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David A. Bednar
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Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

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Much of what we need to know about the character of Christ is embodied in the simple principle of “one by one.” This principle evidenced in the life of the Savior has been a focus of my study for a very long time. I am always touched to consider how much the Savior loves each one of us as individuals. I wrote the lyrics to a song about this principle of “one by one,” which Paul Cardall put to music. It was later beautifully performed by the One Voice Children’s Choir.

As you study the ministry of Jesus Christ and seek for eyes to see and ears to hear, you will find that He ministered to “ones.” He healed the leper, the centurion’s servant, the man with palsy, the woman who touched his garment—plus many more (see Matthew 8 and 9 in the New Testament).

In the New World, He invited the multitude gathered at the temple in the land of Bountiful to come forth one by one and witness for themselves that He had been slain for the sins of the world. The Savior invited the multitude to bring all who were afflicted in any manner, and He healed every one. Then He commanded that their little children be brought unto Him one by one, and He blessed them and prayed for them (see 3 Nephi 11 and 17 in the Book of Mormon).

Remember, the simple truth of “one by one” reveals not everything—but much of what we need to know about the character of the Savior. Similarly, each one of us in our service to others—in our families, among our friends, in our communities, or in our callings in the Church—has the opportunity and responsibility to minister to “ones.”

https://www.lds.org/new-era/2016/07/one-by-one?lang=eng

We have been commanded as parents to teach the gospel to our children. The Church can be our greatest support, but parents have the ultimate responsibility to bring up their children in light and truth. Teaching our family in the Lord’s way includes observing, listening, and discerning before talking.

Discernment is seeing with spiritual eyes, hearing with spiritual ears, and feeling with the heart—seeing and feeling the goodness in another person or the next principle to be taught, hearing and feeling the unspoken concern in a comment or question or the truthfulness of a statement or testimony.

The sequence of these four interrelated processes is significant. Please note that active observing and listening precede discerning and that observing, listening, and discerning come before speaking. Following this pattern enables parents to identify and teach to the needs of their children.

As we observe, listen, and discern, we can be given the truths to emphasize and the answers to give that will meet the specific needs of our family. Only by observing, listening, and discerning can we be guided by the Spirit to say and do the things that will be truly helpful to those whom we love most.


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Participating in the dedication of the Star Valley Wyoming Temple was a privilege and a blessing for Sister Bednar and me. This temple has deep significance for our family because Sister Bednar grew up in this beautiful area. The dedication was particularly touching because we were able to spend the morning in the temple with my father-in-law—who was celebrating his 90th birthday.

Sister Bednar’s ancestors, who came from England and Switzerland, settled in Star Valley. We are blessed by their legacy of deep devotion and strong faith.

The temple stands as a point of intersection between heaven and earth. Attending the temple and performing ordinances for our deceased ancestors is our duty and great blessing. If you haven’t been to the temple in quite some time, I invite you to repent, prepare, and do whatever needs to be done so you can again worship in the temple and more fully remember and honor your sacred covenants. As you attend the temple often and consider what you might do to make serving in the temple a more central part of your life, I testify that the Lord will bless you in your righteous efforts.
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I enjoyed hearing from our Church leaders and participating in #LDSconf. As we return to our daily responsibilities, I invite you to ponder this question: Do I only know about the Savior, or am I increasingly coming to know Him?

Four essential steps that can help us come to know the Lord are exercising faith in Him, following Him, serving Him, and believing Him.

I testify that we become acquainted with Him and His voice as we study and feast upon His word in the scriptures, pray to the Father in His name with real intent, and seek for the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost.

We can receive an actual knowledge that the course of life we are pursuing is in accordance with God’s will. Such knowledge is not an unknowable mystery and is not focused primarily upon our temporal pursuits or ordinary mortal concerns. Rather, steady and sustained progress along the covenant pathway is the course of life that is pleasing to Him.

On a future day, every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is the Christ. On that blessed day we will know He knows each of us by name. And I witness and promise we can not only know about the Lord but also come to know Him as we exercise faith in, follow, serve, and believe Him.
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You and I are here upon the earth to prepare for eternity, to learn how to learn, to learn things that are temporally important and eternally essential, and to assist others in learning wisdom and truth (see D&C 97:1).

Understanding who we are, where we came from, and why we are upon the earth places upon each of us a great responsibility both to learn how to learn and to learn to love learning.

