The Teachings of Jeffrey R. Holland; Prophet Seer And Revelator



Elder Jeffrey R Holland became a twelve apostle for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints on June 23, 1994. His working days were in education. Study more on Elder Jeffrey R Holland.

Conference Talks

Songs Sung and Unsung


Surely it follows that in singing the anthems of eternity, we should stand as close as humanly possible to the Savior and Redeemer of the world—who has absolutely perfect pitch. We then take courage from His ability to hear our silence and take hope from His melodious messianic intercession in our behalf.

When we disparage our uniqueness or try to conform to fictitious stereotypes—stereotypes driven by an insatiable consumer culture and idealized beyond any possible realization by social media—we lose the richness of tone and timbre that God intended when He created a world of diversity.

When I see the staggering economic inequality in the world, I feel guilty singing with Mrs. Hewitt of “blessings which [God] gives me now [and] joys ‘laid up’ above.” That chorus cannot be fully, faithfully sung until we have honorably cared for the poor. Economic deprivation is a curse that keeps on cursing, year after year and generation after generation. It damages bodies, maims spirits, harms families, and destroys dreams. If we could do more to alleviate poverty, as Jesus repeatedly commands us to do, maybe some of the less fortunate in the world could hum a few notes of “There Is Sunshine in My Soul Today,” perhaps for the first time in their lives.


I also find it hard to sing sunny, bouncy lyrics when so many around us suffer from mental and emotional illness or other debilitating health limitations. Unfortunately, these burdens sometimes persist despite the valiant efforts of many kinds of caregivers, including family members. I pray we will not let these children of God suffer in silence and that we will be endowed with His capacity to hear the songs they cannot now sing.


And someday I hope a great global chorus will harmonize across all racial and ethnic lines, declaring that guns, slurs, and vitriol are not the way to deal with human conflict. The declarations of heaven cry out to us that the only way complex societal issues can ever be satisfactorily resolved is by loving God and keeping His commandments, thus opening the door to the one lasting, salvific way to love each other as neighbors. The prophet Ether taught that we should “hope for a better world.”


Reading that thought a thousand years later, war- and violence-weary Moroni declared that the “more excellent way” to that world will always be the gospel of Jesus Christ.


How grateful we are that in the midst of these kinds of challenges, there comes, from time to time, another kind of song that we find ourselves unable to sing, but for a different reason. This is when feelings are so deep and personal, even so sacred, that they either cannot be or should not be expressed—like Cordelia’s love for her father, of which she said: “My love’s … richer than my tongue. … I cannot heave my heart into my mouth.”

Coming to us as something holy, these sentiments are simply unutterable—spiritually ineffable—like the prayer Jesus offered for the Nephite children. Those who were witnesses to that event recorded:


“Eye hath never seen, neither hath the ear heard … so great and marvelous things as we saw and heard Jesus speak unto the Father;


“… No tongue can speak, neither can there be written by any man, neither can the hearts of men conceive so great and marvelous things as we both saw and heard Jesus speak.”


These kinds of sanctified moments remain unuttered because expression, even if it were possible, might seem like desecration.


I testify that hour will come, that God our Eternal Father will again send to earth His Only Begotten Son, this time to rule and reign as King of kings forever.


Emissaries To The Church

Yet still we struggle to achieve anywhere near an acceptable standard of performance regarding the Lord’s commandment “to watch over the church always” through priesthood home teaching.

Brethren, the appeal I am making tonight is for you to lift your vision of home teaching. Please, in newer, better ways see yourselves as emissaries of the Lord to His children. That means leaving behind the tradition of a frantic, law of Moses–like, end-of-the-month calendar in which you rush to give a scripted message from the Church magazines that the family has already read. We would hope, rather, that you will establish an era of genuine, gospel-oriented concern for the members, watching over and caring for each other, addressing spiritual and temporal needs in any way that helps.


