The Lord was not kidding when He told Joseph Smith that in the last days there “shall be heard of wars and rumors of wars, and the whole earth shall be in commotion, and men’s hearts shall fail them…And the love of men shall wax cold, and iniquity shall abound.”(D&C 45:26-27)
We are obviously experiencing what He warned us about. Not to pile on, but has anybody read about what is going on at Lake Powell? For those who aren’t familiar, Lake Powell is the 2nd largest man-made lake in the country. It provides water to the Southwest, including California. It provides hydro-electric power to Utah, Nevada, Arizona, Colorado – even Nebraska.
Last week I read that Lake Powell is at its lowest levels since the lake was filled up back in the ’60s and ’70s. That is scary for two reasons: 1) Lake Powell provides a lot of water for people and agriculture in the desert southwest and California, and we know that food supply has become an issue worldwide. 2) Lake Powell also helps keep the lights on for a lot of us, too. If the water level drop very much more, it will be too low to spin the turbines that generate the electricity. Yikes! (Link)
While a good storm would be really helpful, it would also require slow, steady precipitation to fill it back up again. When the water is being used at a faster rate than it is being stored, it creates instability and a plethora of problems.
As I was thinking about that simple concept, my thoughts turned to General Conference coming up next week. I remember (back in the day) when President Kimball stood in April Conference gave a powerful talk about the drought that was happening back in the ’70s. In a nutshell, he pinned it on the Lord disciplining His children for not keeping the Sabbath day holy. (Here’s the talk.)
(While that isn’t where I am heading with this post, it might be a good idea to give it some thought.)
The point of this post is to make a simple analogy: We need to store up a “Reservoir of Faith” in our lives, so that when the time comes that we need it, we have some to draw on.
Enter, General Conference. If there is ever an opportunity to pour huge amounts of faith into our lives and hearts, it is during the weekend that is General Conference. We are taught by leaders and prophets, and hopefully, the Holy Ghost. Heeding them will fill our reservoirs of faith like a wonderful spring rainstorm that lasts 2 entire days.
Elder Dallin H. Oaks taught the principle of the “Reservoir of Faith” in a Young Women Conference, way back in April, 1994:
“President Spencer W. Kimball said that we need what he called “reservoirs of faith” to stand firm and strong against all the temptations and adversities of life.
My beloved young sisters, each of you needs to build a reservoir of faith so you can draw upon it when someone you love or respect betrays you, when some scientific discovery seems to cast doubt on a gospel principle, or when someone makes light of sacred things, such as the name of God or the sacred ceremonies of the temple. You need to draw on your reservoir of faith when you are weak or when someone else calls on you to strengthen them. You also need to draw on your reservoir of faith when some requirement of Church membership or service interferes with your personal preferences.” (link)
Obviously, his counsel isn’t just for the young women of the Church, but for all of us. If we have a deep reservoir of faith to draw on, the adversary, and the commotion that the world is experiencing will not affect us as greatly.
The importance and potential spiritual impact of General Conference can’t be underestimated. When we look at it as “a weekend off” to travel or go about our normal weekend activities, we are missing out on one of the two great opportunities each year to restock our reservoirs of faith with Living Water that is desperately needed – or will be. It is a lot easier to say, “Oh, I’ll watch it later,” but to me, if I don’t give my full attention when it is happening, it never seems to have the same impact. (Kinda like watching a rerun of a sporting event.)
But, I would like to add one more idea:
I adore General Conference. Those who have followed my Post-Conference posts this past decade know that I take it seriously. It is important to me.
I also pay attention to how others react to Conference. Some feel they way I do, others… not-so-much. One thing I have noticed is that no two people are alike in what they take away from Conference, and the easiest way for me to express it is to say…
Sometimes Conference fills our Reservoir our Faith, and, in some rare instances, it can deplete it.
There are times in our lives where something spoken in Conference can put us back on our heels. Maybe it is something new that we haven’t though about, or something we flat-out disagree with. Sometimes we don’t like the manner or tone in which a message is delivered, or we just aren’t spiritually ready to accept what is being taught.
The reality is that sometimes something can be taught in Conference does not build faith, it requires additional faith. That’s where the dutifully filled Reservoir of Faith comes into play. The faith we have in reserve is what we can sustain us until we come to a greater understanding, or testimony, of what we struggle with. We can rely on the faith we’ve established until we can accept, or even embrace that which causes us to bristle.
That is why we need to make sure we have our personal Reservoir of Faith topped off as much as we can – because every now and again, we are going to need it to help us over a hurdle we didn’t see coming – even when those hurdles come from those we love and esteem.
If our spiritual reservoir is low, or empty, there simply isn’t enough faith to draw on as we work through spiritual challenges – wherever they come from. Those spiritual turbines slow, and the faith we need in our lives begins to desiccate.
President Kimball: “There should also be… reservoirs of faith so that when the world presses in upon us, we stand firm and strong; when the temptations of a decaying world about us draw on our energies, sap our spiritual vitality, and seek to pull us down, we need a storage of faith that can carry youth and later adults over the dull, the difficult, the terrifying moments, disappointments, disillusionments, and years of adversity, want, confusion, and frustration.” (link)
Please enjoy General Conference with me next week. Absorb the Living Water that Christ’s chosen leaders and the Holy Ghost shares with us. Let us fill our Reservoirs of Faith, as the time is now here that we can’t afford to be running on empty.