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Dieter F. Uchtdorf
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Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

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As I studied and prepared for my Sunday morning general conference address, I discovered so much that I wanted to share. However, because of time constraints, I needed to leave a few things out. I thought perhaps I might take this opportunity to share some of these additional thoughts with you:

The premortal Council in Heaven we all participated in is an excellent demonstration of the merciful character of God. There, our Heavenly Father presented His plan for our eternal progression, which included agency, obedience, and salvation through the Atonement of Christ.

Lucifer, however, proposed a different approach. He guaranteed that all would obey—none would be lost. The only way to accomplish this would be through tyranny and force. But our loving Heavenly Father would not permit such a plan.

He valued the agency of each and every one of us. He knew that if we were to truly learn, we would make mistakes along the way. And that is why He provided a Savior, whose eternal sacrifice could cleanse us of sin and permit our entry back to the kingdom of God.

When our Father in Heaven saw that many of His beloved children were seduced by Lucifer, did He force them to follow His plan? No.

Did He intimidate or threaten those who were making that terrible choice? No.

Our all-powerful God could surely have stopped this rebellion. He could have forced His will upon the dissenters and made them comply. But instead, He allowed His children to choose for themselves.

As you face decisions and temptations each day, I plead with you to remember God is on your side. He loves you, so He allows you to make your own choices and learn as you choose. When you stumble, He wants you to rise up, try again, and become stronger. He will be with you every step of the way. He and I and many others will cheer for you. Thank you for your prayers and love!

As followers of Jesus Christ, we promise Him that we will strive to learn about God, love Him, increase our faith in Him, honor Him, and walk in His way as we give testimony of His gospel by word and deed.

The more we learn about God and feel His love for us, the more we realize that the infinite sacrifice of Jesus Christ is a divine gift of God. And God’s love inspires us to use the path of true repentance, which will lead to the miracle of forgiveness.

This process will inspire us to have greater love and compassion for those around us. We will learn to see beyond common labels. We will resist the temptation to accuse or judge others by their sins, shortcomings, appearance, political leaning, religious conviction, nationality, or skin color.

We will see everyone we meet as a child of our Heavenly Father—our brother, our sister.

We will reach out to others in kindness—even to those who may not appear to be our favorites. We will mourn with those who mourn and comfort those who stand in need of comfort.

When we decide to become true followers of Jesus Christ, our lives change and He is able to use us to help others to follow the path for a better future.

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As this new year begins, I look forward with optimism and excitement to what the future will bring. Certainly there will be challenges, but there is always hope in the gospel of Jesus Christ. Harriet and I pray for all of you who are facing difficulties. We pray that in 2017 you will find joy and peace by living gospel principles. We pray that you will feel inspired to be a better disciple of Christ by loving God and fellowmen.

May I suggest that you trust God and refocus your efforts on the divine plan of happiness our Heavenly Father has prepared for us.

You will remember the account in the book of Matthew, when a group of religious scholars attempted to draw the Savior into a controversy and asked Him to weigh in on an issue upon which few could agree.

“Master,” they asked Him, “which is the great commandment in the law?”

The Savior’s answer is as applicable today as it was 2,000 years ago:

“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.

“This is the first and great commandment.

“And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

“On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”

This year, I would encourage you to focus on the two great commandments. If our primary focus, thoughts, and efforts are centered on increasing our love for Almighty God and extending our hearts and actions to others, all other good things will fall into place.
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As I watch this video about one small but important part of my life, I am reminded of the greatness and compassion of our Heavenly Father.

When I was very young my family was forced twice to flee from our home, and we became refugees. I remember that people, both young and older, often looked and talked down to us because we appeared different. I remember the pain this caused for me, even as a young person.

But even more, I am grateful for the kindness of people, regardless of their faith, nationality, language, cultural background, or socioeconomic circumstance. This goodness of people represents the light of the gospel of Jesus Christ and gives hope for a better future. These forces for good will always be stronger than the negativity or divisiveness caused by the adversary.

Dear friends, thank you for loving God and fellowmen. Thank you for being true disciples of Christ in word and in deed. I extend every blessing during this season of Christ’s light and love.

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Recently, Harriet and I had the opportunity to attend the Primary presentation in a Salt Lake City branch made up of refugees from Africa. These beautiful children have seen so much heartache, war, trauma, and change in their lives—yet they are eager to learn about our Savior.

These children—who now live in Salt Lake City—were primarily born in Tanzania, Uganda, and Kenya. Their parents had to flee their native countries of Rwanda, Congo, and Burundi due to genocide and civil war.

