Archive for the ‘general conference’ Tag

A Prophet of God

Reading: “Welcome to Conference,” President Thomas S. Monson, April 2010 General Conference, Saturday Morning Session

Every time I have the opportunity to listen to conference I come away inspired and uplifted. We get to listen to a prophet for our times, and many others who all have received inspiration to talk to us about things we need to hear. In his introduction to conference President Monson said,

Now, brothers and sisters, we have come here to be instructed and inspired. . . Many messages, covering a variety of gospel topics, will be given during the next two days. Those men and women who will speak to you have sought heaven’s help concerning the messages they will give.

Modern revelation is a great thing. Not only do we believe in God, but we also believe he speaks to us today through a prophet and directly to us through the Spirit. I would have a hard time believing in a God who stopped talking to his people many years ago, when we are so plainly in need of his help.

What does it mean to you to have a prophet speak to you? What has the prophet said, in this last conference or otherwise, that has been of particular help to you?

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Thoughts on General Conference

Reading: April 2010 General Conference

This past weekend I was uplifted and inspired by our General Conference. The unmistakable theme in this conference was family.  I remember in a previous general conference being very excited when a single talk was directed at mothers, but in this conference it seemed like every other talk had quite a bit to say to mothers. Since being a mother pretty much encompasses my whole life at the moment, it was great to have so much instruction and encouragement.

Listening to this conference has made me feel more confident in my choice to be a mother in a time when motherhood is not greatly valued by most of society. I feel more keenly the importance of what I do every day with my little children. I also feel motivated to try harder to teach my children about the gospel, and especially talk more about Jesus with them.

One thing about having little children is that I don’t get to sit and just listen to conference like I did before I had kids.  So, I am really looking forward to going through each talk and writing about it here on my blog.  I look forward to digging deeper into what the leaders of the church had to say to us.

What messages did you get from conference? There was a lot said to mothers compared to other conferences, but there was still plenty said for everyone else, too. What changes do you feel inspired to make after listening to conference?

Inspired of God

Reading: “Welcome to Conference,” President Thomas S. Monson, October 2009 General Conference, Saturday Morning Session

It’s that time again! For the past two conferences I have enjoyed writing about each of the conference talks, and so I am planning on doing the same thing again starting today for the October conference.  Today I read President Monson’s welcome to conference, where one quote in particular stood out:

Those who will address us have sought heaven’s help and direction as they have prepared their messages. They have been impressed concerning that which they will share with us. That we may be filled with the Spirit of the Lord as we listen and learn is my prayer.

Last Sunday in Sunday School we had a discussion about how lucky we are to have inspired guidance by the prophets.  After the many times I have felt the Spirit touch me as I listen to General Conference, I know that the speakers sincerely seek the inspiration of God as they prepare their talks.  This year we had a big event that kept us from watching most of conference live, so I am excited to get to read what each person had to say as I review this last conference.

What were your favorite moments of conference? If you had to pick a particular talk to review, which would you pick?

General Conference Review

Reading: “Welcome to Conference,” President Monson, April 2009 General Conference, Saturday Morning Session

In my last post I told you how much I hate moving.  I haven’t posted since then because we’ve been busy doing just that – moving.  We ended up moving much quicker than anticipated because we were able to sell the last two months of our contract to someone who needed to move in immediately.  We are currently staying with family until we are able to move into the apartment in Provo we have rented for the summer. I will do my best to get back into the routine of posting every day while we are here.

I still hate moving, by the way. Although the move did go very well, so I probably shouldn’t complain.

And thus begins my review of the April 2009 general conference.  Today I read President Monson’s review of the things he has done since the last session of conference, particularly the dedication of several temples.  He says,

Now, my brothers and sisters, I am pleased to report that the Church is doing very well. The work of the Lord continues to move forward uninterrupted.

I think it is wonderful that temples are continuing to be built across the globe.  When I think of the incredible sacrifice that our ancestors went through in order to build the early temples, it makes me happy to wonder what they would think of what we have been able to do today.

Today I am going to get in touch with my brother in Rexburg and see if he would like to go to a session at the new Rexburg temple with me while we are staying up here.

What else has happened over the past year that shows that the work of the Lord continues to move forward?  Anything big? Anything small that means something to you?

Words From a Prophet

Reading: “Until We Meet Again,” President Thomas S. Monson, October 2008 General Conference, Sunday Afternoon Session

Today I read the last of the talks from general conference.  I have really enjoyed reading all of the talks and am amazed at how much there is to learn and grow from just this single general conference alone.  I am greatful for the knowledge we are blessed with and look forward to many opportunities for growth as I try to live what I learn.

