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 can still feel the burn from the chips and salsa – and we’re off!
President Henry B. Eyring presented the officers for sustains votes.
Missionary choir: Faith in Every Footstep
President M. Russell Ballard will, obviously, link the song to his pioneer ancestors in his talk, but he starts out talking about hope.
“Brothers and sisters, I testify that as we follow Jesus Christ with footsteps of faith, there is hope.”
“There is hope in repentance, and in being forgiven, and in forgiving others.”
Then he ties hope and the pioneers into a nice concept, “I testify that there is hope and peace in Christ. He can carry us today through difficult times. He did it for the early pioneers, and He will do it now for each one of us.”
Testified of the Prophet Joseph Smith. “I know Joseph Smith is a prophet of God. I know his faith-filled footsteps led him to kneel in the presence of God the Father and His beloved son Jesus Christ.”
Missionary invitation: “Our missionaries today are modern-day pioneers because they share this glorious message with people around the world, thus opening the way for our Heavenly Father’s children to know Him and His Son Jesus Christ.”
(paraphrasing) Take charge of your testimony. Work for it. Own it. Care for it. Nurture it so it will grow. Then watch for miracles to happen in your life.
“We have trails to walk, and sometimes hills and mountains to climb.” No less challenging for us than for the early pioneers.
“We should not lose our sense of urgency to keep the commandments.” DO not allow Satan to dull the commitment.
“Christ is the ultimate pioneer.”
Sister Kristin M. Yee talked about the Old Testament story of Abigail as a type of Christ because she made intercession and saved a life.
“On the path of forgiveness, Jesus Christ’s atoning power can flow into our lives and begin to heal the deep crevasses of the heart and soul.”
“We are not left to deal with the consequences of others’ actions on our own; we too can be made whole and given the chance to be saved from the weight of a warring heart and any actions that may follow.”
Talked about how growing up was difficult with her father, who was verbally and emotionally abusive. Replacing hurt and anger with grace and Atonement. Using the Atonement to heal has been a long process, but her heart is “no longer on the warpath.” The Lord gave her a “new heart.
And her dad has since turned to the Lord, something she never would have expected.
“You cannot erase what has been done. But you can forgive.” ~Richard G. Scott
• Sister Yee helped develop a Hannah Montana Wii video game for Disney. She’s an artist.
Paul V. Johnson: Told story of a man needing a bone marrow transplant, and how the recipient would be saved by his brother’s blood – analogous to the atonement. Cool analogy.
No matter how hard we try, we can’t heal ourselves, we need the atoning blood of the Savior to cleanse and sanctify us. We have to follow instructions for it to work. Are we willing to go through the process, no matter how difficult?
“Satan would have us be miserable as he is. When we follow Satan, we give him power. When we follow Christ, He gives us power.”
“His grace is sufficient for me. His grace is sufficient for you. His grace is sufficient for all who ‘labour and are heavy laden’”
“The Savior taught that we should be perfect. This can seem so daunting … Our perfection is only possible through God’s grace.”
• New heart, new blood – interesting takes. I really like the transplant idea that Br. Johnson explored.
• Halftime. I wish I had a Milky Way.
Elder Ulisses Soares. Bought his wife a piano, she asked, “Is this a gift, or a debt?” So they cancelled the purchase.
Taught him the importance of a full partnership in marriage – one heart/one mind.
2 Principles to enhance partnership:
- We are all alike unto God. We are considered equal before God. No superiority/Inferiority in a marriage. “They walk side by side, as equals, the divine offspring of God. They become one in thought, desire, and purpose with our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, leading and guiding the family unit together.”
- The Golden Rule. (Based on the 2nd Great Commandment.)
“Nurturing and presiding are interrelated and overlapping responsibilities, which means that mothers and fathers ‘are obligated to help one another as equal partners’ and share a balanced leadership of their home.”
No abuse. (3rd speaker so far)
Used the word ‘interdependently’ three times.
