Saturday, April 06, 2013

183rd Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 6 April 2013

Saturday Morning Session
President Thomas S Monson, Welcome to Conference
Two new temples, Cedar City, Utah and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

My Thoughts:
While I am excited to have a new temple anywhere and especially in my state, when I see Cedar City I think that not only are new temples not being built in the towns around me, but the one we did have has been closed for a long time.

Nonetheless, I am a spoiled child.  I have three temples closer to me than my stake center was when I was a teenager, even if one temple is under construction.

Due to the large number of missionaries that resulted after last conference, where it was announced that missionaries could serve at a younger age, 58 new missions have been opened.

President Boyd K Packer, These Things I Know
He shared a poem he has written about getting old.

" If [the adversary] can weaken and destroy the family, he will have succeeded."

Isaiah 32:17
17 And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever.

Doctrine and Covenants 38:30
30 I tell you these things because of your prayers; wherefore, treasure up wisdom in your bosoms, lest the wickedness of men reveal these things unto you by their wickedness, in a manner which shall speak in your ears with a voice louder than that which shall shake the earth; but if ye are prepared ye shall not fear.

My Thoughts:
Much like the Boy Scouts motto to “Be Prepared” we all should be prepared.  The Boy Scouts prepare because they may be in unknown areas or encounter things that they may not anticipate, but if they have thoroughly prepared they can be more secure in that more than likely in most situations they will have what they need to get themselves out of a jam.  The same is true for anyone on a daily basis.  If we have prepared and followed the instructions we have been given on how to safely navigate life, we need not fear and we will be prepared.

That is not to say that when the situation arises we might not be sad that it has happened, but we can have strength to get through it and not be frozen by fear.

“All are born with the Light of Christ, a guiding influence which permits each person to recognize right from wrong. What we do with that light and how we respond to those promptings to live righteously is part of the test of mortality.”

“Each of us must stay in condition to respond to inspiration and the promptings of the Holy Ghost. The Lord has a way of pouring pure intelligence into our minds to prompt us, to guide us, to teach us, and to warn us. Each son or daughter of God can know the things they need to know instantly. Learn to receive and act on inspiration and revelation.”

Laws may change to "tolerate legalized acts of immorality" but acts are still serious before God.

Bishop Dean M Davies, A Sure Foundation
“Prayer is one of the most basic and important foundational building blocks of our faith and character. Through prayer we are able to express our gratitude, love, and devotion to God. Through prayer we can submit our will to His and in return receive the strength to conform our lives to His teachings. Prayer is the avenue we can follow to seek His influence in our lives, even revelation.”

My Thoughts:
I think another way to say “and in return” in this context would be to say “as a natural result or consequence”.

“Searching the scriptures on a daily basis will also fortify our faith and character. Just as we need food to nourish our physical bodies, our spirits and souls will be replenished and strengthened by feasting upon the words of Christ as contained in the writings of the prophets. Nephi taught, ‘Feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do’ (2 Nephi 32:3).”

My Thoughts:
I think some read “tell you all things you should do” and think that someone is bossing them around or that one can not think for themselves.  I think one could say the same of an instruction manual.  If one has something that is hard to put together or something that is hard to operate, one might say to them, “Read the instructions and they will tell you all things what ye should do.”

“We will be better prepared to withstand the trials of life.”

My Thoughts:
Interesting that both this and the previous talk admonish preparation and talk of that preparation helping us make it through life.  Often people do not prepare because they have their own ideas on how to make it in life that do not match what God knows will get us through.  On the other end of the spectrum, sometimes religious people do not prepare because they feel it lacks a faith in God because he is all powerful.

Just like with repentance, so it is with preparation.  We are weak and need God to help us where we can not, but we still must do our best.  I feel it is more disrespectful to sit around waiting for God to do everything and not give any effort ourselves.

President Elaine S Dalton, We Are Daughters of Our Heavenly Father
“What-e’er thou art, act well thy part.”

In a morally desensitizing world, young women need women and men to ‘stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places.’ Never before has this been more important than now.

Mosiah 18:9
9 Yea, and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in, even until death, that ye may be redeemed of God, and be numbered with those of the first resurrection, that ye may have eternal life—

"Mothers, your relationship with your daughter is of paramount importance, and so is your example. How you love and honor her father, his priesthood, and his divine role will be reflected and perhaps amplified in your daughter’s attitudes and behavior."

