Saturday, October 05, 2013

183rd SemiAnnual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 5 October 2013

Saturday Morning Session
President Thomas S Monson, Welcome to Conference
The Church was organized just over 183 years ago.  At that time there were six members of the Church.  Membership of church has reached 15 million.

At the time of the announcement of lowering the age of missionary service a year ago there were 58,500 missionaries serving.  Today there are 80,330.

“Now is the time for members and missionaries to come together, to work together, to labor in the Lord’s vineyard to bring souls unto Him. He has prepared the means for us to share the gospel in a multitude of ways, and He will assist us in our labors if we will act in faith to fulfill His work.”

“To help maintain our ever-increasing missionary force, I have asked our members in the past to contribute, as they are able, to their ward missionary fund or to the General Missionary Fund of the Church. The response to that request has been gratifying and has helped support thousands of missionaries whose circumstances do not allow them to support themselves. I thank you for your generous contributions. The need for help is ongoing, that we might continue to assist those whose desire to serve is great but who do not, by themselves, have the means to do so.”

 38 What I the Lord have spoken, I have spoken, and I excuse not myself; and though the heavens and the earth pass away, my word shall not pass away, but shall all be fulfilled, whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same.

“These conferences are always under the direction of the Lord, guided by His Spirit.3 We are not assigned specific topics. Over weeks and months, often through sleepless nights, we wait upon the Lord. Through fasting, praying, studying, and pondering, we learn the message that He wants us to give.
Some might ask, 'Why doesn’t the inspiration come more easily and quickly?' The Lord taught Oliver Cowdery, 'You must study it out in your mind; then you must ask me if it be right.'4 Conference messages come to us after prayerful preparation, through the Holy Ghost.”

“Children and youth love to be included. We make a serious mistake if we assume that the conference is above their intellect and spiritual sensitivity. ”

“When I take notes at conference, I do not always write down exactly what the speaker is saying; I note the personalized direction the Spirit is giving me.
“What is said is not as important as what we hear and what we feel.8 That is why we make an effort to experience conference in a setting where the still, small voice of the Spirit can be clearly heard, felt, and understood.”
"And when we are converted, we strengthen each other to stand strong amid the fiery darts of these last days."

“The only safety we have as members of this church is to … give heed to the words and commandments that the Lord shall give through His prophet. There will be some things that take patience and faith. You may not like what comes from the authority of the Church. It may contradict your [personal] views. It may contradict your social views. It may interfere with some of your social life. But if you listen to these things, as if from the mouth of the Lord Himself, with patience and faith, the promise is that ‘the gates of hell shall not prevail against you; … and the Lord God will disperse the powers of darkness from before you, and cause the heavens to shake for your good, and his name’s glory’ (D&C 21:6).” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Harold B. Lee (2000), 84–85)

“The greatest blessings of general conference come to us after the conference is over. Remember the pattern recorded frequently in scripture: we gather to hear the words of the Lord, and we return to our homes to live them.”

“97 percent of the Church can hear these messages in their own language. Millions of members in 197 countries will watch this conference in 95 languages.”

Elder Ulisses Sores, of the Presidency of the Seventy, Be Meek and Lowly of Heart
“Christlike attributes are gifts from God. [These attributes] come as [we] use [our] agency righteously. …With a desire to please God, [we have to] recognize [our] weaknesses and be willing and anxious to improve.” (Preach My Gospel: A Guide to Missionary Service (2004), 115)

“Meekness is vital for us to become more Christlike. Without it we won’t be able to develop other important virtues. Being meek does not mean weakness, but it does mean behaving with goodness and kindness, showing strength, serenity, healthy self-worth, and self-control.”

“It is our duty to try to be perfect, … to improve each day, and look upon our course last week and do things better this week; do things better today than we did them yesterday.” (Lorenzo Snow, in Conference Report, Apr. 1898, 13)

“We have our little follies and our weaknesses; we should try to overcome them as fast as possible, and … should [instill] this feeling in the hearts of our children … that they may learn to [behave] properly before Him under all circumstances.” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Lorenzo Snow (2012), 100, 101)

“Another important step to becoming meek is learning how to control our temper. Because the natural man dwells within each one of us and because we live in a world full of pressure, controlling our temper may become one of the challenges in our lives. Think for a few seconds how you react when someone does not comply with your desires the moment you want them to. What about when people disagree with your ideas, even though you are absolutely sure that they represent the proper solution to a problem? What is your response when someone offends you, critiques your efforts, or is simply unkind because he or she is in a bad mood? At these moments and in other difficult situations, we must learn to control our temper and convey our feelings with patience and gentle persuasion. This is most important within our homes and within our relationships with our eternal companions. ”

“Be thou humble; and the Lord thy God shall lead thee by the hand, and give thee answer to thy prayers.”

“I believe the Savior Jesus Christ is the supreme example of meekness. Even during the last moments of His mortal life, being unfairly accused and condemned, painfully carrying His cross up to Golgotha, being mocked and cursed by His enemies, being abandoned by many who knew Him and had witnessed His miracles, He was nailed on the cross.
“Even after the most intense physical suffering, the Lord turned to His Father and spoke from the bottom of His meek and humble heart: ‘Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.’16 Christ faced extreme physical and spiritual suffering, giving us the opportunity to change our spiritual character and become meek like Him.”

Sister Carole M Stephens, First Counselor in the Relief Society General Presidency, Do We Know What We Have?
“All human beings—male and female—are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny.” (“The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2010, 129)

“To achieve this divine destiny, each son and daughter of God needs priesthood ordinances and covenants.”

“All human beings—male and female—are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny.” (“The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2010, 129)

“To achieve this divine destiny, each son and daughter of God needs priesthood ordinances and covenants.”

