. “Our purpose is to help prepare women for the blessing of eternal life. One way we do this is by working in unity to help those in need. Working in unity with whom? With our Heavenly Father and our Savior, Jesus Christ, by following the promptings of the Holy Ghost to love our neighbors — our sisters and our brothers, his sons and his daughters, as ourselves.”
In addition to listening to messages given in the keynote and breakout sessions, attendees were given opportunities to provide service. For three hours Thursday night, women helped make fleece blankets, Christmas stockings, courage capes, procedure dolls, meal kits and personal hygiene kits. The materials for each service project were either donated by companies or purchased by BYU. Local organizations serving hospitals, police and fire departments, refugees and others will receive the donations.
LDS artists Hilary Weeks, Michael McLean, Gentri, Jenny Oaks Baker and Nik Day also performed a concert for conference-goers Thursday evening.
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