Full summary of Saturday’s LDS General Conference: Holland recounts near-death trial; women’s leader Dennis stresses wearing garments; Nelson attends

99-year-old church President Russell Nelson attends afternoon session in person; apostle Dieter Uchtdorf encourages Latter-day Saints to reach for a “high joy.”

On April 6, 1830, Joseph Smith and five colleagues gathered before a small congregation of 40 or so family members, friends and followers near Fayette, New York, and formed a new religion.

On Saturday, 194 years to the day since that initial meeting, Smith’s then-fledgling faith, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, will convene yet another General Conference before a vast audience of thousands in the Conference Center in downtown Salt Lake City and stream the services to millions more around the world.

Smith’s latest successor as prophet–president, Russell M. Nelson, did not attend Saturday morning’s session, but he did show up for the afternoon one. It marked the first time in a year that the 99-year-old leader was present in person for a General Conference session.

(The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) President Russell M. Nelson waves to the audience at General Conference on Saturday afternoon, April 6, 2024.

Nelson, who will turn 100 in September and has become the oldest ever to hold the top spot, took the church’s helm more than six years ago. He hinted in a social media post Thursday that he may deliver — as he did last autumn while recuperating from a fall — his remarks in a recorded message.

With Nelson’s red velvet chair empty in the morning, his right-hand man, 91-year-old apostle Dallin H. Oaks, first counselor in the three-member governing First Presidency and next in line to lead the global faith of 17.2 million members, presided.

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) President Dallin H. Oaks, left, and President Henry B. Eyring at General Conference on Saturday morning, April 6, 2024, with the vacant chair for church President Russell M. Nelson in between.

Oaks also conducted the first session and noted that, in a not-unprecedented departure from tradition, members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles would be conducting some of the other sessions. Apostle Gary E. Stevenson, for instance, conducted the afternoon meeting, with Nelson presiding in person.

Like Oaks, the other member of the First Presidency, Henry B. Eyring, at 90, is also a nonagenarian. He delivered his sermon Saturday morning in a recorded message, although he was present on the stand in the Conference Center.

After the Saturday afternoon session, Nelson, Eyring and apostle Jeffrey Holland were escorted from the large hall in wheelchairs.

Apostle Dale G. Renlund conducted the Saturday evening session. As in the morning meeting, Nelson viewed the proceedings remotely. Holland also was not in attendance.

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) President Russell M. Nelson and other church leaders exit the afternoon session of General Conference on Saturday, April 6, 2024.

In the first order of business Saturday morning, Oaks conducted “sustaining votes” in which members express their support for the faith’s top brass.

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Leaders are sustained at General Conference on Saturday, April 6, 2024.

Of note, 61-year-old general authority Seventy Edward Dube, a native of Zimbabwe, became the first Black Latter-day Saint and the first of African descent to be named to the Presidency of the Seventy, which has become a proving ground of sorts for potential apostles. Of the past eight apostles named to the Quorum of the Twelve, the following six have come from this seven-member group: Patrick Kearon, Ulisses Soares, Gerrit Gong, Ronald Rasband, Neil Andersen and D. Todd Christofferson.

(The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) General authority Seventy Edward Dube, a native of Zimbabwe, has become the first Black Latter-day Saint to be named to the Presidency of the Seventy.

After the sustaining of church officers, Jared B. Larson, managing director of the church’s Auditing Department, reported on the faith’s money.

He followed the same pattern as in previous conferences, stating that “in all material respects, contributions received, expenditures made, and assets of the church for the year 2023 have been recorded and administered in accordance with church-approved budgets, accounting practices and policies.”

Larson pointed out that the Utah-based faith “follows the practices taught to its members of living within a budget, avoiding debt, and saving against a time of need.”

It was — as tradition has held for six decades — devoid of any dollar figures, coming in an era of increased scrutiny of the global church’s wealth and financial practices, along with calls from insiders and outsiders alike for more transparency about church assets.

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Conference Center attendees at General Conference on Saturday, April 6, 2024.

Latter-day Saints around the world tune in via TV, radio and the internet to these twice-yearly gatherings to receive counsel and inspiration from their top leaders. These celebrations of sermons, songs, prayers and pronouncements are the highlight of the church’s calendar and become the topic of Sunday speeches and lessons until the next conference rolls around in six months.