"Every man or woman that has ever entered into the church of God and been baptized for the remission of sins has a right to revelation, a right to the Spirit of God, to assist them in their labors, in their administrations to their children, in counseling their children and those over whom they are called upon to preside. The Holy Ghost is not restricted to men, nor to apostles or prophets; it belongs to every faithful man and woman, and to every child who is old enough to receive the gospel of Christ.” ( Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Wilford Woodruff (2004), 49)

"When men and women go to the temple, they are both endowed with the same power, which by definition is priesthood power. … The endowment is literally a gift of power." ( M. Russell Ballard, “Let Us Think Straight” (Brigham Young University Education Week devotional, Aug. 20, 2013);

"We need the opportunity to renew our covenants each week as we partake of the sacrament. Latter-day prophets and apostles have taught that when we worthily partake of the sacrament, we can renew not only our baptismal covenant but “'all covenants entered into with the Lord.'"

"Our Father in Heaven is generous with His power. All men and all women have access to this power for help in our own lives. All who have made sacred covenants with the Lord and who honor those covenants are eligible to receive personal revelation, to be blessed by the ministering of angels, [and] to commune with God."(M. Russell Ballard, “Let Us Think Straight”;

"We all need each other. Sons of God need daughters of God, and daughters of God need sons of God.

"We have different gifts and different strengths. First Corinthians chapter 12 emphasizes the need for sons and daughters of God, each one of us, to fulfill our individual roles and responsibilities according to the Lord’s plan, that all may benefit.

"Sons of God, do you know who you are? Do you know what you have? Are you worthy to exercise the priesthood and receive the power and blessings of the priesthood? Do you embrace your roles and responsibilities to strengthen homes as fathers, grandfathers, sons, brothers, and uncles? Do you show respect for women, womanhood, and motherhood?

"Daughters of God, do we know who we are? Do we know what we have? Are we worthy to receive the power and blessings of the priesthood? Do we receive the gifts given to us with gratitude, grace, and dignity? Do we embrace our roles and responsibilities to strengthen homes as mothers, grandmothers, daughters, sisters, and aunts? Do we show respect for men, manhood, and fatherhood"

"God will keep His promises to you as you honor your covenants with Him."( D. Todd Christofferson, “The Power of Covenants,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2009, 22)

Elder Edward Dube, Of the Seventy, Look Ahead and Believe
“ the service of the Lord, it is not where you serve but how” (J. Reuben Clark Jr., in Conference Report, Apr. 1951, 154)

“...when a stake president or a bishop is released, he joyfully accepts his release, and when a calling is extended to serve in any way which the Lord, through His servants, “seeth fit” (Mosiah 3:19), he is not overshadowed by his previous experience, nor does he look back and think that he has served enough. He is “not weary in well-doing,” because he knows that he is “laying the foundation of a great work” with a clear vision that such efforts bless lives for eternity. Thus “out of small things proceedeth that which is great” (D&C 64:33).”

“The past is to be learned from but not lived in. We look back to claim the embers from glowing experiences but not the ashes. And when we have learned what we need to learn and have brought with us the best that we have experienced, then we look ahead and remember that faith is always pointed toward the future” (Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, “The Best Is Yet to Be,” Ensign, Jan. 2010, 24; or Liahona, Jan. 2010, 18)

“As I travel throughout the Church I marvel at all the positive things that are occurring. Yet I never feel that we, as a people, are living up to our real potential. My sense is that we do not always work together, that we are still too much interested in aspirations for personal honors and success, and show too little interest in the common goal of building the kingdom of God” (Elder L Tom Perry, “United in Building the Kingdom of God,” Ensign, May 1987, 35)

“The fundamental principles of our religion are the testimony of the Apostles and Prophets, concerning Jesus Christ, that He died, was buried, and rose again the third day, and ascended into heaven; and all other things which pertain to our religion are only appendages to it” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith [2007], 49)

Elder David A Bednar, The Windows of Heaven
“ we live the law of tithing, we often receive significant but subtle blessings that are not always what we expect and easily can be overlooked...simple blessings in seemingly ordinary ways.”

“Eyes and ears of faith (see Ether 12:19) are needed, however, to recognize the spiritual gift of enhanced discernment that can empower us”

“We may appropriately desire and work to receive a pay raise in our employment to better provide the necessities of life. Eyes and ears of faith are required, however, to notice in us an increased spiritual and temporal capacity (see Luke 2:52) to do more with less, a keener ability to prioritize and simplify, and an enhanced ability to take proper care of the material possessions we already have acquired. We might want and expect a larger paycheck, but the blessing that comes to us through heavenly windows may be greater capacity to change our own circumstances rather than expecting our circumstances to be changed by someone or something else.”

“The basic financial program of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints—for both income and disbursement—is defined in sections 119 and 120 of the Doctrine and Covenants.”

“ In the financial operations of the Church, two basic and fixed principles are observed. First, the Church lives within its means and does not spend more than it receives. Second, a portion of the annual income is set aside as a reserve for contingencies and unanticipated needs. For decades the Church has taught its membership the principle of setting aside additional food, fuel, and money to take care of emergencies that might arise. The Church as an institution simply follows the same principles that are taught repeatedly to the members.”

