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In a morning speech, Carole M. Stephens, first counselor in the Relief Society general presidency, said LDS men and women are equally endowed with God’s power during Mormon temple ceremonies and both have a divine destiny. But, she added, they have "different gifts and different strengths."
Men exercise the priesthood and receive the power and blessings of the priesthood, said Stephens, who became the second woman to pray in an LDS General Conference in April, while women "receive the power and blessings of the priesthood."
Everyone, she emphasized, can receive spiritual promptings.
"We all need each other," Stephens said. "Sons of God need daughters of God, and daughters of God need sons of God."
Apostle D. Todd Christofferson praised women for having "innate moral authority" that is particularly powerful in the home and rearing the rising generation.
"A mother," he said, "can exert an influence unequaled by any other person or in any other relationship."
He warned his Mormon listeners about three "trends and forces at work" that would "weaken and even eliminate" that influence.
Some feminist thinkers, Christofferson said, "view homemaking with outright contempt."
Second, attitudes about human sexuality, including "abortion for personal or social convenience," and promiscuity, Christofferson said, "strik[e] at the heart of a woman’s most sacred powers and destroys her moral authority."
Third, Christofferson critiqued those who, "in the name of equality, want to erase all differences between the masculine and the feminine."
"Often this takes the form of pushing women to adopt more masculine traits — be more aggressive, tough and confrontational," he said. "In blurring feminine and masculine differences, we lose the distinct, complementary gifts of men and women that together produce a greater whole."
Boyd K. Packer, the 89-year-old senior apostle and next in line for the church presidency, spoke about repentance and the value of LDS sacred texts.
"The scriptures hold the keys to spiritual protection," said Packer, seated while speaking. "Children taught an understanding of the scriptures early in life will come to know the path they should walk and will be more inclined to remain on that path. Those who stray will have the ability to return and, with help, can find their way back."
In his first conference address, Gifford Nielsen, former Brigham Young University quarterback, urged members to have a personal "game plan" to help Mormon missionaries in their area.
"Since we are all on the Lord’s team ... are we ready to play?" asked Nielsen, who was named to the LDS First Quorum of the Seventy in April. "We need to be engaged as never before to match the excitement of our leaders and the commitment of our full-time missionaries."
In closing his sermon, Uchtdorf, dubbed by several Mormon commenters as "our Pope Francis," urged those who have left the LDS faith to come back, even with their doubts.
"It’s natural to have questions — the acorn of honest inquiry has often sprouted and matured into a great oak of understanding," he said. "There are few members of the church who, at one time or another, have not wrestled with serious or sensitive questions."
Other may feel like misfits in the Mormon community.
"If you could see into our hearts, you would probably find that you fit in better than you suppose," Uchtdorf said. "You might be surprised to find that we have yearnings and struggles and hopes similar to yours. Your background or upbringing may seem different from what you perceive in many Latter-day Saints, but that could be a blessing. ... We need your unique talents and perspectives."
Regardless of one’s circumstances, personal history or strength of faith, he said, "there is room for you in this church."
Carol F. McConkie, first counselor in the Young Women’s general presidency, offered the benediction Saturday afternoon, becoming the third woman to pray at LDS General Conference. The first two female conference prayers were given at the April gathering.
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