On nurturing and providing: “When loving parents well understand these two major responsibilities, they will strive together to protect and care for the physical and emotional well-being of their children.”
“Brothers and sisters, I testify to you that as we — women and men — work together in a true and equal partnership, we will enjoy the unity taught by the Savior as we fulfill the divine responsibilities in our marriage relationships.”
Elder James W. McConkie III: “Spend time with Jesus in the Scriptures!”
“We learned in a very real way that the gospel of Jesus Christ is a gospel of transformation. It takes us as men and women of the earth and refines us into men and women for the eternities.”
Told story of the man with the palsy who was lowered through the roof to see Jesus.
3 Important Truths about Jesus as the Christ:
“First, when we try to help someone we love come unto Christ, we can do so with confidence that He has the capacity to lift the burden of sin and to forgive.”
“Second, when we bring physical, emotional, or other illnesses to Christ, we can do so knowing He has the power to heal and comfort.”
“Third, when we make effort like the four to bring others to Christ, we can do so with certainty that He sees our true intentions and will appropriately honor them.”
“Each of us has a role to play in the kingdom of God. As we fill that role and do our part, we carry our corner… As we do, and if we will, the Lord blesses us all. As He saw ‘their’ faith, so will He see ‘ours’ and bless us as a people.”
Elder Jorge Zeballos: Spoke about engineering. (My brain isn’t up to seismic construction engineering right now, but here is the gist of the analogy)
Earthquakes will happen anyway, whether we like it or not, but we can design structures that can withstand them and continue to stand. Life will not be free of hardship, but we can be strengthened to withstand and to stand in holy places.
The gospel teaches us how to build lives that are resistent to sin, tempation, and resilient to the viscissitudes of life. Jesus’ spiritual preparation put him in a condition to resist the temptation of the adversary.
“How blessed we are to count on a knowledge of the Plan of Salvation created with our Heavenly Father, to have the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ and to rely on the inspired direction of living prophets.”
“What is truly relevant is that for having followed the divinely designed plans and specifications, that is, the Gospel of Jesus Christ, we are still standing.”
“The structure of our lives has not been demolished because of the Adversary’s efforts or for difficult situations that we have had to face; rather, we are ready to move forward.”
The Lord will also provide us with avenues of escape from temptation and sin. “What is truly relevant is that for having followed the divinely designed plans and specifications, that is, the Gospel of Jesus Christ, we are still standing.”
• Took the baby back ribs out of the freezer so they’ll be ready to smoke tomorrow.
• Are ties getting wide again?! I hope not!
Elder D. Todd Christofferson, always on point.
The “Doctrine of Belonging” has three parts:
- The Role in Gathering: Naturally occurring diversity that we would expect. “Having been given this privilege, we cannot permit any racism, tribal prejudice, or other divisions to exist in the latter-day Church of Christ.”
“We should be diligent in rooting prejudice and discrimination out of the church, out of our homes and most of all out of our hearts.”
“We need one another.”
“We may communicate in subtle ways that the worth of a soul is based on certain achievements or callings, but these are not the measure of our standing in the Lord’s eyes. ‘The Lord looketh on the heart.'”
“A sense of belonging is important to our physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing.”
It is a sad irony when someone, feeling he or she doesn’t meet the ideal in all aspects of life, concludes that they don’t belong in the very organization designed by God to help us progress toward the ideal.
- Importance of Service: “Although we rarely think about it, much of our belonging comes from our service and the sacrifices we make for others and for the Lord.”
“Belonging comes not as we wait for it, but as we reach out to help one another.”
“The church is the custodian of the covenants of salvation and exaltation that God offers us through the ordinances of the Holy Priesthood. It is by keeping these covenants that we obtain the highest and deepest sense of belonging.”
- Centrality of Jesus Christ: “The doctrine of belonging comes down to this, each one of us can affirm: Jesus Christ died for me; He thought me worthy of His blood. He loves me and can make all the difference in my life.”
“We can feel joy as we pursue, individually and communally, ‘the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.'”
• Round 2 is in the books. Back in 2!