The Teachings Of David A. Bednar; Prophet Seer And Revelator



Elder David A. Bednar was called a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on October 7, 2004. He has held many prominent positions in the church. Learn more about Elder David A. Bednar.

Conference Talks

Called To The Work

In the culture of the Church, we often talk of being called to serve in a country such as Argentina, Poland, Korea, or the United States. But a missionary is not called to a place; rather, he or she is called to serve.

I do not believe that the phrase “it mattereth not” as used by the Lord in this scripture suggests that He does not care where His servants labor. In fact, He cares deeply. But because the work of preaching the gospel is the Lord’s work, He inspires, guides, and directs His authorized servants. As missionaries strive to be ever more worthy and capable instruments in His hands and do their best to fulfill faithfully their duties, then with His help they “cannot go amiss”—wherever they serve. Perhaps one of the lessons the Savior is teaching us in this revelation is that an assignment to labor in a specific place is essential and important but secondary to a call to the work.

Three interrelated words define a pattern of preparation and progression for sons of God: priesthood, temple, mission. Sometimes as parents, friends, and Church members, we focus so extensively upon missionary preparation for young men that we may neglect to a degree the other vital steps along the covenant pathway that must be fulfilled before beginning full-time missionary service. Working as a missionary certainly is one but not the only important building block in the process of creating a strong foundation for a lifetime of spiritual growth and service. Priesthood and temple blessings, both of which precede arriving in an assigned field of labor, also are necessary to fortify and strengthen us spiritually throughout our entire lives.


Young men, as you fulfill your duties in and honor the Aaronic Priesthood, or lesser priesthood, you are preparing to receive and magnify the oath and covenant of the Melchizedek Priesthood, or higher priesthood. Personal worthiness is the single most important requirement for receiving the higher priesthood. A lifetime of selfless priesthood service lies before you. Prepare now by frequently rendering meaningful service. Please learn to love being and remaining worthy. Be worthy. Stay worthy.


After receiving the Melchizedek Priesthood and a call to serve, a young man can be armed with power through the covenants and ordinances of the holy temple. Going to the temple and having the spirit of the temple go through you precedes effective service as a full-time missionary. Personal worthiness is the single most important requirement for receiving the blessings of the temple for you young men and for all members of the Church. As you live in accordance with gospel standards, you can enter the house of the Lord and participate in sacred ordinances throughout your teenage years. Your love for and understanding of temple ordinances will strengthen and bless you throughout your life. Please learn to love being and remaining worthy. Be worthy. Stay worthy.


In our homes and at church, we should give balanced emphasis to all three elements of the Lord’s pattern of preparation and progression for faithful sons of God: priesthood, temple, mission. All three require us to love being and remaining worthy. Be worthy. Stay worthy.

If Ye Had Known Me

The phrases “Ye never knew me” and “Ye know me not” should be a cause of deep spiritual introspection for each of us. Do we only know about the Savior, or are we increasingly coming to know Him? How do we come to know the Lord?

A grand objective of mortality is not merely learning about the Only Begotten of the Father but also striving to know Him. Four essential steps that can help us come to know the Lord are exercising faith in Him, following Him, serving Him, and believing Him.

Hearing God’s word and receiving the spiritual gift of faith in the Savior are closely related, as “faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”  We become acquainted with Him and His voice as we study and feast upon His word in the scriptures, pray to the Father in His name with real intent, and seek for the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost. Learning and applying in our lives the doctrine of Christ is a prerequisite to receiving the gift of faith in Him.

The Savior likewise instructs you and me, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” To take up one’s cross is to deny oneself of all ungodliness and every worldly lust and to keep the commandments of the Lord.


The Savior has admonished us to become as He is. Thus, following the Lord includes emulating Him. We continue to come to know the Lord as we seek through the power of His Atonement to become like Him.


We more fully come to know the Lord as we serve Him and labor in His kingdom. As we do so, He generously blesses us with heavenly help, spiritual gifts, and increased capacity. We are never left alone as we work in His vineyard.