Elder Dieter F Uchtdorf, Come, Join with Us
“Some struggle with unanswered questions about things that have been done or said in the past. We openly acknowledge that in nearly 200 years of Church history—along with an uninterrupted line of inspired, honorable, and divine events—there have been some things said and done that could cause people to question.
“Sometimes questions arise because we simply don’t have all the information and we just need a bit more patience. When the entire truth is eventually known, things that didn’t make sense to us before will be resolved to our satisfaction.
“Sometimes there is a difference of opinion as to what the “facts” really mean. A question that creates doubt in some can, after careful investigation, build faith in others.”
“And, to be perfectly frank, there have been times when members or leaders in the Church have simply made mistakes. There may have been things said or done that were not in harmony with our values, principles, or doctrine.
“I suppose the Church would be perfect only if it were run by perfect beings. God is perfect, and His doctrine is pure. But He works through us—His imperfect children—and imperfect people make mistakes.
“In the title page of the Book of Mormon we read, ‘And now, if there are faults they are the mistakes of men; wherefore, condemn not the things of God, that ye may be found spotless at the judgment-seat of Christ.’6
“It is unfortunate that some have stumbled because of mistakes made by men. But in spite of this, the eternal truth of the restored gospel found in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is not tarnished, diminished, or destroyed.
“As an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ and as one who has seen firsthand the councils and workings of this Church, I bear solemn witness that no decision of significance affecting this Church or its members is ever made without earnestly seeking the inspiration, guidance, and approbation of our Eternal Father. This is the Church of Jesus Christ. God will not allow His Church to drift from its appointed course or fail to fulfill its divine destiny.”
“It’s natural to have questions—the acorn of honest inquiry has often sprouted and matured into a great oak of understanding.”

Hebrews 11:1
 1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

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.

“Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters—my dear friends—please, first doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith.8 We must never allow doubt to hold us prisoner and keep us from the divine love, peace, and gifts that come through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.”

“If you define hypocrite as someone who fails to live up perfectly to what he or she believes, then we are all hypocrites. None of us is quite as Christlike as we know we should be. But we earnestly desire to overcome our faults and the tendency to sin. With our heart and soul we yearn to become better with the help of the Atonement of Jesus Christ.”

“If you expect to find perfect people here, you will be disappointed. But if you seek the pure doctrine of Christ, the word of God “which healeth the wounded soul,”9 and the sanctifying influence of the Holy Ghost, then here you will find them.”

John 6:67-68
67 Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away?
68 Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.

Saturday Afternoon Session
President Boyd K Packer,The Key to Spiritual Protection
“Parents today wonder if there is a safe place to raise children. There is a safe place. It is in a gospel-centered home. We focus on the family in the Church, and we counsel parents everywhere to raise their children in righteousness.”

2 Timothy 3:1-5
1 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.
2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,
3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers,incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,
4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;
5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
My Thoughts
Let’s break down the things that Timothy saw about thousands of years ago the last days.

  • Men shall be lovers of their own selves/covetous/lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God.
    • In our day, marriages crumble at epidemic rates due to the fact that one or both have their own agenda in the marriage.  They have their own ideas about how things should work, rather than coming together and figuring out together how it actually works based upon what God has told us through his prophets and apostles.
    • In our day, people focus on what they want and not what they need.  They focus on having what they want now.  They see what their parents have and they want the same thing now, in spite of the fact that their parents worked 20-30 years to get where they are at to have the things they have.
      They see what others have who make more money than they do or who have taken on unnecessary debt to get those things and they themselves take on debt to have them.  Not taking into consideration that A) They are paying a ton more for that item than they think they are because they are paying interest on it and B) They are in boundage to those they owe money to.  It is better to save for what you want and be owned by no one by owing them money.
  • Men shall be boasters, proud, blasphemers
    • How often to we see people, especially youth, posturing?  They use foul language and have no respect for anything, including religious things, other than for their own fashion and social standing.
  • Men shall be disobedient to parents/unthankful/unholy
    • There is a huge problem with not only children being disrespectful and disobedient to parents, but parents allowing it.  Additionally we have a large number of parents that try to act like a teenager their whole life and not grow up and be responsible.  It should be teenagers stepping up their behavior to be more mature and not parent degrading theirs to be less so.
    • The boys will be boys mentality is unhealthy.  Yes boys will have a tendency to be boys, but one is given boys and expected to create men.
  • Let’s skip to the end of the verses where it talks about, having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof.
    • Many would say that Christ is their Savior, but deny the power for Him to tell them the right way to live.

“If you are set on a course of faith and activity in the Church, stay on course and keep your covenants. Continue forward until the time when the Lord’s blessings will come to you and the Holy Ghost will be revealed as a moving force in your life.”

“Peace can be settled in the heart of each who turns to the scriptures and unlocks the promises of protection and redemption.”

My thoughts
I don’t think there is anything mystical about the scriptures.  I think it is just how things work and the prophets and apostles are here to tell us how things work to get and maintain happiness.

I don’t think when you open the books of scripture that a mystical mist flows out of them and magically gives us peace.  This is not what President Packer is saying.

Peace, protection, redemption, and know come from the act of reading and sincere study of the scriptures.  The way that God has taught us things on Earth work is through diligent work.  When we put in effort we are more open to revelation from God and our character changes when we work at following the directions God has given us.

Elder D Todd Christofferson, The Moral Force of Women
“My grandmother Adena Warnick Swenson taught me to be conscientious in priesthood service. She encouraged me to memorize the sacramental blessings on the bread and water, explaining that in this way I could express them with greater understanding and feeling. Observing how she sustained my grandfather, a stake patriarch, engendered in me a reverence for sacred things. Grandma Swenson never learned how to drive a car, but she knew how to help boys become priesthood men.”

“In all events, a mother can exert an influence unequaled by any other person in any other relationship. By the power of her example and teaching, her sons learn to respect womanhood and to incorporate discipline and high moral standards in their own lives. Her daughters learn to cultivate their own virtue and to stand up for what is right, again and again, however unpopular. A mother’s love and high expectations lead her children to act responsibly without excuses, to be serious about education and personal development, and to make ongoing contributions to the well-being of all around them.”