My Thoughts
The same is true for fathers to son.  How father’s treat their mother affects son’s attitudes as well.

Additionally, when children see how parents treat each other, it molds their vision of what is acceptable when looking for a spouse.  A daughter who loves her father even when he is disrespectful to her mother may find it easier to date and marry a man that is disrespectful to her.

Elder CRAIG A. CARDON, The Savior Wants to Forgive
“...the Son of Man forgives sins!
“While this truth is readily accepted by all believers, not so easily acknowledged is the essential companion truth: the Savior forgives sins “upon earth” and not just at the Final Judgment. He does not excuse us in our sins.11 He does not condone our return to past sins.12 But when we repent and obey His gospel, He forgives us.”
“If we exercise faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, the enabling power of His Atonement strengthens us in our moment of need,14 and His redeeming power sanctifies us as we ‘[put] off the natural man.’15
My Thoughts
Many focus on we are saved when we accept Christ and thus we can know exactly where we are going when we die.  The entire journey brings us to that destination.  The journey of constantly struggling and reaching for the atonement and receiving strength and growing stronger.  We climb the mountain to heaven all the way being lifted by our Savior as we reach for him until at last he picks us up over the last steep, rugged cliff that is impossible for us to climb.

“...we do well to remember that with very few exceptions, the Lord’s “seventy times seven” does not limit forgiveness according to the seriousness of the sin.

" We must develop the capacity to see men not as they are at present but as they may become."

Elder M Russell Ballard, “This Is My Work and Glory”
“The Lord has given to all of us, as holders of the priesthood, certain of his authority, but we can only tap the powers of heaven on the basis of our personal righteousness” (President Spencer W. Kimball , “Boys Need Heroes Close By,”Ensign, May 1976, 45).

“But if we are not careful, we can become like the wilted tomato plant. We can drift away from the true doctrine and gospel of Christ and become spiritually undernourished and wilted, having removed ourselves from the divine light and living waters of the Savior’s eternal love and priesthood power.”

“I had the opportunity to participate in making a video-based worldwide leadership training presentation called Strengthening the Family and the Church through the Priesthood.”

“This innovative and instructive DVD is translated into 66 languages. It teaches how the power of the priesthood can bless, vitalize, and revitalize our lives, the lives of our families, and the lives of all the members of the Church.”

My Thoughts
By saying that leadership training is for every church member, the Church encourages that all of us are to be leaders where we are.

President Henry B Eyring, “Come unto Me”
I experienced the joy of coming closer to the Savior and of His coming closer to me most often through simple acts of obedience to the commandments.”

"We are under covenant both to lift up those in need and to be witnesses of the Savior as long as we live."

1 My friends Sidney and Joseph, your families are well; they are in mine hands, and I will do with them as seemeth me good; for in me there is all power.

Saturday Afternoon Session
Brook P Hales, Statistical Report
Total membership of the Church is 14,782,473.  If the growth rate continues I would guess it should be about 15.2 million by next year.  The wildcard is the lowered age of missionary service and the large influx of missionaries we are having right now.  Potentially we could see it reach 15.5 million with all of the new missionaries and the continued expansion of the Church service missionary program.

There are now 140 operating temples.

Elder Richard G Scott, For Peace at Home
Be certain that every decision you make, whether temporal or spiritual, is conditioned on what the Savior would have you do. When He is the center of your home, there is peace and serenity. There is a spirit of assurance that pervades the home, and it is felt by all who dwell there.

Don’t rationalize away future happiness by taking shortcuts instead of applying sound gospel principles. Remember: little things lead to big things. Seemingly insignificant indiscretions or neglect can lead to big problems. More importantly, simple, consistent, good habits lead to a life full of bountiful blessings.”

Children can be responsible for improving the Christ-centered efforts in the home. It is important for parents to teach children to recognize how their actions affect each individual who lives in the home. Children who are made to feel accountable for their actions, whether righteous or otherwise, grow to become trustworthy citizens in the kingdom of God.”

