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 we get started, I would like to express my gratitude that Zach Wilson finally had a good game for the New York Jets. (And Taysom Hill had two TDs for the Saints. No, the other Saints.)
• Now, on to our final session of this awesome Conference.
• Somebody wake me up when the #TabCats finish ‘Where Can I Turn for Peace.’
Elder W. Garrit W. Gong‘s discourse on Trust began with him speaking about wanting to run away from home as a kid. “Whether we are coming home, or going home, God is coming to meet us.”
“Likewise, He asks us to keep the light on for each other, to be more forgiving and less judgmental of ourselves and each other, so His church can be a place where we feel at home, whether we are coming for the first time or returning.”
Importance of building – or rebuilding – trust.
“We know that broken covenants break hearts.”
“When trust is challenged we wonder how to trust again.”
“Trust becomes real when we do hard things with faith. Service and sacrifice increase capacity and refine hearts. Trust in God and each other brings heaven’s blessings.”
“We know joy on the Lord’s covenant path and callings to serve in His church are an invitation to feel God’s trust and love for us and each other.”
“We can always trust God.” “There is only one person that can separate us from God and Christ. Ourselves.”
“Trust what the scriptures call ‘in the process of time.'” (Patience and waiting on the Lord is a toughie)
“Trust God and His miracles. We and our relationships can change. Through the Atonement of Christ the Lord, we can put off our selfish natural self and become a child of God, meek, humble, full of faith and appropriate trust.”
This is powerful and important to me: “When trust is broken or betrayed, disappointment and disillusionment are real; so is the need for discernment to know when faith and courage are merited to trust again in human relations.”
Interesting: When Christ said “Forgive them,” it wasn’t a blanket forgiveness. It was “Forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
(Elder Gong has such a gentle speaking voice, but not a sleep-inducing voice)
Bishop L. Todd Budge. (Missed the first part of this because I am a dope at running the remote.)
Humanitarian donations were the highest ever in 2020.
Expressed gratitude to the saints for their humanitarian work and the Afghan relocation efforts. May I extend my heartfelt gratitude to those Saints who have reached out to feed, clothe, befriend, and help these refugees become established and self-sufficient.”
In speaking of sacrifice, he said, “Ultimately the Lord wants our hearts”
“Sacrifice is less about ‘giving up’ and more about ‘giving to’ the Lord.”
“Sacrifice is a process of becoming holy and coming to know God, not an event or ritualistic giving up of things for the Lord.”
Cited Neal A. Maxwell’s awesome quote, “The submission of one’s will is really the only uniquely personal thing we have to place on God’s altar. The many other things we ‘give’ are actually the things He has already given or loaned to us.”
“When viewed from the perspective of “giving to” the Lord, our sacrifices on behalf of others become gifts, and the joy of generously giving becomes its own reward.”
This is a cool thought: The name of God is ‘Man of Holiness’. As we obey the principle of sacrifice, what we are really doing is making ourselves Holy, that through the Atonement of Christ, we may become “even as He is.”
“Dear brothers and sisters—as we live for God and others by giving of our means, our time, and yes, even of ourselves, we are leaving the world a little greener, leaving God’s children a little happier, and, in the process, becoming a little holier.”
Elder Anthony D. Perkins Yikes! Starts by talking about his life-shortening battle with cancer.
“Regardless of where you live, physical or emotional suffering from a variety of trials and mortal weaknesses has been, is now or will someday be part of your life.”
Four principles of hope:
1: Suffering does not mean that God is displeased with our life
2. Heavenly Father is intimatly aware of our suffering. Related Joseph Smith’s frustration when he was suffering in Liberty Jail. “Whatever the cause of your sufferings, your loving Heavenly Father can direct them to refine your soul. Refined souls can bear others’ burdens with true empathy and compassion.”
3. Jesus Christ enabling power gives us strength to endure
4. Chose to find joy each day.
Regarding his cancer battle: “I was given no reason for my illness, no indication of the ultimate outcome and no relief from the pain. I just felt of His pure love, and that was and is enough.”
“Too many church members believe that if they are “just a little bit tougher,” they can get through any suffering on their own. This is a hard way to live.”
“The Spirit gives us strength to endure trials and to do things we cannot possibly do on our own.”
“If you find yourself in dark nights of suffering, by choosing faith you can awake to bright mornings of rejoicing.”
(Very personal, very powerful)
Elder Michael A. Dunn began talking about British cycling failings. (This is from the book “Atomic Habits”)
“The aggregation of marginal gains.” Change a little – even 1% and gradually you will make gains.
“Rather than being stymied by the churn and dramatic swings between sin and repentance, what if our approach was to narrow our focus—even as we broadened it? Instead of trying to perfect everything, what if we tackled just one thing?”
(This gradual, aggregate idea has been repeated several times this Conference)
Line upon line – percept on precept. (Singing)
“For small gains, we need consistent effort.”
“Repentance is not an event, but a process.” (Someone else taught this, too.)
“Master the Mustard Seed Mentality.”
“Even if the changes you need in your life are wholesale, begin at a small scale.”
Quotes Elder Bednar, “Small, steady, incremental spiritual improvements are the steps the Lord would have us take. “
“Could aggregating small but steady marginal gains in our lives finally be the way to victory over even the most pesky of our personal shortcomings?” “Seek modest but makeable fixes in your life that might result in the sweet joy of being just a little better.”
