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"Together we can follow up on our invitations," Ballard said, "take others by the hand, lift them up, and walk with them on our spiritual journey."
Fellow apostle David A. Bednar said life’s burdens can be a blessing, much like a load in the back of a truck can help it gain traction to pass over an icy road.
Updated LDS missionary stats
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has released updated statistics (through March 31) on its missionary force:
Total missionaries serving » 85,039
Number who have received calls » 14,375
Percentage who are “elders” » 64 percent
Percentage who are “sisters” » 28 percent
Percentage who are “seniors” » 8 percent
"Each of us also carries a load. Our individual load is comprised of demands and opportunities, obligations and privileges, afflictions and blessings, and options and constraints." He urged people to ask, "Is the load I am carrying creating sufficient spiritual traction so I ultimately can return home to Heavenly Father?"
Bednar said Christ’s atonement helps make bearing burdens possible and easier. "He can reach out, touch, succor, heal and strengthen us to be more than we could ever be and help us to do that which we could never do relying only upon our own power."
Apostle L. Tom Perry, second in line for the LDS presidency, said members can avoid life’s pitfalls by obeying the Holy Ghost and living LDS prophets.
"Strong, proactive obedience is anything but weak or passive," said the 91-year-old leader. "It is the means by which we declare our faith in God and qualify ourselves to receive the powers of heaven. Obedience is a choice. It is a choice between our own limited knowledge and power and God’s unlimited wisdom and omnipotence."
Jean A. Stevens, first counselor in the Primary General Presidency, urged Mormons to reach to God much like young children look to parents — and told stories of several who did that despite facing death, deprivation or other difficulties.
"Whatever our worries and challenges may be," she said, "we can choose to reach for God’s hand in our need. We can face our challenges with prayer and trust in the Lord. And in the process become more like him."
Stevens made Mormon history a year ago — on April 6, 2013 — when she became the first woman to offer a public prayer in an LDS General Conference.
Presiding Bishop Gary E. Stevenson, who oversees the 15 million-member faith’s financial, business and real estate affairs, said mortality is just a moment in people’s eternal existence but is as important as the "four-minute" performance of many Olympic athletes who won medals at this year’s Sochi Winter Games.
"In some ways, you are racing down the half-pipe or sled track, and it can be challenging to perform each element or navigate each turn along the way. But remember, you’ve prepared for this for millennia. This is your moment to perform."
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