Millions of members and friends of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints took time to listen to General Conference on 6-7 September 2012. We heard the counsel of the prophet of the Lord for us in our day as well as words of counsel from Apostles and other leaders of the Church. Brief comments from the Apostles can be obtained at this site, but the words of the prophet are as follow. Entire remarks will be available later on line and in the Ensign Magazine.
In his opening remarks, President Thomas S. Monson announced a change in missionary age. "I am pleased to announce that effective immediately, all worthy and able young men who have graduated from high school or its equivalent, regardless of where they live, will have the option of being recommended for missionary service beginning at the age of 18, instead of age 19….
"As we have prayerfully pondered the age at which young men may begin their missionary service, we have also given consideration to the age at which a young woman might serve. Today I am pleased to announce that able, worthy young women who have the desire to serve may be recommended for missionary service beginning at age 19, instead of age 21.
"We affirm that missionary work is a priesthood duty - and we encourage all young men who are worthy and who are physically able and mentally capable to respond to the call to serve. Many young women also serve, but they are not under the same mandate to serve as are the young men. We assure the young sisters of the Church, however, that they make a valuable contribution as missionaries, and we welcome their service."
President Monson told members of the priesthood: "We need to bear in mind that people can change. They can put behind them bad habits. They can repent from transgressions. They can bear this priesthood worthily. And they can serve the Lord diligently….
"It is our responsibility to give them opportunities to live as they should. We can help them to overcome their shortcomings. We must develop the capacity to see men not as they are at present but as they may become when they receive testimonies of the gospel of Christ."
To the general membership of the Church, President Monson counseled: "As I have reviewed the past 49 years, I have made some discoveries. One is that countless experiences I have had were not necessarily those one would consider extraordinary. In fact, at the time they transpired, they often seemed unremarkable and even ordinary. And yet, in retrospect, they enriched and blessed lives - not the least of which was my own. I would recommend this same exercise to you - namely, that you take an inventory of your life and look specifically for the blessings, large and small, you have received."
In his closing remarks, President Monson said: "Let us be of good cheer as we go about our lives. Although we live in increasingly perilous times, the Lord loves us and is mindful of us. He is always on our side as we do what is right. He will help us in time of need. Difficulties come into our lives, problems we do not anticipate and which we would never choose. None of us is immune. The purpose of mortality is to learn and to grow to be more like our Father, and it is often during the difficult times that we learn the most, as painful as the lessons may be. Our lives can also be filled with joy as we follow the teachings of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
"The Lord admonished, `Be of good cheer; I have overcome the world' (John 16:33). What great happiness that knowledge should bring to us. He lived for us, and He died for us."
The prophet has spoken once again, and wise men and women will pay attention to his words.