Now, as for what “counts” as home teaching, every good thing you do “counts,” so report it all! Indeed, the report that matters most is how you have blessed and cared for those within your stewardship, which has virtually nothing to do with a specific calendar or a particular location. What matters is that you love your people and are fulfilling the commandment “to watch over the church always.”


My brethren of the holy priesthood, when we speak of home teaching or watchcare or personal priesthood ministry—call it what you will—this is what we are talking about. We are asking you as home teachers to be God’s emissaries to His children, to love and care and pray for the people you are assigned, as we love and care and pray for you. May you be vigilant in tending the flock of God in ways consistent with your circumstances, I pray, in the name of the Good Shepherd of us all, whose witness I am, even the Lord Jesus Christ, amen.

Tomorrow The Lord Will Do Wonders Among You: Keep loving. Keep trying. Keep trusting. Keep believing. Keep growing. Heaven is cheering you on today, tomorrow, and forever.

Realizing that we all have to come down from peak experiences to deal with the regular vicissitudes of life, may I offer this encouragement as general conference concludes.


First of all, if in the days ahead you not only see limitations in those around you but also find elements in your own life that don’t yet measure up to the messages you have heard this weekend, please don’t be cast down in spirit and don’t give up. The gospel, the Church, and these wonderful semiannual gatherings are intended to give hope and inspiration. They are not intended to discourage you. Only the adversary, the enemy of us all, would try to convince us that the ideals outlined in general conference are depressing and unrealistic, that people don’t really improve, that no one really progresses. And why does Lucifer give that speech? Because he knows he can’t improve, he can’t progress, that worlds without end he will never have a bright tomorrow. He is a miserable man bound by eternal limitations, and he wants you to be miserable too. Well, don’t fall for that. With the gift of the Atonement of Jesus Christ and the strength of heaven to help us, we can improve, and the great thing about the gospel is we get credit for trying, even if we don’t always succeed.


Please remember tomorrow, and all the days after that, that the Lord blesses those who want to improve, who accept the need for commandments and try to keep them, who cherish Christlike virtues and strive to the best of their ability to acquire them. If you stumble in that pursuit, so does everyone; the Savior is there to help you keep going. If you fall, summon His strength. Call out like Alma, “O Jesus, … have mercy on me.” He will help you get back up. He will help you repent, repair, fix whatever you have to fix, and keep going. Soon enough you will have the success you seek.


My brothers and sisters, the first great commandment of all eternity is to love God with all of our heart, might, mind, and strength—that’s the first great commandment. But the first great truth of all eternity is that God loves us with all of His heart, might, mind, and strength. That love is the foundation stone of eternity, and it should be the foundation stone of our daily life. Indeed it is only with that reassurance burning in our soul that we can have the confidence to keep trying to improve, keep seeking forgiveness for our sins, and keep extending that grace to our neighbor.


President George Q. Cannon once taught: “No matter how serious the trial, how deep the distress, how great the affliction, [God] will never desert us. He never has, and He never will. He cannot do it. It is not His character [to do so]. … He will [always] stand by us. We may pass through the fiery furnace; we may pass through deep waters; but we shall not be consumed nor overwhelmed. We shall emerge from all these trials and difficulties the better and purer for them.”

Now, with that majestic devotion ringing from heaven as the great constant in our lives, manifested most purely and perfectly in the life, death, and Atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ, we can escape the consequences of both sin and stupidity—our own or that of others—in whatever form they may come to us in the course of daily living. If we give our heart to God, if we love the Lord Jesus Christ, if we do the best we can to live the gospel, then tomorrow—and every other day—is ultimately going to be magnificent, even if we don’t always recognize it as such. Why? Because our Heavenly Father wants it to be! He wants to bless us. A rewarding, abundant, and eternal life is the very object of His merciful plan for His children! It is a plan predicated on the truth “that all things work together for good to them that love God.”So keep loving. Keep trying. Keep trusting. Keep believing. Keep growing. Heaven is cheering you on today, tomorrow, and forever.


