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.
• Only 4 hours left? Yesterday went by super quick.
• Also, the ribs go on the smoker right after this session ends. Dinner at 5.
• Rafiki voice: “It is time.”
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland. Why don’t we use the cross in our worship?
“As I attempt to explain why we generally do not use the iconography of the cross, I wish to make abundantly clear our deep respect and profound admiration for … those who do.”
One reason is that the cross is a brutal instrument of suffering. Wasn’t until 4th & 5th Centuries. We aren’t Catholic or Protestant, so we weren’t part of that evolution. We reflect true Christian beginnings.
“Another reason for not using iconized crosses is the emphasis on the complete miracle of Christ’s mission — his glorious resurrection as well as his sacrificial suffering and death.”
President Hinckley taught that the lives of our people must be symbols of our faith.
“We follow Him everywhere, including if necessary, into arenas filled with tears and trouble where sometimes we may stand very much alone.”
Spoke to the burdens we all carry. Emotional, poverty, loneliness, health, identity, gender, sexuality, etc. “I know many who wrestle with wrenching matters of identity, gender and sexuality. I weep for them, and I weep with them, knowing how significant the consequences of their choices will be.”
“There is a cost for discipleship.”
“May we follow Him—unfailingly, never faltering nor fleeing, never flinching at the task, not when our crosses may be heavy and not when, for a time, the path may grow dark.”
(Man, that was SHORT!)
J. Annette Dennis: How many wounded individuals do we have among us? How often do we judge others, when if we fully understood we would respond with compassion, rather than adding to their burden through judgment.”
Don’t be judgy.
Have charity. (Love people)
“We are commanded to love others, not to judge them. Let’s lay down that heavy burden; it isn’t ours to carry. Instead, we can pick up the Savior’s yoke of love and compassion.”
Don’t be judgy.
“I believe the Savior is inviting us to live a higher, holier way—His way of love where all can feel they truly belong and are needed.”
Don’t be judgy.
(I’m not a fan of being told to generically “love people” without the speaker telling me what that means and what it looks like, to them. Yes, that’s me being judgy.)
• The key change in Sunshine in My Soul almost broke my ears.
Elder Garritt W. Gong: We want to believe in “happily ever after.”
“‘Happy and forever’ are not the imaginary stuff of fairy tales. True, enduring joy and eternity with those we love are the very essence of God’s plan of happiness. His lovingly prepared way can make our eternal journey happy and forever.”
“None of us is perfect, nor is any family. Our relationships include love, sociality and personality but often also friction, hurt, sometimes profound pain.”
Spoke of temple sealings. Told two cool stories about family history/temple work. ‘A bent branch does not make a bad tree.”
“Temple ordinances do not of themselves change us or those in the spirit world, but these divine ordinances enable sanctifying covenants with the Lord, which can bring harmony with Him and each other.
5 Doctrinal Principals
- God knows us and can’t be deceived. Repentance.
- Lord gives us opportunities to be like him via proxy temple ordinances.
- Symmetry between repentance and forgiveness. We must forgive to be forgiven.
“As we come to the Savior, we focus less on ourselves. We judge less and forgive more.”
Cool idea: —-> “Happy and forever do not mean that every relationship will be happy and forever. But a thousand Millennial years when Satan is bound may give us needed time and surprising ways to love, understand, and work things out, as we prepare for eternity.”
“Repairing our relationships and healing our hearts is hard, perhaps impossible for us on our own. But Heaven can give us strength and wisdom beyond our own to know when to hold on and how to let go.”
Elder Jospeh W. Sitati, recently moved to emeritus status.
“Whenever we care to notice, we see that Heavenly Father has given us sufficient witnesses of truth to govern our lives so he will know him and we will have blessings of peace and joy.”
“God our Heavenly Father lives and He manifests Himself to us all the time in beautiful ways.”
“When we respect and align what we do with these eternal realities, we experience internal peace and harmony. When we don’t, we are unsettled.”
Quoted Paul about the last days: “For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy. Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good. Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.”
“As we each individually grow in our knowledge and love of the Father and the Son, we grow in appreciation and love one for another.”
“We become one with God and with each other through loving service.”
“The miraculous irony of it is that when we focus our best efforts on loving God and others, we are enabled to discover our own true divine worth as sons and daughters of God.”
NICE: “What we do at home is the true crucible of enduring and joyful discipleship.”
Steven J. Lund (YM General President) started by talking about FSY for youth. Over 200K attended this summer.
“Like brightly hulled steel ships at sea, we live in a spiritually corrosive environment where the most gleaming convictions must be mindfully maintained or they can etch, then corrode, and then crumble away.”