Learning to love learning equips us for an ever-changing and unpredictable future. Knowing how to learn prepares us to discern and act upon opportunities that others may not readily recognize. I am confident you will pass the test of learning what to do when you do not know what to do or how to proceed. I pray your love of learning will grow ever deeper, ever richer, and ever more complete. 

As you use technology each day, you potentially expose yourself to good and evil. Every tool created for good ultimately is co-opted by the devil for evil. You should seek to use technology to “[do] truth [and come] into the light” (John 3:21) in your daily labors.

Remember that the only filter that successfully can overcome and avoid evil resides in the heart and mind of a faithful disciple of Christ. Only the companionship of the Holy Ghost can fortify sufficiently against “the fiery darts of the wicked” (Ephesians 6:16).

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During my recent assignment in Spain and Portugal, I again was reminded that faithful disciples of Christ in all parts of the world are blessed and strengthened as they diligently strive to live His gospel and honor their covenants.

In both countries, I was inspired by the devotion of men, women, and children who are committed to follow the Master. Because the standards and beliefs of these disciples often are not understood or are mocked by many people, the depth of their conversion sustains them in a powerful way. Even as they face personal challenges and adversity, they are happy and joyful living the gospel. They know who they are as children of God and whom they serve.

As members of the Church, we are a peculiar people—exactly as described in 1 Peter 2:9. Our example can be a beacon of light in a world that often lacks direction, precisely because we understand and follow God’s plan for His children.

The devotion, service, and sacrifice of Latter-day Saints in all parts of the world is a miraculous thing to behold—a marvelous work and a wonder only God could perform.
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The Lord declared, “And this gospel shall be preached unto every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people” (D&C 133:37). That commission could seem heavy or overwhelming unless we understand the principle of ministering “one by one.” Let me share an example.

While serving as the president of Brigham Young University–Idaho, my wife and I spoke to a group of over 200 student-leaders at a retreat on a Friday night. The following week Elder Henry B. Eyring of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles was scheduled to speak at our weekly devotional. I asked these students, “Are you willing to prepare to receive instruction from an Apostle of the Lord?” They readily indicated their willingness. 

I said, “Please do whatever is necessary to prepare yourself to learn from a true servant of the Lord by the power of the Holy Ghost. I next asked the students to join me in an experiment—and encouraged each of them to invite one other student to do the same, who would invite one additional student, who would invite one more student. Interestingly, the vast majority of the students on the campus received and responded to this invitation to be spiritually prepared, one by one. The results were amazing and awe-inspiring.   

When Elder Eyring entered the Hart Auditorium to speak, he immediately discerned the sincerity of their reverence and felt the power of their personal preparation. He turned to me and said, “What is this?” I responded, “Elder Eyring, we are prepared to learn, and this is our invitation to be taught.” And the eagerness of the students to learn helped to invite a powerful spirit into that devotional assembly.

I testify that the Lord accomplishes His work one by one, one soul at a time. 

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Our world tends to be drawn to promises of big results that occur quickly and all at once. In contrast, the Lord typically ministers one by one. Part of the majesty and beauty of the gospel is that the Lord knows and sees each of His children as an individual, as a “one.”

Many people inside and outside of the Church see the members of the Quorum of the Twelve and associate us with speaking in general conference or presiding in large meetings, and certainly we do that. But the ministry of an Apostle is to minister one by one—to find the one. 

I was again reminded of this principle while on assignment in South America recently. Whether meeting with youth, young single adults, missionaries, stake and ward leaders, or members, I found myself asking, “Who am I supposed to find and influence appropriately and righteously—or to provide comfort or counsel—or to help them do something that is hard?” My love and admiration for these faithful people grew as I was guided to many “ones.” 
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Have you ever heard a Sunday School teacher introduce the topic for a lesson and thought, “I already know about this subject”? 

Have you ever heard a speaker in sacrament meeting identify the theme about which he or she will speak and responded, “Not again”?

Have you ever wondered, “Why do Church leaders always address the same basic doctrine and principles in general conference?” 

Have you ever “checked out” mentally and spiritually because you anticipated an episode of repetitious teaching?  

We all have, of course. And we need to repent for doing so and more fully appreciate the value of repetition as a means of facilitating revelation. 

Repetitious learning and teaching as a line upon line and precept upon precept pattern of revelation can invite the Holy Ghost to renew, enrich, and enlarge the knowledge we already have obtained; it also can bring new knowledge and understanding into our minds and hearts.
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