The Saturday evening session closed with a church institute choir from Utah Valley University singing “Amazing Grace,” a widely praised Christian anthem that multitudes of Latter-day Saints hope will be included in the faith’s new hymnal.

Here are summaries of all the talks and announcements from Saturday’s three sessions:

Saturday evening

Apostle Dieter F. Uchtdorf: Reaching for higher joy

(The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) Apostle Dieter F. Uchtdorf speaks at General Conference on Saturday, April 6, 2024.

Dieter F. Uchtdorf, the former airline-pilot-turned-apostle, joked that he gets asked often why he hasn’t used an aviation story in recent General Conference talks. He then recounted the story of the Wright brothers’ famous flight at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, and later taking their fearful father up in the air, who exclaimed, “Higher, Orville, higher!”

The charismatic German then described “a higher joy — where it comes from, how it enters our hearts, and how we can experience it in greater measure.”

He first offered a caveat, acknowledging that “depression and other difficult mental and emotional challenges are real, and the answer is not simply, ‘Try to be happier.’”

Uchtdorf said he did not want to “diminish or trivialize mental health issues. If you face such challenges, I mourn with and stand beside you. For some people, finding joy may include seeking help from trained mental health professionals.…We should be thankful for such help.”

Life is not “an endless sequence of emotional highs,” he said. “Feeling sad is not a sign of failure. In this life, at least, joy and sorrow are inseparable companions. Like all of you, I have felt my share of disappointment, sorrow, sadness and remorse.”

Still, the apostle said, “joy is the very purpose of God’s plan for his children.”

He urged Latter-day Saints to “search the word of God for a deeper understanding of God’s eternal plan, accept these invitations, and strive to walk in his way.” In doing so, he vowed, “you will experience ‘the peace of God, which passeth all understanding,’ even in the midst of sorrows.”

Uchtdorf promised members that they would “feel a greater measure of God’s unsurpassable love swelling within your heart…and that [they] will begin to taste the unspeakable glories and wonders of the unseen, perfect, heavenly sphere.”

Joy, he explained, can be found in “simple things” such as:

• “Praying for someone.

• “Giving a sincere compliment.

• “Helping someone feel welcome, respected, valued and loved.

• “Sharing a favorite scripture and what it means to us.

• “Or even just by listening.”

You will feel “your spirit lifting away from the gravity of this world,” he told them. “And like good Milton Wright, perhaps you will raise your voice in rejoicing and shout, ‘Higher, Father, higher.’”

Seventy Matthew L. Carpenter: Temple marriage key to exaltation

(The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) General authority Seventy Matthew L. Carpenter speaks at General Conference on Saturday, April 6, 2024.

Being sealed in marriage to one’s spouse in the temple by priesthood authority is essential for exaltation in the Celestial Kingdom of God.

Still, general authority Seventy Matthew L. Carpenter assured conference attendees, that doesn’t mean faithful members who are single or those who were married but got a divorce because their spouses are not true to their marriage covenants will have to forgo exaltation.

“If you remain faithful to the covenants you made when you were endowed,” he pledged, “you will receive the personal blessings promised to you in the endowment even if your spouse has broken his or her covenants or withdrawn from the marriage.”

Carpenter said members sealed in a temple can get that sealing canceled by the church’s First Presidency, but he cautioned against making that choice casually. As for single members, he said, “in the Lord’s own way and time, no blessings will be withheld from his faithful saints. The Lord will judge and reward each individual according to heartfelt desires as well as deed.”

“Those who enter into the new and everlasting covenant of marriage and keep that covenant can become perfected and eventually receive the fullness of the glory of the Father,” he added, “regardless of circumstances beyond their control.”

Young Women leader Andrea Muñoz Spannaus: Spiritual stones

(The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) Andrea Muñoz Spannaus, a counselor in the Young Women General Presidency, speaks at General Conference on Saturday, April 6, 2024.

Drawing on the biblical story of David and Goliath, Andrea Muñoz Spannaus, second counselor in the Young Women General Presidency, urged her listeners to take up symbolic stones to battle the “giants” in their lives.

What could those five stones represent? asked Spannaus, a native of Argentina.

• Love for God.

• Faith in Jesus Christ.

• Knowledge of their “true identity” as children of God.

• Daily repentance.

• Access to God’s power.