It is somewhat traditional for the prophet to give a farewell talk at the end of conference where he gives parting advice and encouragement to the church.  In this talk some interesting points told by President Monson are:

  • We should be good citizens of the countries and communities where we live, reaching out to people of every religion or non-religion.
  • We have many opportunities to help those in need.
  • Through the donations of church members the church is able to be among the first responders to disasters throughout the world.
  • Continuous revelation is a great blessing to us, and we are blessed to live in a time where we have so much of it.
  • Eternal life in the presence of God is our most important goal.

Today I was half listening to a TV show my husband was watching while eating lunch and the villain of the story was accused of being a “murderer and a false prophet.”  It made me reflect on how much damage a “false prophet” could do.  This made me even more greatful for our prophet, who leads us the way to go.  And, it is possible for each of us to know that President Monson is the true prophet of God by praying to God and testing the principles he teaches. The more I study and the more I try to live the gospel, the more certain I am that President Monson is a prophet of God.

I don’t really know much about President Monson’s life, so today I’m going to try to find a short biography of him online to read so that I know more about him.  [EDIT:  After writing this I found this website created by the church with a biography and many pictures and even a video.  The wikipedia article also has a more detailed biography. ]

What about President Monson’s final words stood out to you?  Or, how do you know that President Monson is a prophet of God?

Through Small and Simple Things

Reading: “Testimony as a Process,” Elder Carlos A. Godoy of the Seventy, October 2008 General Conference, Sunday Afternoon Session

I’m sorry for missing the past few days.  We went to Colorado to find a place to move into in December.  We found a lovely place and are excited to move in a few weeks.

In the scriptures we sometimes read about great conversion experiences, such as Alma the Younger’s visit with the angel, or Paul’s visitation by Christ.  So, sometimes there is an idea that a conversion experience should be big and momentous.  However, Elder Godoy encourages us not to think this way, but rather rely on the smaller experiences with the Spirit.

In order to gain a testimony we should be continually living the gospel.  Elder Godoy says:

Today, after many years as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I might not be able to remember most of the experiences that have shaped my testimony. Still, all of these experiences have left their mark and contributed to my testimony of the restored Church. Today, I have an absolute certainty of the truths of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

I cannot think of any single great experience in my life that converted me to the gospel.  I can think of several experiences that were special and spiritual, but I feel more that they came after the testimony rather than caused my testimony.  Indeed, my testimony is a product of many small experiences that are happening all the time.

Reflecting on this also made me realize that when I rely on the bigger experiences for my testimony, it is a bad thing over time.  My testimony and love of the gospel is much, much stronger when I am actively trying to help it grow.  When I relax I may be okay for a short time but I can feel myself weaken.

Today I am going to plan a FHE lesson.  We have been doing pretty well the past few weeks in doing something for FHE, but have been lax in really coming up with a lesson.  An FHE lesson is a great way to help your testimony grow as a family.

How do you keep your testimony burning bright?

Unified as One

Reading: “Our Hearts Knit as One,” President Henry B. Eyring, First Counselor in the First Presidency, October 2008 General Conference, Sunday Morning Session

Last Sunday as I was going to church I kept pondering the question how I could encourage our family to be more focused on the gospel.  The answer I came up with surprised me at first, but made a lot of sense.  It was to be closer to and more unified with my husband.  So, while I was reading President Eyring’s talk on unity that is what I kept in mind.

Throughout the talk President Eyring listed many ways that we can encourage unity in our families and in the church:

  • Pray together
  • Pray for unity
  • Stick to the teachings of the prophets
  • Do not contend with each other
  • Look forward together to joy in the gospel
  • Testify of the Savior and His mission
  • Revelation encourages unity
  • Be humble
  • Be a peacemaker
  • Search for and focus on what you agree on
  • See opportunity in differences
  • Avoid judging
  • Only speak kindly of others
  • Give service

There are a lot ways that we can become more unified in the groups that we inhabit.  My husband and I get along really well, but I can see in this list many ways that I can improve.

Today I am going to get together with my family and have family prayer  before we go to bed.  With everyone going to bed at different times (the baby, my husband, and I) it is often easy to forget.

How do you encourage unity in your family?

Learning, Doing, and Being

Reading, “To Learn, to Do, to Be,” President Thomas S. Monson, October 2008 General Conference, Priesthood Session

How does one fully fulfill the responsiblities of the priesthood?  President Monson gives the following three steps:

  • To Learn
  • To Do
  • To Be

To learn means studying and searching out teachings in the gospel to help guide us on our path. When I search the scriptures, then I am learning what I should do to become like God.

To do means doing those things we should be.  For me, that may mean praying morning and night, reading my scriptures, and being patient and loving with my family.

