Saturday, October 06, 2012

182nd Semi Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints October 2012

October 6, 2012
Saturday Morning Session
President Monson, Welcome to Conference
The Tucson, Arizona and Arequipa, Peru temples were announced.

Young men may serve a mission at age 18.
Young women may serve a mission at age 19.

“I am pleased to announce that effective immediately all worthy and able young men who have graduated from high school or its equivalent, regardless of where they live, will have the option of being recommended for missionary service beginning at the age of 18, instead of age 19. I am not suggesting that all young men will—or should—serve at this earlier age. Rather, based on individual circumstances as well as upon a determination by priesthood leaders, this option is now available.

“As we have prayerfully pondered the age at which young men may begin their missionary service, we have also given consideration to the age at which a young woman might serve. Today I am pleased to announce that able, worthy young women who have the desire to serve may be recommended for missionary service beginning at age 19, instead of age 21.”

“Many young women also serve, but they are not under the same mandate to serve as are the young men.”

With the changes in ages, this will likely generate a large temporary influx of missionaries.  At last conference I believe they had talked about the need for more missionaries.  I wonder if the temporary influx will create an infrastructure and more converts that would also generate more missionaries.

Lowering the age of women serving missions, specifically, will mean that less of them are married off by the time of missionary service age.  That will increase the number of sisters that will go on missions and increase the number of missionaries total.

Elder Cook, Apostle - Can Ye Feel So Now?
The talk was about discussing Alma 5:26.

Elder Cook said that in 1960 the age of Elder missionaries was reduced from 20 to 19.  This was a very interesting piece of information.  I did not realize there was a previous age limit set before young men of 19 and young women of 21.

“The first 19-year-old in our mission was Elder Jeffrey R. Holland...”

“In the Book of Mormon, Alma the Younger was so concerned about unrighteousness and lack of commitment that he resigned as chief judge, the leader of the people of Nephi, and concentrated all his efforts on his prophetic calling.”

Alma 4:15–19
15 And now it came to pass that Alma, having seen the afflictions of the humble followers of God, and the persecutions which were heaped upon them by the remainder of his people, and seeing all their inequality, began to be very sorrowful; nevertheless the Spirit of the Lord did not fail him.
16 And he selected a wise man who was among the elders of the church, and gave him power according to the voice of the people, that he might have power to enact laws according to the laws which had been given, and to put them in force according to the wickedness and the crimes of the people.
17 Now this man’s name was Nephihah, and he was appointed chief judge; and he sat in the judgment-seat to judge and to govern the people.
18 Now Alma did not grant unto him the office of being high priest over the church, but he retained the office of high priest unto himself; but he delivered the judgment-seat unto Nephihah.
19 And this he did that he himself might go forth among his people, or among the people of Nephi, that he might preach the word of God unto them, to stir them up in remembrance of their duty, and that he might pull down, by the word of God, all the pride and craftiness and all the contentions which were among his people, seeing no way that he might reclaim them save it were in bearing down in pure testimony against them.

Alma 5:26
26 And now behold, I say unto you, my brethren, if ye have experienced a change of heart, and if ye have felt to sing the song of redeeming love, I would ask, can ye feel so now?

“Local leaders across the world report that when viewed as a whole, Church members, especially our youth, have never been stronger. But they almost always raise two concerns: first, the challenge of increased unrighteousness in the world and, second, the apathy and lack of commitment of some members.”

I think there are several symptoms of this lack of commitment that we encounter all the time.  Things like low home teaching numbers.  When we stop coming to church because someone offends us.  When we transfer to another ward or stake or moving to another city or state because we don’t fit in with our ward.  When we debate parts of the Word of Wisdom because of our own agenda or lust or whatever you want to call it.

““Your mission … is to … warn the people … in as kind a way as possible that repentance will be the only panacea for the ills of this world.” (George Albert Smith, in Sheri L. Dew, Ezra Taft Benson: A Biography(1987), 184)

Elder Cook talked about that there are many in the Church that cannot answer yes to Alma’s questions “[Have ye] felt to sing the song of redeeming love?” and “Can ye feel so now?”

“Many who are in a spiritual drought and lack commitment have not necessarily been involved in major sins or transgressions, but they have made unwise choices. Some are casual in their observance of sacred covenants. Others spend most of their time giving first-class devotion to lesser causes. Some allow intense cultural or political views to weaken their allegiance to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Some have immersed themselves in Internet materials that magnify, exaggerate, and, in some cases, invent shortcomings of early Church leaders. Then they draw incorrect conclusions that can affect testimony.”

