Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Come, Listen to a Prophet's Voice - Part 1

For my friends of other faiths, this post is going to be full of church-speak. Just so you're aware.

General Conference was this last weekend. I've never gone to Utah to the Conference Center (or, back in the day, to the Tabernacle, where Conference used to be held). I've always watched it either at home, at the church building, or listened to it over the internet.

Lately, I've also started following the #ldsconf stream over at Twitter. Yay for technology! When there were some issues with the audio or with my internet lagging, I checked the twitstream and was able to figure out what I was missing. Most excellent.

Also, I was tickled at how much Brother Henneke (@ihenpecked) commented. And how funny and eloquent he is ... since I know him in real life. His wife was one of my classmates in the Ed Program at college. They are good folks. I like them both very much.

If you don't know what General Conference is, here's the deal: Twice a year, we gather to listen to talks delivered by our prophet, his counselors, and selected apostles and leaders of the church. It's pretty awesome ... none of the speakers are issued a topic to speak on. They all have to rely on personal revelation and write and deliver a talk for all the members of the church. So it's interesting to note what themes appear.

This year, Michael bought me speakers for my computer, so I could hear the talks over the kids. So, Saturday and Sunday, you found me during the morning and afternoon sessions, sitting at my desk, speakers up, wielding a pen and a spiral-bound notebook ... watching the video feed of conference on half of my computer screen, while checking the twitterstream in the other browser window on the other half of my screen.
(Note to self: In April, set up TWO monitors. Because that'll be even cooler. Big speakers, TWO MONITORS ... I'm an evil genius of spirituality!!!!! Mwahahahaaaaaaa!!!! ... )
(Um, yeah. I'm aware that that barely makes sense at all. ... But it DOES give me a use for my old computer's monitor. So ... Yeah.)

OKAY. Now to leave off blathering about computers and all ... to the main stuff.

SATURDAY MORNING:

We missed all of President Thomas S. Monson (our prophet)'s opening remarks. There were some issues with the audio. So I relied soley on just WATCHING. HIS. MOUTH. (and I really can't lipread well at all) and on checking out the twitterstream.
Still ... FIVE new temples! Yay!!! Two here in the states (Indianapolis and Hartford, CT) and three abroad (Philippines; Lisbon, Portugal, and Tijuana. --> I cannot spell two of those at all without spell-check.)
And he also reiterated that every worthy young man should be prepared to (and should) serve a mission.

Jeffery R. Holland - Oh, my. I love this man. He's always so nice. And he's funny. And I just love him.

  • "You are loved of God individually."
  • He publicly thanked his parents, the leaders and teachers in the church, the parents, the helpers, friends of other faiths, the youth ... It was so sweet and sincere.
Rosemary M. Wixon - General President of the Primary
  • No child needs to walk alone in the Gospel.
  • Children don't need perfect parents -- just honest and sincere ones.
  • Teach by example. Teach the power of prayer and of the scriptures.
Cladio R. M. Costa - 
  • The importance of living prophets in the latter days
  • President Ezra Taft Benson's 14 Fundamentals in Following the Prophet
David M. McConkie - General Sunday School - First Counselor
  • The "How" of learning
  • What matters most is the ATTITUDE of the TEACHER, the spirit with which he teaches.
  • A teacher's attitude is caught not taught.
  • Study the scriptures daily, separate from lesson preparation, to develop a love of the scriptures.
  • We cannot teach what we do not love. We cannot love that which we do not know.
  • Pray for inspiration to reach EACH individual student.
  • Do not postpone promptings of the Spirit.
  • Sometimes the answer is to read the scriptures and study the lesson manual.
Elder Todd D. Christofferson - 
  • Life offers 2 precious gifts: Time and the freedom of choice
  • A consecrated life is a life full of work, full of service.
  • Wholesome recreation is the friend and steadying companion of work
  • Life will be long enough for each spirit. All bodies will be resurrected.
  • We all have a duty to God in caring for and protecting our mortal bodies.
  • Immodesty is defiling to the body, just like drugs and immoral behavior.
  • It it naive to think that we are not accountable to God.
President Dieter F. Uchdorf - Second Counselor to President Monson-
  • Too often, we feel that the more rushed our pace -- regardless of the turbulence or obstacles -- the better off we are.
  • "Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication." - Leonardo da Vinci
  • Find meaning in life -- Don't just be busy.
  • Be diligent in doing the things that matter most in bringing us to the Savior.
  • Focus on (1) our relationship with God, (2) our families, (3) out fellowmen, (4) our own selves.
  • Love can be spelled T-I-M-E.
  • Strength comes from relying on what matters most.
SATURDAY AFTERNOON:

Elder Robert D. Hales - 
  • Agency - the ability to act for ourselves and to not just be acted upon.
  • Satan's plan would deny us our agency
  • It's interesting that the world proclaims freedom from religion while allowing themselves to be captives of sin and addiction.
  • We must continue to choose to follow the Savior. Eternity is at stake!
  • Returning to the Lord (repentance) isn't easy. But it IS worth it!
  • By our righteous choices, we liberate our children from darkness, giving them the ability to walk in the light.
  • Are we practicing "selective obedience" due to our fear of the world? Or are we following the prophet with exactness?
Quentin L. Cook - 
  • We need to preserve light, to protect our friends and family from moral denigration.
  • Increase family religious observation: Family Home Evening, daily family scripture study and prayer.
  • Light and truth WILL be preserved in our time.
  • The majority of people try to be good and honorable
  • Religion is critically important to democracy (When people feel accountable for their actions, they make better citizens. Religion teaches that we are accountable to God.)
  • All views -- religious AND secular -- need to be heard in the public square. Our views don't have to be automatically accepted, but they need to be heard.
Richard C. Edgely  - 
  • Satan is ever so real, ever so active.
  • Challenges are opportunities to become acquainted with God in a more private and personal manner.
  • Choose faith -- a choice of peace and protection -- over doubt, fear, the unknown, and pessimism.
  • Faith moves mountains of sin, despair, and pain.
Kevin R. Duncan - 
  • "This is the place" -- talking of the Saints'/the Mormon Pioneers' arrival in the Salt Lake Valley
    Not all the Saints believed this.
  • "He will temper the elements for the good of the Saints." -- Brigham Young
    (Every prophecy made by Brigham Young came to pass.)
  • The only sure and secure road is trusting and obeying the words of the prophets.
  • Our very salvation hangs on following the prophet
  • Ezra Taft Benson's 14 Fundamentals in Following the Prophet [Notice a recurring theme??]
Elder Gerrit W. Gong - 
  • "Make your first honeymoon last 50 years. Then begin your second honeymoon."
  • The power is not in us to save ourselves. We must rely on the Savior.
  • Sometimes, through no fault of our own, things will go wrong.
  • We can trust in our Heavenly Father for complete redemption.
  • As we reach out to others, we bless generations.
  • Nothing can separate us from God's love.
Neil L. Anderson - 
  • The Lord has not left us alone in our journey toward Him.
  • Don't be easily offended or ashamed. Be careful. Don't be deceived.
  • No one is immune from the influences of the world.
  • The road of discipleship is not for the faint of heart. (Be brave)
  • We don't want life to be a brief flirtation with spirituality.
  • If you are offended or ashamed, that warns of dangers ahead.
  • If we are not watchful, our injured spirit will leave behind the warm, healing light of the Savior.
  • Learn from rebuke and reform -- Put some issues on a shelf to be understood at a later time.
  • "If ye love me, keep my commandments."
Elder Richard G. Scott - 
  • When faith is properly understood, it can transform an individual's life to a symphony of joy and happiness.
  • Exercising faith allows for a greater capacity to exercise more faith.
  • "We become what we want to be by consistently being what we want to become."
  • Character is woven from the threads of principle, doctrine, and obedience. It is not developed in times of trial; that is when it is expected to be used.
  • Strong character comes from consistent choices. Integrity is the bedrock of character.
  • Every time you walk to the boundary of your faith, you will be led to find a solution you may not have seen otherwise.
  • Eternal salvation comes from many correct choices. Correct decisions are not difficult to make.
  • "You get what you pay for" -- applies just as much to spiritual things.
  • Character is the manifestation of what you are becoming. Righteous character will endure for eternity.
  • 4 principles for developing righteous character: (1) Faith in the Lord, Jesus Christ. (2) Repentence. (3) Obedience. (4) Selfless service.
  • You are making better progress than you realize
  • Satan cannot destroy character. Only we are able to destroy our own character.
------------------------------
YES, I DID take lots of notes. You should see what I have for my next post ... which consists of Sunday's two sessions.

Michael says that Priesthood session (Saturday evening's session -- geared toward the menfolk, aged 12+) was just as good as the morning and afternoon sessions.
(I still need to finish reading/watching the General Relief Society Broadcast [geared for the women 16+, since the Laurel class of the Young Women are invited to attend] ... and the Young Women's General Broadcast [for girls 12+ and their leaders] ... since, you know, the Lord loves us enough to give us TWO special meetings. ^_^)

I am grateful that we have a living prophet who receives revelation for us. I am grateful that we are blessed by a God who loves us all individually and values all people, regardless of skin color, nationality, gender, sexuality, religion, age, or any other differing factor.

... And, YES, I did print out a copy of President Benson's "14 Fundamentals in Following the Prophet."
I can take a hint. (If the link doesn't work, it's in the June 1981 Liahona magazine.)

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