“The world has enough women who are tough; we need women who are tender. There are enough women who are coarse; we need women who are kind. There are enough women who are rude; we need women who are refined. We have enough women of fame and fortune; we need more women of faith. We have enough greed; we need more goodness. We have enough vanity; we need more virtue. We have enough popularity; we need more purity.” (Margaret D. Nadauld, “The Joy of Womanhood,” Ensign, Nov. 2000, 15; or Liahona, Jan. 2001, 18)

“My plea to women and girls today is to protect and cultivate the moral force that is within you. Preserve that innate virtue and the unique gifts you bring with you into the world. Your intuition is to do good and to be good, and as you follow the Holy Spirit, your moral authority and influence will grow. To the young women I say, don’t lose that moral force even before you have it in full measure. Take particular care that your language is clean, not coarse; that your dress reflects modesty, not vanity; and that your conduct manifests purity, not promiscuity. You cannot lift others to virtue on the one hand if you are entertaining vice on the other.”

“In these exhortations to women, let no one willfully misunderstand. By praising and encouraging the moral force in women, I am not saying that men and boys are somehow excused from their own duty to stand for truth and righteousness, that their responsibility to serve, sacrifice, and minister is somehow less than that of women or can be left to women. Brethren, let us stand with women, share their burdens, and cultivate our own companion moral authority.”

Elder S Gifford Nielson, of the Seventy, Hastening the Lord’s Game Plan!
“All over the world, stakes, districts, and missions are experiencing a new level of energy, as the Savior’s declaration to Joseph Smith in 1832 is being fulfilled: “Behold, I will hasten my work in its time” (D&C 88:73).”

“First, specifically pray to bring someone closer to the Savior and His gospel every day. You could do this by seeing all people as sons and daughters of God helping each other on their journey home. Think of the new friends you would make.
“Second, pray for the missionaries serving in your area and their investigators by name every day. The only way to do this is to greet them, look at their badge, call them by name, and ask them who they are teaching. Elder Russell M. Nelson wisely contributed, “Until you know a person’s name and face, the Lord cannot help you know his or her heart.”
“Third, invite a friend to an activity in or out of your home. Wherever you go or whatever you do, ponder who would enjoy the occasion and then listen to the Spirit as He directs you.”

Elder Arnulfo Valenzuela, Small and Simple Things
Speaking of sending out young missionaries Elder Valenzuela said,
“Now ye may suppose that this is foolishness in me; but behold I say unto you, that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass; and small means in many instances doth confound the wise.
“And the Lord God doth work by means to bring about his great and eternal purposes; and by very small means the Lord doth confound the wise and bringeth about the salvation of many souls” (Alma 37:6–7).”

“Additionally he talked of the responsibilities of the general membership of the Church in missionary work,
As members of the Church, we are able, through our own small and simple things, to “[convince] many of the error of their ways” and help bring “them to the knowledge of their God unto the salvation of their souls” (Alma 37:8).”

“Naaman was a captain of the host of the king of Syria, an honorable man, a mighty man in valor, but he was also a leper (see 2 Kings 5:1). After being unsuccessful in receiving a cure from the king of Israel for his leprosy, Naaman went to the house of Elisha, the prophet. Elisha sent a messenger out to him, saying:
“Go and wash in Jordan seven times, and thy flesh shall come again to thee, and thou shalt be clean.
“But Naaman was wroth, and went away, and said, Behold, I thought, He will surely come out to me, and stand, and call on the name of the Lord his God, and strike his hand over the place, and recover the leper. …
“And his servants came near, and spake unto him, and said, My father, if the prophet had bid thee do some great thing, wouldest thou not have done it? how much rather then, when he saith to thee, Wash, and be clean?
“Then went he down, and dipped himself seven times in Jordan, according to the saying of the man of God: and his flesh came again like unto the flesh of a little child, and he was clean” (2 Kings 5:10–11, 13–14).”
My Thoughts
How often are we like Naaman?  How often do we fail to do the simplest things in a personal life and yet think how valient we would be if the Lord gave us something important to do?

Elder Timothy J Dyches, Wilt Thou Be Made Whole?
“As we draw near to Him, we realize that mortality is meant to be difficult and that ‘opposition in all things’ (2 Nephi 2:11) is not a flaw in the plan of salvation. Opposition, rather, is the indispensable element of mortality and strengthens our will and refines our choices. The vicissitudes of life help us fashion an eternal relationship with God—and engrave His image upon our countenance as we yield our hearts to Him (see Alma 5:19).”

“Have faith and patience in the Savior’s timing and purposes for you. “Be not afraid, only believe” (Mark 5:36).”

Elder Jeffrey R Holland, Like a Broken Vessel
“In striving for some peace and understanding in these difficult matters, it is crucial to remember that we are living—and chose to live—in a fallen world where for divine purposes our pursuit of godliness will be tested and tried again and again. Of greatest assurance in God’s plan is that a Savior was promised, a Redeemer, who through our faith in Him would lift us triumphantly over those tests and trials,”

“That love never changes. … It is there for you when you are sad or happy, discouraged or hopeful. God’s love is there for you whether or not you feel you deserve [it]. It is simply always there.” (Thomas S. Monson, “We Never Walk Alone,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2013, 123, 124)

“Whatever your struggle, my brothers and sisters—mental or emotional or physical or otherwise—do not vote against the preciousness of life by ending it! Trust in God. Hold on in His love. Know that one day the dawn will break brightly and all shadows of mortality will flee. Though we may feel we are “like a broken vessel,” as the Psalmist says,10 we must remember, that vessel is in the hands of the divine potter. Broken minds can be healed just the way broken bones and broken hearts are healed. While God is at work making those repairs, the rest of us can help by being merciful, nonjudgmental, and kind.”

Elder M Russell Ballard, Put Your Trust in the Lord
“You full-time missionaries, if you want to teach more, you must talk to more people every day. This has always been what the Lord has sent missionaries forth to do.”

My Thoughts
I think this is true for all of us.

Some talk to many people in the course of the day, but do not focus on ways to be a missionary in those conversations, even if just in brief moments.