Elder Cook quoted something he father use to say, “God will hold men responsible for every tear they cause their wives to shed.”  He also quoted from the proclamation on the family.  “[Those] who abuse spouse or offspring … will one day stand accountable before God.”

“Parents, the days are long past when regular, active participation in Church meetings and programs, though essential, can fulfill your sacred responsibility to teach your children to live moral, righteous lives and walk uprightly before the Lord.”

“...through repentance you can qualify for all the blessings of heaven.”

Sister Ann M Dibb - Second Counselor in the General Young Women Presidency, I Know It. I Live It. I Love It.
She shared a story about a girl she saw at a store that had a t-shirt on with writing on it.  She noticed that the girl must be from out of state because she the shirt proclaimed that she was a Mormon.

I have noticed that many of those in Utah who are members of the Church appear to try to hide it.  Either because many, many people are members and it looks weird.  Or because the ones that are not members of the Church might be offended by it as the Mormons being pushy, sinc ethey are exposed to the Church everywhere.  Or maybe because they are embarrassed by their behavior and if someone knows they are a member of the Church they might judge them for their behavior.

“Are we as well versed in gospel truths as we are in our studies, careers, hobbies, sports, or our texts and tweets?”

“The importance of gaining knowledge is an eternal principle. The Prophet Joseph Smith ‘loved knowledge for its righteous power.’2 He said: ‘Knowledge is necessary to life and godliness. … Hear, all ye brethren, this grand key: knowledge is the power of God unto salvation.’3

James 1:22
22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.

“We act with integrity and do what we know is right ‘at all times and in all things, and in all places’6 no matter who may or may not be watching.”

Elder Craig C Christensen of the Seventy, An Unspeakable Gift from God
“He causes the truth to be indelibly written in our souls and can cause a mighty change to occur in our hearts. As we share these truths with our families, with fellow members of the Church, and with friends and neighbors in our community, the Holy Ghost becomes their teacher as well, for He carries the message of the gospel ‘unto the hearts of the children of men.’”

“In the performance of our responsibilities, I have learned that when we heed a silent prompting and act upon it without delay, our Heavenly Father will guide our footsteps and bless our lives and the lives of others. I know of no experience more sweet or feeling more precious than to heed a prompting only to discover that the Lord has answered another person’s prayer through you.” (Thomas S. Monson, “Peace, Be Still,” Liahona and Ensign, Nov. 2002, 55.)

“The Holy Ghost speaks with a voice that you feel more than you hear. …”

“Before baptism, all honest and sincere seekers of truth can feel the influence of the Holy Ghost from time to time. However, the opportunity to receive the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost and the fulness of all the associated blessings is available only to worthy, baptized members who receive the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands through those holding the priesthood authority of God.”

The above is a good description of the difference between the light of Christ and the gift of the Holy Ghost.

Elder Shayne M Bowen of the Seventy, “Because I Live, Ye Shall Live Also”
Moroni 8:10–12
10 Behold I say unto you that this thing shall ye teach—repentance and baptism unto those who are accountable and capable of committing sin; yea, teach parents that they must repent and be baptized, and humble themselves as their little children, and they shall all be saved with their little children.
11 And their little children need no repentance, neither baptism. Behold, baptism is unto repentance to the fulfilling the commandments unto the remission of sins.
12 But little children are alive in Christ, even from the foundation of the world; if not so, God is a partial God, and also a changeable God, and a respecter to persons; for how many little children have died without baptism!

“The Lord takes many away, even in infancy, that they may escape the envy of man, and the sorrows and evils of this present world; they were too pure, too lovely, to live on earth; therefore, if rightly considered, instead of mourning we have reason to rejoice as they are delivered from evil, and we shall soon have them again.”  (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith (2007), 176)

Lots of talk in this talk about the Holy Ghost and how it works in us.

“This life is but a transitory step forward on our journey back to our Heavenly Father.”

“He can help us endure our trials, sicknesses, and pain. We can be filled with joy, peace, and consolation. All that is unfair about life can be made right through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.” (Preach My Gospel: A Guide to Missionary Service (2004), 52)

Elder Russell M Nelson - Apostle, Ask the Missionaries! They Can Help You!
“A mission is a voluntary act of service to God and humankind.”

“The decision to serve a mission will shape the spiritual destiny of the missionary, his or her spouse, and their posterity for generations to come. A desire to serve is a natural outcome of one’s conversion, worthiness, and preparation.”

Lots of talks about full time missionaries and full time missionary work during this conference.

“Fervently I pray that God may bless each of you and each of our precious missionaries.”

