In his October 2015 general conference talk, Elder David A. Bednar, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, spoke of the final years in the lives of recent church leaders.
“These servants shared with us in the concluding years of their mortal ministries powerful spiritual summaries of lessons learned through decades of consecrated service,” Elder Bednar said. “These leaders imparted truths of great worth at a time when some may believe they had the least to give.”
He shared the final testimonies of those with whom he has served during his time as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, beginning with President James E. Faust and ending with Elder Richard G. Scott, who died in September of this year.
“I am not suggesting the final messages of these beloved men necessarily were the most noteworthy or important of their ministries,” Elder Bednar said. “However, the sum of their spiritual learning and life experiences enabled these leaders to emphasize eternal truths with absolute authenticity and great, penetrating power.”
Inspired by Elder Bednar’s talk on these final testimonies, we have collected quotes from the final general conference address given by each prophet or apostle who has died since Elder Richard L. Evans in November of 1971.
Elder Bruce R. McConkie
July 29, 1915 – April 19, 1985
During the Saturday morning session of the April 1985 general conference, Elder Bruce R. McConkie gave his address titled “The Purifying Power of Gethsemane.” During his talk, Elder McConkie, who would pass away less than two weeks later, discussed Christ’s love and the Atonement.
“I am one of his witnesses, and in a coming day I shall feel the nail marks in his hands and in his feet and shall wet his feet with my tears.
“But I shall not know any better then than I know now that he is God’s Almighty Son, that he is our Savior and Redeemer, and that salvation comes in and through his atoning blood and in no other way.”
Click here to read “The Purifying Power of Gethsemane.”
President Spencer W. Kimball
March 28, 1895 – Nov. 5, 1985
Due to health issues, during the Saturday morning session of the October 1982 General Conference, President Spencer W. Kimball’s personal secretary, D. Arthur Haycock, read his address titled “The Lord Expects Righteousness.”President Kimball’s address focused on the changing times and the everlasting gospel. He also shared his witness of living prophets and apostles.
“My brothers and sisters, there seems to be a general state of wickedness in the world in these perilous yet crucially momentous days. But in the midst of all the turmoil about us, we can have an inner peace. We are richly blessed and have so much to be thankful for. As I meditate upon these things, I remember the words of the Lord, ‘For unto whomsoever much is given, of him much shall be required’ (Luke 12:48). The Lord expects of us righteousness and obedience to his commandments in return for the bounties of life he has so richly bestowed upon us.”
Click here to read “The Lord Expects Righteousness.”
President Ezra Taft Benson
Aug. 4, 1899 – May 30, 1994
During the Saturday morning session of the October 1989 general conference, President Thomas S. Monson, who was the second counselor in the First Presidency at the time, read President Ezra Taft Benson’s address titled “To the Elderly in the Church.”
“God bless the elderly in the church. I love you with all my heart. I am one of you.
“You have so much to live for. May these golden years be your very best years as you fully live and love and serve. And God bless those who minister to your needs — your family, your friends and your fellow Church members and leaders.”
Click here to read “To the Elderly in the Church.”
Elder Neal A. Maxwell
July 6, 1926 – July 21, 2004
During the priesthood session of the April 2004 general conference, Elder Neal A. Maxwell gave his address titled“Remember How Merciful the Lord Hath Been.” During his talk, Elder Maxwell invited the brethren to recall memories and count their blessings. He also spoke of using agency to follow God.
“Brethren, there are clusters of memories embedded in each of your lives. And these can help us to ‘remember how merciful the Lord hath been’ (Moro. 10:3). He certainly has been to me!
“Brethren, as you submit your wills to God, you are giving him the only thing you can actually give him that is really yours to give. Don’t wait too long to find the altar or to begin to place the gift of your wills upon it! No need to wait for a receipt; the Lord has his own special ways of acknowledging.”
Click here to read “Remember How Merciful the Lord Hath Been.”
President Gordon B. Hinckley
June 23, 1910 – Jan. 27, 2008
During the Sunday morning session of the October 2007 general conference, President Gordon B. Hinckley gave his address titled “The Stone Cut Out of the Mountain.”President Hinckley explained that the Lord’s promise to help the church move forward was being fulfilled. He also shared his testimony of the Restoration and encouraged those listening to gain their own testimonies of Joseph Smith’s First Vision.
“To you, this day, I affirm my witness of the calling of the Prophet Joseph, of his works, of the sealing of his testimony with his blood as a martyr to the eternal truth. Each of you can bear witness of the same thing. You and I are faced with the stark question of accepting the truth of the First Vision and that which followed it. On the question of its reality lies the very validity of this church. If it is the truth, and I testify that it is, then the work in which we are engaged is the most important work on the earth.”
Click here to read “The Stone Cut Out of the Mountain.”