Elder Kearon delivers first general conference address since new calling as apostle

Apr 7, 2024, 12:06 PM | Updated: 6:47 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — The newest apostle of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints spoke to the faith’s worldwide membership for the first time Sunday since receiving his call.

Elder Patrick Kearon was one of the speakers during the Sunday morning session of the 194th Annual General Conference.

Elder Kearon, who is from England, told Church members it has been a “humbling” time since he was ordained an apostle in December 2023, just weeks after the passing of President M. Russell Ballard, who had served as acting president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

“It has been a time of extraordinary upheaval and sobering self-examination,” said Elder Kearon. “It is, of course, a great honor to serve the Savior in any capacity, and to be engaged with you in sharing the good news of His gospel of hope.”

Prior to his call as an apostle, Elder Kearon was serving in the Church’s Presidency of the Seventy.

“It has been said that behind every new apostle stands an astonished mother-in-law,” said Elder Kearon to laughter. “I don’t know if that has actually been said, but in this case, it certainly could be.”

During his first general conference remarks as an apostle, Elder Kearon focused on God’s desire to “bring you home.”

“God is in relentless pursuit of you,” said Elder Kearon. “He wants all of His children to choose to return to Him, and He employs every possible measure to bring you back.”

As part of his talk, Elder Kearon told a story of watching a police officer in another country set up a roadblock while seeming to “take satisfaction in his power to block the flow of traffic and turn people away.”

“The Father’s plan is not about roadblocks. It never was, it never will be,” Elder Kearon said. “Are there things we need to do, commandments to keep, aspects of our natures to change? Yes. But with His grace, those are within our reach, not beyond our grasp.”

During the Sunday morning session, Church members also heard from President Dallin H. Oaks, first counselor in the First Presidency. He spoke about covenants as “a commitment to fulfill certain responsibilities.”

“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is constructing temples all over the world,” President Oaks said. “Their purpose is to bless the covenant children of God with temple worship and with the sacred responsibilities and powers and unique blessings of being bound to Christ they receive by covenant.”

President Oaks added, “The Church of Jesus Christ is known as a church that emphasizes making covenants with God. Covenants are inherent in each of the ordinances of salvation and exaltation this restored Church administers.”

Church President Russell M. Nelson did not attend the Conference Center in person for the Sunday morning session but instead watched the proceedings from his home. The day before, President Nelson attended the Saturday afternoon session in person.

Thousands of people flocked to downtown Salt Lake City this weekend to attend general conference, with millions more throughout the world who took part via technology.

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Elder Kearon delivers first general conference address since new calling as apostle