May He bless us to strive with patience and persistence toward the ideals we have heard proclaimed this conference weekend, knowing that His divine love and unfailing help will be with us even when we struggle—no, will be with us especially when we struggle.

Behold Thy Mother: No love in mortality comes closer to approximating the pure love of Jesus Christ than the selfless love a devoted mother has for her child.

Bear, borne, carry, deliver. These are powerful, heartening messianic words. They convey help and hope for safe movement from where we are to where we need to be—but cannot get without assistance. These words also connote burden, struggle, and fatigue—words most appropriate in describing the mission of Him who, at unspeakable cost, lifts us up when we have fallen, carries us forward when strength is gone, delivers us safely home when safety seems far beyond our reach. “My Father sent me,” He said, “that I might be lifted up upon the cross; … that as I have been lifted up … even so should men be lifted up … to … me.”

Today I declare from this pulpit what has been said here before: that no love in mortality comes closer to approximating the pure love of Jesus Christ than the selfless love a devoted mother has for her child.

You see, it is not only that they bear us, but they continue bearing with us. It is not only the prenatal carrying but the lifelong carrying that makes mothering such a staggering feat. Of course, there are heartbreaking exceptions, but most mothers know intuitively, instinctively that this is a sacred trust of the highest order. The weight of that realization, especially on young maternal shoulders, can be very daunting.


What mothers do is an essential element of Christ’s work. Knowing that should be enough to tell us the impact of such love will range between unbearable and transcendent, over and over again, until with the safety and salvation of the very last child on earth, we can [then] say with Jesus, ‘[Father!] I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.’

To all of our mothers everywhere, past, present, or future, I say, “Thank you. Thank you for giving birth, for shaping souls, for forming character, and for demonstrating the pure love of Christ.” To Mother Eve, to Sarah, Rebekah, and Rachel, to Mary of Nazareth, and to a Mother in Heaven, I say, “Thank you for your crucial role in fulfilling the purposes of eternity.” To all mothers in every circumstance, including those who struggle—and all will—I say, “Be peaceful. Believe in God and yourself. You are doing better than you think you are. In fact, you are saviors on Mount Zion, and like the Master you follow, your love ‘never faileth.’” I can pay no higher tribute to anyone. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Where Justice, Love, and Mercy Meet: Jesus Christ suffered, died, and rose from death in order that He could lift us to eternal life.

My beloved brothers and sisters, today is Easter Sunday. Although we should always remember (we promise in our weekly sacramental prayers that we will), nevertheless this is the most sacred day of the year for special remembrance of brotherly hands and determined arms that reached into the abyss of death to save us from our fallings and our failings, from our sorrows and our sins.

Is our only purpose in life an empty existential exercise—simply to leap as high as we can, hang on for our prescribed three score years and ten, then fail and fall, and keep falling forever?

So today we celebrate the gift of victory over every fall we have ever experienced, every sorrow we have ever known, every discouragement we have ever had, every fear we have ever faced—to say nothing of our resurrection from death and forgiveness for our sins. That victory is available to us because of events that transpired on a weekend precisely like this nearly two millennia ago in Jerusalem.


Are We Not All Beggars?: Rich or poor, we are to “do what we can” when others are in need.

  • Down through history, poverty has been one of humankind’s greatest and most widespread challenges. Its obvious toll is usually physical, but the spiritual and emotional damage it can bring may be even more debilitating.
  • Note the imperative tone of that passage—“they shall not suffer.” That is language God uses when He means business.
  • For one thing, we can, as King Benjamin taught, cease withholding our means because we see the poor as having brought their misery upon themselves. Perhaps some have created their own difficulties, but don’t the rest of us do exactly the same thing? Isn’t that why this compassionate ruler asks, “Are we not all beggars?” Don’t we all cry out for help and hope and answers to prayers? Don’t we all beg for forgiveness for mistakes we have made and troubles we have caused? Don’t we all implore that grace will compensate for our weaknesses, that mercy will triumph over justice at least in our case? Little wonder that King Benjamin says we obtain a remission of our sins by pleading to God, who compassionately responds, but we retain a remission of our sins by compassionately responding to the poor who plead to us.
  • I also know that although I may not be my brother’s keeper, I am my brother’s brother, and “because I have been given much, I too must give.”