“Our personal connection to Jesus Christ will give us the courage and confidence to move forward amid people who do not respect our beliefs or who bully us,” she said. “...When my day is difficult, and I feel like I can’t take any more, thinking about Christ brings me peace and gives me hope.”

With Christ’s guiding hand and these “stones,” Spannaus said, “you will be able to bring down every Goliath that appears in your life.”

There is “joy in being faithful to the God of the universe, the Savior of the world, the King of Kings,” she said. “There is joy in being a disciple of Jesus Christ.”

Seventy Steven R Bangerter: Discovering the mission God foreordained for you

(The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) General authority Seventy Steven R Bangerter speaks at General Conference on Saturday, April 6, 2024.

In discovering what mission the Lord has foreordained church members to carry out during mortality, general authority Seventy Steven R. Bangerter told Latter-day Saints youths, it is important to be mindful of the private times in their lives — to live worthily, seek God in prayer and receive revelation.

That’s the instruction Bangerter said he learned from his father.

“In those private moments,” Bangerter said, “I learned the Book of Mormon is the word of God. I learned God had foreordained me to serve a mission. I learned that God knows me and hears and answers my prayers. I learned that Jesus is the Christ, our Savior and Redeemer.”

Bangerter reminded conferencegoers of their heritage as God’s spirit sons and daughters who lived with him in the preexistence before coming to Earth. He said God blessed all individuals before their earthly existence with with “essential characteristic[s] of premortal, mortal and eternal identity and purpose”

An important part of church members’ mission on Earth, he said, is to stay close to the Lord and learn what he has foreordained them to do in this life.

“With your diligent seeking, God will give you glimpses of who you may become,” Bangerter said, quoting from an Instagram post from church President Russell M. Nelson.

Seventy Shayne M. Bowen: Miracles and priesthood keys

(The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) General authority Seventy Shayne M. Bowen speaks at General Conference on Saturday, April 6, 2024.

When Jesus Christ was on the Earth, he gave “priesthood keys” — the authority to act in his name — to his chief apostle, Peter, said general authority Seventy Shayne M. Bowen. “Through these keys, Peter and the other apostles led the Savior’s church. But when those apostles died, the keys of the priesthood were taken from the Earth.”

Latter-day Saints believe those keys were restored by church founder Joseph Smith, Bowen said, and “have been passed from prophet to prophet until today.”

As in ancient times, “there is one senior apostle who holds and is authorized to exercise all priesthood keys,” he said. Namely, church “president and prophet,” Russell M. Nelson.

Bowen declared that “miracles and ministrations are continually occurring in our lives, often as a direct result of priesthood power,” he said. “Some priesthood blessings are fulfilled immediately, in ways we can see and understand. Others are unfolding gradually and will not be fully realized in this life.”

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Young Women General President Emily Belle Freeman gives the closing prayer at General Conference on Saturday, April 6, 2024.

Saturday afternoon

Apostle Quentin Cook: Being one with Christ

(The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) Apostle Quentin L. Cook speaks at General Conference on Saturday, April 6, 2024.

God’s mercy “is not dependent on lineage, education, economic status or race,” apostle Quentin L. Cook said. “It is based on being one with Christ and his commandments.”

Same with the requirements for baptism, he said. “It is significant that all the qualifications for baptism are spiritual. No economic or social attainment is necessary. The poor and the rich have the same spiritual requirements. There are no race, gender or ethnicity requirements.”

Striving to be the best “is a righteous and worthwhile endeavor,” Cook said. “It is consistent with the Lord’s doctrine. Efforts to diminish or deprecate others or create barriers to their success is contrary to the Lord’s doctrine. We cannot blame circumstances or others for a decision to act contrary to God’s commandments.”

As members face “the vicissitudes of life, many events occur over which we have little or no control,” he said. Yet on “matters of principle, conduct, religious observance and righteous living, we are in control.”

Young Men leader Michael Nelson: Parents, church leaders must focus on the ‘rising generation’

(The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) Young Men leader Michael T. Nelson speaks at General Conference on Saturday, April 6, 2024.

Follow the example of Helaman and the stripling sons of the people of Ammon in the Book of Mormon, the faith’s signature scripture, said Michael T. Nelson, second counselor in the Young Men General Presidency.

He urged the church’s young people to remain “resolute” in the face of “daunting challenges.” He also encouraged their parents to support them and remember that their “primary responsibility” is “teaching their children.”