We come to know the Savior as we do our best to go where He wants us to go, as we strive to say what He wants us to say, and as we become what He wants us to become. As we submissively acknowledge our total dependence upon Him, He enlarges our capacity to serve ever more effectively. Gradually, our desires align more completely with His desires, and His purposes become our purposes, such that we would “not ask that which is contrary to [His] will.”


Serving Him requires all of our heart, might, mind, and strength. Consequently, selflessly serving others counteracts the self-centered and selfish tendencies of the natural man. We grow to love those whom we serve. And because serving others is serving God, we grow to love Him and our brothers and sisters more deeply. Such love is a manifestation of the spiritual gift of charity, even the pure love of Christ. 

                                  
Is it possible to exercise faith in Him, follow Him, serve Him, but not believe Him?


I am acquainted with Church members who accept as true the doctrine and principles contained in the scriptures and proclaimed from this pulpit. And yet they have a hard time believing those gospel truths apply specifically in their lives and to their circumstances. They seem to have faith in the Savior, but they do not believe His promised blessings are available to them or can operate in their lives. I also encounter brothers and sisters who fulfill their callings dutifully but for whom the restored gospel has not yet become a living and transforming reality in their lives. We come to know the Lord as we not only believe in Him but also believe Him and His assurances.


We often testify of what we know to be true, but perhaps the more relevant question for each of us is whether we believe what we know.

Believing Him is trusting that His bounteous blessings are available and applicable in our individual lives and families. Believing Him with our whole soul comes as we press forward along the covenant pathway, surrender our will to His, and submit to His priorities and timing for us.


Always Retain A Remission of Your Sins: By the sanctifying power of the Holy Ghost as our constant companion, we can always retain a remission of our sins.

In mortality we experience physical birth and the opportunity for spiritual rebirth. We are admonished by prophets and apostles to awake unto God, be “born again,” and become new creatures in Christ by receiving in our lives the blessings made possible through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

The “merits, and mercy, and grace of the Holy Messiah” can help us triumph over the self-centered and selfish tendencies of the natural man and become more selfless, benevolent, and saintly. We are exhorted to so live that we can “stand spotless before [the Lord] at the last day.”


The Prophet Joseph Smith summarized succinctly the essential role of priesthood ordinances in the gospel of Jesus Christ: “Being born again, comes by the Spirit of God through ordinances.” This penetrating statement emphasizes the roles of both the Holy Ghost and sacred ordinances in the process of spiritual rebirth.


The Holy Ghost is the third member of the Godhead. He is a personage of spirit and bears witness of all truth. In the scriptures, the Holy Ghost is referred to as the Comforter, a teacher,  and a revelator. Additionally, the Holy Ghost is a sanctifier who cleanses and burns dross and evil out of human souls as though by fire.


The ordinances of salvation and exaltation administered in the Lord’s restored Church are far more than rituals or symbolic performances. Rather, they constitute authorized channels through which the blessings and powers of heaven can flow into our individual lives.


Ordinances received and honored with integrity are essential to obtaining the power of godliness and all of the blessings made available through the Savior’s Atonement.


The baptismal covenant includes three fundamental commitments: (1) to be willing to take upon ourselves the name of Jesus Christ, (2) to always remember Him, and (3) to keep His commandments. The promised blessing for honoring this covenant is “that [we] may always have his Spirit to be with [us].” Thus, baptism is the essential preparation to receive the authorized opportunity for the constant companionship of the third member of the Godhead.


As members of the Lord’s restored Church, we are blessed both by our initial cleansing from sin associated with baptism and by the potential for an ongoing cleansing from sin made possible through the companionship and power of the Holy Ghost—even the third member of the Godhead.


To sanctify is to make pure and holy. The sacramental emblems are sanctified in remembrance of Christ’s purity, of our total dependence upon His Atonement, and of our responsibility to so honor our ordinances and covenants that we can “stand spotless before [Him] at the last day.”

