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.
•• Due to weird circumstances, I am watching the Priesthood Session without any of my four sons. I hink this has only happened one other time since 2002. Weird. Dinner will be cheaper. 😉
•• I did get some yard work and chores done between sessions.
• Elder Gary Stevenson started us off. 80,000 new deacons as a result of the 11 year-old change. Perhaps the largest group ever participating in General Priesthood Conference.
Talked about how athletes study the playbook so they know what to do. The scriptures (old and living) are the playbook for priesthood holders.
Things for priesthood holders to focus on: Pray every day, listen to you parents and leaders, avoid porn and bad social media, remember promises made to God, study scriptures, serve others, seek good friends, become an expert in Family History, find a place to escape evil influences, love your quorum. (A huge laundry list of stuff we need to do.)
Went through a list of pro athletes that are church members and had them give their thoughts on the priesthood.
(Personally, I don’t care what pro athletes think about the gospel anymore than a regular member.)
A great question for all of us: “Do you recognize your higher and holier identity as a son of God, a bearer of His holy priesthood? With this eternal identity in mind, create your game plan and priesthood playbook that will guide you during times of temptation and adversity.”
“Consider both offense and defensive strategies… Offense can consist of reading the scriptures, attending church… Defense is deciding how you will react when tempted.”
• Elder Carl B. Cook. Also addressed the young men – about being a member of a quorum and what their responsibilities we have.
“With priesthood power, you can build a strong quorum. And a strong, unified quorum makes all the difference in the life of a young man.”
When there is limited support at home priesthood quorums should step up and fill the void. ““When there is limited support at home, priesthood quorums, and other leaders and friends watch over and support each individual and family as needed.”
“There are long shots and underdogs all around us. Perhaps we all are in one way or another. But each of us here has a quorum.”
“A quorum is a place where we can receive strength and provide strength. A quorum is all for one, and one for all.”.
• Elder Kim B. Clark. Started with the story of the woman touching the hem of Christ’s garment.
“As bearers of the holy priesthood we are engaged in the work of salvation. “
“We have an inspiring charge from the Lord—working with our sisters, we are to minister in a holier way; accelerate the gathering of Israel on both sides of the veil; establish our homes as sanctuaries of faith and gospel learning; and prepare the world for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.”
“When we live our covenants, they influence everything we say and do.”
Second talk in a row about inviting friends and strengthening quorums.
“We rivet our focus on Jesus Christ and his Gospel by living our covenants.” (“Rivet” is an excellent word choice in this context.)
“I know that all this may sound daunting. But please remember these words of the Savior, ‘I am not alone, because the Father is with me.’ So it is with us. We are not alone.”
A very nice perspective on obedience: “Our covenants cease to be rules we follow and become beloved principles that inspire and guide us and rivet our focus on Jesus Christ.”
“Brethren, if we look unto Jesus Christ He will bless us to be His Elders in Israel—humble, meek, submissive, full of His love.”
“When divine light and power flow into our Lives 3 things happen: 1st we can see. 2nd we have priesthood power. 3rd Jesus Christ goes with us. Where we go. He goes.”
“It took faith in Jesus Christ to sustain the plan of happiness, and Jesus Christ’s place in it, when you knew so little of the challenges that you would face in mortality.”
“By raising your hand to sustain, you make a promise. You make a promise with God, whose servants these are, that you will sustain them.”
Talked about what to ask ourselves to prepare for the eventual interview with God. Pretty hefty topic!
“We are commanded by God not to judge others unrighteously, but in practice, we find that hard to avoid.” You can’t judge leaders without incurring God’s displeasure – and the Spirit will withdraw.
How to sustain the Lord’s servants: Do what they suggest, pray for them, pray that specific speakers will be blessed and magnified, listen for messages that are answers to our personal prayers.
“No man, high or low status, can speak negatively about the Lord’s anointed without consequence.” “Be careful.”
Very sweet sentiment: “The thing that will help the most is sincere words like these: ‘Dad, I’ve prayed for you, and I have felt that the Lord is going to help you. Everything will work out. I know it will.'”
• President Dallin Oaks. “The restored Gospel of Jesus Christ encourages us to look to the future. Our present and our future will be happier if we are always conscious of the future. As we make current decisions, we should always be asking, “Where will this lead?”
I don’t think President Oaks was expecting laughter when the dog killed the squirrel. (You’ll have to hear the whole story)
When do we chime in, when do we remain silent? A difficult question.
Some action vs. no action at all. Or one action vs another. Choices aren’t always between “good” and “evil”, but often two “goods.” (How cool to quote yourself in Conference.)
Do I sense a prophetic Social Media fast coming?
Discussed opportunity costs and applied them to the time spent on our activities. Referenced his own AMAZING talk, “Good, Better, Best.”
ALL labels are trivial and temporary. Don’t limit yourselves. (That flies in the face of modern society)
“We make countless choices in life, some large and some seemingly small. Looking back, we can see what a great difference some of our choices made in our lives.”
• President Russell M. Nelson: First time today!
Does everyone need to repent? The answer is Yes!
Too many people see repentance as punishment – this comes from Satan.
Delved into the Greek origins of the word repent: “When Jesus asks you and me to ‘repent,’ He is inviting us to change our mind, our knowledge, our spirit—even the way we breathe.”
“The Lord does not expect perfection from us at this point in our eternal progression, but He does expect us to become increasingly pure. Daily repentance is the pathway to purity, and purity brings power.”
He personalized how the war against sin is a real battle, and the Satan loves to get in the way.
Ways we can improve:
Be aware of how we treat our bodies. Many of the temptations Satan puts in our path are to abuse our bodies, or the bodies of others. He wants to make us miserable.
Dressing and grooming to appeal to the world, or God?
Sports and gaming. Your first and foremost duty as a priesthood holder is to love and respect your wife. Nothing on TV is more important than her well-being. “Brethren, we all need to repent. We need to put down the remote, get off the couch, and awake from our spiritual slumber.”
Take and inventory of where you spend your time and energy – that will tell you where your heart is. Take care of your wife.
This: “Brethren, your first and foremost duty as a bearer of the priesthood is to care for your wife. Become one with her. Be her partner. Make it easy for her to want to be yours.”
•• Whoa! We dodged specific challenges. I was expecting a social media fast or a health or TV challenge. Phew!
•• It has been a full day. Plenty to process. Have a great night and we’ll see each other tomorrow.