Nelson said that wards, or congregations, “will be blessed and strengthened as members focus on the rising generation” and that lay “bishops, with a laserlike focus on the youth, will have an influence that will last for generations. … The youth today are among Heavenly Father’s most noble spirits.”

Apostle Gerrit Gong: ‘All things work together for good’

(The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) Apostle Gerrit W. Gong speaks at General Conference on Saturday, April 6, 2024.

In this “fickle world,” many feel “tempest-tossed, uncertain, sometimes fortunate, and — too often — unfortunate,” said apostle Gerrit W. Gong. “Yet, in this world of tribulation, ‘we know that all things work together for good to them that love God.’”

Left to their own, individuals may not know “our own good,” Gong said. “When ‘I choose me,’ I am also choosing my own limitations, weaknesses, inadequacies.”

To do the “the most good, we must be good,” said the faith’s first and only Asian American apostle. “Since none save God is good, we seek perfection in Jesus Christ.”

When Latter-day Saints “trust God and his love for us, even our greatest heartbreaks,” he said, “can in the end work together for our good.”

Church congregations can “provide refuge and safety,” he said, but “many faithful families and individuals confront difficult challenges, even while knowing that (without yet knowing how) things will work together for their good.”

In the end, that is God’s purpose and nature, Gong said, “to bring all things together for our good.”

(The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) Apostle Gerrit W. Gong speaks at General Conference on Saturday, April 6, 2024.

Seventy Jose L. Alonso: When faced with trials, look to Jesus

(The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) General authority Seventy Jose L. Alonso speaks at General Conference on Saturday, April 6, 2024.

Those afflicted with trials, general authority Seventy Jose L. Alonso advised, should turn to “the unwavering love of Jesus Christ.”

“It is through his infinite Atonement that we are offered a gift beyond measure — one of hope, healing and the assurance of his constant, enduring presence in our lives,” said Alonso, a native of Mexico. “This gift is available to all who reach out with faith, embracing the peace and redemption he so freely offers.”

He told church members that, although “it’s easy to become engrossed in our difficulties,” they should follow the example of Christ, who “exemplified the power of focusing on his Father, offering gratitude, and acknowledging that solutions to our trials do not always lie within ourselves, but with God.”

Seventy Brent Nielson: Witnessing God’s work across the world

(The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) General authority Seventy Brent H. Nielson speaks at General Conference on Saturday, April 6, 2024.

Scripture is filled with “eyewitnesses,” said general authority Seventy Brent H. Nielson, “who testified to what they both saw and heard.”

For his part, Nielson said, he himself is an eyewitness to “the ongoing restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ .... across the world.”

There has never been “a better time” to be a Latter-day Saint “than today,” Nielson said. “I know this of my own knowledge, independent of any other source, because of what I have both seen and heard.”

He described the church’s growth in regions where he has served or visited as the leader of the Missionary Department — the Pacific area, the Philippines, Europe, Asia, Latin America, the Caribbean and Africa.

The “most inspiring miracle of the restoration that I have witnessed is you,” Nielson said, “the faithful members of the church in every land.”

Seventy Massimo De Feo: Keep your ‘spiritual vision’ clear

(The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) General authority Seventy Massimo De Feo speaks at General Conference on Saturday, April 6, 2024.

General authority Seventy Massimo De Feo recounted an “uncomfortable wake-up call” he recently had when his vision “became blurry, dark and wavy,” and urged Latter-day Saints to pay attention to their “spiritual vision.”

De Feo, a native of Italy, said doctors told him he could lose his sight “in a matter of weeks” unless he began “intravitreal injections — injections right in the eye” every four weeks for the rest of his life. “I asked myself. ‘OK, my physical sight is not good, but what about my spiritual vision? Do I need any treatment there?’”

He counseled church members that keeping a “clear spiritual vision” requires focusing on Jesus Christ; leaving “the natural man behind” and repenting; and hearing “the voice of the Lord” and allowing him “to guide us.”

Apostle David Bednar: ‘More than not talking’

(The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) Apostle David A. Bender speaks at General Conference on Saturday, April 6, 2024.

God’s admonition to “be still” entails “much more than simply not talking or not moving, apostle David A. Bednar said Saturday afternoon. “Perhaps his intent is for us to remember and rely upon him.”

