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.
• Hello! Bear with me – I haven’t written anything in weeks – in fact this the longest I’ve gone without blowing for 12 years. Expect an even higher number of typos – if that’s possible.
• And, of course, my sound system isn’t working…
• NEWSFLASH! Tweet from Elder Holland: “Pat and I love being with you at general conference. Unfortunately, we both tested positive for Covid and are not able to attend this weekend. We will be watching together, hand-in-hand, at home. Like you, I express my gratitude for the Savior this Palm Sunday weekend.” BUMMER!!!
Elder Gary Stevenson on celebrating Easter. Are we shortchanging the holiday? Explains how his family has done a lousy job incorporating Easter worship into the Easter celebration, in comparison to Christmas. We need to add more of the Christ part and not just leave it to Sunday church.
(Might I suggest the Mesa, AZ Temple Easter Pageant)
The Book of Mormon details on Easter and Post-Easter are a gift for us that extends beyond the Bible.
“The Book of Mormon tells the greatest Easter story ever told.” Suggests that we make 3 Nephi 11 as important for Easter as Luke 2 is for Christmas.
“Take Christmas away, and you lose the first two chapters of Matthew and Luke. Take Easter away, and you don’t have a New Testament.”
“We cannot stand as witnesses of Jesus Christ until we can bear witness of Him.”
“My dear brothers and sisters, studying regularly from this book will change your life.”
“I invite you to look at the Book of Mormon in a new light and consider the profound witness it bears of the reality of the Risen Christ as well as the richness and depth of the doctrine of Christ.”
President Bonnie Cordon. Reminded us that it’s been five years since we sustained President Nelson as Prophet.
Spoke about when her dad was diagnosed with ALS.(Lou Gehrig’s disease.) Dad said, “Bonnie, never give up an opportunity to testify of Christ.”
“Stay true to your covenants with the Savior. Seek to experience His blessings every day, and be able to testify through the Holy Ghost of His power and presence in your life!”
“While we may not enjoy the same physical proximity as those who walked with Christ during His early ministry, through the Holy Ghost we can experience His power every day!”
Spoke to ways we can bring the Spirit in our lives: Temple, seminary, fasting, etc. “There is power in making these holy habits less of a checklist and more of a witness. The process will be gradual but will grow with daily, active participation and purposeful experiences with Christ.”
An invitation to look for Christ everywhere. “I promise He is there! True joy rests on our willingness to come closer to Christ and witness for ourselves.”
• #TabCats gave a slightly overcast rendition of “The Day Dawn is Breaking.”
• I have no snacks.
Elder Carl B. Cook – Don’t let discouragement overwhelm us. (Disclaimer: Not illnesses like clinical depression, etc. – just plain old discouragement.)
How can we pass through suffering? Just keep going. Don’t let discouragement get you down.
“The God of heaven and earth will help us overcome discouragement and whatever obstacles we encounter if we look to Him, follow the promptings of the Holy Ghost, and just keep going—with faith.”
Talked about Zoram in the Book of Mormon and how he had it rough, but kept going.
Told a great story about speaking with Boyd K. Packer, and speaking by the Spirit. Presdident Packer had Elder Cook speak 3 times in 1 meeting (twice!) (I miss President Packer so much!)
“We can be blessed to move forward along the covenant path, no matter how rocky it becomes.”
Elder Garrett W. Gong. Ministering. “Lives are waiting to change.”
(Good call to repentance for me and the majority of the Church)
“Everywhere I go, I gratefully learn from those who minister and care as our Savior would.”
“Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.” James 1:27
“We do not check boxes. We minister to the ministers who care for our people.”
“Higher and holier ministering comes when we pray for the ‘pure love of Christ’ and follow the Spirit.”
We have a ministering gap: More say they are ministering that those who say they receive ministering. (It’s been that way my entire life.) “We need more than a ‘can I help you’ in the parking lot.”
Give our young men and young women the opportunity to be mentored by experienced ministers.
“Inspired invitations change lives.”
“Higher and holier ministering comes when we pray for the pure love of Christ and follow the spirit.”
“We may tire physically but in his service, we do not weary in welldoing. We diligently do our best. Trust that God loveth a cheerful giver.”
“Wherever we are in this Easter season, let us reach out and care as our Savior would especially to those who we are privileged by love and assignment to minister.”
• Joined with the congregation and choir singing “Now Let Us Rejoice,” while sipping Diet Dr. Pepper
• Next speaker is Elder Cook – that makes 2 Elder Cooks in one session. I think that’s a first.
