Leadership of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints reminded the members of the church to develop a “bedrock of understanding” of the essential elements of church doctrine during Saturday’s General Women’s Session.

Multiple speakers at the 186th Semiannual General Conference in Salt Lake City touched on developing a stronger understanding of the doctrine of Christ. Others touched upon the topic through frank discussions of faith and charity.

Sister Bonnie L. Oscarson, Young Women General President, said having an understanding of the role of Jesus Christ and having faith in him will help withstand the difficult situations everyone faces.

“I believe with all of my heart that we sisters do have the innate strength and the faith that will allow us to meet the challenges of living in the last days,” Oscarson said.

Sister Carole M. Stephens, first counselor in the Relief Society General Presidency, said a deep understanding of this doctrine helps people who struggle with situations that are out of their own control or were brought upon themselves.

“When we learn how to apply the doctrine of Christ, we soon discover that we are developing a deeper understanding of ‘the great plan of happiness,’” Stephens said. “We also recognize that our Savior, Jesus Christ, is at the very heart of the plan.”

She went on to share the story of a young woman who struggles with bipolar disorder that has found strength in her understanding who Christ is and the role He plays in her life.

Despite the dark days and emotions this young woman struggled with, Stephens said this faithful member was able to find strength in knowing that Christ was with her.

“You don’t have to continue to carry the burden of sorrow caused by sin — alone,” she said. “You don’t have to carry the pain caused by the unrighteous actions of others — alone. You don’t have to experience the painful realities of mortality — alone.”

President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, second counselor in the First Presidency, spoke extensively on one of the facets of the doctrine of Christ — faith — and how it is built.

Uchtdorf said faith is a topic that everyone needed to hear about because everyone experiences doubts, but these issues don’t diminish you.

“You might think you are too insignificant to have a meaningful influence on others,” he said. “Perhaps you don’t even consider yourself a ‘woman of faith’ because you sometimes struggle with doubt or fear.”

Uchtdorf defined faith as trust “that God sees what we cannot, and that He knows what we do not,” which requires “listening differently” rather than harder.

He went on to share the story of how his wife, Harriet, was introduced to the church after some persistent missionaries continued to knock on doors in an apartment building despite the tenants’ continued disinterest.

“Keep knocking,” Uchtdorf said. “Don’t give up. Seek God with all your heart. Exercise your faith. Walk in righteousness.”

Sister Jean B. Bingham, first counselor in the Primary General Presidency, reminded the audience of the encouragement to serve and reach out to refugees, which was shared in the March Women’s Conference.

“As you have shared your time, talents and resources, your — and the refugees’ — hearts have been lightened,” Bingham said. “The building of hope and faith and even greater love between receiver and giver are the inevitable results of true charity.”

Bingham said charity and kindness to others is essential in “bringing the light of the gospel into our homes, schools and workplaces.”

“Choosing to say only that which is positive about — and to — others lifts and strengthens those around us and helps others follow in the Savior’s way,” she said.

Shelby Slade is a reporter for the Daily Herald who covers crime and the southern part of Utah County.

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