Doing all we can to invite the gentle, guiding influence of the Holy Ghost into our lives is critical in our attempts to center our homes on the Savior. Acting obediently on those promptings strengthens us even more.

I offer some final thoughts for those who love a family member who is not making good choices. That can challenge our patience and endurance. We need to trust in the Lord and in His timing that a positive response to our prayers and rescue efforts can occur.

My Thoughts
The previous paragraph is good advice for anyone going through trials.  We do not know when the Lord will answer our prayers and we do not know how.  It is possible that it will still be a hard trial for us.  We do not know what blessings, experience, or strength will come during or at the end of it.

"One of the greatest blessings we can offer to the world is the power of a Christ-centered home where the gospel is taught, covenants are kept, and love abounds."

My Thoughts
Friends of our children who might be having turmoil in their lives can come to a Christ-centered home and find peace.  They can find a place of refuge from what is hurting their hearts.

Recognize the good in others, not their stains. At times a stain needs appropriate attention to be cleansed, but always build on his or her virtues.

"I met with thousands of faithful members of the Church in the Ivory Coast city of Abidjan. This French-speaking, West-African country has endured economic hardship, a military coup, and two recent civil wars concluding in 2011. Yet I felt a special peace in their presence."

“There never can come to the world that spirit of peace and love … until mankind will receive God’s truth and God’s message … , and acknowledge his power and authority which is divine.” (President Joseph F Smith, Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph F. Smith (1998), 400)

Speaking of the events of September 11, 2001:
“Confused about what they had witnessed and concerned about  further attacks, they made their way to a safer area and then to the Manhattan stake Church building at Lincoln Center. When they arrived, they found that dozens of other members in lower Manhattan had made the same decision to gather at the stake center.”

Doctrine and Covenants 118:6
6 And that the gathering together upon the land of Zion, and upon her stakes, may be for a defense, and for a refuge from the storm, and from wrath when it shall be poured out without mixture upon the whole earth.

“In contemplating these events, I have been impressed with the doctrinal difference between universal or world peace and personal peace.”

My Thoughts
We can have peace even if those around us exercise their agency poorly and remove peace from around us.

"Agency is essential to the plan of happiness. It allows for the love, sacrifice, personal growth, and experience necessary for our eternal progression. This agency also allows for all the pain and suffering we experience in mortality, even when caused by things we do not understand and the devastating evil choices of others"

Remember, ‘God is not the author of confusion, but [the author] of peace.’20 For those who reject God, there is no peace.. “

The Church is a refuge where followers of Christ attain peace. Some young people in the world say they are spiritual but not religious. Feeling spiritual is a good first step. However, it is in the Church that we are fellowshipped, taught, and nourished by the good word of God. More importantly, it is priesthood authority in the Church that provides for sacred ordinances and covenants that bind families together and qualify each of us to return to God the Father and Jesus Christ in the celestial kingdom. These ordinances bring peace because they are covenants with the Lord.

Elder Stanley G Ellis, The Lord's Way
Here are a few things he said he learned as an Idaho farm boy:
To work—if you don’t plant, you don’t harvest.
To work smart—if you irrigate and fertilize, you harvest more.
To do what is needed or ought to be done regardless of what is enjoyable, preferable, or convenient—you milk the cow when she needs to be milked, not when you want to.

My Thoughts
Cows need milked when they need milk, not when it is convenient.  The same goes for life.  Most things come to us or upon us when it is inconvenient.

"...we are not spiritual orphans! We are not alone."

...what happens inside the home is far more important than what our children encounter outside. How we raise our children is more important than where we raise them.

Elder John B Dickson, The Gospel to All the World
He spoke of how the Gospel was first only given to the Jews and then was given to the Gentiles.  He spoke of the 1978 revelation to give the priesthood to all worthy men.  He then talked about the work that is being done in Africa.

