"Follow the Son of God"
Howard W. Hunter's Final
General Conference Talk as LDS Church President
President Howard W. Hunter
14th President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
165th Semiannual General Conference
Sunday Afternoon Session
"As followers of Jesus Christ, we seek to enlarge the circle of love and understanding among the people of the earth."
My dear brothers and sisters, we now come to the conclusion of another wonderful conference of the Church. We have experienced a marvelous outpouring of the Spirit. I commend to you the wise and inspired counsel you have received from the General Authorities and general auxiliary officers of the Church. My humble prayer is that while their instruction is fresh in our minds, each of us will resolve to incorporate it into our lives.
I want you to know how much I love and appreciate my devoted Counselors, President Gordon B. Hinckley and President Thomas S. Monson. They are men of wisdom, experience, and understanding. I love and sustain my Brethren of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, with whom I served for over thirty-four years. To members of the Seventy and the Presiding Bishopric, I express my love and gratitude for their sacrifice and service to the Church throughout the earth. Similarly, I pay tribute to the general auxiliary officers.
As I have pondered the messages of the conference, I have asked myself this question: How can I help others partake of the goodness and blessings of our Heavenly Father? The answer lies in following the direction received from those we sustain as prophets, seers, and revelators, and others of the General Authorities. Let us study their words, spoken under the Spirit of inspiration, and refer to them often. The Lord has revealed his will to the Saints in this conference.
I bear solemn and grateful witness that Jesus is the Christ, the Savior of the world. Certainly he is the center of our worship and the key to our happiness. Let us follow the Son of God in all ways and all walks of life. Let us make him our exemplar and our guide.
We are at a time in the history of the world and the growth of the Church when we must think more of holy things and act more like the Savior would expect his disciples to act. We should at every opportunity ask ourselves, "What would Jesus do?" and then act more courageously upon the answer. We must be about his work as he was about his Father's. We should make every effort to become like Christ, the one perfect and sinless example this world has ever seen.
And we again emphasize the personal blessings of temple worship and the sanctity and safety that are provided within those hallowed walls. It is the house of the Lord, a place of revelation and of peace. As we attend the temple, we learn more richly and deeply the purpose of life and the significance of the atoning sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ. Let us make the temple, with temple worship and temple covenants and temple marriage, our ultimate earthly goal and the supreme mortal experience.
Let us share with our children the spiritual feelings we have in the temple. And let us teach them more earnestly and more comfortably the things we can appropriately say about the purposes of the house of the Lord.
Let us prepare every missionary to go to the temple worthily and to make that experience an even greater highlight than receiving the mission call. Let us plan for and teach and plead with our children to marry in the house of the Lord. Let us reaffirm more vigorously than we ever have in the past that it does matter where you marry and by what authority you are pronounced man and wife.
All of our efforts in proclaiming the gospel, perfecting the Saints, and redeeming the dead lead to the holy temple. This is because the temple ordinances are absolutely crucial; we cannot return to God's presence without them. I encourage everyone to worthily attend the temple or to work toward the day when you can enter that holy house to receive your ordinances and covenants.
May you let the meaning and beauty and peace of the temple come into your everyday life more directly in order that the millennial day may come, that promised time when "they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more ... [but shall] walk in the light of the Lord" (Isa. 2:4-5).
Again and again during his mortal ministry, our Lord issued a call that was both an invitation and a challenge. To Peter and Andrew, Christ said, "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men" (Matt. 4:19). We are in the work of saving souls, of inviting people to come unto Christ, of bringing them into the waters of baptism so that they may continue to progress along the path that leads to eternal life. This world needs the gospel of Jesus Christ. The gospel provides the only way the world will ever know peace. As followers of Jesus Christ, we seek to enlarge the circle of love and understanding among the people of the earth.
Earlier prophets have taught that every able, worthy young man should serve a full-time mission. I emphasize this need today. We also have great need for our able, mature couples to serve in the mission field. Jesus told his disciples, "The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest" (Luke 10:2).
And now, my beloved brothers and sisters, through the power and authority of the priesthood vested in me and by virtue of the calling which I now hold, I invoke my blessings upon you. I bless you in your efforts to live a more Christlike life. I bless you with an increased desire to be worthy of a temple recommend and to attend the temple as frequently as circumstances allow. I bless you to receive the peace of our Heavenly Father in your homes and to be guided in teaching your families to follow the Master.
I again testify that the restored gospel of Jesus Christ is true. I feel very deeply my dependence on the Lord for the guidance and direction of his kingdom. I thank you again for your sustaining vote and your faith and prayers in behalf of myself and my Brethren, and I do so in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.