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.
• Yesterday seemed like a full meal. Looks like it is time to do it again!
• Surprising lack of announcements yesterday – curious to see if anything is coming today. As usual, I am rooting for the canonization of “The Family: A Proclamation to the World.”
President M. Russell Ballard started things off.
The world is in commotion. Talked about all the crud going on in the world and the COVID fallout. Economical upheaval. Peaceful protests/angry riots. Conflicts all around the world.
“I assure each one of you that the Lord knows you, that He is aware of your concern and anguish, and that He loves you — intimately, personally, deeply and forever.”
Acknowledging that the world is a mess, he said, “During the past few months I have had the impression come to me that the best way to help the current world situation is for all people to rely more fully upon God and to turn their hearts to Him through sincere prayer.”
“Today I expand my call for prayer to all people from every country around the world. No matter how you pray or to whom you pray, please exercise your faith – whatever your faith may be – and pray for your country and for your national leaders.”
“Do not limit who you pray for.” – Pray for your enemies. “Sincerely praying for those who may be considered our enemies demonstrates our belief that God can change our hearts and the hearts of others.”
Broadened the application of prayer to include more things… “Prayer will influence scientists and help them toward discoveries of vaccines and medications that will end this pandemic. Prayer will comfort those who have lost a loved one. It will guide us in knowing what to do for our own personal protection.”
“Praying for justice, peace, the poor and the sick is often not enough. After we kneel in prayer, we need to get up from our knees and do what we can to help — ourselves and others.”
“I urge you to redouble your commitment to prayer. I urge you to pray in your closets, in your daily walk, in your homes, in your wards and always in your hearts.”
Sister Lisa Harkness: “Help me!”
Told of a daughter calling for help, then the story of Christ sleeping in the boat during a storm.
“Carest thou not that I perish? Save me!” Joseph Smith asked this too, in Liverty Jail.
“Regardless of our circumstances, we can intentionally make efforts to build and increase our faith in Jesus Christ.”
Our faith can be fortified during rough patches.
Very timely: “Our faith increases as we choose to believe rather than doubt, forgive rather than judge, repent rather than rebel.”
(Sorry, Sister Harkness sounds a lot like Siri to me.)
“When prayerful pleas seem to go unanswered, our persistent faith in Jesus Christ produces patience, humility, and the ability to reverently utter the words ‘Thy will be done.'”
“We have every reason to rejoice, for our Lord and Savior is keenly aware of our troubles, cares, and sorrows. And, as Jesus was with His disciples of old, He is in our boat. I testify He has given His life so that you and I will not perish.”
Elder Ulisses Soares. (Renews my wish that foreign-speakers could speak in their native tongue with subtitles.)
Desires. “As we exercise our moral agency in righteousness, choosing to have wholesome thoughts and pure desires, we can become more aligned with Jesus Christ and, consequently, more influenced by His Spirit to act like Him.”
Desires determine outcomes. -Maxwell
“Fighting against temptation takes a lifetime of diligence and faithfulness but please know that the Lord is ready to assist us in our personal efforts and promises remarkable blessings if we endure to the end.”
Quoted D&C 121:45
“Let thy bowels also be full of charity towards all men, and to the household of faith, and let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly; then shall thy confidence wax strong in the presence of God; and the doctrine of the priesthood shall instill upon thy soul as the dews from heaven.”
(I appreciate the focus on self-awareness and our shortcomings. Seems to be in short supply these days.)
“For those who, for whatever reason, fall into temptation and are dwelling upon unrighteous actions, I assure you that there is a way back, that there is hope in Christ.”
“Fighting against temptation takes a lifetime of diligence and faithfulness, but please know that the Lord is ready to assist us in our personal efforts and promises remarkable blessings if we endure to the end.”
Talked about lust and dirty thoughts: “A single improper thought can lead to others and can grow deep in our hearts. If a person had not given place for the original improper thought, he could have avoided the change of heart. We can repent and overcome our thoughts.” (Aha – we can overcome our thoughts.)
Again, the idea that we can choose and control our thoughts: “As we exercise our moral agency in righteousness, choosing to have wholesome thoughts and pure desires, we can become more aligned with Jesus Christ and, consequently, more influenced by His Spirit to act like Him.”
“My dear friends, when we resist the little temptations, which often come unexpectedly in our life, we are better equipped to avoid serious transgressions.”
“Get thee hence, Satan.”
2 talks on prayer.
• My EC and I singing “We Thank Thee O God for a Prophet” to a recording of the TabCats, in front of the TV. Oddly satisfying.
Elder Charles A. Godoy. (Two Barsileros in a row!) Shares his experience with angels.
