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.
•• *deep breath*. Okay! Let’s do this!
• Elder Dale G. Renlund. How do we get blessing?
“Blessings from heaven are neither earned by frenetically accruing good deed coupons nor by helplessly waiting to see if we win the blessing lottery. “
Used a metaphor of a campfire – how the woodpile has potential energy, but nothing is released until the match is lit and oxygen is in supply.
Most blessings require some action on our part. The action is tiny, relative to the potential energy and light.
Looking at the brazen serpent was a simple, tiny action that resulted in great reward.
You don’t “earn” a blessing – you “qualify” for it.
(He said “Irrevocably” correctly!)
One of the objects of prayer is to trigger blessings that await, but are contingent upon our asking.
“Some blessings are reserved for later.”
“Small actions fuel our ability to walk along the covenant path and lead to the greatest blessings God can offer. But oxygen flows only if we figuratively keep moving our feet.”
Lots of blessings from “Come Follow Me,” await if we claim them. “We need to discuss CFM with our family and friends and organize our Sabbath day to light a metaphorical fire. Or, we can leave the resources sitting in a pile in our homes with the potential energy trapped inside.”
• Sister Sharon Eubank (RS Presidency) Light.
“Jesus is the source of our power- the light and life of the world. Satan works to dim our light, short-circuit our connection, cut off our power supply.”
We all get tired. Christ can offer us rest. “When expectations overwhelm us, we can step back and ask Heavenly Father what to let go of. Part of our life experience is knowing what not to do.”
We all have questions. “This is not the stage in our eternal development where we have all answers. It is the stage where we develop our assurance or sometimes hope in the evidence of things not seen.”
“The miracle of His grace is that, when we repent of our sins, His scarlet blood returns us to purity. It isn’t logical, but it is nevertheless true.”
“It’s hard to get the lights on by ourselves. We need friends – we need each other!”
•• Sister Eubank’s talk was terrific. I need to reread it because there was a LOT of stuff in there.
•• Every Conference I am grateful for the PAUSE button on my TV. It is a gift from God. I’ll bet a lot of the people who are watching in person would like one. I also think the people in Brigham Young’s day would like a FAST-FORWARD option as well, as some of those speakers went on for hours.
• Elder Quentin L. Cook. Talkin’ ’bout Charity. The primary attribute of missionary work, family history, ministering and the adjustments announced in 2018.
“If we show love, kindness, and humility, many will accept our invitation. Those who choose not to accept our invitation will still be our friends.”
Love this: “When it comes to gathering Israel, we need to align our hearts with this kind of love and move away from feelings of mere responsibility or guilt to feelings of love and participation.”
“The new Sunday meeting schedule represents an exceptional opportunity for members to successfully and lovingly invite friends and associates to come and see and feel a Church experience.”
“Love is also at the center of our temple and family history effort to gather Israel on the other side of the veil.”
“I promise that lovingly performing ordinances for ancestors will strengthen and protect our youth and families in a world that is becoming increasingly evil.”
(This is one of those talks where most paragraphs have something to repeat – I’m just being choosy.)
Newsflash: We can’t be saved without the women. (Sad he would even feel the need to say that.)
“Teaching in our homes needs to be clear and compelling, but also spiritual, joyful and full of love. We need to be self-reliant and anxiously engaged in making our homes a refuge from the storms that surround us and a sanctuary of faith.”
“One adjustment that will benefit almost any family is to make the internet, social media and television a servant instead of a distraction, or even worse, a master.”
•• I sure do enjoy muffins.
• Elder D. Todd Christofferson (He is a smiley man)
“Beyond selfless service it is supremely important to prepare the world for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.”
“Let us do all we can to relieve suffering and sorrow now, and let us devote ourselves more diligently to the preparations needed for the day when pain and evil are ended altogether.”
“The Spirit made clear to me that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is uniquely empowered and commissioned to accomplish the necessary preparations for the Lord’s Second Coming. Indeed, it was restored for that purpose.”