Lord, I Believe: Honestly acknowledge your questions and your concerns, but first and forever fan the flame of your faith, because all things are possible to them that believe.

  • In the growth we all have to experience in mortality, the spiritual equivalent of this boy’s affliction or this parent’s desperation is going to come to all of us.
  • The size of your faith or the degree of your knowledge is not the issue—it is the integrity you demonstrate toward the faith you do have and the truth you already know.
  • The scriptures phrase such earnest desire as being of “real intent,” pursued “with full purpose of heart, acting no hypocrisy and no deception before God.” I testify that in response to that kind of importuning, God will send help from both sides of the veil to strengthen our belief.
  • I know that Joseph Smith, who acknowledged that he wasn’t perfect, was nevertheless the chosen instrument in God’s hand to restore the everlasting gospel to the earth. I also know that in doing so—particularly through translating the Book of Mormon—he has taught me more of God’s love, of Christ’s divinity, and of priesthood power than any other prophet of whom I have ever read, known, or heard in a lifetime of seeking.
  • I know this work is God’s very truth, and I know that only at our peril would we allow doubt or devils to sway us from its path.

Like a Broken Vessel:

How do you best respond when mental or emotional challenges confront you or those you love?


  • In striving for some peace and understanding in these difficult matters, it is crucial to remember that we are living—and chose to live—in a fallen world where for divine purposes our pursuit of godliness will be tested and tried again and again. Of greatest assurance in God’s plan is that a Savior was promised, a Redeemer, who through our faith in Him would lift us triumphantly over those tests and trials, even though the cost to do so would be unfathomable for both the Father who sent Him and the Son who came. It is only an appreciation of this divine love that will make our own lesser suffering first bearable, then understandable, and finally redemptive.
  • So how do you best respond when mental or emotional challenges confront you or those you love? Above all, never lose faith in your Father in Heaven, who loves you more than you can comprehend. As President Monson said to the Relief Society sisters so movingly last Saturday evening: “That love never changes. … It is there for you when you are sad or happy, discouraged or hopeful. God’s love is there for you whether or not you feel you deserve [it]. It is simply always there.” Never, ever doubt that, and never harden your heart. Faithfully pursue the time-tested devotional practices that bring the Spirit of the Lord into your life. Seek the counsel of those who hold keys for your spiritual well-being. Ask for and cherish priesthood blessings. Take the sacrament every week, and hold fast to the perfecting promises of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Believe in miracles. I have seen so many of them come when every other indication would say that hope was lost. Hope is never lost. If those miracles do not come soon or fully or seemingly at all, remember the Savior’s own anguished example: if the bitter cup does not pass, drink it and be strong, trusting in happier days ahead.
  • If you had appendicitis, God would expect you to seek a priesthood blessing and get the best medical care available. So too with emotional disorders. Our Father in Heaven expects us to use all of the marvelous gifts He has provided in this glorious dispensation.
  • Also let us remember that through any illness or difficult challenge, there is still much in life to be hopeful about and grateful for. We are infinitely more than our limitations or our afflictions!
  • Whatever your struggle, my brothers and sisters—mental or emotional or physical or otherwise—do not vote against the preciousness of life by ending it! Trust in God. Hold on in His love. Know that one day the dawn will break brightly and all shadows of mortality will flee. Though we may feel we are “like a broken vessel,” as the Psalmist says, we must remember, that vessel is in the hands of the divine potter. Broken minds can be healed just the way broken bones and broken hearts are healed. While God is at work making those repairs, the rest of us can help by being merciful, nonjudgmental, and kind.