Elder David A Bednar, We Believe in Being Chaste
Our physical bodies make possible a breadth, a depth, and an intensity of experience that simply could not be obtained in our premortal existence. Thus, our relationships with other people, our capacity to recognize and act in accordance with truth, and our ability to obey the principles and ordinances of the gospel of Jesus Christ are amplified through our physical bodies. In the school of mortality, we experience tenderness, love, kindness, happiness, sorrow, disappointment, pain, and even the challenges of physical limitations in ways that prepare us for eternity. Simply stated, there are lessons we must learn and experiences we must have”

“...intimate relations are proper only between a man and a woman in the marriage relationship prescribed in God’s plan. Such relations are not merely a curiosity to be explored, an appetite to be satisfied, or a type of recreation or entertainment to be pursued selfishly. They are not a conquest to be achieved or simply an act to be performed. Rather, they are in mortality one of the ultimate expressions of our divine nature and potential and a way of strengthening emotional and spiritual bonds between husband and wife.”

Love increases through righteous restraint and decreases through impulsive indulgence.”

Elder Russell M Nelson, Catch the Wave
Young men and women, your education is ever important—to us, to you, and to God. Where feasible, if you wish to attend a college or university after your mission, we encourage you to apply to your institution of choice before beginning your mission. Many institutions of higher learning will grant an 18- to 30-month deferral to prospective missionaries. This will enable you elders and sisters to serve without worrying about where you will begin your advanced education. We are very grateful to leaders of educational institutions who are making such planning possible!”

You senior couples, you plan for the day when you can go on your mission. We will be most grateful for your service. Until then, perhaps some of you could send your dollars on missions by contributing to the General Missionary Fund, as suggested by President Monson again this morning.”

My Thoughts
There has a been a lot of talk the last few years about senior couples getting more involved in missionary work.  This time Elder Nelson is suggesting that if they can’t go on missions, they give money to the missionary fund to help the work move along and help others who can go on missions to pay their way.

I would like to speak specifically to each of you ward mission leaders. You have been called by your bishop to lead missionary work in the ward. And some of you are so successful that an assistant has also been called to help you. Along with others on the ward council, you identify less-active members, part-member families, and interested neighbors. You meet regularly with assigned full-time missionaries. You advise and assist the missionaries. Please help them to fill their daily planners with focused and meaningful teaching opportunities. This is your responsibility. Your role is crucial, truly crucial to the success of this work. If you catch the wave with faith and enthusiasm, others will also. You, as the ward mission leader, are the connecting link between members and missionaries in this sacred work of rescuing God’s children.”

Priesthood Session
Elder Robert D Hales, Stand Strong in Holy Places
Ephesians 6:13
13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

"Young men, your fathers and grandfathers never faced the temptations that you face on a regular basis. You are living in the last days. If your father wanted to get in trouble, he had to go searching for it. Not anymore! Today temptation finds you! Please remember that! Satan desires to have you,"

When we obey the Word of Wisdom, our agency is protected from addictions to substances like alcohol, drugs, and tobacco.”

In the temple we are prepared to and promise to live the law of consecration.

Choose and act for yourself. Be motivated from within. Make a plan for your life, including education or vocational training. Explore interests and skills. Work and become self-reliant. Set goals, overcome mistakes, gain experience, and finish what you begin.”

My Thoughts
This is good counsel to search within yourself and not be pushed around by peers.

“Nehemiah, who was charged with building a wall to protect Jerusalem. Some wanted him to come down and compromise his position, but Nehemiah refused. He was not intolerant of others; he simply explained, ‘I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down: why should the work cease … ?’”

My Thoughts
We have many great things to accomplish in our lives.  Why should we take time out from those great things to do nonsense or take part in distractions?

Doctrine and Covenants 87:8
8 Wherefore, stand ye in holy places, and be not moved,

Why do young men grow so gradually before their mission and then get a burst of growth on their mission.  There are three things they have on their mission:trust, expectations, and training.

We should give those three things to the young men before their mission.

"If you want to get revelation, do your homework.” (Henry B. Eyring, “Waiting Upon the Lord,” in Brigham Young University 1990–91 Devotional and Fireside Speeches (1991), 17)

There are not only many men but also many boys who will respond to a call when they know the Lord is calling them and that the Lord needs them.”, even if they are inactive.

We can raise the bar and vision for these young men, and they will respond.”

"Virtually everyone you know could be blessed in some way by your ministering."

"You don’t have to be a star athlete to minister to others. You received the power, the authority, and the sacred duty to minister the moment you were ordained to the priesthood."

Start in your own home. This is where you can do your most important ministering.”

29 Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.