Quoted Joseph Smith: “We ought to have the building up of Zion as our greatest object.”
“We build up Zion in our homes, wards, branches, and stakes through unity, godliness, and charity. We must acknowledge that the building up of Zion comes in tumultuous times.”
“An underlying effort in building Zion is the gathering of the Lord’s long-dispersed covenant people.”
And a Family History shoutout: “Also vital to the preparation for the Second Coming is the great redemptive effort on behalf of our ancestors.”
“It is the Lord’s work and He is doing it.” (And he lets us help.)
•• When the scriptures talk about singing a “New Song,” I can’t help but wonder what it will be like. I hope it’s not Hip-Hop
• Tad R. Callister (Interesting there was no title on the screen, as he was recently released)
“What then is Atonement’s purpose? To make it possible to return to God’s presence, become more like Him, and have a fulness of joy!”
Metaphor on Justice vs. Mercy: Man jumps out of airplane. Law of Gravity is unreasonable, has no compassion. Parachute overcame the Law of Gravity.
“We are subject to the law of justice, which like the law of gravity is exacting and unforgiving. We can be saved only because the Savior, through his Atonement, mercifully provides us with a spiritual parachute of sorts.”
“One reason it is so essential to understand the Savior’s Atonement and its infinite implications is that with increased understanding comes an increased desire to forgive ourselves and others.”
“Because of His Atonement, the Savior has enabling powers, sometimes referred to as grace, that can help us overcome our weaknesses and imperfections, and thus assist us in our pursuit to become more like Him.”
I LOVE this: “If we feel the influence of the Holy Ghost, we can take it as evidence that the Atonement of Jesus Christ is working In our lives—that we are forgiven or are in process of being forgiven.”
“Sometimes He removes the affliction, sometimes He strengthens us to endure, and sometimes He gives us an eternal perspective to better understand their temporary nature.”
This has been cited twice in this session: “Let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power, and then may we stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed.”
“Because the Savior performed His Atonement, there is no external force or event or person—no sin or death or divorce – that can prevent us from achieving exaltation, provided we keep God’s commandments.” BOOM! I mean “Amen!”
•• This session, and this conference, seem to be racing by.
• President Russell M. Nelson begins with a huge understatement: “Much has happened since our last conference.”
Spoke tenderly of a conversation with his daughter, Wendy, before she died three months ago. (lotsa tears over here.)
He spoke of visiting Paradise, California (destroyed by wildfires) only 40 hours after his daughter died.
“When approaching the end of our mortal life we may ask ourselves, ‘Where’s my family?'”
“Jesus Christ teaches the way back to our eternal home. He understands our Heavenly Father’s plan of eternal progression better than any of us. After all, He is the keystone of it all. He is our Redeemer, our Healer, and our Savior.”
Some hard truths: Resurrection does not equate with eternal togetherness. Mortal contracts end at death.
Wanna be together forever?”So, what is required for a family to be exalted forever? We qualify for that privilege by making covenants with God, keeping those covenants and receiving essential ordinances.”
In speaking to those outside the faith, or those who have distanced themselves, “Most of you will never accept 2nd best for anything. Yet many of you are rejecting the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. God has said ‘in my kingdom there are many manstions prepared for you.’ Yet many of you are settling for a meager roof over your head.”
“Salvation is an individual matter, exaltation is a family matter.” (This needs to become a common phrase in the Church.)
What to do? “If you truly love your family and if you desire to be exalted with them throughout eternity, pay the price now – through serious study and fervent prayer – to know these eternal truths and then to abide by them.”
The big challenge: “Now, as President of His Church, I plead with you who have distanced yourselves from the Church… Do the spiritual work to find out for yourselves, and please do it now. Time is running out.”
•• When a prophet says, “Time is running out,” my ears perk up and my palms get a little sweaty.
•• Only one more session to go….