The Laborers In the Vineyard: Please listen to the prompting of the Holy Spirit telling you right now, this very moment, that you should accept the atoning gift of the Lord Jesus Christ.

  • Then this piercing question to anyone then or now who needs to hear it: “Why should you be jealous because I choose to be kind?”
  • Brothers and sisters, there are going to be times in our lives when someone else gets an unexpected blessing or receives some special recognition. May I plead with us not to be hurt—and certainly not to feel envious—when good fortune comes to another person? We are not diminished when someone else is added upon. We are not in a race against each other to see who is the wealthiest or the most talented or the most beautiful or even the most blessed. The race we are really in is the race against sin, and surely envy is one of the most universal of those.
  • The formula of faith is to hold on, work on, see it through, and let the distress of earlier hours—real or imagined—fall away in the abundance of the final reward. Don’t dwell on old issues or grievances—not toward yourself nor your neighbor nor even, I might add, toward this true and living Church. The majesty of your life, of your neighbor’s life, and of the gospel of Jesus Christ will be made manifest at the last day, even if such majesty is not always recognized by everyone in the early going. So don’t hyperventilate about something that happened at 9:00 in the morning when the grace of God is trying to reward you at 6:00 in the evening—whatever your labor arrangements have been through the day.
  • Which leads me to my third and last point. This parable—like all parables—is not really about laborers or wages any more than the others are about sheep and goats. This is a story about God’s goodness, His patience and forgiveness, and the Atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is a story about generosity and compassion. It is a story about grace. It underscores the thought I heard many years ago that surely the thing God enjoys most about being God is the thrill of being merciful, especially to those who don’t expect it and often feel they don’t deserve it.
  • I testify that you have not traveled beyond the reach of divine love. It is not possible for you to sink lower than the infinite light of Christ’s Atonement shines.
  • I especially make an appeal for husbands and fathers, priesthood bearers or prospective priesthood bearers, to, as Lehi said, “Awake! and arise from the dust … and be men.” Not always but often it is the men who choose not to answer the call to “come join the ranks.” Women and children frequently seem more willing. Brethren, step up. Do it for your sake. Do it for the sake of those who love you and are praying that you will respond. Do it for the sake of the Lord Jesus Christ, who paid an unfathomable price for the future He wants you to have.
  • His concern is for the faith at which you finally arrive, not the hour of the day in which you got there.

The First Great Commandment: We have a life of devoted discipleship to give in demonstrating our love of the Lord.

  • To which Jesus responded (and here again I acknowledge my nonscriptural elaboration), perhaps saying something like: “Then Peter, why are you here? Why are we back on this same shore, by these same nets, having this same conversation? Wasn’t it obvious then and isn’t it obvious now that if I want fish, I can get fish? What I need, Peter, are disciples—and I need them forever. I need someone to feed my sheep and save my lambs. I need someone to preach my gospel and defend my faith. I need someone who loves me, truly, truly loves me, and loves what our Father in Heaven has commissioned me to do. Ours is not a feeble message. It is not a fleeting task. It is not hapless; it is not hopeless; it is not to be consigned to the ash heap of history. It is the work of Almighty God, and it is to change the world. So, Peter, for the second and presumably the last time, I am asking you to leave all this and to go teach and testify, labor and serve loyally until the day in which they will do to you exactly what they did to me.”
  • Then, turning to all the Apostles, He might well have said something like: “Were you as foolhardy as the scribes and Pharisees? As Herod and Pilate? Did you, like they, think that this work could be killed simply by killing me? Did you, like they, think the cross and the nails and the tomb were the end of it all and each could blissfully go back to being whatever you were before? Children, did not my life and my love touch your hearts more deeply than this?
  • After an encounter with the living Son of the living God, nothing is ever again to be as it was before. The Crucifixion, Atonement, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ mark the beginning of a Christian life, not the end of it. It was this truth, this reality, that allowed a handful of Galilean fishermen-turned-again-Apostles without “a single synagogue or sword”  to leave those nets a second time and go on to shape the history of the world in which we now live.
  • To those who were once with us but have retreated, preferring to pick and choose a few cultural hors d’oeuvres from the smorgasbord of the Restoration and leave the rest of the feast, I say that I fear you face a lot of long nights and empty nets.

