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.
• I had a thought last night: The Church should have rented airplanes and held church in them this past year, so that we could fit a lot of people in, and sit close together. With that, let’s get started…
• (Also, I have grandkids in town, so if there are holes in my notes, that’s might explain it.)
• First off, the fatty bacon backdrops are making me hungry.
President Russel M Nelson is starting things off. That’s always fun.
“The strength of the Church lies in the efforts and ever-growing testimonies of its members.” “Testimonies are best cultivated in our home.”
“The gospel of Jesus Christ is a gospel of repentance. Because of the Savior’s Atonement, His gospel provides an invitation to keep changing, growing and becoming more pure.”
Talked about the renovations at Temple Square. Invites us to listen to the talks and identify the debris that clutters our lives to become more worthy.
Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf began speaking of his childhood, and the pressures his parents endured. He was left with the question, “Is there any hope left?”
“The gospel they shared transcended politics… and personal agendas.” (On a good day…)
“When we feel insignificant, cast off and forgotten, we learn that we may be assured that God has not forgotten us.”
In speaking of repentance, “Because of Jesus Christ, our failures do not have to define us. They can refine us.”
“We do not need to hang our head in despair, because we can trust God, we can trust His Son Jesus Christ, and we can accept the gift of the Spirit to guide us on this path toward a life filled with joy and divine happiness.”
Asked the interesting question: What would Jesus teach us if he were here, now? Answer: The Savior teaches timeless truths that apply to everyone in every time and circumstance.
1 John 3:18 My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth. (LOVE this)
Spoke about what Jesus would do if he came to our Ward: “The meek and the humble, he would lift. The sick he would heal. The doubting he would infuse with faith and courage to believe. He would teach us to open our hearts to God and reach out to others…” “One look into His eyes, we would never be the same.”
“Keep searching with faith and patience. Ask, and you shall receive. Knock, and it will be opened unto you. Trust in the Lord.”
Our paramount task in our daily lives is to encounter God.
Testified of the prophetic calling of President Nelson.
Sister Joy D. Jones, General Primary President.
Teach kids to understand their divine identity.
“Accidental conversion is not a principle of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.” Need to be proactive in helping our children be converted. “We cannot wait for conversion to simply happen to our children.”
This is GOLD: “Accidental conversion is not a principle of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Becoming like our Savior will not happen randomly. Being intentional in loving, teaching and testifying can help children begin at a young age to feel the influence of the Holy Ghost…We cannot wait for conversion to simply happen to our children.”
“When we strengthen a child, we strengthen the family.”
We need to help our children build spiritual resilience by having caring conversation about what they believe. “Let’s not allow the convenience of electronic devices to keep us from teaching and listening to our children, and looking into their eyes.” (I love the stress on looking in their eyes – so important to communicate more than words)
Suggesting that role-playing with kids can help them when challenging circumstances happen in life.
“Eternity is the wrong thing to be wrong about.”
• OK, I thought Sister Jones’ talk was MONEY. Firm, direct, but loving. Loved it!
President Jan Newman, Sunday School Counselor. (FYI: Jan is a man)
A second talk in a row about conversion, and the importance of learning in the home.in a row.
“How can we teach more like the Savior and help others become more converted?”
“Take it upon yourself to learn all you can about the Master Teacher Himself,” and evaluate our way of teaching and adjust to be more like him.
“Home centered, church supported learning has the power to turn homes…. into sactuaries of faith.”
“We will be personally tutored by the spirit when reading and pondering the word of God. Come Follow Me is the springboard for us to dive into the living waters of the doctrine of Christ.”
“Children inherit many things from their parents, but a testimony is not one of them.”
“We can teach it, preach it, describe it, testify of it. But until it reaches their soul, it will be like looking at a postcard.” We have to go there ourselves to experience it.
“Remember that conversion must come from within.” We can’t give someone a testimony, but we can help by creating an environment where the seed can grow.
“The responsibility rests squarely upon each of us to follow the example of the Master Teacher and teach like Him.”
• Song time: High on the Mountain Top. (Meanwhile I need to take the prime rib out of the fridge to get to temperature before I put it in the smoker. Yeah, you can be jealous – I understand)
Elder Gary Stevenson, talked about how, in raising rabbits: Bunnies in a study had different results even though they underwent the same treatment. Except that the group that was treated kindly by a researcher thrived.
Here’s an article about the rabbits and kindness, “Being Kind Will Make You Happier and Healthier.”
• AAAANNNND my BYU TV app froze – off to find the broadcast on YouTube…
Back – speaking about cyber-bullying. “social media has brought bullying to an all new level.” Speaking to youth he said, “Clearly, the adversary is using this to hurt your generation. There is no place for this in your cyber-space, neighborhoods, schools, quorums, or classes. Please do all you can to make these places kinder and safer.”
“For young men and young women, as you grow older, making fun of others can evolve very dangerously. Anxiety, depression, and worse are often the companion of bullying.”
“We have a primary responsibility to set a tone and be role models of kindness to the rising generation in what we say and how we act.”
