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Remarks offered by Elder Hamilton in a devotional to the Area Office Staff in Johannesburg upon the Area Presidency’s return from General Conference on April 9, 2018.

General Conference Impressions

Elder Kevin S. and Sister Claudia Hamilton

Remarks by Elder Hamilton

Brothers and Sisters, good morning. Bonjour!  We are pleased to be able to attend conference every six months.  It is wonderful to be with the senior brethren of the Church, the apostles and prophets -- to feel their spirit and to feel particularly that we have a prophet in Israel today.  It really was remarkable to watch President Nelson rise up and take upon him that prophetic mantle.  We have known him for many years, we have been with him on assignments, but it is different today.  He is the prophet of the Lord today and it is just different.

I was thinking about prophets -- thinking about our unique position in the world as the only true and living Church, with true and living prophets.  Reading from the LDS Guide to the Scriptures: “A Prophet is a person who has been called by and speaks for God.  As a messenger of God, the Prophet receives commandments, prophecies and revelations from God.  His responsibility is to make known God’s will and true character to mankind and to show the meaning of his dealings with them.  His primary responsibility, however, is to bear witness of Christ.”

That’s an interesting statement.  The President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is God’s prophet on earth today.  The First Presidency and the Twelve Apostles are sustained as Prophets, Seers, and Revelators.  We, the Seventy, act under the direction of the First Presidency and the Twelve, and unitedly we bear testimony that we have a prophet on the earth today.  In fact, fifteen prophets.  One of whom has been designated as the senior apostle and who presides over the Church as the President of the Church.

We are grateful for President Nelson.  Now, he is a remarkable man. As you know, he is 93. But he acts 63.  I am 63 and he acts younger than I do.  He still snow skis.  He is very energetic, very engaged.  I always find it interesting that whenever he sees me he comes up, will always take my arm, and he will say, “Kevin, how is Africa?”  First, that he would know my name, kind of surprises me.  Secondly, that he would know where I am serving.  He is a remarkable apostle who has been raised up for many years.  Thirty-four years.  He and Elder Oaks were called at the same time and they have served side-by-side all of these years and now take their place in the First Presidency.

Many people thought that all of these changes were the result of a brand-new prophet moving quickly to get things done.  That’s not quite true. All of these changes have been discussed, pondered, and prayed about for many years.  I first heard of the combination of the High Priest Group and the Elders Quorum in 2013 -- that was five years ago.  And so, over that period of time it has been discussed, it has been thought about and prayed about.  They have counseled together, they have been in the Temple discussing the matter, and now it is rolling forward in the Lord’s own time and in the Lord’s own way.  Now is the time to bring this forth and to combine the two quorums and to strengthen the Melchezidek Priesthood.

The announcement on ministering was important.  Listen carefully to Elder Holland’s talk in 2016, called “Emissaries to the Lord”.  You will remember it – about the women who had a flood in her home -- she was mopping up the flood in their basement when the home teachers show up and say, “Oh, we see you are busy.  We will come back another time.”  If you read that talk again in the context of what was just announced in conference, you will see that Elder Holland was messaging to the Church the changes that were coming as we transition to ministering from home teaching and visiting teaching.  So, the brethren move very carefully and very surely, but they move in a positive way, and when things are ready they are brought forth to be sustained by the members of the Church.

President Nelson has been watching for 34 years.  He has been waiting carefully, preparing, watching, observing, standing in the wings and so it’ss not like he just comes in as a brand-new prophet.  He knows what to do.  He knows where we are at.  He knows what’s been discussed.  He knows what’s needed to move the Church forward and brings that energy and that spirit of revelation to the table.