The ordinance of the sacrament is a holy and repeated invitation to repent sincerely and to be renewed spiritually. The act of partaking of the sacrament, in and of itself, does not remit sins. But as we prepare conscientiously and participate in this holy ordinance with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, then the promise is that we may always have the Spirit of the Lord to be with us. And by the sanctifying power of the Holy Ghost as our constant companion, we can always retain a remission of our sins.


The blessings of obtaining and always retaining a remission of our sins through gospel ordinances help us understand that baptism is a point of departure in our mortal spiritual journey; it is not a destination we should yearn to revisit over and over again.

Ordinances invite spiritual purpose and power into our lives as we strive to be born again and become men and women of Christ.


Chosen To Bear Testimony of My Name: It is wonderful to have older men of great spiritual maturity and judgment serving in the senior leadership positions of the restored Church of Jesus Christ.

At one point I asked Elder Hales, “You have been a successful husband, father, athlete, pilot, business executive, and Church leader. What lessons have you learned as you have grown older and been constrained by decreased physical capacity?”


Elder Hales paused for a moment and responded, “When you cannot do what you have always done, then you only do what matters most.
The limitations that are the natural consequence of advancing age can in fact become remarkable sources of spiritual learning and insight. The very factors many may believe limit the effectiveness of these servants can become some of their greatest strengths. Physical restrictions can expand vision. Limited stamina can clarify priorities. Inability to do many things can direct focus to a few things of greatest importance.


Serving with these representatives of the Lord, I have come to know their greatest desire is to discern and do the will of our Heavenly Father and His Beloved Son. As we counsel together, inspiration has been received and decisions have been made that reflect a degree of light and truth far beyond human intelligence, reasoning, and experience. As we work together in unity on perplexing problems, our collective understanding of an issue has been enlarged in marvelous ways by the power of the Holy Ghost.


The Savior declared, “Whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same” (D&C 1:38). May we hear and heed the eternal truths taught by the Lord’s authorized representatives. As we do so, I promise our faith in Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ will be fortified, and we will receive spiritual guidance and protection for our specific circumstances and needs.


With all the energy of my soul, I witness the resurrected and living Christ directs the affairs of His restored and living Church through His servants who have been chosen to bear testimony of His name. I so testify in the sacred name of Jesus Christ, amen.


Therefore They Hushed Their Fears: Unlike worldly fear that creates alarm and anxiety, godly fear is a source of peace, assurance, and confidence.

  • And knowledge of the Savior’s protecting watchcare enabled the people to hush their own fears.
  • Correct knowledge of and faith in the Lord empower us to hush our fears because Jesus Christ is the only source of enduring peace. He declared, “Learn of me, and listen to my words; walk in the meekness of my Spirit, and you shall have peace in me” (D&C 19:23).
  • Thus, we can be blessed to hush our fears because His doctrine provides purpose and direction in all aspects of our lives. His ordinances and covenants fortify and comfort in times both good and bad. And His priesthood authority gives assurance that the things that matter most can endure both in time and in eternity.
  • But can we hush the fears that so easily and frequently beset us in our contemporary world? The answer to this question is an unequivocal yes. Three basic principles are central to receiving this blessing in our lives: (1) look to Christ, (2) build upon the foundation of Christ, and (3) press forward with faith in Christ.
  • Ordinances and covenants are the building blocks we use to construct our lives upon the foundation of Christ and His Atonement. We are connected securely to and with the Savior as we worthily receive ordinances and enter into covenants, faithfully remember and honor those sacred commitments, and do our best to live in accordance with the obligations we have accepted. And that bond is the source of spiritual strength and stability in all of the seasons of our lives.
  • We can be blessed to hush our fears as we firmly establish our desires and deeds upon the sure foundation of the Savior through our ordinances and covenants.
  • Please note that godly fear is linked inextricably to an understanding of the Final Judgment and our individual accountability for our desires, thoughts, words, and acts (see Mosiah 4:30). The fear of the Lord is not a reluctant apprehension about coming into His presence to be judged. I do not believe we will be afraid of Him at all. Rather, it is the prospect in His presence of facing things as they really are about ourselves and having “a perfect knowledge” (2 Nephi 9:14; see also Alma 11:43) of all our rationalizations, pretenses, and self-deceptions. Ultimately, we will be left without excuse.