President Deiter F Ucktdorf - 2nd Counselor in the First Presidency, Of Regrets and Resolutions
“We are all mortal. I hope this does not come as a surprise to anyone.”

“Isn’t it true that we often get so busy? And, sad to say, we even wear our busyness as a badge of honor, as though being busy, by itself, was an accomplishment or sign of a superior life.

Is it?”

“In our day it is easy to merely pretend to spend time with others. With the click of a mouse, we can “connect” with thousands of “friends” without ever having to face a single one of them.”

“I believe that we are not headed in the right direction, individually and as a society, when we connect with family or friends mostly by reposting humorous pictures, forwarding trivial things, or linking our loved ones to sites on the Internet. "

“Why, then, do we devote so much of our time and energy to things that are so fleeting, so inconsequential, and so superficial? Do we refuse to see the folly in the pursuit of the trivial and transient?”

“Declaring our testimony of the gospel is good, but being a living example of the restored gospel is better.”

Also being a living example is better than showing crosses, bibles, Books of Mormon, t-shirts, bumper stickers. and so forth.

"Let us listen to and obey the promptings of the Holy Spirit. As we do so, Heavenly Father will reveal to us things we never knew about ourselves. He will illuminate the path ahead and open our eyes to see our unknown and perhaps unimagined talents."

“The more we devote ourselves to the pursuit of holiness and happiness, the less likely we will be on a path to regrets.”

“Sometimes in life we become so focused on the finish line that we fail to find joy in the journey. I don’t go cycling with my wife because I’m excited about finishing. I go because the experience of being with her is sweet and enjoyable.
“Doesn’t it seem foolish to spoil sweet and joyful experiences because we are constantly anticipating the moment when they will end?”

Doctrine and Covenants 78:19
19 And he who receiveth all things with thankfulness shall be made glorious; and the things of this earth shall be added unto him, even an hundred fold, yea, more.

“We shouldn’t wait to be happy until we reach some future point, only to discover that happiness was already available—all the time! Life is not meant to be appreciated only in retrospect.”

“It is my testimony that many of the deepest regrets of tomorrow can be prevented by following the Savior today.”

Saturday Afternoon Session
Elder L Tom Perry  - Apostle, Becoming Goodly Parents
“Culture is defined as the way of life of a people. There is a unique gospel culture, a set of values and expectations and practices common to all members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This gospel culture, or way of life, comes from the plan of salvation, the commandments of God, and the teachings of living prophets. It is given expression in the way we raise our families and live our individual lives.”

We should create a strong family culture that complements our gospel culture.

“...creating stronger family cultures work in tandem with the culture of the Church. Our strengthened family cultures will be a protection for our children...”

“Strong family cultures will help our children live in the world and not become ‘of the world’”

“Building a strong family culture adds another layer of protection for our children, insulating them from worldly influences.”

“Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness,” (“The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” Liahona and Ensign, Nov. 2010, 129)

“God bless you goodly mothers and fathers in Zion. He has entrusted to your care His eternal children. As parents we partner, even join, with God in bringing to pass His work and glory among His children. It is our sacred duty to do our very best.”

Elder M Russell Ballard - Apostle, Be Anxiously Engaged
“The Savior’s words are simple, yet their meaning is profound and deeply significant. We are to love God and to love and care for our neighbors as ourselves.”

“As the Epistle of James notes, service is the very definition of pure religion ”

James 1:27
27 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.

“How do we make the mighty change of heart that Alma says is essential for our eternal happiness and peace? (see Alma 5:12–21)”

“When our hearts are no longer set upon the things of this world, we will no longer aspire to the honors of men or seek only to gratify our pride (see D&C 121:35–37)”

When our hearts are no longer set on our own agendas, we will try to figure out what God wants and do it.

“And remember, like the little honeybee’s one-twelfth teaspoon of honey provided to the hive, if we multiply our efforts by tens of thousands, even millions of prayerful efforts to share God’s love for His children through Christian service, there will be a compounding effect of good that will bring the Light of Christ to this ever-darkening world. Bound together, we will bring love and compassion to our own family and to the lonely, the poor, the broken, and to those of our Heavenly Father’s children who are searching for truth and peace.”

“At the end of each day, may we be able to say yes to the questions: “Have I done any good in the world today? Have I helped anyone in need?” (Hymns, no. 223)”

Elder Larry Echo Hawk of the Seventy, “Come unto Me, O Ye House of Israel”
“When I was 14 years old, two missionaries, Lee Pearson and Boyd Camphuysen, taught my family the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, and I was baptized.”

