Instant Conference Thoughts – Sunday Afternoon

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.

•• And here we go…

•• As soon as I wake up from yet another super-slow hymn that has all the life sucked out of it.

President Dallin Oaks. Laws of Man and God. He has experience with both, as a judge and an apostle.

“The contrast I’ve experienced between the laws of man and the laws of God have increased my appreciation for the reality and power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ.”

“My message today is one of hope for all of us, including those who have lost their membership in the Church by excommunication or name removal. We are all sinners who can be cleansed by repentance.”

Quoting President Nelson: “Repentance is not an event, it is a never-ending privilege.”

“We must repent of all our sins—all of our actions or inactions contrary to the commandments of God. No one is exempt.”

In repenting – we need to partake of the sacrament. (Oaks has always been one of the strongest voices for weekly sacrament participation.)

Talked about excommunications and how those can return. (Excommunication has been spoken of rarely in conference in the past couple decades.) “There is forgiveness for all, including those who have been excommunicated or who have removed their names from the church.”

“We need to partake of the sacrament each Sabbath day. In that ordinance we make covenants and receive blessings that help us overcome all acts and desires that block us from the perfection our Savior invites us to achieve.”

“To assure that we will be clean before God, we must repent before the final judgment.” It will be tougher in the next life to repent – this is the time to take care of it.

“When we repent, we have the Lord’s assurance that our sins, including our acts and desires, will be cleansed, and our merciful final judge will remember them no more.”

His sense of urgency echoes President Nelson’s. A second witness? Guess I’ve got some more repenting to do.

Elder Juan Pablo Pillar. Reading about exercise won’t make them stronger. We need to use them. Spiritual gifts are the same.

“Faith is a principle of action.” Reading and learning about faith, without sufficient action, is not enough to have faith.”

— this man is impressive – has the audience in the palm of his hand. Something about him is riveting. Hey – he is from Valparaiso, Chile – where I served my mission!!

Told a great story about tagging along with his missionary brother for a day. You need to watch it – don’t just read it.

“Come unto the Savior by identifying those spiritual muscles that need more spiritual activity. Don’t forget those small spiritual activities that will strengthen our spiritual muscles.”

Conclusion: “The Savior invites us to follow His perfect example, to exercise our faith in Him and His Atonement, and to expand all the spiritual gifts that we have been blessed with.”

•• The muscles that close and open my eyes are having a workout – I am at that point where I’m struggling to stay awake. Aaaaand…

Elder Gerrit W. Gong talks about counting sheep to fall asleep.

Christ was “The Good Shepherd,” and also “The Lamb of God.” “These roles and symbols are powerfully complementary—who better to succor each precious lamb than the Good Shepherd, and who better to be our Good Shepherd than the Lamb of God?”

“As our Good Shepherd, Jesus Christ calls us His sheep in His voice and His name. He seeks and gathers us. He teaches how to minister in love.”

“Our Savior reaches to the one and to the ninety-and-nine, often at the same time. As we minister, we acknowledge the ninety-and-nine who are steadfast and immovable, even while we yearn after the one who has strayed.”

“Our Savior reaches out to the one and to the ninety-and-nine, often at the same time.”

And the best ironic play on words goes to Elder Gong: “We covenant to follow Him, not passively, blindly, or “sheepishly,” but instead desiring with all our hearts and minds to love God and our neighbor, bearing one another’s burdens and rejoicing in one another’s joys.”

•• Rest hymn! Time for a snack!

Elder David A. Bednar. President Nelson told us more is coming, so Elder Bednar about the ramifications of some of the recent “adjustments.”

We need to flip the question. Rather than asking “what did you learn at church today” at home, teachers at church should be asking “what did we learn about the gospel in our homes this week?”

Three big points:

  1. “We should not expect the church as an organization to teach or tell us everything we need to know and do to become devoted disciples and endure valiantly to the end.”
  2. 2) “We cannot expect simply to attend Church meetings and participate in programs and thereby receive all of the spiritual edification and protection that will enable us ‘to withstand in the evil day.’”
  3. “If all you or I know about Jesus Christ and His restored gospel is what other people teach or tell us, then the foundation of our testimony of Him and His glorious Latter-day work is built upon sand.”

The ultimate MTC is in our homes. Main Sunday school classes should be n our homes. Same with Family History centers. Temple Prep is in our homes. Etc.

What can we talk about outside the temple? We get reluctant to talk about it. What can we talk about?

We don’t disclose or describe the signs and tokens, or the stuff we commit to not revealing.

