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 we’re in the home stretch…
President Dallin H. Oaks is the lead-off hitter. Speaking about the Constitution of the United States. (Buckle up)
Elder Oaks “speaks from 60 years of study of the U.S. Constitution, as a former clerk to the Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, 15 years as a law professor, 3.5 years on the Utah Supreme Court and “most importantly” 37 years as an Apostle of Jesus Christ.” Wow!
“The inspiration for the establishment of the US Constitution was the principle of personal moral agency.”
“The most desirable condition for the exercise of that agency is maximum freedom for men and women to act according to their individual choices.”
“Our belief that the United States Constitution was divinely inspired does not mean that divine revelation dictated every word and phrase.” (Amendments, for example)
5 Divinely Inspired Principles of the Constitution
- Source of government power is the people. “The Constitution established a constitutional democratic republic, where the people exercise their power through their elected representatives.” “Sovereign power in the people does not mean that mobs or other groups of people can intervene to intimidate and force government action.”
- The division of delegated power between federal government and states.
- Separation of powers. “The inspiration in the American convention was to delegate independent executive, legislative, and judicial powers so these three branches could exercise checks upon one another.”
- Cluster of guarantees of individual rights and limits of government authority in the Bill of Rights. “Without a Bill of Rights, America could not have served as the host nation for the restoration of the gospel, which began just three decades later.”
- Governed with vital purpose – by law, not by person
“I see divine inspiration in the vital purpose of the entire Constitution. We are to be governed by law and not by individuals, and our loyalty is to the Constitution and its principles and processes, not to any office-holder.”
“Our belief in divine inspiration gives Latter-day Saints a unique responsibility to uphold and defend the United States Constitution and principles of constitutionalism wherever we live.”
(I might as well just copy and paste the entire talk when it comes out)
Application is bold:
“Each citizen must therefore decide which issues are most important to him or her at any particular time. Then, members should seek inspiration on how to exercise their influence according to their individual priorities.”
“What else are faithful Latter-day Saints to do? We must pray for the Lord to guide and bless all nations and their leaders.”
“We should never assert that a faithful Latter-day Saint cannot belong to a particular party or vote for a particular candidate.” (Absolutely! The Holy Ghost should be doing that!)
“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will exercise its right to endorse or oppose specific legislative proposals that we believe will impact the free exercise of religion or the essential interests of church organizations.”
Elder Ronald A. Rasband. God is a God of miracles.
“Miracles, signs and wonders abound among followers of Jesus Christ today, in your lives and in mine.”
Told the story of praying for a miracle regarding a broadcast from Goshen, Utah in the midst of a wildfire. The power was out, then came back on just in time.
“Looking at things through mortal eyes, we want the Lord to intervene to fix what is broken. Through faith the miracle will come, though not necessarily on our timetable or with the resolution we desired.” (So true!)
“Miracles can come as answers to prayer. They are not always what we ask for or what we expect, but when we trust in the Lord, He will be there, and He will be right. He will suit the miracle to the moment we need it.”
“The Lord performs miracles to remind us of His power, His love for us, His reach from the heavens to our mortal experience and His desire to teach of that which is of most worth.”
Peace amidst confusion or sorrow is a miracle. (I probably don’t recognize them often enough.)
“On this Easter Sunday, as we celebrate the miracle of our Lord’s resurrection, as an Apostle of Jesus Christ, I humbly pray, that you will feel the power of the Redeemer in your life.”
Timothy J. Dyches spoke about descending into a dark cave.. (I love talks about the concept of “light.”)
“We know that sunlight is vital to all life on earth. Equally vital to our spiritual life is the light that emanates from our Savior.”
The Light of Christ: “That light, revealing itself through what we often call our conscience, beckons us ever to act and be better, to be our best self. It prepares us to receive the ministering influence of the Holy Ghost.”
“The greatest source of light that Heavenly Father imparts to you in mortality comes through the Holy Ghost.“
“When your desires and actions are centered on the covenant path, the Holy Ghost, as a light within you, will reveal and testify of truth, warn of danger, comfort and cleanse, and provide peace to your soul.”
“A drop of sunshine is added every time you see God in prayer, study the scriptures to hear Him, act on guidance from living Prophets, and obey the commandments.”
Interesting thought: “Seasons of our lives can take us to places both unexpected and undesirable. If sin has led you there, pull back the curtain of darkness and begin now to humbly approach your Heavenly Father with a broken heart and a contrite spirit and repent.”
“If we let God prevail in our lives, the Holy Ghost reveal that there is meaning and purpose in our trials.”
Great story about a horse and rider finding their way home.
“This is the time to ask yourself: do I have that light in my life? If not, when was the last time I did? Just as sunlight bathes the earth, you can daily brighten the light within you when you choose to follow Him, Jesus Christ.”
Elder D. Todd Christofferson spoke about “The Covenant Path.” (Which, to see, is a relatively recent phrase that is used more and more often.)
What is the covenant path? It is the one path that leads to the Celestial Kingdom of God. We embark upon the path at the gate of baptism, and then press forward with a steadfastness in Christ.”
“In the course of the covenant path which by the way extends beyond mortality, we receive all the ordinances and covenants pertaining to salvation and exaltation.”
Hilarious – Quoted J. Golden Kimball: “I may not stay on the straight and narrow path, but I try to cross it as often as I can.”
Tennis metaphor: “When we are diligently pursuing the covenant path, we quite naturally avoid many ‘unforced errors.’”
“With covenants, we are intent on more than just avoiding mistakes or being prudent in our decisions. We feel accountable to God for our choices and our lives.”
“Following the principles and commandments of the gospel of Jesus Christ day by day is the happiest and most satisfying course in life.”
“The covenants God offers to His children do more than guide us; they bind us to Him and bound to Him, we can overcome all things.”
“God provides an almost incomprehensible gift to help covenant makers be covenant keepers — the gift of the Holy Ghost.”
“Those pursuing the covenant path find singular blessings in various divinely appointed gatherings.” (Church meetings, temples, etc. – things we have all been missing so much during the pandemic.)
“On this Easter Sunday, I bear testimony of Jesus Christ whose resurrection is our hope and the assurance of all that is promised on and at the end of the covenant path.”
Elder Alan R. Walker. Born in Argentina, very ‘gringo’ name.
“Sacred ordinances and covenants that bind us to God and set us on the covenant path clearly manifest ‘the power of godliness.'” (Two talks in a row)
(Not writing a lot of notes – still stunned to learn that he is 51 years old.)
“How fundamental it is to know that He is our God, that we are His people and that whatever circumstances surround us, if we are faithful and obey the covenants we have entered into, we can be encircled about eternally in the arms of His love.”
“Thanks to the commencing of the ongoing Restoration just over 200 years ago, the ‘gospel light of truth and love’ now shines brightly throughout the earth.
“As we gather on both sides of the veil, as we make sacrifices to serve and make the temple pivotal in our lives, the Lord is truly building us — He is building His covenant people.”
Elder David A. Bednar. Began by referencing an 1851 Article by Elder John Taylor: He overheard someone ask the Prophet Joseph Smith how he could govern so many people so well. The Prophet replied, “I teach them correct principles and they govern themselves.
“Stated succintly, a gospel principle is a doctrinally based guideline for the righteous exercise of moral agency.”
“Learning, understanding, and living gospel principles strengthen our faith in the Savior, deepen our devotion to Him, and invite a multitude of blessings and spiritual gifts into our lives.”
“Principles of righteousness also help us to look beyond our personal preferences and self-centered desires.”
“A holder priesthood would never want anything in his appearance or behavior to distract any member of the church from his or her worship and renewal of covenants” (Boyd K. Packer called this the ‘Principle of non-distraction)
“If all understand this principle and act in harmony with it, there should be little need for rules.” (Dallin H. Oaks)
(Remarkable how much of his talk is predicated on teachings of other prophets/apostles)
“Are you willing to let God Prevail in your Life? Are you willing to let God be the most important influence in your Life?” (President Nelson)
“Gospel principles are to you and me what a helm is to ship. Correct principles enable us to find our way and to stand firm, steadfast, and immovable so we do not lose our balance and fall in the raging latter-day storms of darkness and confusion.”
“We have been blessed abundantly in this general conference to learn about eternal principles from the Lord’s authorized servants. Now, our individual responsibility is to govern ourselves according to the truths of which they have testified.”
“With all the energy of my soul, I invite all of us to learn, live and love principles of righteousness.”
(This was a really, really good talk. Looking forward to re-reading it.)
• This might be my mantra for the next six months: “Are you willing to let God Prevail in your Life?”
• Perwinkle seems to be the tie color of choice this year.
President Russell M. Nelson brings it home…
Speaking about the closure of temples and the gradual reopening with a very cautious approach.
“Do all you can to bring Covid numbers down in your community, so your temple opportunities can increase.”
“I pray that your desire to worship and serve in the temple burns more brightly now than ever.”
TWENTY more temples!!! Yikes!
I couldn’t hear my sister-in-law in Aztec, New Mexico yelling, because I was yelling for the Beira, Mozambique temple. I knew that when they built the chapel in Beira, the plans showed that it was also to be a temple site, but I didn’t expect it yet!
- Oslo, Norway
- Brussels, Belgium
- Vienna, Austria
- Kumasi, Ghana
- Beira, Mozambique
- Cape Town, South Africa
- Singapore, Republic of Singapore
- Belo Horizonte, Brazil
- Cali, Colombia
- Querétaro, México
- Torreón, México
- Helena, Montana
- Casper, Wyoming
- Grand Junction, Colorado
- Farmington, New Mexico
- Burley, Idaho
- Eugene, Oregon
- Elko, Nevada
- Yorba Linda, California
- Smithfield, Utah
• President Nelson knows how to end with a flourish!
• The closing hymn was a beautiful arrangement of “Let Us All Press On.”
• You are invited to a special Conference edition of “Sunday Night Check-in” at 8pm AZ time (9pm Utah time) on my Facebook page. No rules, just joy.
• Thanks again for the kind words about my notes.