Started out quoting Elder Holland: “When we speak of those who are instruments in the hand of God, we are reminded that not all angels are from the other side of the veil. Some of them we walk with and talk with — here, now, every day.”
Gotta love Elder Godoy’s long hair.
After his conversion, he felt like he didn’t fit in. Went to youth conference and met a new friend, Monica. Those youth activities were crucial to his integration in the church. (He eventually married Monica after they served missions.)
Went through a list of “angels” in his life that helped him along the covenant path, including early-morning seminary teacher, YM leaders, etc.
(Covenant Path Taco!)
Speaking about new converts, but I think it has a broader application ot anyone who feels they aren’t part of the church: “Do not give up when your efforts to belong don’t go as easy as you wish them to.”
“Please, please, do not give up on your efforts to be part of this big family. It is the true Church of Jesus Christ.”
“We should remember that it is not easy for new converts, returning friends, and those with a different lifestyle to instantly fit in. The Lord is aware of the challenges they face, and He is looking for angels willing to help.”
“Angels are needed, right now. Angels who are willing to leave their comfort zone to embrace them. … We are all here today, a giant army of angels set apart for these latter days, to minister to others as extensions of the hands of a loving Creator.”
Elder Neil L. Anderson:
“While we endure a season of physically distancing ourselves from others, we need never endure a season of spiritually distancing ourselves from Him who lovingly calls to us, ‘Come unto me.’”
YIKES: “In the last ten years, 30 million have stepped away from believing in the divinity of Jesus Christ.” and that twice as many will leave religion as join it. (No wonder things are such a mess out there)
“If a renewed study of the Savior helps President Nelson prepare, will it not help us?” “I promise you that as you prepare yourselves as President Nelson did, you too will be different, thinking more about the Savior, speaking of Him more frequently and with less hesitation.”
We still need to focus on saying the correct name of the church.
Images of Savior in our homes, telling the stories of Jesus to our children.
“You and I are all speaking of Jesus Christ, but maybe we can do a little better. If the world is going to speak less of Him, who is going to speak more of Him? We are! Along with other devoted Christians!”
“Everything in our worship should point to the Lord Jesus Christ.”
“Be more open in social media about talking in your trust in Christ” (I invite you to subscribe to ThusWeSee.com by entering your email over there —->)
“Care more about being Christ’s followers than being liked by our own followers.” (Personally, I don’t like the term followers for my social media – I prefer “readers,” or “friends.”)
“In the days ahead, those who believe in Jesus Christ will need the friendship and support of one another.”
“As the world speaks less of Jesus Christ, let us speak more of Him”
Bore his testimony of the prophetic calling of President Nelson, referring to himself as an “eye-witness.”
President Russell M. Nelson:
The doctrine of the Gathering of Israel has always intrigued him.
One definition of “Israel” also means “Let God prevail.”
“I learned that one of the Hebraic meanings of the word Israel is ‘let God prevail.’ Thus, the very name of Israel refers to a person who is willing to let God prevail in his or her life. That concept stirs my soul.”
“We all have our agency, we can choose to be of Israel or not. We can choose to let God prevail in our lives, or not. We can choose to let God be the most powerful influence in our lives, or not.”
“The Lord is gathering those who will choose to let God be the most important influence in their lives.”
This gathering of Israel is “the most important work in the world.” !
“Anytime we do anything that helps anyone on either side of the veil to make and keep their covenants with God, we are helping to gather Israel.”
Myopia should cause us to stop, think, and heal. It should cause us to expand our perspective and seek the eternal.
“We often pray that we and the missionaries will be led to those who are prepared to receive the … restored gospel of Jesus Christ. I wonder, to whom will we be led when we plead to find those who are willing to let God prevail in their lives?”
“Each of us has a divine potential because each is a child of God. Each is equal in His eyes. The implications of this truth are profound.”
“Please listen carefully to what I have to say: God does not love one race more than another.”
“I assure you that your standing before God is not determined by the color of your skin. Favor or disfavor with God is dependent upon your devotion to God and His commandments, and not the color of your skin.”
“Today, I call upon our members everywhere to lead out in abandoning attitudes and actions of prejudice. I plead with you to promote respect for all of God’s children.” (Pretty sad that this has to even be said.)
“If you have sincere questions about the gospel or the Church, as you choose to let God prevail, you will be led to find and understand the absolute eternal truths that will guide your life and help you to stay firmly on the covenant path.” (Taco!)
“When your greatest desire is to let God prevail, to be part of Israel, so many decisions become easier. So many issues become non-issues!”
“The word willing is crucial to this interpretation of Israel. We all have our agency. We can choose to be of Israel, or not… We can choose to let God be the most powerful influence in our lives, or not.”
That’s a wrap. A two taco session, with lots of angels.
Back in two!