Others of us avoid talking to people and just attend to their daily duties.  We should try to find ways to build relationships with people, so that when they struggle or have questions about life they feel comfortable coming to us for gospel centered guidance.

“We are not asking everyone to do everything. We are simply asking all members to pray, knowing that if every member, young and old, will reach out to just ‘one’ between now and Christmas, millions will feel the love of the Lord Jesus Christ. And what a wonderful gift to the Savior.”

Priesthood session
He detailed the meaning of each of the articles of faith to us.

..”the doctrine found in the Articles of Faith was divided into sections.”
I. The Godhead and the Basic Doctrine of Christ
II. Organization and Order of the Priesthood
III. Eternal Resources in a Mortal Journey
IV. Member Missionaries
V. Aspirational Attributes

“False teachings come from Satan, the father of all lies. His desire is to pervert, change, and alter revealed truths. He wants to deceive us so some of us will lose our way along the journey back to our heavenly home.”

“All of us should aspire to embody these attributes [in the 13th Article of Faith] and lead lives that exemplify them. The truths taught in the Articles of Faith build upon one another...”

Bishop Gérald Caussé, Ye Are No More Strangers
“A promise has been made to everyone who becomes a member of the Church: ‘Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God.’(Ephesians 2:19)”

We are commanded to reach out to nonmembers.  Everyone should be welcome in our chapels.

Matthew 5:46-48
46 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?
47 And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more
than others? do not even the publicans so?
48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.
17 There were no robbers, nor murderers, neither were there Lamanites, nor any manner of -ites; but they were in one, the children of Christ, and heirs to the kingdom of God.

35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:
38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?
40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

"How will you receive spiritual power as a missionary to open the doors, in-boxes, and hearts of those in the mission where you will serve?"

Doctrine and Covenants 112:21-22
21 And again, I say unto you, that whosoever ye shall send in my name, by the voice of your brethren, the Twelve, duly recommended and authorized by you, shall have power to open the door of my kingdom unto any nation whithersoever ye shall send them
22 Inasmuch as they shall humble themselves before me, and abide in my word, and hearken to the voice of my Spirit.

“Inasmuch as [which means the promise will be fulfilled if] they [meaning the missionaries who are sent] shall [1] humble themselves before me, and [2] abide in my word, and [3] hearken to the voice of my Spirit.”

"If you are humble, you will want to be obedient. If you are obedient, you will feel the Spirit."

"As a mission president, I occasionally interviewed missionaries who struggled because they were not yet fully clean. They lived below their spiritual potential. No matter how hard they worked or how much good they did, they were unable to feel at peace and enjoy the companionship of the Holy Ghost until they had humbled themselves, fully repented, and partaken of the mercy and grace of the Savior."

My Thoughts
The same is true for all of us, not just missionaries.  We struggle and struggle in our lives, living below our potentional and privellege, because we continue to want to live life the way we want to live life, whether that is how life actually works or not.

"The Lord instructs His servants to be humble because the process of being made whole spiritually begins with a broken heart. Think of the good that comes from broken things: Soil is broken to plant wheat. Wheat is broken to make bread. Bread is broken to become the emblems of the sacrament."

"If you are burdened by sin and need to repent, please do so immediately. When the Savior healed those who were afflicted, He often invited them to rise up. The scriptures record that they did so straightway, or immediately. To be healed of your spiritual afflictions, please accept His invitation to rise up. Without delay..."

“Let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly; then shall thy confidence wax strong in the presence of God.” (Doctrine and Covenants 121:45)

President Dieter F Uchtdorf, You Can Do It Now!
" Even when we think we cannot rise up, there is still hope. And sometimes we just need someone to look us in the eyes, take our hand, and say, 'You can do it now!'"

" I have watched men filled with potential and grace disengage from the challenging work of building the kingdom of God because they had failed a time or two. These were men of promise who could have been exceptional priesthood holders and servants of God. But because they stumbled and became discouraged, they withdrew from their priesthood commitments and pursued other but less worthy endeavors."

"...we mortals do not become champions without effort and discipline or without making mistakes."

"That does not mean that we should be comfortable with our weaknesses, mistakes, or sins. But there is an important difference between the sorrow for sin that leads to repentance and the sorrow that leads to despair."

President Henry B Eyring, Bind Up Their Wounds
"To hold the priesthood of God is to be held responsible by God for the eternal lives of His children. "

"We are not told in the scriptures why the Samaritan was traveling on the road from Jerusalem to Jericho. It is not likely that he was taking a stroll alone since he must have known that robbers waited for the unwary. He was on a serious journey, and as was customary, he had with him a beast of burden as well as oil and wine."

"More than only feeling compassion, he acted."

My thoughts
The Samaritan likely traveled that way before as he said he would be that way again to pay the inn keeper.  Additionally the inn keeper must have known him and his character, which also likely points to that he traveled that way on business often.

"As a quorum member, as a home teacher, and as a missionary, you cannot help people repair spiritual damage unless your own faith is vibrant. That means far more than reading the scriptures regularly and praying over them. The prayer in the moment and quick glances in the scriptures are not preparation enough."

President Thomas S Monson, True Shepherds
"Home teaching is one of our most urgent and most rewarding opportunities to nurture and inspire, to counsel and direct our Father’s children. … [It] is a divine service, a divine call. It is our duty as Home Teachers to carry the … spirit into every home and heart. To love the work and do our best will bring unbounded peace, joy and satisfaction to [a noble,] dedicated [teacher] of God’s children.” ( David O. McKay, in Priesthood Home Teaching Handbook, rev. ed. (1967), ii, iii.)

"If any of you has slipped into complacency concerning your home teaching visits, may I say that there is no time like the present to rededicate yourself to fulfilling your home teaching duties. Decide now to make whatever effort is necessary to reach those for whom you have been given responsibility. There are times when a little extra prodding may be needed, as well, to help your home teaching companion find the time to go with you, but if you are persistent, you will succeed."

