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.
As always, Conference has flown by. I hope they speak a little more slowly. It is probably my old age, because I had a hard time keeping up this morning! (Or maybe it’s because I don’t have a pause button like I normally do.)
Also, I am grateful that I have enough faith that I don’t watch conference with an “axe to grind.” If I went in looking for things to be irritated, or offended about, it would be an interminable weekend.
Looking for my friend Riley Carling – singing with the TabCats for the first time today!
President Dallin H. Oaks leads off. The Gospel Plan shows Heavenly Father’s love for ALL his children.” “To understand God’s love for us, we need to understand his plan for us.”
“I love all of God’s children.”
“I wish we all had a better understanding of the loving doctrine and policies that our Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ have established in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”
“A common misunderstanding is that good people go to heaven, and bad people go to…hell.” (Rejecting that simple, and common, dichotomy.)
“The revealed doctrine of the Restored Church of Jesus Christ teaches that all the children of God — with exceptions too limited to consider here — will finally wind up in a kingdom of glory.”
The Lord hasn’t revealed much about the two lesser kingdoms, but more about Celestial. But the purpose of the Church is to aim for the top. Makes sense, right?
Each kingdom has its own glory and laws. (Pretty basic missionary lesson stuff)
He uses teachings and policies together in discussing what the Church requires. For example:
“The purpose of the doctrine and policies of this restored Church is to prepare God’s children for salvation in the celestial glory, and more particularly, for exaltation in its highest degree.”
Another witness of the importance of religious freedom: “Most are aware of this Church’s great efforts to promote religious freedom. These efforts are in furtherance of our Heavenly Father’s plan. We seek to help all of His children, not just our own members, enjoy the precious freedom to choose.”
Salvation is an individual manner, but exaltation is a family matter.
Gender is an essential characteristic. “Gender is a part of our premortal, mortal, and eternal identity.” That’s why the Church pushes back against social pressures regarding gender and marriage. Acknowledges that this engenders opposition.
“The Lord has required His restored church to oppose social & legal pressures to retreat from His doctrine of marriage between a man & a woman.”
“Satan seeks to discourage marriage, child-bearing, and the essential & eternal characteristic of gender. These are essential elements to God’s plan.”
“We affirm that the Family Proclamation, founded on unchangeable doctrine, defines the kind of family relationships where the most important part of our eternal development can occur.” (Unchangeable? Nice to hear.)
“As followers of Christ who should love our fellowmen, we should live peacefully with those who do not believe as we do. We are all children of a loving Heavenly Father.”
Elder Adeyinka A Ojediran spoke on coming to Christ.
“In the scriptures, we find the invitation for us to come to the Lord repeated over 90 times, and more than half of these are personal invitations from the Lord Himself.”
“Accepting the Savior’s invitation means partaking of His ordinances and keeping our covenants with Him.”
We come unto Christ by repenting, making covenants, and enduring to the end and staying on the Covenant Path.
“The path to perfection is the Covenant Path, and Jesus Christ is the center of all ordinances and covenants.”
The Savior emphasizes:
- The Holy Ghost can teach us and remind us of the Savior’s teaching.
- The ordinance of the sacrament – baptism opens the gate, the sacrament helps us press forward on the Covenant Path.
Metaphor of charging a car battery to charge up spiritually.
Elder Jorg Klebingat – born in Germany, didn’t hang onto his accent like Elder Uchtdorf.
Agency: “God can’t force us to do good, neither can Satan force us to do evil.”
“Should we live our religion at periscope depth? Surely not.”
“While some would prefer a God who comes without commandments, the God who makes no demands is the equivalent of a God who does not exist.”
(He was president of the Ukraine mission. Would like to hear what he thinks.)
“Let us be confident, not apologetic, valiant, not timid, faithful, not fearful as we hold up the Lord’s light in these last days.”
“Large crowds cannot deem right, that which God has declared wrong”
“Teaching our children clearly might at times be considered intolerance.”
“While some would prefer to be selective in the commandments they follow, let us joyfully accept the Savior’s invitation to “live by every word which proceedeth forth out of the mouth of God.”
“Crowds cannot make right what God has declared to be wrong. There is no need to sacrifice truth on the altar of agreeableness or likability.”
“Let us demonstrate our love for the Lord through voluntary, wholehearted obedience.”
“Moral relativists advocate that truth is merely a social construct, that there are no moral absolutes. What they are really saying is that there is no sin… a philosophy for which the adversary is claiming proud authorship!” (See Korihor)
“It is not only possible but essential to love a child of God who embraces beliefs different from our own.”
“I testify that the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve are good and honest men who love God and His children, and who are loved by Him.”
I really enjoyed his bold conviction and confidence. He wove a lovely scriptural tapestry.
Mark L. Pace– General Sunday school President began with, “Brothers and sisters, it’s a good day to be good!” (Time to break out the embroidery)
“Gospel learning that leads to true conversion needs the influence of the Holy Ghost.”
“Your experiences with the scriptures must be your own…there is no substitute for the time you spend in the scriptures as the Holy Ghost teaches you.”
“Long-lasting conversion is a lifelong process. Conversion is our goal.”
Each week when I open my Come, Follow Me manual, I write this question at the top of the page: ‘What is the Holy Ghost teaching me this week as I read these chapters?’”
Talked about the importance of Old Testament prophets, focusing on Moses, to show how the Holy Ghost can reach us as we study the scriptures.
“I am impressed with the parallel between the way the Lord blessed His people in this Old Testament account and the way He is also blessing His people today.”