President Dieter F Uchtdorf, Four Titles
“We men sometimes identify ourselves by titles. Many of us have multiple titles, and each says something important about our identity. For example, some titles describe our roles in families, such as son, brother, husband, and father. Other titles describe our occupations in the world, such as doctor, soldier, or craftsman. And some describe our positions within the Church.
“Today I would like to suggest four titles that I believe apply to all priesthood holders around the world—titles that may help us recognize our individual roles in God’s eternal plan”

Son of Heavenly Father, Disciple of Jesus Christ, Healer of Souls, Heir of Eternal Life

Son of Heavenly Father
Satan would rather we identify ourselves with our sins that with our relationship to deity.

In this life we are little more than stumbling toddlers.

I do not believe in a God who would set up rules and commandments only to wait for us to fail so He could punish us.”

Disciple of Jesus Christ
“Remember that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is built not for men and women who are perfect or unaffected by mortal temptations, but rather it is built for people exactly like you and me. And it is built upon the rock of our Redeemer, the Lord Jesus Christ,2 through whose Atonement we can be cleansed and become “fellowcitizens … of the household of God.”3

Healer of Souls
Priesthood holders are to practice the healer's art.

“It is our job to build up, repair, strengthen, uplift, and make whole. Our assignment is to follow the Savior’s example and reach out to those who suffer. We “mourn with those that mourn … and comfort those that stand in need of comfort.”5 We bind up the wounds of the afflicted. We “succor the weak, lift up the hands which hang down, and strengthen the feeble knees.”6

Heir of Eternal Life
"Don't wait for a particular calling to fully engage."

President Henry B Eyring, We Are One
Doctrine and Covenants 38:41
41 And let your preaching be the warning voice, every man to his neighbor, in mildness and in meekness.

I pray that wherever we are and whatever duties we have in the priesthood of God, we will be united in the cause to bring the gospel to all the world and that we will encourage people we love to be cleansed from sin and to be happy with us in the kingdom of God.”

President Thomas S Monson, Come, All Ye Sons of God
His talk was on missionary work.

“May I suggest a formula that will ensure our success: first, search the scriptures with diligence; second, plan your life with purpose (and, I might add, plan your life regardless of your age); third, teach the truth with testimony; and fourth, serve the Lord with love.”

Search the scriptures with diligence
Alma 17:2
“they had waxed strong in the knowledge of the truth; for they were men of a sound understanding and they had searched the scriptures diligently, that they might know the word of God.”

Plan your life with purpose
Perhaps no generation of youth has faced such far-reaching decisions as the youth of today. Provision must be made for school, mission, and marriage.

“Preparation for a mission begins early.”

Teach the truth with testimony
1 Peter 3:15
15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:

Serve the Lord with love
Through your dedicated devotion at home or abroad, those souls whom you help to save may well be those whom you love the most.”

Sunday Morning Session
President Dieter F Uchtdorf, The Hope of God’s Light
Healing comes when we walk away from the dark towards the light.”

Darkness exist, but do not dwell there.  Light also exists.  Choose to radiate light.  The more we radiate the more light there is for others around us to see.  It creates more places where people can get out of darkness.

“Open your heart, express your gratitude.  Share the struggles you are having.”

“He knows that you will stumble, perhaps many times.”

1) Start where you are 2) Turn your heart toward the Lord 3) Walk in the light “

Elder Neil L Anderson, It’s a Miracle
Our day is a remarkable time of miracles.

My Thoughts
It is also a time when many are saying the time of miracles are past or are teaching the ways of man that prevent miracles from happening or reduce the number of miracles that could happen.

The Good News is that miracles are all around us and many more can be in our lives if we follow His plan.

With the confusion 17 and commotion 18 of today’s world, it’s not surprising that fewer people are attending their places of worship. Although many want to be closer to God and to better understand the purpose of life, they have unanswered questions. Many have hearts open to the truth, but as the prophet Amos described, “they [are running] to and fro [seeking] the word of the Lord, and [cannot] find it.”19 You can help answer their questions. In your everyday conversations you can add to their faith in Christ.20

Doctrine and Covenants 37:4
4 Behold, here is wisdom, and let every man choose for himself until I come. Even so. Amen.