Chosen to Bear Testimony of My Name: It is wonderful to have older men of great spiritual maturity and judgment serving in the senior leadership positions of the restored Church of Jesus Christ.

  • The limitations that are the natural consequence of advancing age can in fact become remarkable sources of spiritual learning and insight. The very factors many may believe limit the effectiveness of these servants can become some of their greatest strengths. Physical restrictions can expand vision. Limited stamina can clarify priorities. Inability to do many things can direct focus to a few things of greatest importance.

Bear Up Their Burdens with Ease (One of my favorites): The unique burdens in each of our lives help us to rely upon the merits, mercy, and grace of the Holy Messiah.

  • 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. Two guiding questions can be helpful as we periodically and prayerfully assess our load: “Is the load I am carrying producing the spiritual traction that will enable me to press forward with faith in Christ on the strait and narrow path and avoid getting stuck? Is the load I am carrying creating sufficient spiritual traction so I ultimately can return home to Heavenly Father?”
  • Sometimes we mistakenly may believe that happiness is the absence of a load. But bearing a load is a necessary and essential part of the plan of happiness. Because our individual load needs to generate spiritual traction, we should be careful to not haul around in our lives so many nice but unnecessary things that we are distracted and diverted from the things that truly matter most.
  • Not only does the Atonement of Jesus Christ overcome the effects of the Fall of Adam and make possible the remission of our individual sins and transgressions, but His Atonement also enables us to do good and become better in ways that stretch far beyond our mortal capacities.
  • It is one thing to know that Jesus Christ came to the earth to die for us. But we also need to appreciate that the Lord desires, through His Atonement and by the power of the Holy Ghost, to enliven us—not only to guide but also to strengthen and heal us.
  • There is no physical pain, no spiritual wound, no anguish of soul or heartache, no infirmity or weakness you or I ever confront in mortality that the Savior did not experience first.

Come and See: The Church of Jesus Christ always has been and always will be a missionary church.

  • We believe the same Church founded by the Savior anciently has been reestablished on the earth by Him in the latter days. The doctrine, principles, priesthood authority, ordinances, and covenants of His gospel are found today in His Church.
  • When we invite you to attend church with us or to learn with the full-time missionaries, we are not trying to sell you a product. As members of the Church, we do not receive prizes or bonus points in a heavenly contest. We are not seeking simply to increase the numerical size of the Church. And most importantly, we are not attempting to coerce you to believe as we do. We are inviting you to hear the restored truths of the gospel of Jesus Christ so you can study, ponder, pray, and come to know for yourself if the things we are sharing with you are true.
  • The Atonement of Jesus Christ provides the cleanser necessary to be made pure and clean, the soothing salve to heal spiritual wounds and remove guilt, and the protection that enables us to be faithful in times both good and bad.
  • Absolute truth exists in a world that increasingly disdains and dismisses absolutes. In a future day, “every knee [shall] bow” and “every tongue [shall] confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:10–11). Jesus the Christ absolutely is the Only Begotten Son of the Eternal Father. As members of His Church, we witness He lives and His Church has been restored in its fulness in these latter days.

We Believe in Being Chaste: Obedience to the law of chastity will increase our happiness in mortality and make possible our progress in eternity.

