Note: These are the instant, mildly-filtered things that ran through my brain and heart as I watched this session of General Conference. If you are looking for deep, spiritual analysis, this is not the place. Drive on. Please check back later for that, after I have had some time to process.
• I love it when the kid’s choirs sing, because it reminds me of the two times I had that opportunity.
• I wonder what was going through the department store buyer’s minds when there was a sudden run on two sizes of young men’s dark suits in Midvale and Sandy.
• I LOVE the opportunity to sustain our leaders at Conference. I don’t care if I am alone in the room, or in my car, I’ll raise my hand. Raising the right hand is a sacred sign, and a personal gut check of where I stand.
• President Eyring gave it his best shot when trying to pronounce all the foreign names, but, he is no Uchtdorf.
• I was glad to NOT hear a lot of vocal opposition to the sustainings. I would be curious if that was because of the sound mix, or those who oppose are beginning to understand how things work, and/or are developing some manners and respect.
Elder Gary E. Stevenson. (Still so new that I really don’t now what to expect.
He presented an extended metaphor between the recent eclipse and spirituality. “In the same manner that the very small moon can block the magnificent sun…a spiritual eclipse can occur.”
1. Gospel glasses: Look at challenges through the lens of the gospel. “When you put on ‘gospel glasses,’ you find enhanced perspective, focus, and vision.”
(2nd talk about social media and tech interfering with face-to-face interaction.)
2. Dangers of social media false representation – they can present an idealized reality that isn’t so real. Comparison is dangerous. (This was also addressed multiple times in the Women’s Session.)
“Viewing Social Media through the lens of the gospel can prevent it from becoming a spiritual eclipse in our lives.”
3. Pride. “In my experience in the Church as well as through my professional career (exercise equipment company) some of the greatest most effective people I have known have been among the most meek and humble.”
During an eclipse, a relatively small thing can obscure the warmth and light of the sun, but the sun is still there: “No matter the obstruction that may block our vision of gospel light, the light is still there.”
“Don’t let life’s distractions eclipse heaven’s light.”
Bro. Stephen W. Owen (YM President) directed his remarks about repentance to people who feel they are losing the fight. “While there may be undefeated seasons in sports, there aren’t any in life.”
“Repentance is our escape route.”
Quoted Elder Renlund saying, “Without our Redeemer, repentance becomes simply miserable behavior modification.” (Man, that’s a great quote.) He immediately followed with, “We can try to change our behavior on our own, but only the Savior can remove our stains and lift our burdens.”
Another parable: Prodigal Son. “We are all prodigals.”
“I testify that the moment we set foot on the path of repentance, we invite the Savior’s redeeming power into our lives.”
I like how he brought in the idea that repentance is for everyone. all the time. not just for the humongo sins. (But he never used the word humongo, so this is not a direct quote.)
• They are moving through apostles quickly – I wonder if some will do double-duty tomorrow.
Elder Quentin L. Cook gets topical right off the bat: “Anyone who claims superiority under the father’s plan because of characteristics like race, sex, nationality, language…is morally wrong.”
Spoke of different ways humility needs to be exercised: “…accepting callings when we do not feel adequate.”” “…serving faithfully when we feel capable of a more high-profile assignment.” “…overcoming hurt feelings when we feel leaders or others have mistreated us.”
“At every level of the Church it is important to understand the Christlike attribute of humility.”
“Civic virtues of modesty and understatement.” Now there’s a phrase that needs to be chewed on. And if that doesn’t trigger some people, this will, “We need more modesty and humility.”
“Humility isn’t some grand identifiable achievement or even overcoming some major challenge. It is a sign of spiritual strength.” (it’s about being, not doing)
Talked about the relationship between holding grudges and the atonement. “Holding a grudge is poisonous to our souls.”
Definitely required re-reading. A great lesson humility.
• I am proud of my humility, but I’m sure I can get even better at it.
Elder Ronald Rasband landed my favorite quote of the conference so far: “Our lives are like a chess board and the Lord moves us from one place to another—if we are responsive to spiritual promptings.”
He spent a lot of time showing how coincidences are not really coincidences, rather a function of God putting us into places where we can further the work. For example: Nephi being in a position to get the plates of Laban.
“Heavenly Father can put us in situations with specific intent in mind.’
“Sometimes we consider changes in our plans as missteps on our journey. Think of them more as first steps to being on ‘The Lord’s Errand.’”
D&C 84:88: And whoso receiveth you, there I will be also, for I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up.
“We have a choice: To follow, or to not follow our Savior and his chosen leaders.” (Yes, it really is a binary decision)
“By divine design, He is in the small details of your life, as well as the major milestones.”
Elder O. Vincent Halek told stories about saints living in the Pacific islands, with an emphasis on the “widow’s mite.” (Mark 12:41-44)
“The heart of the widow who gave her two mites is a heart that will give all by making sacrifices by enduring hardships, persecution, and rejection; and by bearing burdens of many kinds.”
Ummm. I kinda zoned out for a few minutes and didn’t take notes, but it is nicely summarized by this quote that I DID get: “The heart of the widow is defined by a willingness to give all for the building up of the kingdom of God on the earth.”
• I hope they were able to get the caffeinated sodas on BYU campus BEFORE Conference.
President Russell M.Nelson wraps up this session. I can’t get my head around the fact that he is 93 years old.
Told a great story about a conversation with the King of Ghana, and tied it in to the Book of Mormon.
“Conversion is an individual matter.”
He asked the question “How precious is the Book of Mormon to you?”
Reinforcing President Monson’s challenge from last April: “I promise that as you prayerfully study the Book of Mormon every day, you will make better decisions every day.” That is a huge promise, and makes sense if you look at it from a sense of the Holy Ghost guiding our decisions.
*Observation: President Nelson studies from a hard copy of the Book of Mormon, not digital.
Three related questions:
- What would your life be like today without the Book of Mormon?
- What would you not know?
- What would you not have?
I really love this acknowledgment of an extra benefit of the Book of Mormon: “The Book of Mormon both illuminates the teachings of the Master and exposes the tactics if the adversary.”
“We need to feel, deep in the inmost part of our hearts that the Book of Mormon is unequivocally the word of God.”
Awesome talk. Near the end, he shifted to his testimony, his tone changed, and I felt it. It was powerful. “The full power of the gospel of Jesus Christ is contained in the Book of Mormon. Period.”
Check out this promise: “I promise you that as you daily immerse yourself in the Book of Mormon you can be immunized against the evils of the day, even the gripping plague of pornography and other mind-cubing addictions.”
One of the best cases for daily reading of the Book of Mormon that I can recall.
• Another great session.
• Priesthood coming up in two hours.