Rosemary M Wixsom, The Words We Speak
Precious moments of opportunity to interact and converse with our children dissolve when we are occupied with distractions. Why not choose a time each day to disconnect from technology and reconnect with each other? Simply turn everything off. When you do this, your home may seem quiet at first; you may even feel at a loss as to what to do or say. Then, as you give full attention to your children, a conversation will begin, and you can enjoy listening to each other.

My Thoughts
We have to pay very close attention at all times to when our children are trying to talk to us.  We need to make a concerted effort when they begin to talk to us, to look at them and turn off our distractions.

Unfortunately, the distractions of this world prevent many children from hearing encouraging words that could shape their view of themselves.

Elder L Whitney Clayton, Marriage: Watch and Learn
Humility is the essence of repentance. Humility is selfless, not selfish. It doesn’t demand its own way or speak with moral superiority. Instead, humility answers softly 2 and listens kindly for understanding, not vindication. Humility recognizes that no one can change someone else, but with faith, effort, and the help of God, we can undergo our ownmighty change of heart. 3  Experiencing the mighty change of heart causes us to treat others, especially our spouses, with meekness. 4Humility means that both husbands and wives seek to bless, help, and lift each other, putting the other first in every decision. Watch and learn: repentance and humility build happy marriages.

I have observed that in wonderful, happy marriages, husbands and wives treat each other as equal partners. Practices from any place or any time in which husbands have dominated wives or treated them in any way as second-class partners in marriage are not in keeping with divine law and should be replaced by correct principles and patterns of behavior.

Their marriages are based on cooperation, not negotiation. Their dinner hour and the family time that follows become the center of their day and the object of their best efforts. They turn off electronics and forgo personal entertainment in order to help with household duties. To the extent possible, they read with their children every night and both participate in putting the little ones to bed. They retire to their bed together. As their duties and circumstances permit, husbands and wives work side by side in doing the most important work there is—the work we do in our own homes.”

They keep their social media use fully worthy in every way. They permit themselves no secret Internet experiences. They freely share with each other their social network passwords. They do not look at the virtual profiles of anyone in any way that might betray the sacred trust of their spouse. They never do or say anything that approaches the appearance of impropriety, either virtually or physically. Watch and learn: terrific marriages are completely respectful, transparent, and loyal.”

“Thou shalt love thy wife with all thy heart, and shalt cleave unto her and none else.” 9 A Church handbook teaches: “The word cleave means to be completely devoted and faithful to someone. Married couples cleave to God and one another by serving and loving each other and by keeping covenants in complete fidelity to one another and to God.” Both the husband and wife “leave behind their single life and establish their marriage as [their] first priority. … They allow no other person or interest to have greater priority … than keeping the covenants they have made with God and each other.”10

Marriage is a gift from God to us; the quality of our marriages is a gift from us to Him. “

Elder L Tom Perry, Obedience to Law Is Liberty
“...if you would be a man and live abundantly—then observe God’s law.."

Today we find ourselves in another war. This is not a war of armaments. It is a war of thoughts, words, and deeds.”

2 Nephi 2:27
27 Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh; and all things are given them which are expedient unto man. And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself.

Ways the world breaks the commandments.
  • “We use the name of God in all kinds of profane ways, including our exclamations and our swearing.
  • We use the Sabbath day for our biggest games, our most serious recreation, our heaviest shopping, and virtually everything else but worship.
  • We treat sexual relations outside marriage as recreation and entertainment.”
"A useful way to think about the commandments is they are loving counsel from a wise, all-knowing Heavenly Father. His goal is our eternal happiness, and His commandments are the road map He has given us to return to Him, which is the only way we will be eternally happy."

Doctrine and Covenants 130:20-21
20 There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated—
21 And when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated.

“In a world where the moral compass of society is faltering, the restored gospel of Jesus Christ never wavers, nor should its stakes and wards, its families, or its individual members. We must not pick and choose which commandments we think are important to keep but acknowledge all of God’s commandments. We must stand firm and steadfast, having perfect confidence in the Lord’s consistency and perfect trust in His promises.”

President Thomas S Monson, Obedience Brings Blessings
Throughout the ages, men and women have sought for knowledge and understanding concerning this mortal existence and their place and purpose in it, as well as for the way to peace and happiness. Such a search is undertaken by each of us.