To be means becoming something more than what we are.  More than just checking off things on a list to do (which is important, in its place) we become Christlike.  When I am truly seeking to become like Christ I find that my whole person changes, more than just improving a few small areas.

Yesterday in church I was feeling like I should try to improve my patience, especially with my family.  So, today I am going to try and find something to read to help me learn more about patience.  Then, from that I’m going to find something specific to do today.  Then, I’m going to pray for help to become a more patient and loving person.

How can you apply the advice that President Monson has given here?

Lift Where You Stand

Reading: “Lift Where You Stand,” President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, October 2008 General Conference, Priesthood Session

When I was attending BYU-Idaho I once went with my FHE group to one of the weekly FHE question and answer sessions with then-President, now-Elder (apostle) Bednar.  The most memorable question, for me, was when a young woman got up and said that she sometimes felt like she was destined for great things, the implication being a high calling in the church, and asked Elder Bednar what his advice was.  He said firmly that followers of Christ are humble and that it is not good to seek after high offices of the church, but rather those callings go to those who are not seeking them.

In this talk Elder Uchtdorf shares the same message.  He asks us to “lift where we stand” and not to get caught up in seeking after the praise or glory of men. He says,

Brethren, when we stand before the Lord to be judged, will He look upon the positions we have held in the world or even in the Church? Do you suppose that titles we have had other than “husband,” “father,” or “priesthood holder” will mean much to Him? Do you think He will care how packed our schedule was or how many important meetings we attended? Do you suppose that our success in filling our days with appointments will serve as an excuse for failure to spend time with our wife and family?

The Lord judges so very differently from the way we do. He is pleased with the noble servant, not with the self-serving noble.

Because of the way our society works, it is easy to sometimes get the idea that the measure of one’s worthiness and spiritual prowess is found in your church position.  After all, if you are really good at your job you move up and up and are rewarded more and more. When I have found myself starting to think this way it usually makes me feel depressed about my own service.  Because I am so shy I usually struggle with callings that ask me to repeatedly talk in front of people, even kids.  So, I would think, if I struggle with even the smallest of callings, then I must not be very strong spiritually.

I am grateful for talks like this that help us get our minds and hearts back in order.  Our service is not, and should not, be judged by outward recognition or by the “rank” of our calling.  Rather, our service and spiritual worthiness is between us and God.  We can do far more by looking for every opportunity for service, rather than looking for opportunities to be seen serving.

Today, or this weekend, I’m going to try to find some service I can do anonymously.

Do you know people who have been a great blessing in your life but who may not have served in a high ranking position in the church?

Sacrament Worthiness

Reading: “Arms of Safety,” Elder Jay E. Jensen of the Presidency of the Seventy, October 2008 General Conference, Priesthood Session

When we partake of the Sacrament, we renew our baptismal covenants.  It is a way for us to gain forgiveness to some degree of sins over the past week.  Since the Sacrament is so important, we should be worthy when we participate in it.  Elder Jensen teaches these things and especially encourages the Aaronic Priesthood holders to show respect for the Sacrament when adminstering it.

One thing that stood out to me is the meaning of the sacrament that Elder Jensen teaches. He says,

Elder Dallin H. Oaks has testified that there is a spiritual cleansing or healing associated with the sacrament: “The sacrament of the Lord’s Supper is a renewal of the covenants and blessings of baptism. We are commanded to repent of our sins and come to the Lord with a broken heart and a contrite spirit and partake of the sacrament. In the partaking of the bread, we witness that we are willing to take upon us the name of Jesus Christ and always remember Him and keep His commandments. When we comply with this covenant, the Lord renews the cleansing effect of our baptism. We are made clean and can always have His Spirit to be with us” (“Special Witnesses of Christ,Liahona, Apr. 2001, 14; Ensign, Apr. 2001, 13).

Elder Jensen’s talk reminded me that the Sacrament is a serious, sacred time and that when I participate I should show the utmost respect.

Usually when I am taking the sacrament I try to pray and think about things in my life I need to improve, or problems I need help with.  Lately, though, I have tended to be a little more casual.  This is in part because I am no longer leading the Sacrament hymn as I was in my old ward before I moved, so I don’t have that reminder.  Also, it is sometimes distracting to have a busy baby who doesn’t want to sit still.  Throw in sometimes getting there late, and it is often hard to really have the right attitude while taking the Sacrament.

Last Sunday we made a special effort to be there early, as I said I would in one of these posts.  We weren’t that early, but it still made a big difference, especially in taking the Sacrament.  This week I’m going to try get us early and also try to really think about the right things while the Sacrament is being passed.

How do you stay focused on the Sacrament when you have distractions, such as little kids to take care of?