"[Jesus] taught with authority and not as did the scribes."

Sunday Morning Session
President Henry B Eyring, To My Grandchildren
Heavenly Father has made each of us unique. No two of us have exactly the same experiences. No two families are alike. So it is not surprising that advice about how to choose happiness in family life is hard to give. Yet a loving Heavenly Father has set the same path to happiness for all of His children. Whatever our personal characteristics or whatever will be our experiences, there is but one plan of happiness. That plan is to follow all the commandments of God.

“What choices have led me toward loving the Lord with all my heart and soul and with all my mind?”

“The pressures at every stage of life can tempt us to reject or neglect calls to serve the Savior. That can put us in spiritual peril for ourselves, our spouse, and our families. Some of those calls may seem unimportant, butmy life, and my family, was changed for the better by my accepting a call to teach a deacons quorum. I felt the love of those deacons for the Savior and His love for them.”

Elder Dallin H Oaks, No Other Gods
“What is our ultimate priority?  are we putting other priorities in front of…”

What other priorities are being “served” ahead of God by persons—even religious persons—in our day? Consider these possibilities, all common in our world:
Cultural and family traditions
Political correctness
Career aspirations
Material possessions
Recreational pursuits
Power, prominence, and prestige

My thoughts
Rushing to fulfill good goals at the expense of church and family responsibilities.

“The plan of salvation explains the purpose of creation and the conditions of mortality, including God’s commandments, the need for a Savior, and the vital role of mortal and eternal families. If we Latter-day Saints, who have been given this knowledge, do not establish our priorities in accord with this plan, we are in danger of serving other gods.”

My thoughts
The conditions of mortality are the pain and suffering of life.

“ In many countries and cultures (1) the traditional family of a married mother and father and children is coming to be the exception rather than the rule, (2) the pursuit of a career instead of marriage and the bearing of children is an increasing choice of many young women, and (3) the role and perceived necessity of fathers is diminishing.”

“There are many political and social pressures for legal and policy changes to establish behaviors contrary to God’s decrees about sexual morality and contrary to the eternal nature and purposes of marriage and childbearing. These pressures have already authorized same-gender marriages in various states and nations. Other pressures would confuse gender or homogenize those differences between men and women that are essential to accomplish God’s great plan of happiness.”

“But man’s laws cannot make moral what God has declared immoral.”

“We remain under covenant to love God and keep His commandments and to refrain from serving other gods and priorities—even those becoming popular in our particular time and place.”

““Let us have the courage to defy the consensus, the courage to stand for principle. Courage, not compromise, brings the smile of God’s approval. Courage becomes a living and an attractive virtue when it is regarded not only as a willingness to die manfully, but as the determination to live decently. A moral coward is one who is afraid to do what he thinks is right because others will disapprove or laugh. Remember that all men have their fears, but those who face their fears with dignity have courage as well.”” (Thomas S. Monson, “Courage Counts,” Ensign, Nov. 1986, 4)

Sister Bonnie L Oscarson, Be Ye Converted
“Choose you this day whom ye will serve; … but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:15)

“conversion is a process, not an event. You become converted as a result of … righteous efforts to follow the Savior.” (True to the Faith: A Gospel Reference (2004), 41)

“you have [the] primary responsibility for your own conversion. No one can be converted for you, and no one can force you to be converted.”” (True to the Faith: A Gospel Reference (2004), 43)

“Conversion comes as we live pure and virtuous lives and enjoy the companionship of the Holy Ghost.”

“Living the gospel and standing in holy places is not always easy or comfortable, but I testify that it is worth it!”

Elder Richard J Maynes, The Strength to Endure
“A testimony, like your body, needs to be in shape if you want it to endure. So how do we keep our testimonies in shape? We cannot get our bodies into good basketball shape by simply watching basketball on television. Similarly, we won’t be able to get our testimonies in shape by simply watching general conference on television. We need to study and learn the fundamental principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and then we must do our very best to live them. That is how we become disciples of Jesus Christ, and that is how we build an enduring testimony.”

“Because we face challenges every day, it is important that we work on our spiritual stamina every day. When we develop spiritual stamina, the false traditions of the world, as well as our personal daily challenges, will have little negative impact on our ability to endure in righteousness.”

“Fathers, not children, are supposed to protect their families!”

“Father in Heaven has provided us tools that help to build the fortifications between our vulnerabilities and our faithfulness.”

My Thoughts
This is why he gave us commandments.  He knows how life works and has told us how life works.  The commandments are instructions not restrictions.  We can try to live life how we think it should work or we can follow the instructions God has given us and live the commandments, which is the way life actually works.

Would we determine that we do not believe in the law of gravity and do not want to be restricted by it?  Would we jump off a building, because we want to do it our way, and then curse God or the earth or whatever when we get hurt?  If we learn to live within the bounds of gravity, we will not be hurt.

“The history of the Church in this, the dispensation of the fulness of times, is replete with the experiences of those who have struggled and yet who have remained steadfast and of good cheer. The reason? They have made the gospel of Jesus Christ the center of their lives. This is what will pull us through whatever comes our way. We will still experience difficult challenges, but we will be able to face them, to meet them head-on, and to emerge victorious.”

Sunday Afternoon Session
“While in captivity, the Jews wept by the rivers of Babylon—Because of sorrow, they could not bear to sing the songs of Zion.

“My purpose is to review many forms of bondage and subjugation. I will compare some circumstances of our day with those in the days of Jeremiah before the downfall of Jerusalem.”

“… They have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed … out … broken cisterns, that can hold no water.” (Jeremiah 2:11,13)

" Turning from the worship of the true and living God and worshipping false gods like wealth and fame and engaging in immoral and unrighteous conduct result in bondage in all its insidious manifestations. These include spiritual, physical, and intellectual bondage and sometimes bring destruction."

