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.
Before I get started, I want to share something. This morning (And for the last year) we have heard a lot about the “ongoing/continuing restoration of the Gospel.” I have thought a lot about it, because the Church has long since eclipsed the Gospel and Church as it was in Christ’s time. Finally, today, I figured out how to communicate what I am hearing and thinking. Here you go:
Back to Conference:
• Had a lovely snack, and then managed to fit lunch in before we started. Something beautiful about the simplicity of a BLT. (No Taco Bell run this year – it IS a unique experience!)
Round two – off and running. President Eyring conducting. President Oaks running the sustaining votes. I love this part. (Pres. Uchtdorf made it look so easy!)
Church audit report. Kinda strikes me as funny.
Church membership at the end of last year: 16,565,036.
Elder Ulysses Soares is first up for the speaker. His topic? Book of Mormon. (Which is the natural next thing to talk about after the First Vision)
“Take away the Book of Mormon and the revelation and where is our religion? We have none.” Joseph Smith. (Yup)
“Following the First Vision, the miraculous coming forth of the Book of Mormon is the second fundamental milestone of the unfolding restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ in this dispensation.”
Spent some time talking about the translation process, and why an unlearned man like Joseph could do it, “We ought to look at the process more like a ‘revelation’ with the aid of physical instruments provided by the Lord as opposed to a ‘translation’ by one with knowledge of languages.”
I really love quote from Lucy Mack Smith, when Joseph returned from the witnesses seeing the plates. I think sometimes we underestimate how heavy and lonely his calling was. “You do not know how happy I am: the Lord has now caused the plates to be shown to three more besides myself…. and it rejoices my soul that I am not any longer to be entirely alone in the world.” Joseph Smith
He spoke about the how he acquired a testimony of the Book of Mormon, and how it because a force in his life. “The Book of Mormon indeed became the keystone that sustains my faith in Jesus Christ and my testimony of the doctrine of His gospel.”
“To all who hear my voice today, I invite you to be part of the marvelous coming forth of the Book of Mormon.”
“My testimony of the Book of Mormon came line upon line as a miracle to my heart. To this day, this testimony continues to grow as I continuously search, with a sincere heart, to more fully understand the word of God as contained in this extraordinary book of scripture.”
John A. McCune talked about how he got to hold a page of the original Book of Mormon manuscript – happened to be the one with 1st Nephi 3:7 – “I will go and do…”
Both Jospeh and Nephi had some similar challenges: “As we accept the Savior’s invitation to “come unto me,” He will provide the support, comfort, and peace that is necessary, just as He did for Nephi and Joseph.”
Hearing about Elder McCune’s son who had a head injury from a longboard accident brought back memories and emotions from when my son had a traumatic brain injury while serving his mission.
“There may be times that the only hope we have is in Jesus Christ. What a blessing to have that hope and trust in Him. Christ is the one who will always keep His promises.”
“Like Nephi, we can do difficult things and help others do the same, because we know in whom we can trust.
Gérald Caussé (Presiding Bishop) Started out by speaking about the wonderful Christus statue by Thorvaldsen. Very cool that it was sculpted the same year as the First Vision.
Perfect segue from a Book of Mormon talk to an Atonement talk: “The central message of the Book of Mormon is to restore the true knowledge of the essential role of Jesus Christ in the salvation and exaltation of mankind.”
Spoke about how the Atonement of Christ can bless/save/comfort us.
“Although infinite and universal in its reach, the Lord’s Atonement is a remarkably personal and intimate gift suited to each of us individually.”
“Through the power of the Holy Ghost, the Savior will transform you day after day ‘until the perfect day’ when you will, as He declared, ‘see my face and know that I am.’”
I always love talks with promises: “I promise that if you accept this invitation and pattern your life after His example, His redemptive influence will come into your life.”
• Singing time! “Rejoice the Lord is King.” Yes, yes He is.
• Part of the problem with taking these notes is I can’t eat messy snacks like Cheetos, or I will totally mess up my keyboard.
Elder Dale G. Renlund: Reflecting on the goodness of God.
“Our Heavenly Father wants us to recall His and His Beloved Son’s goodness, not for Their own gratification, but for the influence such remembrance has on us.”
Rough story about a heart transplant – you need read or watch it yourself.
The tie-in: “Each of us has received gifts that we could not provide for ourselves, gifts from our Heavenly Father and His Beloved Son, including redemption through the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ.”
Spoke about Alma’s repentance and how remembering the captivity of his fathers helped him put his trust in the Lord.
Pro Tip: “Reflecting on God’s goodness and mercy helps us become more spiritually receptive.”
“He loves to heal wounds you cannot heal; He loves to fix what has been irreparably broken; He compensates for any unfairness inflicted on you, and He loves to permanently mend even shattered hearts.”
“The Savior compensates for any unfairness inflicted on you, and He loves to permanently mend even shattered hearts.” (That might be my favorite quote so far)
Benjamin Ming Zhe Tai (From Hong Kong)
“The Book of Mormon provides spiritual nutrition, prescribes a plan of action and connects us with the Holy Spirit.”
“If we have real intent to act, we can obtain a divine witness of the Book of Mormon, and of the truth of the Restoration.”
We can study the Book of Mormon according to our circumstances.
Side benefits of gaining a testimony of the Book of Mormon: We will know that Jesus is the Savior, Joseph Smith was a prophet, and the Church is true.
Sweet promise: “As you prayerfully study the Book of Mormon every day, you will make better decisions every day.”
Sweet quote: “Conversion requires us to be doers of the word and not hearers only.”
“By consistently applying the doctrine of Christ in our lives, we will overcome inertia that impedes change and fear that foils action.” Overcome inertia- nice!
A wonderful discourse about the power that comes from daily study of the Book of Mormon, and all the ways it can hep our lives, and change our hearts, countenance and nature.
- Wow, what a talk! Gonna study this one first.
Elder Gary E. Stevenson started by speaking about Brigham Young entering the Salt Lake Valley and picking out the spot for the temple.
Brigham Young said “I want to see the temple built in a manner that it will endure the millennium. This is not the only temple we shall build; there will be hundreds of them built and dedicated to the Lord.”
“I am in awe of the seer-ship of Brigham Young.”
Spoke at length about the renovation of the SL temple that is currently underway. (Seismic upgrade info., etc.) Wondering where this long analogy is heading…
…and there it is: “How could this extensive renewal of the Salt Lake Temple inspire us to undergo our own spiritual — renewal, reconstruction, rebirth, revitalization or restoration?”
Spoke of personal spiritual foundations and cornerstones.
“What might spiritual cornerstones of our personal and family lives—be?” Family prayer, scripture study, Come Follow me, etc.
He sees the first four questions of the temple recommend interview as spiritual cornerstones.
“Having faith doesn’t mean nothing bad is going to happen; having faith allows me to believe that there will be light again, and that light will be even brighter because I have walked through the dark” Kim White
“May we allow these improvements made to the Salt Lake Temple to move and inspire us as individuals and families so that we too, metaphorically, will be built in a manner that will endure the millenium.”
What a wonderful metaphor in a time of pandemics and earthquakes – that a firm foundation is essential – cuz it’s getting crazy out there!
• I know they don’t assign topics, but the flow of todays sessions was perfect: This morning, it was about the First Vision and Joseph Smith. This afternoon we moved to the Book of Mormon, and then to Brigham Young and temples. I wonder if that progression will be maintained.
• Two sessions down and no new announcements…. I am curious as to what is looming (if anything).
• Enjoy your break and don’t forget to carbo load.