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 am bleary-eyed this morning. I apologize in advance if I nod off this morning. If he were still alive, I would have no doubt that a Richard G Scott talk would lull me to sleep.
• Oh! I forgotI Caffeine is not part of the Word of Wisdom. Be right back!
• TabCats are singing a beautiful version of “Where Love Is.” Cool factoid: When I was 11, I was in a Primary Choir that sang in General Conference, and we performed this song. The memory that sticks out most was shaking hands with the organist Alexander Shriner – longest fingers ever.
Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf is the opening speaker. ““I bear my personal witness that God is among us and that He will surely draw near to all who draw near to Him.”
People have a hard time walking in a straight line – they studied and found that without points of reference and landmarks, people walk in circles.
“Why do we have such a hard time walking in a straight line? … Whatever the cause, it is human nature. Without reliable landmarks, we drift off course.”
“We have trouble walking straight ahead because of increasing uncertainty as to what straight is.”
“Most of the changes in our spiritual lives—both positive and negative—happen gradually, a step at a time.”
“No matter how strong our spiritual experiences have been in the past, as human beings, we tend to wander. But, all is not lost!”
“Introspection is an opportunity for recalibration. It is a garden of reflection where we can walk with the Lord and be instructed, edified, and purified by the written and spirit-revealed word of our Heavenly Father.”
“Daily personal restoration.”
“We need an ongoing, daily infusion of heavenly light…rolling waters cannot remain impure.”
“We have to keep rolling.” (REO Speedwagon?)
“Small and simple acts of realignment will surely lead us back.”
“Do you want to change the shape of your life? Change the shape of your day. Want to change the shape of your day? Change the shape of the hour.”
Emphasized that God is always willing to forgive and remember them no more.
(Really good talk!)
Sister Camille M. Johnson. (Primary President) What does your personal story look like? “I testify that the Savior is the author and finisher of our faith. Will you invite Him to be the author and finisher of your story?”
“What do you suppose keeps us from turning our stories over to him?”
“Why are we resistant to ask for spiritual help?”
(This is a fun talk for writers as it deals with us writing our personal narratives.)
“Frankly, few of us would probably write into our stories the trials that refine us. But don’t we love the glorious culmination of a story we read when the protagonist overcomes the struggle?”
“Jesus Christ stands ready to use us as divine instruments, sharpened pencils in His hand, to write a masterpiece. He is mercifully willing to use me, a scrawny pencil, as an instrument in His hands, if I have the faith to let him.”
(This makes me think of the E.T. Benson quote, “Men and women who turn their lives over to God will discover that He can make a lot more out of their lives than they can. … Whoever will lose his life in the service of God will find eternal life.”)
“Why do we want the Savior to be the author and finisher of our stories? Because He knows our potential perfectly. He will take us to places we never imagined ourselves.”
Elder Dale G. Renlund “The COVID pandemic has definitely been a global stress test.” “Many have provided help. Yet, “the spiritual stress test” has shown contentions and divisiveness.”
“The pandemic is a spiritual stress test for the church and its members.”
Taking on the contention in the church that Covid has brought on. “When we contend with one another Satan laughs, and God weeps.”
“We have work to do. To change our hearts and be unified as Christ’s disciples”
1. “Contention weakens our collective witness to the world of Jesus Christ…”
2. “Contention is spiritually unhealthy for us as individuals. We are robbed of peace, joy, and rest, and our ability to feel the Spirit is compromised.”
“Unity requires effort. It develops when we cultivate the love of God in our hearts and we focus on our eternal destiny.”
“How can I foster unity…What can I do to lessen contention?”
(Several talks that teach that being better disciples helps us overcome differences and be more united.)
Our normal response: ““Of course we can have unity if only you would agree with me.”
“When love of Christ envelops our lives, we approach disagreements with meekness, patience, and kindness. We worry less about our own sensitivities and more about our neighbor’s.”
Talked about how the first temple patrons for the Finnish temple were Russians, (Finns and Russians have a lot of bad blood) But the Finns were gracious. Good example of putting aside differences by embracing the faith.
“If I am quick to take offense or respond to differences of opinion by becoming angry or judgmental, I fail the spiritual stress test. This failed test doesn’t mean that I am hopeless. Rather, it points out that I need to change.”
“If we’re not one, we’re not His. My invitation is to be valiant in putting our love of God and discipleship of the Savior above all other considerations. Let’s uphold the covenant inherent in our discipleship—the covenant to be one.”
(Very timely talk, and gently taught.)
• Several talks that talk about 4th Nephi and the lack of “-ites.” I wonder if we can take the hint?
Elder Vai Sikahema. (Man, that guy could return a kickoff like nobody’s business)
Talked about how Tongan missionaries are stranded for up to three years because of closed borders due to the pandemic.
Ned Brimley? (Couldn’t help but think of Ned Grimley.)
The sequential order of the creation shows what God prioritizes. He wants you to serve a mission before you serve a mission. He wants you to get married before you have children.
“If you choose to live your life out of sequence, you will find life more difficult and chaotic.”
He looks for sequential patterns in life. “Gospel ordinances and covenants are sequential. Line upon line, precept upon precept.”