  • The eternal importance of chastity can only be understood within the overarching context of our Heavenly Father’s plan of happiness for His children. “All human beings—male and female—are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and … has a divine nature and destiny” (“The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2010, 129).
  • The man and the woman are intended to learn from, strengthen, bless, and complete each other.
  • The power of procreation is spiritually significant. Misuse of this power subverts the purposes of the Father’s plan and of our mortal existence. Our Heavenly Father and His Beloved Son are creators and have entrusted each of us with a portion of Their creative power. Specific guidelines for the proper use of the ability to create life are vital elements in the Father’s plan. How we feel about and use that supernal power will determine in large measure our happiness in mortality and our destiny in eternity.
  • The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has a single, undeviating standard of sexual morality: intimate relations are proper only between a man and a woman in the marriage relationship prescribed in God’s plan. Such relations are not merely a curiosity to be explored, an appetite to be satisfied, or a type of recreation or entertainment to be pursued selfishly. They are not a conquest to be achieved or simply an act to be performed. Rather, they are in mortality one of the ultimate expressions of our divine nature and potential and a way of strengthening emotional and spiritual bonds between husband and wife. We are agents blessed with moral agency and are defined by our divine heritage as children of God—and not by sexual behaviors, contemporary attitudes, or secular philosophies.
  • Every appetite, desire, propensity, and impulse of the natural man may be overcome by and through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. We are here on the earth to develop godlike qualities and to bridle all of the passions of the flesh.
  • Satan relentlessly works to distort the most important elements of the Father’s plan. He does not have a body, and his eternal progress has been halted. Just as water flowing in a riverbed is stopped by a dam, so the adversary’s eternal progress is thwarted because he does not have a physical body. Because of his rebellion, Lucifer has denied himself all of the mortal blessings and experiences made possible through a body of flesh and bones. He cannot learn the lessons that only an embodied spirit can learn. He resents the reality of a literal and universal resurrection of all mankind. One of the potent scriptural meanings of the word damned is illustrated in his inability to continue developing and becoming like our Heavenly Father.

The Windows of Heaven: Spiritual and temporal blessings come into our lives as we live the law of tithing.

  • Yet some of the diverse blessings we obtain as we are obedient to this commandment are significant but subtle.
  • For example, a subtle but significant blessing we receive is the spiritual gift of gratitude that enables our appreciation for what we have to constrain desires for what we want. A grateful person is rich in contentment. An ungrateful person suffers in the poverty of endless discontentment (see Luke 12:15).
  • I promise that as you and I observe and keep the law of tithing, indeed the windows of heaven will be opened and spiritual and temporal blessings will be poured out such that there shall not be room enough to receive them (see Malachi 3:10).
  • I testify that as we are spiritually attentive and observant, we will be blessed with eyes that see more clearly, ears that hear more consistently, and hearts that understand more fully the significance and subtlety of His ways, His thoughts, and His blessings in our lives.

The Powers of Heaven: Priesthood holders young and old need both authority and power—the necessary permission and the spiritual capacity to represent God in the work of salvation.

  • Priesthood is the means whereby the Lord acts through men to save souls. One of the defining features of the Church of Jesus Christ, both anciently and today, is His authority. There can be no true Church without divine authority.
  • Nothing about the priesthood is self-centered. The priesthood always is used to serve, to bless, and to strengthen other people.
  • A boy or a man may receive priesthood authority by the laying on of hands but will have no priesthood power if he is disobedient, unworthy, or unwilling to serve.
  • Brethren, for a boy or a man to receive priesthood authority but neglect to do what is necessary to qualify for priesthood power is unacceptable to the Lord.

Converted unto the Lord: Knowing that the gospel is true is the essence of a testimony.  Consistently being true to the gospel is the essence of conversion.

  • Testimony brings increased personal accountability and is a source of purpose, assurance, and joy.
  • The essence of the gospel of Jesus Christ entails a fundamental and permanent change in our very nature made possible through the Savior’s Atonement.
  • Conversion requires all of our heart, all of our might, and all of our mind and strength (see D&C 4:2).
  • Testimony alone is not and will not be enough to protect us in the latter-day storm of darkness and evil in which we are living.

The Hearts of the Children Shall Turn: "I invite the young people of the Church to learn about and experience the Spirit of Elijah."

  • I witness that what is bound on earth can be bound in heaven.
  • Young people increasingly need to be learners who act and thereby receive additional light and knowledge by the power of the Holy Ghost—and not merely passive students who primarily are acted upon (see 2 Nephi 2:26).
  • We are the Lord’s agents in the work of salvation and exaltation that will prevent “the whole earth [from being] smitten with a curse” (D&C 110:15) when He returns again. This is our duty and great blessing.

