“How Can I Understand?” by Ulisses S. Soares

General Conference, April 2019 – Saturday Morning Session – “How Can I Understand” by Elder Ulisses S. Soares, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

And [the eunuch] said, How can I [understand], except some man should guide me?

The eunuch had been studying the book of Isaiah when the Apostle Peter asked him if he understood what he was reading. This was the eunuch’s response. I think that could be the response of many of us when we study the scriptures, especially Isaiah!

We are to learn and teach others what we have learned.

Elder Soares said “Our purpose as we seek to learn and to teach the gospel of Jesus Christ must be to increase faith in God and in His divine plan of happiness and in Jesus Christ and His atoning sacrifice and to achieve lasting conversion.” There is actually a lot packed into just these few words, so I’ll break it out:

  1. Increase faith in God.
  2. Increase faith in God’s plan of happiness.
  3. Increase faith in Jesus Christ.
  4. Increase faith in Jesus Christ’s atoning sacrifice.
  5. Achieve lasting conversion.

Doing these things will transform us into a new creature. This concept of becoming a new creature through the gospel of Jesus Christ isn’t new, it’s been spoken of in the scriptures (2 Corinthians 5:17 and Mosiah 27:26) and in recent General Conference talks (David A. Bednar 2007 and Dallin H. Oaks 2000) and in not-so recent General Conference talks (Robert E. Sackley 1988, Rex D. Pinegar 1978).

Elder Soares said “The commandment to learn the gospel and teach it to one another is not new; it has been constantly repeated from the beginning of human history.” Prophets have warned throughout the scriptures and right on into our current day that we are to learn and teach each other.

Only when we have learned the truth will we be able to “discern it at all times.” (Soares, 2019) The best teacher is a good example, of course. But what happens when we have been doing all the things we’re supposed to, but our loved ones have distanced themselves from the Lord? Elder Soares reminds us that they are not lost, the Lord knows where they are and He loves them!

I love the thought that, because the Lord always knows where we are, no one is “lost.” What a beautiful reminder of the Lord’s love for all His children.

Elder Soares reminds us, too, not to judge or reject others, but to love them and be their friend and look for the good in them. He counsels us to preserve our relationships with them and continue praying for them. We can’t know what is in others’ hearts, only the Lord can know that, but we can love them and be there for them and trust that the Lord, in His infinite wisdom and love, will always keep them in His sight.