“My daily experiences with Come, Follow Me are rarely noteworthy, but over time I can see how I am being changed by such a constant, focused study of the scriptures. That kind of study humbles me, teaches me, and changes me a little at a time.”
Told different examples of people whose lives have been bettered by studying the scriptures with the CFM curriculum.
“There is no substitute for the time you spend reading the scriptures, hearing the Holy Ghost speak directly to you.”
Elder Ulisses Soares spoke about Spiritual Apathy.
“Spiritual apathy is characterized by the gradual loss of our excitement to engage fully in the Lord’s gospel.”
Apathy and complacency are deadly foes of all spiritual growth, and causes us to gradually distance ourselves from God.
“When we intentionally and truly dedicate ourselves to look unto Him and learn from His perfect example, we come to know Him better.”
“The Savior has established the way for us to avoid falling into the trap of spiritual apathy.” We ned to have faith, repent, keep the covenants we have made and “We need to immerse ourselves with faith and real intent in the Savior’s teachings.”
“…there is always something wonderful and fascinating to learn about Jesus Christ and His gospel.”
“The Lord has made wonderful promises that are extended to all those, including us, who seek to learn of Him and incorporate His words into their lives.”
“May the remembrance of what our eyes have seen, and our hearts have felt increase our amazement at the Savior’s atoning sacrifice, which can heal us of our spiritual and emotional wounds.” (I love this)
“As we genuinely and continually strive to learn of the Savior and follow His example, I promise you in His name that His divine attributes will be written in our mind and hearts.”
Elder Randy D. Funk. “Consider on the blessed and happy state of those who keep the commandments of God.”
“The gift of agency is not just the right to choose, but the opportunity to choose the right.”
“The blessings that flow into the lives of those that follow the example and teachings of Jesus Christ are numerous, joyful, and eternal.”
Taught us about sheep “folds.” The fold has only one opening…at the end of the day the shepherd calls the sheep through the gate. they enter the safety of the fold. “The safety and well-being of the sheep depend on their willingness to come into the fold and to stay in the fold.”
Christ is the shepherd, and there is only one way into the fold. “Within the fold of God, we experience His watchful, nurturing care and are blessed to feel His redeeming love.”
1. Be redeemed by God.
2. Be numbered
3. Have eternal life and abundance of joy..
4. the Lord will pour his spirit upon you.
“No amount of personal improvement on our part can make us clean from the sins we have committed or whole from the wounds we have suffered without the Atonement of Jesus Christ. He is our Redeemer.”
“To receive the marvelous blessings promised to those who come into the fold of God requires us to do just that. We need to choose to come.”
Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf. Opened with the story of the widow’s mite donation at the temple.
“To the Lord, the value of the donation was measured not by the effect it had on the treasury but by the effect it had on the donor.”
“Jesus taught that our offering may be large or may be small, but either way it must be our heartfelt all.”
We are stretched thin, and need to divide our commitments – but there is another way to look at bringing Jesus into the mix. Compared it to keeping balance while riding bicycles. It has become natural and normal – even though it is tough for those learning. Takes time, practice and patience – and even falling down a time or two. Don’t look at your feet, focus on your destination and keep pedaling.
“Our objective is to follow the way of our Master Jesus Christ.” “Our common overall objective is to follow the way of our Master, Jesus Christ, and return to the presence of our beloved Father in Heaven.”
“Discipleship, like most things in life, can also be compared to flying an airplane.” (Much laughter) Talks about how forward momentum keeps a bike upright, it helps an aircraft lift. “It means that if we want to find balance in life, and if we want the Savior to lift us heavenward, then our commitment to Him and His gospel can’t be casual or occasional.” (2nd talk that referenced momentum.)
“Being a disciple of Jesus Christ is not just one of many things we do. The Savior is the motivating power behind all that we do.”
“Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and all these things will be added unto you. That doesn’t mean it’s easy. It requires sacrifice and consecration. It requires letting some things grow and other things go”
“Sacrifice and consecration are two heavenly laws that we covenant to obey in the holy Temple.” One way in which they differ – “When we consecrate something, we don’t leave it to be consumed upon the altar. Rather, we put it to use in the Lord’s service. We dedicate it to Him and His holy purposes.”
Very few of us will ever be asked to sacrifice our lives for the Savior. But we are all invited to consecrate our lives to Him.
“When we look at our lives and see a hundred things to do, we feel overwhelmed. When we see one thing — loving and serving God and His children, in a hundred different ways — then we can work on those things with joy.”
President Nelson wraps it up…
“The future is always uncertain… but there are things we can control, including how we spend our time each day.”
“We have received important direction for the future. My prayer is that the Spirit has spoken to you directly about things the Lord would have you do.”
“Yes, we should learn from the past, and yes, we should prepare for the future. But only now can we do. Now is the time we can learn. Now is the time we can repent.”
(Loving the hand gestures while quoting the VanDyke poem.)
“Positive spiritual momentum increases as we worship in the temple and grow in our understanding of the magnificent breadth and depth of blessings we receive there.” (3rd talk about momentum.”
Counter world ways by focusing on the blessings of the eternal work of the temple.
Announced 17 new temples: New Zealand, Congo, Spain, UK, Peru, Brazil, Mexico, Florida, Tennessee, Ohio, Kansas, Montana, Texas, Idaho, California.
“The Lord loves you. He is your Savior and your Redeemer. He leads and guides His Church. May we be a people worthy of the Lord, who said, ‘Ye shall be my people, and I will be your God.’”
And there we are. Another wonderful conference. Already looking forward to going back and rereading them.
I’m gonna go ice my fingers.
Remember: It’s a good day to be good!
Love you all, thanks for reading.