My Thoughts
Putting importance on fame and goods can put one into bondage to debt.

Seeking after immoral and righteous things can lead to being in bondage to a bad reputation.

"The choice to come unto Christ is not a matter of physical location; it is a matter of individual commitment. People can be 'brought to the knowledge of the Lord' without leaving their homelands. True, in the early days of the Church, conversion often meant emigration as well. But now the gathering takes place in each nation." ( Russell M. Nelson, “The Book of Mormon and the Gathering of Israel” (address given at the seminar for new mission presidents, June 26, 2013).)

My Thoughts
Bringing people to Christ is the gathering of Israel.

“The Lord scattered and afflicted the twelve tribes of Israel because of their unrighteousness and rebellion. However, the Lord also [utilized] this scattering of his chosen people among the nations of the world to bless those nations.” (Guide to the Scriptures, "Israel")

My thoughts
This is some of what is talked about in Jacob 5, the allegory of the olive tree.

"...while not inherently evil, can use up our precious allotment of time which could otherwise be used to accomplish virtuous objectives. These can include excessive use of social media, video and digital games, sports, recreation, and many others."

"Moral agency can be abused in many ways."

"...gospel truths are often rejected or distorted to make them intellectually more appealing or compatible with current cultural trends and intellectual philosophies."

"There are many voices now telling women how to live. They often contradict each other."

"Our challenge is to avoid bondage of any kind,"

He also talked of the the importance of women.

Elder Neal L Anderson, Power in the Priesthood
1 Nephi 11:16-17
16 And he said unto me: Knowest thou the condescension of God?
17 And I said unto him: I know that he loveth his children; nevertheless, I do not know the meaning of all things.

"As surely as we know that God’s love is “alike” for His sons and His daughters, we also know that He did not create men and women exactly the same. We know that gender is an essential characteristic of both our mortal and eternal identity and purpose. Sacred responsibilities are given to each gender."

“Sacred responsibilities are given to each gender” - wiki gender roles

3 Nephi 30:2
2 Turn, all ye Gentiles, from your wicked ways; and repent of your evil doings, of your lyings and deceivings, and of your whoredoms, and of your secret abominations, and your idolatries, and of your murders, and your priestcrafts, and your envyings, and your strifes, and from all your wickedness and abominations, and come unto me, and be baptized in my name, that ye may receive a remission of your sins, and be filled with the Holy Ghost, that ye may be numbered with my people who are of the house of Israel.

"There is indeed a secret to becoming a successful gospel teacher, to teaching with the power and authority of God. I use the word secret because the principles upon which a teacher’s success rests can be understood only by those who have a testimony..." - secret verse sacred

"...our message to the world, can be summarized in two words: 'God speaks.'"

“you are called to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. You must not teach your own ideas or philosophy, even mingled with scriptures.“

“you are commanded to teach the principles of the gospel as they are found in the standard works of the Church, to teach the words of modern-day apostles and prophets, and to teach that which is taught you by the Holy Ghost.”

My Thoughts
Based on the two previous statements it would appear that it is appropriate to share things that the Holy Ghost has shared with you, but you need to be cautious that it is not your own agenda you are pushing.

It would appear that we are to share from the scriptures and the prophets and then bear testimony of those things as the Holy Ghost testifies of them to us.

“Our first and foremost responsibility is to live so that we can have the Holy Ghost as our guide and companion.”

“The most important part of your service will be your own daily spiritual preparation, including prayer, scripture study, and obedience to the commandments. We encourage you to dedicate yourself to living the gospel with greater purpose than ever before.”(First Presidency, in Teaching the Gospel in the Savior’s Way (a guide to Come, Follow Me: Learning Resources for Youth, 2012), 2)

21 Seek not to declare my word, but first seek to obtain my word, and then shall your tongue be loosed; then, if you desire, you shall have my Spirit and my word, yea, the power of God unto the convincing of men.

2 Now these sons of Mosiah were with Alma at the time the angel first appeared unto him; therefore Alma did rejoice exceedingly to see his brethren; and what added more to his joy, they were still his brethren in the Lord; yea, and 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.
3 But this is not all; they had given themselves to much prayer, and fasting; therefore they had the spirit of prophecy, and the spirit of revelation, and when they taught, they taught with power and authority of God.
“The fact of the matter is [teachers] are still too focused on delivering comfortable, repetitious lesson content rather than focusing on their [students] as individuals.” (Jeffrey R. Holland, “The Divine Companionship” (address given at the seminar for new mission presidents, June 26, 2009), 7, 8, Church History Library, Salt Lake City; emphasis in original.)

“When the quiet promptings of the Holy Ghost come, you must have the courage to set aside your outlines and your notes and go where those promptings take you.”

“you must stand as an independent witness of the things you teach and not just be an echo of the words in a manual or the thoughts of others.”

Elder Kevin S Hamilton, Continually Holding Fast
“...our young women and children have their own meetings and classes where they are taught the gospel as they prepare for important responsibilities that will come to them."

“Likewise, our young women and children have their own meetings and classes where they are taught the gospel as they prepare for important responsibilities that will come to them. In each of these unique but connected meetings, we learn the doctrine, feel the Spirit, and serve one another. While there may be exceptions due to distance, travel cost, or health, we should strive to attend all of our Sunday meetings. I promise that blessings of great joy and peace will come from worship during our three-hour Sunday meeting schedule.”

“We each have many choices to make as to how we observe the Sabbath day. There will always be some “good” activity that can and should be sacrificed for the better choice of Church meeting attendance. This is in fact one of the ways that the adversary “cheateth [our] souls, and leadeth [us carefully] away.”14 He uses “good” activities as substitutes for “better” or even “best” activities.15

“...our everyday decisions will impact our lives in significant ways. A seemingly small decision such as whether or not to attend a sacrament meeting can have far-reaching, even eternal, consequences.”