We may discuss the basic purposes and doctrines of temple ordinances and covenants. The Church has all sorts of material available about the temple. Here’s a link:

He listed all the covenants we take upon us at the temple. (I know people who are clutching their pearls right now. I’m glad to hear him talk about that. It has always bothered me that we expect anyone to make a covenant that did not know was coming…)

“The Church supports home-centered preparation for the glorious blessings of the temple through basic instruction and remarkable resources such as this video. Much useful information is available for all of us.”

“You can do this! I promise that enabling blessings will flow into and be evident in your life. Doors will open. The light will shine. Your capacity will be increased to persevere diligently and patiently.

Bravo, Elder Bednar. Nicely done.

Elder Kyle S. McKay. (One of my sister’s high school friends) A long time might mean something different to us than it does to God.

“Patience is key. Without it, we can neither develop nor demonstrate faith in God unto life and salvation.”

“God also gives immediate hope for eventual deliverance. No matter what, no matter where, in Christ and through Christ there is always hope smiling brightly before us. Immediately before us.”

“I testify that during such times, our mere preservation is a tender and powerful manifestation of the immediate goodness of God.”

Elder Ronald A. Rasband. “Our homes are fortresses against the evils of the world.”

“As we live with devotion born of faith in Jesus Christ, we will feel the peaceful presence of the Holy Ghost who guides us to truth, inspires us to live worthy of the Lord’s blessings, and bears witness that God lives and loves us.”

“Our homes are only as powerful as the individual strength of each one us within the walls…For our protection, we must build a fortress of spirituality and protection for our very souls, a fortress that will not be penetrated by the evil one.”

“We are at war with Satan for the souls of men.” (2nd “minion” reference. That word makes me smile)

“Satan knows his days are numbered and that time is growing shorter. As crafty and cunning as he is, he will not win.”

“When we build a fortress of spiritual strength, we can shun the advances of the adversary, turn our backs on him, and feel the peace of the Spirit.”

(Something about this talk makes me want to find the box of Lincoln Logs and build something.)

“Your testimony of Jesus Christ is your personal fortress.”

Like Moroni in the war chapters: First you arm the individual, then you defend others by building fortresses.

•• A lot of aggressive messages about the battle, Satan, minions, urgency, repentance, etc.

•• President Nelson is gonna finish things off. If there aren’t any new “adjustments,” there will be some disappointed people. But, at least more people got to hear a call to repentance!

President Russell M. Nelson wraps it up with….

A reminder that topics were not assigned.

We can become disciples of the Lord by standing up and speaking out.

God’s objective should be our objective.

“Seek what the Lord is trying to tell you through his servants.”

“Ours is a sacred responsibility to care for historic temples. “The oldest temples will be remodeled. “Ours is a sacred responsibility to take care of the pioneer temples.” (St. George, SLC, Manti)

Hah! Shut down the shouters for announcing temples. Pago Pago, American Samoa; Okinawa City, Okinawa; Neiafu, Tonga; Tooele Valley, Utah; Moses Lake, Washington; San Pedro Sula, Honduras; Antofagasta, Chile; and Budapest, Hungary.

•• Last year I said, “Cheering in the Conference Center is kinda crass to me.” I got beat up a little bit about that. My response is now Nyah-Nyah-Nyah.

•• and there it is – another April Conference come and gone. I hope all the people who fell asleep during the closing hymn make it safely out of the Conference Center.

•• Enjoy your Sabbath. I’m off to repent some more.

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  1. I had to laugh about the story of the Saints who first went to Arizona and came back saying that it is uninhabitable. My EC’s first comment was “I agree”

    but she is still here with me.

  2. Those of us who live in Okinawa get to listen to Conference a week late (well, we can listen any time, but the following weekend is dedicated to it!), and there was much excited chatter about the temple that is coming here. Right now we have to fly someplace else to attend the temple, which is fun, but not necessarily convenient. It is a small island, so it is a bit of a shock that they deem us sufficient to need a temple. I am pretty sure I would have cheered, had I been in the congregation when it was announced.

  3. Aww. You are missing some of the most delicious parts of the spiritual feast by going for a snack during the hymns.

  4. I love the hymns but I feel like the amazingly arranged hymns sung during President Hinckley’s calling as prophet have become less innovative and rousing. I think that with each session at least one song could be sung that doesn’t make one sleepy.

  5. I am one of those to whom you have Nyah Nyahed.
    And thank you for your blog. Happy Sabbath.

  6. When Elder Pillar finished his talk, someone in the conference center yelled “you’re amazing”. So yes, that particular audience member was very riveted. You forgot Logan on your list of pioneer temples. I just care because I live in Logan. (:

Add your 2¢. (Be nice.)

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