Being still may be “a way of reminding us to focus upon the Savior unfailingly as the ultimate source of the spiritual stillness of the soul,” Bednar said, “that strengthens us to do and overcome hard things.”

If Latter-day Saints can “be still” in their “holy places of worship,” the apostle added, they can “know ever more surely that God is our Heavenly Father, we are his children, and Jesus Christ is our Savior.”

They can “be blessed by the Holy Ghost to receive an individual and spiritual stillness of the soul,” Bednar said, “...and be blessed to do and overcome hard things.”

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) President Russell M. Nelson, with wife Wendy, waves to attendees after a session of General Conference on Saturday, April 6, 2024.

Saturday morning

President Henry B. Eyring: Attend the temple as frequently as possible

(The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) President Henry B. Eyring speaks in a recorded message at General Conference on Saturday, April 6, 2024.

The Lord has “accelerated, and will continue to accelerate, the building of temples across the world,” said Henry B. Eyring, second counselor in the First Presidency. “This will allow all of God’s children the opportunity to receive the ordinances of salvation and exaltation, and to make and keep sacred covenants.”

In his recorded talk, Eyring, who was seated in the Conference Center, recounted a trip he and his wife made to the Idaho Falls Temple on June 5, 1976, leaving their children behind in Rexburg with a babysitter. That was the day that the Teton Dam burst, inundating Rexburg and leaving two-thirds of its residents homeless.

Forced to remain in Idaho Falls and unable to contact his children, Eyring was “able to put my mind at ease and fall asleep.” His wife, who died last fall, asked him, “How can you sleep at a time like this?” He replied, “Kathy, whatever the outcome, all will be well because of the temple. We have made covenants with God and have been sealed as an eternal family.”

And, he said, “There truly was no need to fear, and we were grateful later to learn that our boys were safe.”

Eyring said “there is nothing more important than honoring the covenants you have made, or may make, in the temple.” He urged church members to “become eligible to attend the temple” and to “visit as frequently as circumstances will allow.”

Seventy Jack N. Gerard: Living ‘a life of integrity’

(The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) General authority Seventy Jack N. Gerard speaks at General Conference on Saturday, April 6, 2024.

Living a life of integrity requires Latter-day Saints “to be true to God, to each other and to our divine identity,” said Jack N. Gerard, a general authority Seventy. “Integrity means we do not lower our standards or behavior to impress or be accepted by others.…You do what is right and let the consequence follow.”

The “worldly pull” can be “as direct as to destroy fidelity in marriage or as subtle as posting anonymous comments critical of church doctrine or culture,” Gerard said. “Exercising integrity in our choices is an outward expression of an inner commitment to follow the Savior Jesus Christ.”

Some modern organizations “train employees to consider what their decisions or decision-making process would look like if published online or on the front page of a major newspaper,” he said. “As the church comes out of obscurity and darkness, we…must rise above the worldly expectations and become the face of the true and living God at all times and in all places.”

Claiming to have integrity, he said, “is insufficient if our actions are inconsistent with our words.”

Latter-day Saints should “avoid actions that may be perceived as serving our own interests, benefiting our family or favoring someone at the expense of another,” Gerard said. “We go out of our way to avoid any perception that our actions may be influenced by the honors of men, to receive personal recognition, generate more likes, be quoted or published.”

A life of integrity, he admonished, “requires us to be true to our divine identity.”

Apostle Ulisses Soares: Temple attendance is the ‘pinnacle of our divine connection with God’

(The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) Apostle Ulisses Soares speaks at General Conference on Saturday, April 6, 2024.

Going to the temple “fortifies our ability to love and serve others,” apostle Ulisses Soares said, “and strengthens our souls to live in an unholy world that is increasingly dark and discouraging.”

Temple attendance is “the pinnacle of our divine connection with God,” he said, adding that it “empowers us to overcome the seeds of doubt and despair, fear and frustration, heartache and hopelessness that the enemy tries to drive deep into our hearts, especially when life is hard, trials are long or circumstances are difficult.”

Soares told church members that they can gain confidence in Jesus Christ “through humility, centering our lives on the Savior, living by the principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ, receiving the ordinances of salvation and exaltation and honoring the covenants we make with God in his holy house.”

He counseled that “all of us should” have “our next appointment scheduled with the Lord in his holy house, whether the temple is near or far away. … I assure you that having the spirit of the Lord’s house in us changes us completely.”