We are extremely grateful for President Monson -- we loved President Monson -- we miss President Monson.  He was unique among Apostles.  He served for 53 years -- called at the age of 36 and served most of his adult life as a Prophet, Seer and Revelator.  But he has been transferred to his next assignment and the Church goes on.  It was interesting in January when this all took place.  This ten-day period, which is known as the Apostolic Intereggnum, is where the First Presidency is dissolved upon the death of the president of the Church.  The Quorum of the Twelve assumes leadership of the Church, and the President of the Quorum of the Twelve -- President Nelson in this case -- is the one who actually presides over the Church.  We didn’t miss a beat.  Nothing happened.  Nothing changed.  Nothing dramatic took place.  The Church continued to move forward.  After President Monson’s funeral, and with the proper passage of time, the thirteen living apostles met on the fourth floor of the Salt Lake Temple and there, in a unanimous fashion, made the decision to move forward with the ordination and setting apart of the new President of the Church.  And there, President Nelson was set apart -- with the remaining twelve apostles laying their hands on his head unitedly and setting him apart as the new President of the Church.  Now the keys, he already held, because all the living apostles hold all the keys, all the time.  But the President of the Church -- authorized to use all priesthood keys -- was given that authority in that setting apart in January of this year.

We are so grateful to have living apostles and prophets.  From Ephesians 2, the apostle Paul taught, “[We are] built upon a foundation of apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone.”  In Doctrine and Covenants 1, verse 14 reads, “The arm of the Lord shall be revealed; and the day cometh that they who will not hear the voice of the Lord, neither the voice of his servants, neither give heed to the words of the prophets and apostles shall be cut off from among the people.”

We sustain the brethren, we follow the brethren, we raise our arm to the square and publicly manifest that we will follow the brethren, and then we go forward in our private lives -- day by day, hour by hour -- living the gospel, keeping the covenants, following the brethren, sustaining the brethren, and doing what we have been asked to do.

It is my witness, my deep and abiding testimony, that we have living prophets at the head of the Church.  Section 1 of the Doctrine and Covenants, verse 30, says that this is the only true and living church on the face of the earth, which is a bold statement until you put it into context.  It is true and living because we have living prophets, and that makes it a living Church.  We sustain the notion that the restoration is continuing, that as we move forward in this last dispensation of time we believe that the Lord has revealed and will yet reveal many great and important things.  President Nelson, in our training, referenced a number of times that he believes that many of the greatest things are yet to come.  He is very optimistic, very enthused, and very excited about the time we live in.  Not diminishing the fact that it is a difficult time and that there is a lot of things going on in the world -- it is also a very exciting time.

I was impressed this conference, as I have been for the last few conferences with the references to the Second Coming.  It’s not every time that you hear the brethren speak of the Second Coming.  But in this conference, April 2018, four different talks referenced the Second Coming.  President Nelson, Elder Gong, Elder Cook, and Sister Bingham.  In October 2017, there were three talks which referenced the Second Coming -- again President Nelson, as President of the Quorum of the Twelve.  In October 2016 there were two talks.  In April 2016 – again, President Nelson.  In October 2015 – again, President Nelson.  In the last six conferences, President Nelson has spoken about the Second Coming four times.

Now I don’t know exactly what that means other than there’s kind of an increasing frequency of reference to the Second Coming.  No man knoweth the hour, no man knoweth the day – not even the Brethren.  Only God in Heaven knows when the Second Coming of the Savior occurs.  Will it be in my life time, I doubt it. My children’s life time, maybe.  My grandchildren’s life time, perhaps.  But we know that He comes.  This we know for sure and we know that our duty, our responsibility is to prepare the earth for the Second Coming of the Savior.  We do that as we sustain and obey the living Prophets, the Oracles of God, those who hold the keys.  We are building the kingdom of God on the earth so that the kingdom of Heaven can come.

I testify that he comes. He comes a second time, and this is a great building season, a great preparatory season.  It is a wonderful time to be alive.  It is a wonderful time to be Latter-day Saints.  It is a wonderful time to be engaged in this great work of salvation.  As a witness and an ordained Seventy, I declare my testimony that God lives, Jesus is the Christ.  This is His Church, and President Russell Nelson is His Prophet.

I so testify in the name of Jesus Christ.