“As you extend yourself with kindness, care and compassion, even digitally, I promise that you will lift up arms that hang down and will heal hearts.”
Delved into racism and how it “Prejudice, racial tension or violence should never have any place in our neighborhoods, communities or within the Church.” “The Lord expects us to teach that inclusion is a positive means towards unity, and that exclusion leads to division.”
Talked about how the people of Quincy, IL helped the early saints fleeing persecution. Quincy became known as “The City of Refuge.”
“We have a primary responsibility to set a tone and be role models of kindness, inclusion and civility — to teach Christlike behavior to the rising generation in what we say and how we act. It is especially important as we observe a marked societal shift towards division in politics, social class and nearly every other man-made distinction.” Nice!
“When adversity and affliction is brought upon us by critical, negative — even mean-spirited acts — we can choose to hope in Christ.”
“As we look through a Gospel lens, we recognize that we too are under the care of a compassionate caregiver.”
• Elder Stevenson was $$$.
Elder Garrit W. Gong. Started out talking about his father. I miss mine, too.
Referenced the story of the good Samaritan. “Though we should help each other, too often we pass to the other side of the road, for whatever reason.”
“In this Easter season, Jesus Christ invites us to become, like Him, a good Samaritan, to make His inn — His church — a refuge for all from life’s bruises and storms.”
“First, we come to the inn as we are, with the foibles and imperfections we each have, yet we all have something to contribute. Our journey to God is often found together.”
“In Him, we find clarity, not dissonance. In Him, we find cause to do good, reason to be good and increasing capacity to become better. In Him, we discover abiding faith, liberating selflessness, caring change and trust in God.”
“Second, He entreats us to make His inn a place of grace and space, where each can gather, with room for all. As disciples of Jesus Christ, we are all equal, with no second-class groups.” All are welcome.
“Third, in His inn, we learn perfection is in Jesus Christ, not in the perfectionism of the world. Unreal and unrealistic, the world’s “insta-perfect” filtered perfectionism can make us feel inadequate: captive to swipes, likes or double taps.”
• (Yes, I am having to hit the pause button a lot during this talk.)
“Fourth, at His inn, we become part of a gospel community centered in Jesus Christ, anchored in restored truth, living prophets and apostles, and another testament of Jesus Christ — the Book of Mormon.”
“Fifth, we rejoice that God loves His children in our different backgrounds and circumstances, in every nation, kindred and tongue, with room for all in His inn.”
Phew. Wait, there’s more!
He made an interesting point that in the Church and R.S., singles outnumber marrieds. (Yet there is an illusion that this Church is only for families. Glad he pointed it out.) “The majority of adult Church members are now unmarried, widowed or divorced. This is a significant change. It includes more than half our Relief Society sisters and more than half our adult priesthood brothers.”
“Our standing before the Lord and in His Church is not a matter of marital status, but of our becoming faithful and valiant disciples of Jesus Christ.”
“Miracles occur when we care for each other as He would.”
“When we come with broken hearts and contrite spirits, we can find voice in Jesus Christ and be encircled in His understanding arms of Safety”
And President Henry B. Eyring wraps up this morning’s session, starting by talking about his feelings as he entered the temple for the first time. (I love listening to him. He seems so “grounded” in truth.)
“On the outside of our temples, we place the words ‘Holiness to the Lord.’ I know for myself that those words are true. The temple is a holy place where revelation comes to us easily if our hearts are open to it and we are worthy of it.”
“Live so that when the call comes, you can walk away easily.” — President Spencer W. Kimball to President Eyring.
“My purpose today in speaking of temples is to increase your desire and mind to be ready for the increased opportunities and temple experiences that are coming to us.”
“If you or I should go to the temple insufficiently pure, we would not be able to see, by the power of the Holy Ghost, the spiritual teaching about the Savior that we can receive in the temple.”
“It is in the temple we can receive the assurance of loving family connections that will continue after death and last for eternity….The only way you can have the feeling of that family embrace forever is to become worthy yourself, and help others, to receive the sealing ordinances of the temple.”
“We don’t know about family connections in the spirit world or what that will look like after the resurrection…” YES! so glad to hear this spoken. We really don’t know very much – but walk by faith that it will work out.
“Even seeing a temple or a picture of a temple can cultivate in a child a desire to be worthy and privileged someday to go inside.” (If you don’t have one, get one and hang it on the wall!)
“I will hope for you and for all your beloved family that you will grow in desire and determination to be worthy to go into the house of the Lord as often as your circumstances allow.”
• (President Eyring looks healthier, and his suit fits better. He is 87! Maybe the past year has been good for him.)
• This session was a FASCINATING example of the principle of two witnesses:
- Nelson/Uchtdorf: The Lord runs His Church.
- Jones/Newman: Teach your children in the home.
- Stevenson/Gong: Be kind and inclusive.
• I gotta say, this was a terrific session. The more it rolled on, the more interested, invested and hopeful I became.
• Looking forward to Part II later today. Enjoy the break!