We Are All Enlisted: "From every man, young and old, who bears the priesthood, I ask for a stronger and more devoted voice, … a voice for good, a voice for the gospel, a voice for God."

An Ensign to the Nations: "If we teach by the Spirit and you listen by the Spirit, some one of us will touch on your circumstance."

Because Of Your Faith: My thanks to all you wonderful members of the Church … for proving every day of your life that the pure love of Christ “never faileth.”

Safety for the Soul: "I want it absolutely clear when I stand before the judgment bar of God that I declared to the world . . . that the Book of Mormon is true."


None Were with Him: "Trumpeted from the summit of Calvary is the truth that we will never be left alone nor unaided, even if sometimes we may feel that we are." 

Watch a short 4:25 minute video clip about this talk.

Place No More For The Enemy Of My Soul: May the joy of our fidelity to the highest and best within us be ours as we keep our love and our marriages, our society and our souls, as pure as they were meant to be

The Ministry Of Angels: "God never leaves us alone, never leaves us unaided in the challenges that we face." 

My Words . . . Never Cease: We invite all to inquire into the wonder of what God has said since biblical times and is saying even now. 

The Only True God and Jesus Christ Whom He Hath Sent: We declare it is self-evident from the scriptures that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost are separate persons, three divine beings. 

The Tongue of Angels: Our words, like our deeds, should be filled with faith and hope and charity. 

Prophets In The Land Again: It is no trivial matter for this Church to declare to the world prophecy, seership, and revelation, but we do declare it. Listen.

Broken Things To Mend: When He says to the poor in spirit, "Come unto me," He means He knows the way out and He knows the way up. 

To Young Women: Be a woman of Christ. Cherish your esteemed place in the sight of God. He needs you. This Church needs you. The world needs you. 

Our Most Distinguishing Feature: The priesthood of God . . . is as indispensable to the true Church of God as it is unique to it.

Prophets, Seers, and Revelators: The First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve are commissioned by God and sustained . . . as prophets, seers, and revelators. 

Abide in Me: For the fruit of the gospel to blossom and bless our lives, we must be firmly attached to Him, the Savior of us all. 

The Grandeur of God: "In word and in deed Jesus was trying to reveal and make personal to us the true nature of His Father, our Father in Heaven.

A Prayer for the Children: As parents we can hold life together . . . with love and faith, passed on to the next generation, one child at a time. 

Called to Serve: To raise our families and serve faithfully in the Church, all without running faster than we have strength, require wisdom, judgment, divine help—and inevitably some sacrifice.

The Other Prodigal: "No one of us is less treasured or cherished of God than another. I testify that He loves each of us—insecurities, anxieties, self-image, and all." This is another incredible talk.

Devotionals, Firesides And Other Speaches

Terror, Triumph, and a Wedding Feast

Lessons From Liberty Jail

The Will Of The Father

  • “1 will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded” (1 Nephi 3:7). I confess that I wince a little when I hear that promise quoted so casually among us. Jesus knew what that kind of commitment would entail, and so now does Nephi. And so will a host of others before it is over. That vow took Christ to the cross on Calvary, and it remains at the heart of every Christian covenant. “I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded.” Well, we shall see.
  • The work of devils and of darkness is never more certain to be defeated than when men and women, not finding it easy or pleasant but still determined to do the Father’s will, look out upon their lives from which it may seem every trace of God has vanished, and asking why they have been so forsaken, still bow their heads and obey. [Paraphrased from C. S. Lewis,The Screwtape Letters (New York: Macmillan Publishing Co., 1961), p. 39]


Remember Lot's Wife

The Bitter Cup and the Bloody Baptism

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