I too was baptized at 14.  Although I think my family started visiting with the missionaries when I was 12.

The talk covered a little history of the American Indians, some of it specifically members of his own family,

Elder Robert C Gay of the Seventy, What Shall a Man Give in Exchange for His Soul?
This was the second talk to mention allowances.

“All was well until I turned 12. Standing in line one afternoon, I realized that the ticket price for a 12-year-old was 35 cents, and that meant two less candy bars. Not quite prepared to make that sacrifice, I reasoned to myself, “You look the same as you did a week ago.” I then stepped up and asked for the 25-cent ticket. The cashier did not blink, and I bought my regular five candy bars instead of three.
Elated by my accomplishment, I later rushed home to tell my dad about my big coup. As I poured out the details, he said nothing. When I finished, he simply looked at me and said, ‘Son, would you sell your soul for a nickel? His words pierced my 12-year-old heart. It is a lesson I have never forgotten.”

“With self-justification of petty sins, Satan triumphs. For a bottle of milk,5 a misspelled name,6 a mess of pottage,7 birthrights and inheritances have been traded.”

Does the noise of the world mean more to you than all God has?

“‘Does God love me?’ May our lives of service always affirm that God forsakes no one.”

If someone asks you ‘Does God love me?’ Tell them yes, and love them too.

Scott D Whiting of the Seventy, Temple Standard
He talked of the strict standards of construction, down to the smallest details, when building our temples.

Doctrine and Covenants 97:15–17
15 And inasmuch as my people build a house unto me in the name of the Lord, and do not suffer any unclean thing to come into it, that it be not defiled, my glory shall rest upon it;
16 Yea, and my presence shall be there, for I will come into it, and all the pure in heart that shall come into it shall see God.
17 But if it be defiled I will not come into it, and my glory shall not be there; for I will not come into unholy temples.

The above is why we are so strict in temple construction.

I also learned that the high standards of temple building employed by this Church are a type and even a symbol of how we should be living our own lives.

1 Corinthians 3:16–17
16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spiritof God dwelleth in you?
17 If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.

We often let slide little things in our lives.  Sometimes in the excuse that we are only human.  Sometimes we justify that at least we aren’t doing this or that big thing.

“...the Lord knows the level of our efforts and whether we have done our very best.”

“It is my prayer that we will all endeavor to live a life worthy of the blessings of the temple by doing our best, by making the necessary improvements and eliminating flaws and imperfections so that the Spirit of God may always dwell in us.”

Elder Neal L Anderson - Apostle, Trial of Your Faith
“These fiery trials are designed to make you stronger, but they have the potential to diminish or even destroy your trust in the Son of God and to weaken your resolve to keep your promises to Him. These trials are often camouflaged, making them difficult to identify. They take root in our weaknesses, our vulnerabilities, our sensitivities, or in those things that matter most to us. A real but manageable test for one can be a fiery trial for another.”

“Distancing yourself from the kingdom of God during a trial of faith is like leaving the safety of a secure storm cellar just as the tornado comes into view.”

“When you are faced with a test of faith, stay within the safety and security of the household of God. There is always a place for you here. No trial is so large we can’t overcome it together.”

“The moral compass of society [has been evolving at a rapid rate]. Behaviors … once … considered inappropriate and immoral are now … viewed by … many as acceptable.
(Thomas S. Monson, “Stand in Holy Places,” Liahona and Ensign, Nov. 2011, 82)

“There is an important principle that governs the doctrine of the Church. The doctrine is taught by all 15 members of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve. It is not hidden in an obscure paragraph of one talk. True principles are taught frequently and by many. Our doctrine is not difficult to find.”

“Every [person] eventually is backed up to the wall of faith, and there … must make his stand.” (Ezra Taft Benson, “The Book of Mormon Is the Word of God,”Tambuli, May 1988, 6; Ensign, May 1975, 65)

“With faith come trials of faith, bringing increased faith.”

Elder Dallin H Oaks - Apostle, Protect the Children
“I speak from the perspective of the gospel of Jesus Christ, including His plan of salvation. That is my calling. Local Church leaders have responsibility for a single jurisdiction, like a ward or stake, but an Apostle is responsible to witness to the entire world. In every nation, of every race and creed, all children are children of God.”

“From the perspective of the plan of salvation, one of the most serious abuses of children is to deny them birth.”

“One cause of the diminishing birthrate is the practice of abortion. Worldwide, there are estimated to be more than 40 million abortions per year.3 Many laws permit or even promote abortion, but to us this is a great evil. Other abuses of children that occur during pregnancy are the fetal impairments that result from the mother’s inadequate nutrition or drug use.”