“Miracles operate according to sequential order. Miracles occur when we first exercise faith. Faith precedes the miracle.”
“The Lord teaches us individually according to our capacity to learn and how we learn. Our growth is entirely dependent on our willingness, our natural curiosity, our level of faith, and understanding.”
“Repentance is sequential. It begins with faith in Jesus Christ, even if just a particle. Faith requires humility, which is an essential element of having a broken heart and contrite spirit.”
“May we live our lives with order and seek to follow the sequence the Lord has outlined for us.”
Look for the patters and the sequence of what is most important to the Lord.
(Now I wanna go watch his football highlights on YouTube)
Elder Quentin L. Cook began by speaking about Joseph’s experiences in Liberty Jail (Been there – stirring. I highly recommend it.)
“Adversity is not evidence of the Lord’s disfavor or a withdrawal of the Lord’s blessings.”
“It is clear that opposition can refine us for an eternal, celestial destiny.”
“My son, peace be unto thine soul…”
“In my lifetime, I have never seen a greater lack of civility. We are bombarded with angry, contentious language and provocative, devastating actions that destroy peace and tranquility.”
“Universal peace was not part of the Savior’s initial mortal ministry. Universal peace does not exist today. However, personal peace can be achieved despite the anger, contention and division that blights and corrupts our world today.”
All of Christ’s teaching point towards finding peace:
1. “Love God, keep the commandments, and love everyone.”
2. Seek the fruits of the Spirit. Love, joy, peace, long-suffering, patience, meekness. Bear one another’s burdens. “We should be willing to compromise and eliminate strife with respect to matters that do not involve righteousness to have peaceful relationships. But on conduct related to righteousness and doctrinal imperatives, we need to remain firm and steadfast.”
3. Exercise agency to choose righteousness.
4. Build Zion in our hearts and homes. “The institution of family is the foundation of happiness and peace.” “We are aware that many of you do not have the blessings of righteous homes and contend regularly with those who choose unrighteousness. The Savior can provide protection and peace to guide you ultimately to safety and shelter from life’s storms.”
5. Follow the admonitions of the prophet. “He was prepared from the foundations of this world for this calling.” “Our peace is greatly enhanced when we follow the Lord’s prophet.”
“If we want to have the peace which is the reward of the words of righteousness, we will not pitch our tents towards the world. We will pitch our tents towards the temple.”
“We are aware that many of you do not have the blessings of righteous homes and contend regularly with those who choose unrighteousness. The Savior can provide protection and peace to guide you ultimately to safety and shelter from life’s storms.”
(This talk fits in well with Elder Renlund’s)
“Letting go of pride and control and choosing the Savior would allow us to have His light and His peace.”
Choir sings “How Firm a Foundation.”
President Russell M. Nelson talks about the Salt Lake temple foundation by. showing a very cool video of how they are reinforcing the foundation to make it strong and resilient. “A foundation that can, and will, stand the test of time.”
“It is now time that we each implement extraordinary measures—perhaps measures we have never taken before—to strengthen our personal spiritual foundations. Unprecedented times call for unprecedented measures.”
“The temple lies at the center of strengthening our faith and spiritual fortitude because the Savior and His doctrine are the very heart of the temple.”
(This is a very ominous talk as to what is ahead.)
“The Lord has declared that despite today’s unprecedented challenges, those who build their foundations upon Jesus Christ and have learned how to draw upon His power need not succumb to the unique anxieties of this era.”
“Everything we believe, and all the promises God gives to us, come together in the temple… we can make the same promises with God that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob made.”
Talked about how the administration of the sacrament has changed from one large vessel to individual, disposable cups. “The procedures changed, but the covenants are the same.”
“Current adjustments in temple procedures and others that will follow are continuing evidence that the Lord is actively directing His church.”
Three truths to ponder”
1. The Restoration is a process, not an event.
2. The ultimate objective of the gathering of Israel is the blessings of the temple.
3. The ongoing Restoration needs ongoing revelation. (Still hard to get my head around how they have altered the definition of the word Restoration.)
(Man, I wonder what’s coming…?)
“If you don’t yet love to attend the temple, go more often not less.”
Pleads with young adults to find a companion they can be sealed with in the temple. “It will make all the difference.”
“Wishing to be together forever will not make it so.”
“Please believe me when I say that when your spiritual foundation is built solidly upon Jesus Christ, you have no need to fear.”
“Likewise, whenever any kind of upheaval occurs in your life, the safest place to be spiritually is living inside your temple covenants!”
”When spiritual earthquakes occur, you will be able to stand strong because your spiritual foundation is solid and immovable.”
“My dear brothers and sisters, when renovations on the Salt Lake Temple are completed, there will be no safer place during an earthquake in the Salt Lake Valley than inside that temple.”
“God, our Heavenly Father, wants you to choose to come home to Him. His plan of eternal progression is not complicated, and it honors your agency. You are free to choose who you will be—and with whom you will be—in the world to come!”
AND HE’S DONE! I was expecting some sort of bombshell announcement.
(If you have been to the temple lately, post-covid, then you already know about some of the changes that have happened. It sounds like there will be more.)
• Man, that session flew by! Lots of good stuff.
• Have a lovely Sabbath!