“Let there be no doubt, it is the very stuff of heroes displayed by our youth when they set their hearts and minds to standing upright against the shifting moral tectonics of our time.”
“The stalwart youth of Zion are voyaging through stunning times. Finding joy in this world of prophesied disruption without becoming part ‘of that world,’ with its blind spot toward holiness is their particular charge.”
“We must continue to do those things that brought us here in the first place like praying often, drenching ourselves in scripture, and serving sincerely.”
To a returning missionary he said, “You don’t have to wear the badge to bear His name.”
Elder David A. Bednar explained what parables are. “An individual must exercise agency, and actively ask, seek, and knock, in order to discover the truths embedded in a parable.”
Went into great detail explains Parable of the Royal Marriage Feast. (Luke 14:7-14) Not attending was a deliberate insult to the King. Looks like the main point is that The unrobed guest was guilty of neglect, disrespect, and disobedience.
(Sorry, bad notes – this is pretty deep) This is about inner rebellion.
“To be or to become chosen is not an exclusive status conferred upon us. Rather, you and I ultimately can choose to be chosen through the righteous exercise of our moral agency.”
“Our short-term preoccupation with ‘the things of the world’ and the ‘honors of men’ may lead us to forfeit our spiritual birthright for far less than a mess of pottage.”
The Challenge: “Each of us should evaluate our temporal and spiritual priorities sincerely and prayerfully to identify the things in our lives that may impede the bounteous blessings that Heavenly Father and the Savior are willing to bestow upon us.”
The promise: “As we appropriately seek for the spiritual gift of eyes to see and ears to hear, I promise that we will be blessed with the capacity and judgment to strengthen our covenant connection with the living Lord.”
President Nelson to close.
(Here’s a thought: The Church is 192 years old Russell M Nelson has been around for 98 of those years – OVER HALF the length of the history of the Church.)
“My dear brothers and sisters, so many wonderful things are ahead. In coming days, we will see the greatest manifestations of the Savior’s power that the world has ever seen.”
“I grieve for those who leave the Church because they feel membership requires too much of them. They have not yet discovered that making and keeping covenants actually makes life easier.”
“The reward for keeping covenants with God is heavenly power—power that strengthens us to withstand our trials, temptations, and heartaches better.”
“Each person who makes covenants in baptismal fonts and in temples—and keeps them—has increased access to the power of Jesus Christ.”
“My message to you today is that because Jesus Christ overcame this fallen world and because He atoned for each of us, you too can overcome this sin-saturated, self-centered, and often exhausting world.”
“You can find true rest…even amidst your most vexing problems.”
“What does it mean to overcome the world?” To care more about the things of God vs. the things of the world, and trusting the doctrine of God vs philosophies of men. Refraining from anything that drives the Spirit away. (And more) Your resistance to sin will increase and your heart will soften. Learning to love God and His Son more than anything else.
“How do we do it?” Quoted King Benjamin’s teaching about the natural man being an enemy to God, and how we must have have the Spirit. When you listen to the Spirit and do good things, you are overcoming the world. It happens over a lifetime.
“How does it bless our lives?” “The Savior lifts us above the pull of this fallen world by blessing us with greater charity, humility, generosity, kindness, self-discipline, peace, and rest.“ “Living the doctrine of Christ can produce the most powerful, virtuous cycle, creating spiritual momentum in our lives.”
“While the world insists that power, possessions, popuplarity, and pleasures of the flesh bring happiness. They do not. They can not. They produce nothing but a hollow substitute to those who keep the commandments of God.” (Serious alliteration.)
“It is more exhausting to seek truth where you can never find it.”
“I did not say making covenants makes life easy, because of opposition and the adversary… But yoking yourself with the Savior means you have access to His strength and redeeming power.”
“I urge and plead with you now, to take charge of your own testimony of Jesus Christ and His gospel.”
“My plea to you this morning is to find rest from the intensity, uncertainty, and anguish of this world by overcoming the world through your covenants with God.”
“Take charge of your own testimony of Jesus Christ and His gospel. Work for it. Nurture it so that it will grow. Feed it truth. Don’t pollute it with false philosophies of unbelieving men and women.“
“Cherish and honor your covenants above all other commitments. As you let God prevail in your life, I promise you greater peace, confidence, joy, and yes, rest.’
Left a blessing on us…
- On our quest to overcome this world,
- to increase our faith in Jesus Christ and to better draw on his power,
- to better to discern between truth and error,
- to care more about the things of God than the world,
- to see the needs of those around you and
- to strengthen those you love..
• #tabcats gave a goosebump inducing version of Let Us All Press On.
• No changes or announcements so far – and only one session left…
• Have a nice break. See you back for the Big Finish in a couple hours.