(LOVED this talk)
Elder Sean Douglas “We can weather the hurricanes of life when our focus is on Christ and living his gospel.”
“By living the gospel of Jesus Christ, we are assured that ‘when dark clouds of trouble hang o’er us and threaten our peace to destroy, there is hope smiling brightly before us.’”
Quoted President Nelson, circumstance. We can feel joy even while having a bad day, a bad week, or even a bad year! … The joy we feel has little to do with the circumstances of our lives and everything to do with the focus of our lives.
“Just as hurricanes weaken over land, doubt is replaced with faith as we build our foundation on Christ. We are then able to see spiritual hurricanes in their proper perspective, and our capacity to overcome them is enlarged.”
Doubt is a choice, just a faith is a choice. “Doubt is the enemy of faith and joy”
“Our belief and obedience link us to power beyond our own to overcome whatever is happening, or not happening, in our lives.”
Intersting concept: “How merciful is our God to place the bar for us at the level of believing, and not at the level of knowing!”
“Just as natural laws govern physical hurricanes, divine laws govern how to feel joy during our spiritual hurricanes.”
(Another excellent talk – the Seventy are really bringing it today.)
Elder Carlos Revillo, Jr. Sixty years since the first missionaries arrived in the Philippines. Now there are 800,000 members and 23 missions.
4th article of Faith principles.
“As we live and obey the principles and ordinances of the gospel, we are blessed.”
“Repentance is a cleaning agent. It allows us the opportunity to get rid of our impurities and our old debris, so we are worthy to be with God.”
“Repentance leads us to make and keep covenants through sacred ordinances.”
Elder Alvin Meredith
“Focusing on the things that are most important, especially the things down the road, those eternal things – is a key for maneuvering through this life.”
- “Focus on Jesus Christ. While Peter kept his eyes focused on Jesus, he could walk on water. The storm, the waves and the wind could not hinder him as long he centered his focus on the Savior.” (As far as I know, Peter was the only human to ever walk on water, so props for him.)
“Our purpose in life is to have joy.” “Focusing on Christ requires discipline, especially about the small and simple spiritual habits that help us become better disciples. There is no discipleship without discipline.”
2. Beware of distractions. Distractions don’t have to be bad, or immoral to be effective. “The adversary seems determined to get good people to do nothing, or at least to waste their time on things that will distract them from their lofty purposes and goals.”
3. We can be rescued by Jesus. “When we must wait, rest assured that the Savior is always watching, ensuring that we will not have to endure more than we can bear.”
Elder Neil L. Anderson.
“The name of the Church is not negotiable.” It is the Church of Jesus Christ.
“Why now?” “The doctrine of Christ is unchanging and everlasting. Yet, specific, and important steps of the Savior’s work are revealed at their appropriate time.”
“The identity and destiny of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints requires that we be called by His name.”
“Now is our time, and we are reestablishing the revealed name of the Church.”
“When the Savior returns in majesty and glory, faithful members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will be among all nations, all people, all races, and all cultures of the world”
He made quite a promise: “Even those Christians who have viewed us with skepticism, will embrace us as friends. In these coming days, we will be called by the name of Jesus Christ.”
About the time of President Nelson’s announcement about the name, url ChurchofJesusChrist.org became available. Miracle.
“Faithful Saints have adjusted their websites, podcasts, and twitter accounts.” (Feeling EXTRA glad I changed the name of my blog when I did. I’ve been called out a lot this conference – this time it is for something I did right!)
(I wonder why we can’t drop the “Latter-day Saint part.)
“Faithful Saints have adjusted their websites, podcasts, and twitter accounts.”
President Nelson‘s concluding remarks. “We have been given our charge for the next six months. Now, the question is, how will we be different because of what we have heard and felt?”
“I plead with you today to counter the lure of the world by making time for the Lord in your life each and every day.”
“If you are not also seeking the Lord through daily prayer and gospel study, you leave yourself vulnerable to philosophies that may be intriguing but are not true.”
(He took shots at Social Media – I hope I am a positive.)
This: “Even Saints who are otherwise faithful can be derailed by the steady beat of Babylon’s band.”
Find ways to have the Holy Ghost present in our lives – prayer, scriptures, temple attendance, etc.
“Please make time for the Lord in His holy house. Nothing will strengthen your spiritual foundation like temple service and temple worship. We thank all who are working on our new temples. They are being built all over the world.”
Announcing 13 new temples. Rebuilding the Provo Temple.
- Kaohsiung, Taiwan
- Tacloban City, Philippines
- Monrovia, Liberia
- Kananga, Democratic Republic of the Congo
- Antananarivo, Madagascar
- Culiacán, México
- Vitória, Brazil
- La Paz, Bolivia
- Santiago West, Chile
- Fort Worth, Texas
- Cody, Wyoming
- Rexburg North, Idaho
- Heber Valley, Utah
• Do you sense a theme?
President Nelson:: “It’s a process.”
Elder Uchtdorf: “…daily, hourly”
Elder Sikahema: “…sequentially”
Elder Dunn: “…steady marginal gains…”
• That’s it for another Conference. What a great weekend! Hope it answered your questions and bolstered your faith.
• I’m gonna go ice my fingers.