Elder Adrian Ochoa, Look Up
2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,
3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,
4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;

This scripture was quoted at least twice during this conference.  Once here and once by Elder Packer.

“We need to make both temporal and spiritual preparation. … And the preparation most likely to be neglected is the one less visible and more difficult—the spiritual” (“Elder Dallin H Oaks, Preparation for the Second Coming,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2004, 9)

Elder Ochoa talked of the idea these days that a blogger’s ideas get more credibility based on the popularity of the blog or post.  He quoted Matthew 7:20.
20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

"If you will not treasure up the words of Christ and listen closely to the promptings of the Spirit, you will be deceived"

Elder Terence M Vinson, Drawing Closer to God
“How do our behavior and actions reflect the integrity of our intents?”

“Our son Ben, when he was 16 and speaking in stake conference, asked the question, 'How would you feel if someone promised you something every week and never kept the promise?' He continued, 'Do we take seriously the promise we make when we partake of the sacrament and covenant to keep His commandments and always remember Him?'"

Elder Russell M Nelson, Decisions for Eternity
“The wise use of your freedom to make your own decisions is crucial to your spiritual growth, now and for eternity. You are never too young to learn, never too old to change.”

“With your body being such a vital part of God’s eternal plan, it is little wonder that the Apostle Paul described it as a ‘temple of God.’ (1 Corinthians 3:16)”

“Some of the decisions that will determine your eternal destiny include:
  • How will you choose to care for and use your body?
  • What spiritual attributes will you choose to develop?”

My Thoughts
It takes concerted effort to care for our bodies each day.  It also takes concerted effort to develop our spiritual character.  The more we focus on both of the these, the stronger we become.  Trials and temptations will overpower us less.

“A pivotal spiritual attribute is that of self-mastery—the strength to place reason over appetite. Self-mastery builds a strong conscience. And your conscience determines your moral responses in difficult, tempting, and trying situations. ”

“God implanted strong appetites within us for nourishment and love, vital for the human family to be perpetuated.22 When we master our appetites within the bounds of God’s laws, we can enjoy longer life, greater love, and consummate joy.23

“A strong human spirit with control over appetites of the flesh is master over emotions and passions and not a slave to them. “

My Thoughts
 There are two pervasive and similar philosophies in our culture.  Both of which are destructive to building people of strong character.  The first is boys will be boys.  The second is females are emotional, deal with it.

The idea that boys will be boys gives boys an excuse to not fully become men and men an excuse to keep their childish ways.

1 Corinthians 13:11
 11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.

One symptom of the “boys will be boys” mentality is when a woman marries a man who is behaving immaturely and she accepts it because “boys will be boys”.  Marriage requires unselfishness and putting aside our own agenda for what is right.  All of us have a level of immaturity when we enter marriage and some level of selfishness that we have to set aside, but those behaviors should never be justified.

These days often instead of rejecting these behaviors as unacceptable, women embrace these behaviors as their own.  Often we see women behaving crudely, instead of standing up for virtue.  Crude and selfish behaviors are a large contributing factor to our epidemic divorce rate and the lack of desire for many to get married at all.

Another manifestation of “boys will be boys” is parents and leaders of youth allowing too much rough, violent, or irreverent behaviors from boys, because “that’s what boys do.”  That may be true, but we are not raising boys.  We are raising men.  We were giving boys and our job is to mold the boy into a man, not end up with an adult male that is still in the shape of a boy.

Just as we all should bridle their passions and appetites and behaviors, we should also bridle our emotions.  The idea that women are emotional and that’s just how it is, is also destructive.

Women have a wondrous power of compassion and nurturing that arguably comes from their deep emotions.  Similarly to men’s drive to compete and conquer allows them to be good providers if they learn to manage those drives and not be managed by them, women’s emotions should be kept in check.

A man driven by his passions can become crippled by them if he let’s them be all that he is and he doesn’t use them in the bounds Heavenly Father has shown us are healthy.  A woman driven by her emotions can also become crippled by them if she let’s them be all that she is and she doesn’t use them in the bounds Heavenly Father has shown us are healthy.

Our compassion could lead us cry all day long at the suffering of others, to the point that we are so overwhelmed by everyone’s problems that we don’t have the strength help with anyone’s problems.

Both men and women should grow their strengths, but not be ruled by them

There is additional danger in entirely snuffing out a man’s drives to success.  Some go to the point where they are only driven by desires for pleasure and end up being unproductive in life.

Similarly if a women chooses to not use her emotions for the good of mankind and instead suppresses them absolutely, so to never take the chance of looking weak, then she truly will have become weak.

“gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose.” ( “The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2010, 129.)

“God’s marriage pattern cannot be abused, misunderstood, or misconstrued.33  Not if you want true joy.”

“Remember: sin, even if legalized by man, is still sin in the eyes of God!”

“One day each of us will stand before the Lord in judgment.41 We will each have a personal interview with Jesus Christ.42 We will account for decisions that we made about our bodies, our spiritual attributes,”

President Thomas S Monson, Till We Meet Again
“May heaven’s blessings be with you. May your homes be filled with love and courtesy and with the Spirit of the Lord. May you constantly nourish your testimonies of the gospel that they will be a protection to you against the buffetings of the adversary.”

General Conference October 2013 Topics:
Anger, Missionaries and members come together, Work and serve, set aside personal agendas and traditions, how to receive answers to prayer, keep covenants, learn from; but do not live in the past, live up to our potential, the blessings of tithing, work to change our circumstances rather than waiting for them to change or waiting for someone else to change them for us, the importance of the moral character of women, repent, welcome all, attend all of your church meetings during the three hour block of Church, Scripture Study, Integrity, Sacrament, Covenants, Promises

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