This knowledge and understanding are available to all mankind. They are contained in truths which are eternal.

My thoughts
President Monson related a story of when he was a boy and snuck off to play with matches, which he was forbidden to do.  It brought the thought to my mind that we may think we are justified in our actions and that we will be fine, but if we have to be sneaky in our actions, we should considered our motives.

There are rules and laws to help ensure our physical safety. Likewise, the Lord has provided guidelines and commandments to help ensure our spiritual safety so that we might successfully navigate this often-treacherous mortal existence and return eventually to our Heavenly Father.

Sunday Afternoon Session
Elder Jeffrey R Holland, “Lord, I Believe”
Mark 9:24
24 And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.

When problems come and questions arise, do not start your quest for faith by saying how much you do not have, leading as it were with your “unbelief.” That is like trying to stuff a turkey through the beak! Let me be clear on this point: I am not asking you to pretend to faith you do not have. I am asking you to be true to the faith you do have. Sometimes we act as if an honest declaration of doubt is a higher manifestation of moral courage than is an honest declaration of faith.

“You have more faith than you think you do.”

“...what we know will always trump what we do not know.”

So be kind regarding human frailty—your own as well as that of those who serve with you in a Church led by volunteer, mortal men and women. Except in the case of His only perfect Begotten Son, imperfect people are all God has ever had to work with. That must be terribly frustrating to Him, but He deals with it. So should we. And when you see imperfection, remember that the limitation is not in the divinity of the work”

I told this boy that belief was always the first step toward conviction and that the definitive articles of our collective faith forcefully reiterate the phrase ‘We believe.’

Honestly acknowledge your questions and your concerns, but first and forever fan the flame of your faith, because all things are possible to them that believe.

Elder Dallin H Oaks, Followers of Christ
He affirmed that keeping His commandments would require His followers to leave what He called “that which is highly esteemed among men” (Luke 16:15) and “the tradition of men” (Mark 7:8; see also verse 13)”

Jesus’s teachings were not meant to be theoretical. Always they were to be acted upon. Jesus taught, “Whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man” (Matthew 7:24; see also Luke 11:28) and “Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing” (Matthew 24:46).”

Jesus taught that “men ought always to pray” (Luke 18:1). He also set that example, such as when He “continued all night in prayer to God” (Luke 6:12) before He called His Twelve Apostles. Like other Christians, we pray in all our worship services. We also pray for guidance, and we teach that we should have frequent personal prayers and daily kneeling prayers as a family.”

“Jesus taught that God created male and female and that a man should leave his parents and cleave to his wife (see Mark 10:6–8).”

For some reason I wrote this quote during conference from one of Elder Oaks’ other conference talks.
If we choose the wrong road, we choose the wrong destination.” (Elder Dallin H Oaks, Be Not Deceived, General Conference October 2004)

From modern revelation, unique to the restored gospel, we know that the commandment to seek perfection is part of God the Father’s plan for the salvation of His children. Under that plan we are all heirs of our heavenly parents. “We are the children of God,” the Apostle Paul taught, “and if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ” (Romans 8:16–17). This means, as we are told in the New Testament, that we are “heirs … of eternal life” (Titus 3:7) and that if we come to the Father, we are to “inherit all things” (Revelation 21:7)—all that He has—a concept our mortal minds can hardly grasp. But at least we can understand that achieving this ultimate destiny in eternity is possible only if we follow our Savior, Jesus Christ, who taught that “no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6). We seek to follow Him and become more like Him, here and hereafter.”

Elder Christoffel Golden Jr., The Father and the Son
“We respectfully submit that at the heart of the gospel of Jesus Christ and its power to save is a correct understanding of the Father and the Son.”

24 Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.

“Nothing is going to startle us more when we pass through the veil to the other side than to realize how well we know our Father [in Heaven] and how familiar his face is to us.” (Ezra Taft Benson, “Jesus Christ—Gifts and Expectations,” in Speeches of the Year, 1974 (1975), 313; see also “Jesus Christ—Gifts and Expectations,” Ensign, Dec. 1988, 6; Tambuli, May 1977, 24.)

There were many scripture references in this talk to how the Father and the Son are separate and distinct beings.