The Spirit of Revelation: The spirit of revelation is real—and can and does function in our individual lives and in the Church.

  • Sometimes the spirit of revelation will operate immediately and intensely, other times subtly and gradually, and often so delicately you may not even consciously recognize it.
  • Most frequently, revelation comes in small increments over time and is granted according to our desire, worthiness, and preparation.
  • Because the Spirit whispers to us gently and delicately, it is easy to understand why we should shun inappropriate media, pornography, and harmful, addictive substances and behaviors.
  • But regardless of the pattern whereby this blessing is received, the light it provides will illuminate and enlarge your soul, enlighten your understanding (see Alma 5:7; 32:28), and direct and protect you and your family.
  • But regardless of the pattern whereby this blessing is received, the light it provides will illuminate and enlarge your soul, enlighten your understanding (see Alma 5:7; 32:28), and direct and protect you and your family.
  • Receive the Holy Ghost: These four words—“Receive the Holy Ghost”—are not a passive pronouncement; rather, they constitute a priesthood injunction—an authoritative admonition to act and not simply to be acted upon.

    • What should we do to make this authorized admonition to seek for the companionship of the third member of the Godhead an ongoing reality? Let me suggest that we need to (1) sincerely desire to receive the Holy Ghost, (2) appropriately invite the Holy Ghost into our lives, and (3) faithfully obey God’s commandments.
    • Quoting Joseph Smith, "... it (Holy Ghost) will take malice, hatred, envying, strife, and all evil from their hearts; and their whole desire will be to do good,..."

    More Diligent and Concerned at Home: "We can become more diligent and concerned at home as we are more faithful in learning, living, and loving the restored gospel of Jesus Christ." Listen

    Honorably Hold a Name and Standing; "The fire of the covenant will burn in the heart of every faithful member of this Church who shall worship and honorably hold a name and standing in the Lord’s holy house." Listen.

    • Thus, in the ordinances of the holy temple we more completely and fully take upon us the name of Jesus Christ.
    • The devil despises the purity in and the power of the Lord’s house.

    Ask In Faith: Meaningful prayer requires both holy communication and consecrated work. Listen.

    A short youtube video about this talk.

    Ye Must Be Born Again: "Through faith in Christ, we can be spiritually prepared and cleansed from sin, immersed in and saturated with His gospel, and purified and sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise."

    Clean Hands and a Pure Heart: "Our spiritual purpose is to overcome both sin and the desire to sin, both the taint and the tyranny of sin."

    • The gospel of Jesus Christ encompasses much more than avoiding, overcoming, and being cleansed from sin and the bad influences in our lives; it also essentially entails doing good, being good, and becoming better.
    • Preparing to walk guiltless before God is one of the primary purposes of mortality and the pursuit of a lifetime; it does not result from sporadic spurts of intense spiritual activity.
    • This mighty change is not simply the result of working harder or developing greater individual discipline. Rather, it is the consequence of a fundamental change in our desires, our motives, and our natures made possible through the Atonement of Christ the Lord.

    That We May Always Have His Spirit to Be with Us: "We should endeavor to discern when we “withdraw [ourselves] from the Spirit of the Lord” … [and] attend to and learn from the choices and influences that separate us from the Holy Spirit."

    And Nothing Shall Offend Them: "Through the strengthening power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, you and I can be blessed to avoid and triumph over offense."

    The Tender Mercies of the Lord: "I testify that the tender mercies of the Lord are available to all of us and that the Redeemer of Israel is eager to bestow such gifts upon us."

    Becoming a Missionary: "You and I, today and always, are to bear witness of Jesus Christ and declare the message of the Restoration. … Missionary work is a manifestation of our spiritual identity and heritage."

    Miscellaneous

    Seek Learning By Faith

    Things As They Really Are

    A Reservoir Of Living Water

    Seek Learning By Faith

    In The Strength Of The Lord

    The Character of Christ

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