Elder Quentin L. Cook: “The Father of our spirits desires His children to be safely gathered home.”
“Our Heavenly Father’s plan for safely gathering His children to our heavenly home is not based on worldly success, economic status, education, race or gender.”
Talked about the Philippine people and the “Isles of the sea.” Then about the 12 tribes then into the…I dunno – I kinda zoned out.
“Our doctrine is clear that there will be a time and a season for all people to receive and to respond to the gospel message.”
The Book of Mormon has expanded our understanding of the gathering and made it encompass more.
“With that gathering and the numerous temples built and announced, we are in a unique position to gather Israel on both sides of the veil as never before under the Father’s plan.”
“No one has addressed the gathering more directly than President Russell M. Nelson.”
“Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have the great privilege of loving, sharing, inviting, and helping gather Israel to receive the fullness of the Lord’s covenant blessings.”
“Our commitment to love, share, and invite can be greatly expanded. An essential part of this missionary effort is for individual members to become beacon light examples wherever we live. We cannot be in camouflage.”
Another call-out about ministering: “Those who understand the true spirit of Ministering do more than before, while those who do not understand, do less. Let’s do more, as our Savior would.”
“The Lord expects those who have received His gospel to urgently strive to be a beacon light example that will help others come to God.”
Elder Allen D. Hayne: Cartoons! When he was little his cartoons were pre-empted by a Conference broadcast, and had a “brief, revelatory moment about the prophet.”
“A prophet is someone God has personally prepared, called, corrected, inspired, rebuked, sanctified, and sustained. That is why we are never spiritually at risk in following prophetic counsel.”
“Prophetic teachings do not become more valuable with age. That is why we should not seek to use the words of past prophets to dismiss the teachings of living prophets.”
(Or as I always say Living prophets > dead prophets.)
“Current conditions in the world have caused some to panic. As God’s covenant children, we do not need to chase after this or that to know how to navigate through these troubled times. We do not need to fear.”
Told a funny story about President Nelson flattening plastic water bottles. I’m guessing church-wide bottle-flattening will begin starting now.
We cannot be a source of confusion about the importance of following prophetic counsel. Our seemingly small deviations from prophetic counsel may influence those of the rising generation to leave that path altogether.
“Even if you are unsure, I witness that we can withstand the heat of the latter days and even thrive in them. We are the saints of the latter days, and these are great days.”
IMPORTANT IDEA: “If a parent goes a little off course, children are likely to follow their parent’s example. We cannot be a source of confusion about the importance of following prophetic counsel….Our seemingly small deviations, quiet neglect, or whispered criticisms in response to prophetic counsel may result in our only walking near the edge of the Covenant Path; but when magnified by the adversary in the lives of the rising generation may influence them to leave that path altogether. Such is a generational price too high.”
Follow the prophet.
• I loved this talk and this man. Props to Elder Haynie. His talk makes me want to tighten up some things that have gotten a bit not-as-tight.
Concluding speaker, President Henry B. Eyring “Peace I leave with you . . . not as the world giveth, give I unto you.”
“The Savior knows that all of Heavenly Father’s children yearn for peace, and He said that He could give it to us.”
He provides a list of five ways to find peace: “I have learned at least five truths from that teaching of the Savior:
- First, the gift of peace is given after we have the faith to keep His commandments.
- Second, the Holy Ghost will come and abide with us.
- Third, the Savior promises as we keep our covenants we can feel the love of the Father and the Son for each other and for us.
- Fourth, keeping the Lord’s commandments requires more than obedience. We are to love God with all our heart, might, mind, and soul.
- Fifth, it is clear that the Lord loves enough to pay the price of our sins so that we can through our faith in Him and our repentance, through the effects of his Atonement have the gift of the peace that passeth all understanding in this life and with Him eternally.
“There is an enemy of your soul who does not want you, and those you love, to find peace. He cannot enjoy it, he works to prevent you from even wanting to find the peace the Savior desires you to have.”
“The rising generation will become the nurturers of the generation to follow. The multiplier effect will produce a miracle. It will spread and grow over time and the Lord’s kingdom on earth will be ready to greet Him with shouts of hosanna.”
To those who have strayed: “The Lord loves you. He always has. The Lord wants you to come back. Your promised blessings are still in place.”
“I give you my assurance that regardless of the world’s condition and your personal circumstances, you can face the future with optimism and joy.'” (Sweet promise that I need to have greater faith in.)
• And we conclude with a rousing “High on a Mountaintop.” Full of vim and vigor – exactly how it is supposed to be sung. Makes me happy.
• And there is this morning’s session. Back in two.