Elder Enrique R. Falabella, The Home: The School of Life
When I returned from my mission, I met a beautiful young woman with long black hair down to her waist. She had beautiful, big honey eyes and a contagious smile. She captivated me from the first moment I saw her.
“My wife had set the goal to get married in the temple, although back then the nearest temple required a trip of over 4,000 miles (6,400 km).
“Our civil marriage ceremony was both happy and sad, for we were married with an expiration date. The officer pronounced the words ‘And now I declare you husband and wife,’ but immediately after, he said, ‘until death do you part.’”
Never withhold a good thought about another person.

I remember when I was a returned missionary, and having searched the scriptures diligently, I thought I knew it all. During our courtship, Blanquy and I would study the scriptures together. I used many of my notes and references to share my knowledge of the gospel with her. After we married I came to a serious realization as I learned a great lesson from her: I may have tried to teach her the gospel, but she taught me how to live it.

One of my wife’s mottoes has been ‘In order to contend, you need two people, and I will never be one of them.’

Elder Erich W. Kopischke, Being Accepted of the Lord
"The feeling of being accepted by someone we love is a basic human need. Being accepted by good people motivates us. It increases our sense of self-worth and self-confidence. Those who cannot find acceptance from desirable sources often seek it elsewhere.”

Elder Bruce D Porter, Beautiful Mornings
Brothers and sisters, we need not fear the future, nor falter in hope and good cheer, because God is with us. Among the first recorded words of counsel that Jesus gave to His newly called disciples in Galilee was the two-word admonition, “Fear not” (Luke 5:10). He repeated that counsel many times during His ministry. To His Saints in our day, the Savior has said, “Be of good cheer, and do not fear, for I the Lord am with you, and will stand by you” (D&C 68:6).

Elder D Todd Christofferson, Redemption
The Savior’s Redemption has two parts. First, it atones for Adam’s transgression and the consequent Fall of man by overcoming what could be called the direct effects of the Fall—physical death and spiritual death. Physical death is well understood; spiritual death is the separation of man from God. In the words of Paul, “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive” (1 Corinthians 15:22). This redemption from physical and spiritual death is both universal and without condition.3
“The second aspect of the Savior’s Atonement is redemption from what might be termed the indirect consequences of the Fall—our own sins as opposed to Adam’s transgression. By virtue of the Fall, we are born into a mortal world where sin—that is, disobedience to divinely instituted law—is pervasive. Speaking of all of us, the Lord says:”...
Because we are accountable and we make the choices, the redemption from our own sins is conditional—conditioned on confessing and abandoning sin and turning to a godly life, or in other words, conditioned on repentance”
President Thomas S Monson, Until We Meet Again
“I admonish you to be good citizens of the nations in which you live and good neighbors in your communities, reaching out to those of other faiths as well as to our own.”

“May we be tolerant of, as well as kind and loving to, those who do not share our beliefs and our standards.”

My Thoughts
Some on the internet were going on about this was a contradiction to President Packer’s words.  President Packer talked of too much tolerance.

I think tolerance if often spoken of in two contexts.  There is one context of not judging those who have standards that are different than us.  There is a another context of allowing those standards, that are not ours, to become a detriment to our lives.

I believe President Monson is speaking of the former.  We need to love those that do not hold our standards.
I believe President Packer is speaking of the latter.  We need to not embrace those standards as our own.  We need to not be so tolerant of another’s agency to the point that we embrace the behavior and say that the behavior is not sin.  We need to love those that sin, no matter what the sin, and stand firm that we will not participate in that sin.

I think perhaps this is where the firm stance against gay marriage comes in.  Usually the church does not take a political stance, but gay marriage goes beyond the individual exercising their agency as they please to impacting society in general by redefining what marriage is.

I was following the #LDSConf tag on twitter during conference.  I noticed that one of the critics of the church was complaining about how the Church needs to be more tolerant.  As they say these thing, the words they use are very judgmental of the Church and its leaders and filled with hate language.

They mocked that President Packer’s comments that we are too tolerant and President Monson’s remarks that we need to be tolerant were in conflict with each other.  I found more conflict in the message of a critic asking the Church to be tolerant and it the same post spewing hate language about the Church and its leaders.

“May we be humble and prayerful...”

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