He is speaking of children that are abused by being aborted or by the mother denying herself property nutrition or abusing her own body and the body of her unborn child with drugs.

Matthew 18:5–6
5 And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me.
6 But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.

“The most powerful teaching of children is by the example of their parents. Divorcing parents inevitably teach a negative lesson.”

“Children are the first victims of current laws permitting so-called ‘no-fault divorce.’ “

“Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.
“Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3–4)

“same-sex marriage is a social experiment, and like most experiments it will take time to understand its consequences.” (Douthat, “Gay Parents and the Marriage Debate.” The latest and most thorough study finds significant disadvantages reported by young adults with a parent who had same-sex relationships prior to the child’s turning age 18 (see Mark Regnerus, “How Different Are the Adult Children of Parents Who Have Same-Sex Relationships? Findings from the New Family Structures Study,” Social Science Research, vol. 41 [2012], 752–70))

Priesthood Session
Elder D Todd Christofferson - Apostle, Brethren, We Have Work to Do
“In their zeal to promote opportunity for women, something we applaud, there are those who denigrate men and their contributions. They seem to think of life as a competition between male and female—that one must dominate the other, and now it’s the women’s turn. “

“Some men and young men have taken the negative signals as an excuse to avoid responsibility and never really grow up.”

“As men of the priesthood, we have an essential role to play in society, at home, and in the Church. But we must be men that women can trust, that children can trust, and that God can trust.”

“We cannot afford young men who lack self-discipline and live only to be entertained. “

" is essential that you become proficient so that you can support a family and make a contribution for good in your community and your country."

"You adult men—fathers, single adults, leaders, home teachers—be worthy models and help the rising generation of boys become men. Teach them social and other skills: how to participate in a conversation, how to get acquainted and interact with others, how to relate to women and girls, how to serve, how to be active and enjoy recreation, how to pursue hobbies without becoming addicted, how to correct mistakes and make better choices."

"You can’t wait to get serious about preparing until you are 17 or 18.”

The above statement is true about missionary service, college, career, marriage or anything else.  No matter when the things happen in your life you should be preparing from a very young age.

Many of the men that are in my profession talk about their parents buying them a computer when they were very young.  Even when their parents didn’t understand what they were buying.

“The Church cannot hope to save a man on Sunday if during the week it is a complacent witness to the crucifixion of his soul.” (Helping Others to Help Themselves: The Story of the Mormon Church Welfare Program (1945), 4.)

Bishop Gary E Stevenson Presiding Bishop, Be Valiant in Courage, Strength, and Activity
He shared a story about three friends that went to a party and had to choose whether to stay when drugs came out or leave.  Two left and one stayed.  The one that stayed, even though he didn’t partake of the drugs got arrested and expelled from the elite school they had worked hard to get into.

The other two finished school and went on to have lucrative careers.

“What you choose to think and do when you are alone and you believe no one is watching is a strong measure of your virtue."(Preach My Gospel : A Guide to Missionary Service (2004), 118)

“One young boy on the school ground can wield a mighty influence for good. One young man on the football team, or the campus, or among his fellow workers can, by living the gospel, honoring his priesthood, and taking a stand for the right, do untold good. “ (N. Eldon Tanner, “For They Loved the Praise of Men More Than the Praise of God,” Ensign, Nov. 1975, 74–75)

Elder Anthony D Perkins of the Seventy, Beware Concerning Yourselves
“Beware lest thou forget the Lord." (Deuteronomy 6:12)

"Each time Jesus alerts priesthood holders to ‘beware, for Satan desireth to sift [you],’ He prescribes prayer as the temptation-countering action."

“Family members should hear blessings from our mouths, not cursings.”

Matthew 6:33
33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

President Deiter F Uchtdorf, The Joy of the Priesthood
"Yes, there is always something imperfect in any situation. Yes, it is easy to find things to complain about."

"It is important for us to understand the covenants and commandments upon which the priesthood operates"

President Henry B Eyring, Help Them Aim High
“Almost everything that I’ve been able to accomplish as a priesthood bearer is because individuals who knew me saw things in me that I couldn’t see.”

“Every person is different and has a different contribution to make. No one is destined to fail.”

President Thomas S Monson, See Others as They May Become
" there are countless individuals who have little or no testimony right now, those who could and would receive such a testimony if we would be willing to make the effort to share ours "

President Monson stated that he heard a speaker speak these truths once adding his testimony to the speakers.  “...a woman needs to be told she is beautiful. She needs to be told she is valued. She needs to be told she is worthwhile.”

“We must develop the capacity to see [people] not as they are at present but as they may become when they receive testimonies of the gospel of Christ.”

“I pray that we will have the courage to extend the hand of fellowship, the tenacity to try and try again, and the humility needed to seek guidance from our Father as we fulfill our mandate to share the gospel. The responsibility is upon us, brethren.”

Sunday Morning Session
Elder Henry B Eyring First Counselor in the First Presidency, “Where Is the Pavilion?
“Many of us, in moments of personal anguish, feel that God is far from us. The pavilion that seems to intercept divine aid does not cover God but occasionally covers us. God is never hidden, yet sometimes we are, covered by a pavilion of motivations that draw us away from God and make Him seem distant and inaccessible. Our own desires, rather than a feeling of “Thy will be done,”2 create the feeling of a pavilion blocking God. God is not unable to see us or communicate with us, but we may be unwilling to listen or submit to His will and His time.”

I covered some of this in a lesson I gave recently on the Word of Wisdom.  People debate points of the Word of Wisdom often because we are focused our what we want to eat or drink and not out of a desire to understand what God is trying to show us about what is best for us.

President Eyring related a story about his grand daughter going to the Brigham City Temple open house.  She wondered where Jesus was and concluded that he must be off helping someone else.

We can rationalize that she is just a child, but it is hard for us as adult to be so basic, but Elder Eyring had more to say on that.

“I know from my own life that Eliza’s experience can be our own long after we leave childhood.”

“Submitting fully to heaven’s will, as this young mother did, is essential to removing the spiritual pavilions we sometimes put over our heads. But it does not guarantee immediate answers to our prayers.”

President Eyring talked about God sometimes has other purposes to fulfill before removing our trial from us or before showing us what that purpose is.

Heaven often has other purposes to fill first, before we come to what we thought was most important.

“The Lord’s delays often seem long; some last a lifetime. But they are always calculated to bless.”

President Boyd K Packer - Apostle, The Atonement
“It was understood from the beginning that in mortality we would fall short of being perfect. It was not expected that we would live without transgressing one law or another.”

“If you have made no mistakes, then you do not need the Atonement. If you have made mistakes, and all of us have, whether minor or serious, then you have an enormous need to find out how they can be erased so that you are no longer in darkness.”

Linda K Burton - Relief Society General President, First Observe, Then Serve
“Observing and then serving is not always convenient and doesn’t always fit our own timetable. “

Elder Walter F. González of the Presidency of the Seventy, Learning with Our Hearts
“ It is also important to take time to be still and feel and follow the celestial promptings. When we do this, we will “feel and see” things that cannot be learned with modern technology. Once we have some experience in navigating this celestial web, we will discern the truth, even when reading secular history or other topics.”

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, Apostle - The First Great Commandment
“There is almost no group in history for whom I have more sympathy than I have for the eleven remaining Apostles immediately following the death of the Savior of the world. I think we sometimes forget just how inexperienced they still were and how totally dependent upon Jesus they had of necessity been.”

“Quite a staggering prospect for a group of newly ordained elders.”

John 21:15-17

 15 So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon,son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.
 16 He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep.
 17 He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him,Feed my sheep.
I don't know that I have ever fathomed the depth of this conversation.  I had always limited my perception of this conversation as a replaying that Peter had denied the Savior three times and perhaps Peter needed to ponder some on that.

When Elder Holland talked about them going fishing it made me wonder if they hadn't relaxed a bit and went back to their jobs or recreation.  Perhaps because they were overwhelmed.  Perhaps they didn't know what else to do.

I now wonder if part of the reason for the conversation was to emphasize what Peter and the other apostles needed to be doing.  He ate with them helped them have a successful trip, but it now seems that maybe he was getting them working on feeding the sheep.

"“Then Peter, why are you here? Why are we back on this same shore, by these same nets, having this same conversation? Wasn’t it obvious then and isn’t it obvious now that if I want fish, I can get fish? What I need, Peter, are disciples—and I need them forever. I need someone to feed my sheep and save my lambs. I need someone to preach my gospel and defend my faith. "

President Thomas S Monson, Prophet - Consider the Blessings
“I would recommend this same exercise to you—namely, that you take an inventory of your life and look specifically for the blessings, large and small, you have received.”

“My daily journal, kept over all these years, has helped provide some specifics which I most likely would not otherwise be able to recount.”

“I testify that much of that joy comes as we recognize that we can communicate with our Heavenly Father through prayer and that those prayers will be heard and answered—perhaps not how and when we expected they would be answered, but they will be answered and by a Heavenly Father who knows and loves us perfectly and who desires our happiness.”

Sunday Afternoon Session
Elder Robert D Hales - Apostle, Being a More Christian Christian
“What does it mean to be a Christian?”

“A Christian knows that throughout the ages, God’s prophets have always testified of Jesus Christ. “

“...for every Christian, a simple question remains: what kind of Christians are we? In other words, how are we doing in our quest to follow Christ?”

Mosiah 5:2
2 And they all cried with one voice, saying: Yea, we believe all the words which thou hast spoken unto us; and also, we know of their surety and truth, because of the Spirit of the Lord Omnipotent, which has wrought a mighty change in us, or in our hearts, that we have no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually.

“For many, the call to be a Christian can seem demanding, even overwhelming. But we need not be afraid or feel inadequate. The Savior has promised that He will make us equal to His work.”

“To be who Heavenly Father wants us to be, we follow Jesus Christ. “

“The Lord’s first disciples were all new members of the Church, newly converted to His gospel. Jesus patiently taught each one. He helped them fulfill their responsibilities.”

Elder Richard G Scott - Apostle, The Joy of Redeeming the Dead
John 3:5
5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

Doctrine and Covenants 2:2
2 And he shall plant in the hearts of the children the promises made to the fathers, and the hearts of the children shall turn to their fathers.

“One young man shared his experience: ‘I was spending a lot of time playing computer games. When I started indexing, I didn’t have time to play games. At first I thought, ‘Oh no! How can that be!’ When this project was over, I even lost interest in gaming. … Genealogical work is something that we can do here on earth, and it will remain in heaven.’”

If you have lots of family that have done temple work, you may have to go down lines of spouses of aunts, uncles, and cousins.

If you have lots of family that have done temple work, you may have to assist your ward and stake members to complete their lines.

"I have learned that those who engage in family history research and then perform the temple ordinance work for those whose names they have found will know the additional joy of receiving both halves of the blessing." (Howard W. Hunter, “A Temple-Motivated People,” Liahona, May 1995, 5–6; Ensign, Feb. 1995, 4–5)

Russell T Osguthorpe - Sunday School General President, One Step Closer to the Savior
“Conversion is the goal of all gospel learning and teaching. Conversion is not a onetime event. It is a lifelong quest to become more like the Savior. ”

“We want every young person to understand. We want them to learn, teach, and live the gospel of Jesus Christ every day. This is what the Lord wants for all of His children.“

Elder Marcus B Nash of the Seventy, By Faith All Things Are Fulfilled
“...our mortal journey is a steep and difficult climb, one that requires our Heavenly Father’s help to successfully complete. For this reason, He established the principles and ordinances of the gospel to bring us unto the Savior and His saving power.”

Someone on Twitter commented on this talk as follows:
“Experience leads to action, which creates faith, which moves to greater action—wash, rinse, repeat!”

Alma 32:21
21 And now as I said concerning faith—faith is not to have a perfect knowledge of things; therefore if ye have faith ye hope for things which are not seen, which are true.

Don't let things you don't yet know get in the way of things you do know.

“ and reason are necessary companions, consider the following analogy: faith and reason are like the two wings of an aircraft. Both are essential to maintain flight.  If, from your perspective, reason seems to contradict faith, pause and remember that our perspective is extremely limited compared with the Lord’s.“

The gospel is logical if you consider all of the data and not just what you think you know.

“...fear distracts from and undermines faith in the Savior.”

Elder Daniel L Johnson of the Seventy, Becoming a True Disciple
“Good people who do their duty no matter what happens “

Elder Don R Clarke of the Seventy, Blessings of the Sacrament
“I believe it would be appropriate to memorize the sacramental prayers in our minds and in our hearts. This will help us focus on renewing our baptismal covenants.”

“...during the sacrament we can feel forgiven of our sins. If we have spent time before sacrament meeting repenting of our sins, we can leave sacrament meeting feeling clean and pure.”

“As we humbly come to sacrament meeting, we can be blessed to feel impressions for solutions to our daily problems. We must come prepared, be willing to listen, and not be distracted.”

It is all about coming prepared.

Elder David A Bednar - Apostle, Converted unto the Lord
“...a testimony is personal knowledge of spiritual truth obtained by revelation. A testimony is a gift from God and is available to all of His children.”

“Seeking for and obtaining a testimony of spiritual truth requires asking, seeking, and knocking”

This was the second talk to reference Mosiah 5:2.

Helaman 15:5-6
5 And I would that ye should behold that the more part of them are in the path of their duty, and they do walk circumspectly before God, and they do observe to keep his commandments and his statutes and his judgments according to the law of Moses.
6 Yea, I say unto you, that the more part of them are doing this, and they are striving with unwearied diligence that they may bring the remainder of their brethren to the knowledge of the truth; therefore there are many who do add to their numbers daily.

Alma 23:6
26 As many as were brought to the knowledge of the truth, through the preaching of Ammon and his brethren, according to the spirit of revelation and of prophecy, and the power of God working miracles in them—yea, … as the Lord liveth, as many of the Lamanites as believed in their preaching, and were converted unto the Lord, never did fall away.

“We should know the gospel is true and be true to the gospel.”

“No shortcut is available; no last-minute flurry of preparation is possible.”

"Testimony is the beginning of and a prerequisite to continuing conversion. Testimony is a point of departure; it is not an ultimate destination. Strong testimony is the foundation upon which conversion is established."

President Thomas S Monson, God Be with You Till We Meet Again
“We have had unprecedented coverage of the conference, reaching across the continents and the oceans to people everywhere. ”

“The purpose of mortality is to learn and to grow to be more like our Father, and it is often during the difficult times that we learn the most, as painful as the lessons may be.”

General Relief Society Meeting
Linda K. Burton - Relief Society General President, Is Faith in the Atonement of Jesus Christ Written in Our Hearts?
Jeremiah 16 - The Gathering of Israel, Missionary Work
15 But, The Lord liveth, that brought up the children of Israel from the land of the north, and from all the lands whither he had driven them: and I will bring them again into their land that I gave unto their fathers.
16 Behold, I will send for many fishers, saith the Lord, and they shall fish them; and after will I send for many hunters, and they shall hunt them from every mountain, and from every hill, and out of the holes of the rocks.

Jeremiah 31:33-34
33 But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.
34 And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.

“We are the people Jeremiah saw. Have we invited the Lord to write the law, or doctrine, in our hearts? Do we believe that the forgiveness available through the Atonement that Jeremiah refers to applies to us personally?”

“Please remember these three principles, sisters:.
  1. ‘All that is unfair about life can be made right through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.’20
  2. There is power in the Atonement to enable us to overcome the natural man or woman and become true disciples of Jesus Christ.21
  3. The Atonement is the greatest evidence we have of the Father’s love for His children.22

“‘After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.’23  I invite us to ask the Lord to write these principles of the Atonement in our hearts. I testify that they are true.”

I think one thing I understood from this talk was that in our day our hearts and our time are like handcarts.  They can only hold so much and we need to be diligent in making sure that we are only carrying the essentials or things that we have not intended will fall out.

“Sisters, it is for us to be wide awake to our duties.” (Zina D. Young, in Woman’s Exponent, Oct. 15, 1877, 74)

“When we make and keep covenants, we are coming out of the world and into the kingdom of God.” (Robert D. Hales, “Modesty: Reverence for the Lord,” Liahona, Aug. 2008, 21; Ensign, Aug. 2008, 36)

“When we are confirmed, we receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, the right to have the constant influence of a member of the Godhead to guide us, to comfort us, and to protect us.”

“No member of this Church—and that means each of you—will ever make a serious mistake without first being warned by the promptings of the Holy Ghost.” (Boyd K. Packer, “How to Survive in Enemy Territory,” New Era, Apr. 2012, 3)

“While on our mortal journey, we need to regularly ask ourselves, ‘If [I] have experienced a change of heart, … can [I] feel so now?’6 And if not, then why not?”

“So many of you are first- or second-generation members of the Church. We see many sisters serving in multiple callings, traveling long distances to attend church, and sacrificing to make and keep sacred temple covenants. We honor you. You are the Lord’s modern-day pioneers!”

Who are these women Mary and Martha?  We get very few references to women in the scriptures and these two women have two stories about them.  Were these relatives of Jesus or were they leaders of the equivalent of Relief Society or Primary in the early Church?

“Whatever sin or weakness or pain or struggle or trial you are going through, He knows and understands those very moments.”

President Henry B. Eyring - FIRST COUNSELOR IN THE FIRST PRESIDENCY,The Caregiver
“What comes next for willing hands to do?” (Lucy Meserve Smith, in Daughters in My Kingdom, 37)

“As you keep the faith, you will find yourself invited by the Lord often to serve someone in need when it will not seem convenient. It may appear to be an unpleasant and perhaps even impossible task. When the call comes, it may seem you are not needed or that someone else could easily give the succor.”

Speaking of the Good Samaritan, “He did not pass by on the other side even though the beaten traveler on the road was a stranger and perhaps an enemy.”

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