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Gary E. Stevenson
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Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

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At general conference, I showed these notes from a poignant family home evening lesson I attended during which our 9-year-old neighbor asked a stirring question that I have pondered over and over since then.

The question?

“How does the Holy Ghost help you?”

This question is relevant for all of us to answer. As I have considered it, I have felt impressed by three ways the Holy Ghost helps us:

First, the Holy Ghost can help you by warning you in advance of physical and spiritual dangers. As I mentioned today, I have witnessed this in my own life.

Second, the Holy Ghost is the Comforter. Unexpected events in all our lives cause sadness, pain, and disappointment. Yet, amid these trials, the Holy Ghost comforts us.

And third, the Holy Ghost testifies and bears witness of the Father, and the Son, and of all truth.

I invite you to listen carefully to the quiet voice of the Holy Ghost. I offer my witness of the glorious existence of the divine beings who constitute the Godhead: God the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost. Our Father in Heaven and our Savior love us. Because They love us, I know that the Holy Ghost will help us as we strive to remain worthy to feel and act upon His protective influence.
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I have a particular love for the glorious and clarifying truths taught in the Book of Mormon. They strengthen my faith in the existence of God and have given me a better, more full understanding of the miracle of our Heavenly Father's plan and the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

As a special witness of Jesus Christ, I invite you to devote a serious study to the Book of Mormon. It will bring you profound joy, peace, and a true relationship with Jesus Christ.

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Recently, Lesa and I were honored to meet with many religious and political leaders at the “Festival of Lights” Washington D.C. Temple lighting ceremony. I asked those who attended to reflect on their childhood memories of Christmas or other important holidays they celebrated as a child.

I have many memories of Christmas as a child and a teenager. I do remember many of the gifts that I received at Christmastime. I remember a football and a basketball. I find it is interesting that most of the gifts that I received over many Christmas celebrations are now gone and forgotten. I am surprised, however, when I think of my youth and childhood of what I remember most. My best memories are not what I received—but what I gave. Let me explain.

Each year, the Saturday before Christmas, the youth of our local congregation gathered to make Christmas baskets for the widows who lived in the nearby neighborhoods. We went to each of their homes and sang to them and gave them our Christmas basket gift. I still remember their grateful smiles. I will never forget the warm feeling this activity embedded in my heart.

May we etch the true spirit of Christmas in our hearts by serving as the Savior served and giving as the Savior gave. It is what we give—not what we receive—that we will remember most.
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12/12/16
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During my #LDSconf address earlier this month, I challenged you young people of the Church to replace a small portion of your daily screen time with study of the Book of Mormon instead.

I promise you that if you will read the Book of Mormon, you will discover the infinite love and incomprehensible grace of God. As you strive to follow the teachings you find there, your joy will expand, your understanding will increase, and the answers you seek to the many challenges mortality presents will be opened to you. As you look to the book, you look to the Lord.

Now I’m anxious to hear from you. Have you made an increased effort to read from the Book of Mormon? I invite you to share with me your thoughts about what you have felt as you’ve made more time to read the Book of Mormon.
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As I spoke at #LDSconf, I imagined you young people of the Church watching or listening to this conference session somewhere in the world. I also issued you a challenge.

I recently learned that in many countries in the world, young people spend an average of nearly 10 hours a day looking at TV, computer, and smartphone screens. With this in mind, would you make a small change? Will you replace some of that daily screen time, particularly that devoted to social media, the internet, gaming, or television, with reading the Book of Mormon?

If the studies I referred to are accurate, you could easily find time for daily study of the Book of Mormon even if for only 10 minutes a day. And you can study in a way that allows you to enjoy it and understand it—either on your device or in book form.

I testify that the truths you will find in the Book of Mormon will uplift and inspire you. They will strengthen your faith, fill your soul with light, and prepare you for a future you scarcely have the ability to comprehend. As you look to the book, you look to the Lord.

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As a young missionary serving in Japan in 1975, I never would have imagined that I would one day participate in the dedication of Japan’s third temple. It was truly a sacred privilege for me to see President Russell M. Nelson dedicate the Sapporo Japan Temple.

Having spent nine years of my life in Japan, I consider it my second home. I have felt especially blessed to participate in the site selection, groundbreaking, construction, and dedication of this beautiful temple.

This temple has a unique story. It is interesting to note the groundbreaking of the Sapporo Temple came just over six months following the devastating earthquake and tsunami of northeastern Japan. The period of construction to completion of this magnificent temple and grounds serves as a symbol of the recovery and reconstruction of hundreds of miles of coastal Japan.

This temple will bring promised blessings to faithful, resilient Latter-day Saints who attend it, and will be an inspiration to thousands of Japanese who visit its grounds.
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9/2/16
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As a young man, I served in the Japan Fukuoka Mission. I had the opportunity to visit this mission again a few months ago in May. I saw people I knew as a young missionary, as a mission president, and as an Area President. It was a very memorable homecoming for me!

One individual I saw again was President Jeffrey Smith, the president of the Japan Sendai Mission. He was my district leader when I served as a young missionary. It was wonderful to be reunited and remember our time spent together as missionaries.

Missionary service is close to my heart. Remember, it is never too early to prepare to serve a mission. In “For the Strength of Youth,” we read, “Young men of the Aaronic Priesthood, … work diligently to prepare yourself to represent the Lord as a missionary.” Young women can prepare also, but you “are not under the same mandate to serve.”

All of your preparation, however, whether you serve as a full-time missionary or in other ways, will accrue lifelong benefits to you as a member missionary, as I have experienced in my own life.
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I am thankful for many lessons that my father taught me. I have always remembered one in particular that I learned when I was 11 years old. He and and I were hiking, and I was jumping from rock to rock in front of him. I saw a large rock ahead and wanted to climb on top of it to look down over our hike. As I climbed toward the top of the boulder, my father grabbed me by my belt and pulled me off the rock.

“What’s the matter?” I said, and he replied, “Don’t climb on that rock. Let’s just keep on the trail.” Once we looked down from higher up on the trial, we saw a rattlesnake on top of the rock. “That’s why I pulled you back,” my father explained.

Later as we were driving home, I knew he was waiting for me to ask the question, “How did you know the snake was there?” He said, “Let me teach you about the Holy Ghost. We had an impromptu lesson about the roles the Holy Ghost can have in our lives: protector, comforter, and one who testifies. “In this case,” my father shared, “the Holy Ghost was protecting you through me. He warned me to pull you away.”

I am thankful my father was worthy to receive and act upon a prompting of the Holy Ghost that day. May we all honor and express gratitude today for the lessons our fathers have taught us.
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There exists a righteous unity between the temple and the home. Understanding the eternal nature of the temple will draw you to your family; understanding the eternal nature of the family will draw you to the temple.
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"The miracle of the Atonement can make up for imperfections in our performance." #ldsconf #BishopStevenson

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