During the weekend of December 13 -14, Elder David A. Bednar, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, visited and taught leaders and members of the Abbotsford British Columbia Stake.
The following are some of the doctrines and principles that he emphasized during the Saturday evening session of the stake conference—with additional comments from members about what was learned.
“You cannot exercise faith in God until you know something about the nature and character of God. It is impossible to genuinely worship God without exercising faith.
“You are here on a Saturday night just before Christmas. I commend you for your dedication. You are a miracle! Other people do not understand such commitment. Restored truth invites faith and devotion.”
“This is an individual call to repentance. Repentance means to turn or re-turn to the Lord Jesus Christ. The entire gospel of Jesus Christ is about repentance: learning, changing, and improving. The natural man hates change. As we put off the natural man and become Saints through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, we will face and embrace change.
“Remember repentance requires the Redeemer. Simply changing one’s behavior is not repentance. Repentance requires godly sorrow, a change of heart, and involves the Lord Jesus Christ.
“Repentance is a joyful principle of the gospel. Repentance is not always punitive. Consider how enslaved we would be if we could not repent.”
“Without the ordinances of the gospel, the blessings of the Atonement would be unavailable to us. You cannot get to the tree of life and partake of the fruit of that tree, or the blessings of the Atonement, without the ordinances that allow access to the fruit. Simply put, 'except a man be born of water and of the spirit he cannot enter the kingdom of God'.”
Hastening the Work
“Often members mistakenly think that we are “hastening the work of the Lord.” The Lord is able to do His own work. The question is will we repent, change, and keep up as He hastens His work. If we keep doing things the same way we have always done them, we will not be prepared.
“Some members believe that hastening the work is related only to missionary work. Hastening the work is much broader than that. Hastening the work of salvation is an individual call to repentance. As each of us more fully and sincerely turns to the Lord, our shining light will be a beacon to all those who are seeking truth. They will come to you and ask questions. When they ask, be prepared to give them the reason for the hope that is within you.”
“At the end of His life, Jesus indicated several times to His disciples that His time was at hand. Study the New Testament and look for what the Lord teaches after He tells his disciples that His time was at hand. Find what matters most to the Lord. Make a list and focus on what is really important. I invite you to do the same studying in Third Nephi in the Book of Mormon. The Lord knew He had a short time with the people there, as well. What was emphasized? Focus on those things that are of greatest worth.”
Leader and member comments:
President Thomas Walker, Vancouver Temple Presidency
“In the priesthood leadership meeting, Elder Bednar had a unique way of teaching by inviting the Spirit to teach. He would often pause to tell us that he was not teaching something, but that the Spirit was teaching us. Some of the brethren were taking copious notes. He told us, ‘Don’t take notes on what you are hearing, but take note of what the Spirit is teaching you.’ He taught by the Spirit and it was wonderful.”
“We do the same thing in the temple. We don’t explain a lot there. We tell folks, ‘This is the Lord’s house and He likes to do the teaching.’ We urge the escorts to step back and let the Spirit do the teaching.”
President Ronald P. Burt, Canada Vancouver Mission
“We need to talk to everyone. I shared a story of asking a lady in a restaurant how she was. She said, ‘Not well.’ She explained that her husband was a truck driver who had been in an accident, killing a woman. I gave her a pass along card, asking her to share ‘The Gift’ with her husband and let the healing begin.”
“We need to have our testimonies strengthened. We, too, need to share with others like the missionaries do. Now is the time, brothers and sisters and missionaries, that we need to share His gift. As we do, our testimonies will grow stronger. God is hastening His work. We need to keep pace.”
“Elder Bednar woke me up! He was a great speaker. He talked about sitting next to someone in the airplane coming up here. He told us we can explain the gospel by teaching what we learned in Primary.”
Stacy Vermeeren, Abbotsford Stake member
“Our leaders asked us to be prepared to hear Elder Bednar’s address. They asked us to come early, to be in our seats, quietly studying scriptures for a half hour before the meeting. Elder Bednar acknowledged our effort to do that. He told us, ‘Thank you for being prepared to hear the messages that we needed to teach.’ We need to prepare our hearts, listen to the messages, and follow through on what we learned.
“When the services were over, I felt I could have kept listening. I was tired and hungry, but I could have kept listening. I understand now how the early Saints could have long meetings listening to the Prophet for hours while sitting on logs. I asked my ten-year-old son, Seth, what he thought of the meeting. He said he loved everything, that it went by really fast and that he could have kept listening. So both young and old - we were ready to drink it in and hear more.”
Everyone agreed that it was a privilege and blessing to be taught face to face by a modern day Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ.