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 have no idea what to expect with this, the first Saturday evening session. I’m sure it will be as great as the Priesthood sessions I’ve loved over the years. (hope, hope, hope.)
President M. Russell Ballard is leading the charge by telling the story of when Christ showed up when Peter was fishing and asked him…
“One of the most important questions we need to be ready to answer the Savior: ‘Lovest thou me more than these?'”
“Do the things of this world bring us the joy, happiness and peace that the Savior offered to His disciples that He offers to us? Only He can bring us true joy, happiness and peace.”
(Interesting watching President Ballard, as he is the same age as my dad would have been.)
“Don’t misunderstand me. I’m not saying that having a nice home or a nice car is wrong or that using social media is bad. What I am saying is that in the end, those things matter very little compared to loving the Savior.”
“As one of the apostles who signed ‘The Living Christ’ document, I can say that knowing that Jesus is the light, the life and the hope of the world gives me greater desire to love Him more every day.” (THAT is a serious resume.)
He then segued into an explanation of the pre-mortal life and Christ’s calling of savior. We need to believe in Jesus, and the Plan of Salvation.
“We cannot lose our love for and hope in Jesus, even if we face seemingly overwhelming challenges. Heavenly Father and Jesus will never forget us. They love us.”
Some deep questions:
“Are you willing to let whatever he needs you to do take precedence over anything else?”
“What things can you do in you life to show that you put the Lord first?”
“We must always remember that our true happiness depends upon our relationship with God, with Jesus Christ, and with each other.”
Sister Sharon Eubank talking about cookies – tying them into humanitarian work.
“Prophets have charge for the whole earth, not just for members of the church. And I can report from my own experience how devotedly and personally the First Presidency takes that charge.”
“We are under divine mandate to take care of the poor.” through…
Through: Ministering, fast offerings, Welfare farms & canneries, welcome centers for immigrants, outreach in prison, Church humanitarian efforts and the JustServe App.
“Brothers and sisters, through your ministry, donations, time and love, you have been the answer to so many prayers. And yet there’s so much more to do.”
“I testify Jesus Christ is come to heal the broken-hearted. His gospel is to recover sight to the blind. His church is to preach deliverance to the captives. And His disciples across the world are striving to set at liberty them that are bruised.”
She closed with the same question asked to Peter: “Do you love me…”
Elder Brent H. Nielson spoke about his father’s battle with cancer, and his eventually death.
“Why had my father not been healed? “Why do some families receive a miracle, but ours did not?” (Good questions)
Told about the Savior healing the man lowered through the roof. (The show “The Chosen” gave me a much better visualization of that story.)
“He can heal our eyes and our ears and our legs. But most important of all, He can heal our hearts as He cleanses us from sin and lifts us through difficult trials.”
“I learned that the object of my faith must be Jesus Christ and that I needed to accept what was expedient to Him as I exercised faith in Him.”
People will be healed when blessed “if it is expedient in Christ.”
“The Savior’s Atonement, which makes available both His redeeming and HIs enabling power, is the ultimate blessing that Jesus Christ offers to all.”
“The Savior’s redeeming and healing power can cover any sin, wound or trial, no matter how large or how difficult. And there are leftovers. His grace is sufficient.”
(He didn’t really answer the questions – instead, he re-interpreted the results.)
Elder Arnulfo Valenzuela: We need to become engaged learners.
Nephi was a student dedicated to the scriptures.
“To feast means more than to taste. To feast means to savor.”
“As we study the scriptures, we will better understand God’s plan of salvation and exaltation, and we will trust in the promises that He has made to us in the scriptures, as well as in the promises and blessings of modern prophets.”
“The scriptures and our knowledge of God are gifts — gifts that we too often take for granted.”
Talked about how teaching with the scriptures can transform people. (This is truth.)
“I invite you to have a permanent plan for studying the scriptures.”
“We must seek everything that invites the influence of the Spirit and reject anything that deviates from this influence.”
• I just got really hungry.
Bradley R. Wilcox is up next. Great speaker.
Life is like a cross-country road trip. We can’t reach our destination on one tank of gas. We must refill the tank over and over. Taking the sacrament is like pulling into the gas station.”
“Worthiness is not being flawless.” & “Never give up just because we slip up.”
“When the Lord speaks of weakness it is always with mercy.”
You’re not a hypocrite if you have a bad habit you’re trying to break. You’re a hypocrite if you’re hiding it, lie about it… Not being a hypocrite is being a disciple.”
“Remember change is possible, repentance is a process, and worthiness is not flawlessness. Most important, remember that God and Christ are willing to help us right here and now.”
“Some mistakenly receive the message that God is waiting to help until after we repent. God’s message is that He will help us as we repent.”
(Confession: I was so engaged in this talk I quit taking notes. Go back and read it!!! One of the best explanations of persistent, incremental repentance I have heard.)
Here is the big money quote: “God loves us as we are, but He also loves us too much to leave us this way. Growing up unto the Lord is what mortality is all about. Change is what Christ’s Atonement is all about. Not only can Christ resurrect, cleanse, console and heal us, but through it all, He can transform us to become more like Him.”
Elder Alfred Kyungu on humility, courage, forgiveness and sacrifice: 4 Qualities of Christ
“Humility precedes glory, and it brings God’s favor on us.”
“Humility brings gentle answers.”
“Humility is the source of a righteous character”
“Let us have the courage to live righteously and to do what is expected of us in our various responsibilities and positions.”
“Through His infinite Atonement, you can forgive those who have hurt you and who may never accept responsibility for their cruelty to you.”
“Let us sincerely forgive each other to obtain the forgiveness of the Father. Forgiveness sets us free and makes us worthy to partake of the sacrament every Sunday. Forgiveness is required of us to be truly disciples of Jesus Christ.”
• What a great accent Elder Kyungu has.
Elder Marcus B. Nash spoke about opportunities he has had to share the gospel.
“I have experienced the blessings of sharing the gospel, and they are remarkable.”
Whether or not they accept what we are offering, “My responsibility —my opportunity—was the same: hold up the gospel light—to love, share, and invite each in a normal, natural way. I have experienced the blessings of sharing the gospel, and they are remarkable.”
“When a person learns the glorious purpose of life, comes to understand that Christ forgives and succors those who follow Him and then chooses to follow Christ into the waters of baptism, life changes for the better.”
Spoke about the blessings that come from sharing the gospel: Joy, hope, light, power, protection from temptation, healing.
“There are many among all parties, sects, and denominations who are only kept from the truth because they know not where to find it. The need to hold up our light has never been greater in all human history.”
“Share the gospel. Be you. Hold up the light. Pray for heaven’s help, and follow spiritual promptings.”
“My invitation today is simple. Share the gospel. Be you and hold up the light.”
• There have been a couple talks that have referenced this idea, so I figure I’ll share the verse: “For there are many yet on the earth among all sects, parties, and denominations, who are blinded by the subtle craftiness of men, whereby they lie in wait to deceive, and who are only kept from the truth because they know not where to find it.” (D&C 123:12)
President Henry B. Eyring concludes by revisiting President Nelson’s invitation to seek revelation during Conference.
“My prayer for you is to receive revelation from God.”
“The way to receive revelation from God has not changed from the days of Adam and Eve. … It is the same for you and for me. It is always done by exercising faith.”
Told of young Joseph’s search for truth. “Our experience can possibly be similar in this conference.”
“I know from experience that answers will come to fit your needs and your spiritual preparation.” “The clearest answers came when I said ‘I want what you want.'”
“If your faith in Jesus Christ has led to a heart softened through the effects of His Atonement, you will be more able to feel the whisperings of the Spirit in answer to your prayers.”
“Revelation comes to us in proportion to the degree to which we have sought to take the doctrine of Christ into our hearts and implement it in our lives.” (This is important for those outside the faith who claim they are being directed by revelation.)
“It is crucial that personal revelation we receive be consonant with the teachings of the Lord.” (Translation: God won’t reveal something to you that conflicts with what he tells the prophet.)
“With sufficient faith, we will ask for direction with intent to go and do whatever he asks.”
“The more we have the doctrine of Christ in our lives and hearts, the more we feel greater love and sympathy for those who have never had the blessings of faith in Jesus Christ or are struggling to maintain it.” (This is like the 50th reference this conference about getting our hearts in order so we can feel about and treat others as God would have us do.)
“It is my testimony that the rock upon which we stand is our witness that Jesus is the Christ, that this is His Church which He leads personally, and that President Russell M. Nelson is His living prophet today.”
“President Nelson seeks and receives direction from the Lord. He is for me an example of seeking that direction with the determination to follow it.” (And he would know!)
• President Eyring looked vibrant tonight. So nice to see.
• Ah, I miss Priesthood session because the whole First Presidency would always speak. That said, Wilcox was awesome, Eyring stupendous, Ballard brought wisdom, and it was a really good session.
• Enjoy your evening! See you tomorrow, same Bat Time, Same Bat Channel.