As the number of temples continues to swell, Soares said, it is “more important” that members “change our experience in the temple, which will transform our lives outside of the temple.”

Seventy Alexander Dushku: Not everyone will experience a ‘pillar of light’

(The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) General authority Seventy Alexander Dushku speaks at General Conference on Saturday, April 6, 2024.

General authority Seventy Alexander Dushku recounted the story of Joseph Smith’s “First Vision” — when the church founder said that, as a 14-year-old boy, he had a vision of God and Jesus Christ speaking to him — saying Latter-day Saints “must be wary of a spiritual trap” of expecting the same sort of experience.

“Sometimes faithful church members become discouraged and even drift away because they haven’t had overwhelming spiritual experience — because they haven’t experienced their own pillar of light,” Dushku said. “...Rather than sending us a pillar of light, the Lord sends us a ray of light, and then another, and another.”

Everyone’s experiences are different, he said. “No two people experience God’s light and truth in exactly the same way,” from “bursts of light and testimony” to “a still, small voice.”

Relief Society leader J. Anette Dennis: ‘A sacred obligation and a sacred privilege’

(The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) Relief Society leader J. Anette Dennis speaks at General Conference on Saturday, April 6, 2024.

The wearing of sacred underwear by Latter-day Saint men and women “is both a sacred obligation and a sacred privilege,” said J. Anette Dennis, first counselor in the worldwide women’s Relief Society presidency. The “garment” (as this underclothing is known) “is deeply symbolic and points to the Savior.”

Members wear “the garment of the holy priesthood, both during temple worship and in our everyday lives,” Dennis said Saturday morning. The holy underclothing “reminds us that the Savior and the blessings of his Atonement cover us throughout our lives. As we put [it] on …. that beautiful symbol becomes a part of us.”

Some leaders have worried publicly about Latter-day Saints who don their garments only on Sunday and to the temple, rather than every day.

Dennis declared that her “willingness to wear the holy garment becomes my symbol to [Christ]. It is my own personal sign to God, not a sign to others,” she said, and expresses her “love and gratitude for my Savior, Jesus Christ, and my desire to have him with me always.”

The garment is a reminder of her covenants with God, she said. “I have symbolically put on Christ, who himself is an armor of light.”

Dennis made headlines last month in a worldwide Relief Society broadcast when she declared that “no other religious organization in the world that I know of ... has so broadly given power and authority to women.”

Latter-day Saint women cannot be ordained — unlike in a number of other faiths — and hold no priesthood offices.

After thousands of women took issue with her remarks, Dennis thanked those who shared their feelings on social media.

“As we read through the comments, we were moved by some of the experiences you’ve had,” she stated. “As a member of the General Relief Society Presidency, I can assure you that we and our church leaders are listening and learning from the things you have shared with us.”

Apostle Jeffrey Holland returns to conference, speaks of his health trials

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Apostle Jeffrey R. Holland speaks while seated at General Conference on Saturday, April 6, 2024.

Apostle Jeffrey R. Holland, acting president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, spoke at General Conference for the first time since October 2022 and joked about learning a “painful lesson” from that.

“That lesson is — if you don’t give an acceptable talk, you can be banned from the next several conferences,” he said. “You can see I am assigned early in the first session of this one. What you can’t see is that I am positioned on a trapdoor with a very delicate latch. If this talk doesn’t go well, I am gone again.”

Holland, 83, who spoked seated as he delivered the first talk Saturday morning, was hospitalized for six weeks this past summer, entering the hospital just after the death of his wife, Pat. He said he spent “the first four weeks of a six-week stay in and out of the intensive care unit and in and out of consciousness.”

Holland said that during the near-death encounter, he “received ... an admonition to return to my ministry with more urgency, more consecration, more focus on the Savior and more faith in his word... Since that experience, I have tried to take up my cross more earnestly, with more resolve to find where I can raise an apostolic voice of both warmth and warning in the morning, during the day and into the night.”

The apostle said these past months of loss and illness have filled him with “endless gratitude for the efficacy of resolute prayers — your prayers — of which I have been the beneficiary.”

He told church members that “God hears every prayer we offer and responds to each of them according to the path he has outlined for our perfection. … We should pray individually, in our families, and in congregations of all sizes.”