The scriptures tell us that the Savior “took [the] little children, one by one, and blessed them, and prayed unto the Father for them.” It was an honor for me to be with these children who are loved by our Father in Heaven. They have seen so much in the past but have bright futures ahead of them thanks to the hope that the gospel of Jesus Christ provides.
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12/12/16
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It was a great privilege for me to be assigned by President Thomas S. Monson to dedicate the Fort Collins Colorado Temple. Every temple dedication is a very spiritual experience.

The temple has always been significant in my life. It was 54 years ago when I received my own endowments. I was young then. The world was in a state of cold war between East and West. I had just completed my training as a fighter pilot; according to Air Force records I was combat ready.

That was the time when the teachings of the temple impressed me deeply; many things were so new and unexpected. Above all I learned in the temple about divine principles that helped me to prepare for the real combat in life, and these beautiful truths have blessed me ever since.

In the temple I learned to recognize the nobleness and courage of Adam and Eve. In the temple I developed an even greater love for my dear wife. This year we will be married for 54 years. I love her very much; she is the sunshine of my life. In the temple I learned to treasure the spiritual gifts that are unique to the faithful women of the Church.

Today I invited those in the Fort Collins Colorado Temple district to prepare for and come to the temple regularly. Get a temple recommend first. If you have access to a temple, I invite you to do the same. As you do this, you can have the assurance that you will receive “peace in this world, and eternal life in the world to come.”

Dear friends, enjoy the temple and its blessings.
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At general women's session, I spoke about how faith comes to the humble, the diligent, the enduring. It comes to those who pay the price of faithfulness.

As I mentioned earlier, this is demonstrated in the experience of two young American missionaries who meant a lot to our family. One day, they decided to approach the residents of a well-kept, four-story apartment building. They knocked on each door of the first floor. No one would listen. The same thing happened until they came to the last door of the fourth floor.

When that door opened, a young girl smiled at them and asked them to wait while she spoke with her mother. At first her mother didn’t want to listen, but the mother finally agreed, and the missionaries left her with a copy of Book of Mormon to read. The mother did read this sacred book, and directly thereafter she and her two daughters entered the waters of baptism.

When the small family attended our local ward in Frankfurt, Germany, I was a deacon and noticed the beauty of one of the daughters. I thought to myself, “These missionaries are doing a great job!”

The beautiful young woman—the one who had pleaded with her mother to listen to the missionaries—is Harriet, my wonderful wife, the sunshine in my life.

How often have I lifted my heart in gratitude for the two missionaries who did not stop at the first floor! God “rewards those who earnestly seek him,” but that reward is not usually behind the first door. Dear friends, keep knocking on God’s door. Don’t give up. Seek God with all your heart. Exercise faith. Walk in righteousness, and have trust in our Heavenly Father.

I promise that if you will do this—even until the fourth floor, last door—you will receive the answers you seek. You will find faith. And one day you will be filled with light that grows “brighter and brighter until the perfect day.” #LDSconf
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Last week I had the opportunity to show my grandson Eric an old C-141 airplane that is on display at the Leonardo museum in Salt Lake City.

I enjoyed discussing with him not only the mechanics of flying a plane but also how flying has helped me to recognize God’s greatness and the grandness of the earth as His creation. Let me share some of these thoughts with you in this blog: https://www.lds.org/blog/our-homing-impulse?lang=eng

The Lord knows you. He knows your heart and is pleased with your sacrifice. He smiles upon you each day. He will uphold you and prepare the way for you. He will send His angels before you. You will feel their presence. And with the help of heaven, your talents will be multiplied.

I promise you that as you lift those around you, the Lord God, the Creator of the universe, will lift you up. If you will only believe and incline your heart to our Beloved Father, He will place within you a peace that surpasses understanding. He will give you joy. May each of you always remember this.

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Last week, Harriet and I had the opportunity to visit several refugee sites in Greece. These sites are filled with fellow children of God who are in need of our help. As I visited with the people there, I was reminded of my own childhood experience.

As a child, I came to Germany as a refugee. I was four years old and it was in the middle of a world war. We had nothing. We had to rely on the help of others.

In Zwickau, Germany, we found the Church. Even though we were all Germans, we were still refugees. This happens in countries even today—some are refugees in their own country because of war and tragic circumstances.

I remember that some people helped us and others looked down on us. Some thought we were joining the Church only because we expected temporal help. I think that these types of thoughts are possible for everyone. We just have to learn that often there is more behind people than we know. And above all, we are all brothers and sisters in God’s plan.

I pray we can be mindful of the needs of those who cannot help themselves. They may be from other countries, or they may be in our own nations, congregations, neighborhoods, or even families. Always be willing to give Christlike help and support. May we reach out to those in need and help them become self-reliant and able to help themselves.
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2016-07-29
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