Sunday, April 06, 2014

184th Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 5 April 2014

Saturday Morning Session
President Thomas S Monson, Welcome to Conference
“ In 2015 we anticipate completing and dedicating new temples in many parts of the world. This process will continue. When all the previously announced temples are completed, we will have 170 operating temples throughout the world.
“Although we are currently concentrating our efforts on completing the previously announced temples and will not be announcing any new temples in the immediate future, we will continue the process of determining needs and of finding locations for temples yet to come. Announcements will then be made in future general conferences. We are a temple-building and a temple-attending people.”
“I say to all and especially the youth of the Church that if you haven’t already, you will one day find yourself called upon to defend your faith or perhaps even endure some personal abuse simply because you are a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Such moments will require both courage and courtesy on your part.”

My Thoughts
There are many examples of this throughout scripture and throughout history.

“ a world that is often hostile to the commandments of God.”

My Thoughts
Often people do not just decline to believe the commandments of God, but often are hostile when someone expresses belief in them.  People are often very defensive of their favorite sins.

“You may wonder if it is worth it to take a courageous moral stand in high school or to go on a mission only to have your most cherished beliefs reviled or to strive against much in society that sometimes ridicules a life of religious devotion. Yes, it is worth it, because the alternative is to have our “houses” left unto us “desolate”—desolate individuals, desolate families, desolate neighborhoods, and desolate nations.”

My Thoughts
We see this all the time, where a neighborhood or a city has turned to selfishness and away from the boundaries of God.

“ is a characteristic of our age that if people want any gods at all, they want them to be gods who do not demand much, comfortable gods, smooth gods who not only don’t rock the boat but don’t even row it...”
“...Sometimes—and this seems the greatest irony of all—these folks invoke the name of Jesus as one who was this kind of “comfortable” God. Really? He who said not only should we not break commandments, but we should not even think about breaking them. And if we do think about breaking them, we have already broken them in our heart. Does that sound like “comfortable” doctrine, easy on the ear and popular down at the village love-in?”

My Thoughts
You see it all too frequently.  “Come to our church where you can wear jeans and we will serve you coffee.  Come whenever you want.  We will hold a morning service and an afternoon service and an evening service.  Whatever is convenient for you.”

“...strength of our Redeemer, upon whom if you build your unflagging discipleship, you cannot fall.”

Elder Ronald A Rasband, The Joyful Burden of Discipleship
Gather unto me 70 men…burden of the people...-find scripture

“Currently in the Church, the Lord has called 317 Seventies, serving in 8 quorums, to assist the Twelve Apostles in carrying the burden placed on the First Presidency. I joyfully feel that responsibility in the depths of my very soul, as do my fellow Brethren. However, we are not the only ones assisting in this glorious work. As members of the Church worldwide, we all have the wonderful opportunity of blessing the lives of others.”
“To sustain our leaders is a privilege; it comes coupled with a personal responsibility to share their burden and to be disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ.”

My Thoughts
When we are young we might sustain our leaders thinking, “I don’t see why they shouldn’t [prophet or bishop or whatever]” and we raise our hand.  When we mature we should begin to understand that it needs to be on our minds that we are making a commitment to take responsibility to assist the person we are sustaining with their part of the work of the Lord.  We need to act on that commitment.  

“We are surrounded by those in need of our attention, our encouragement, our support, our comfort, our kindness—be they family members, friends, acquaintances, or strangers. We are the Lord’s hands here upon the earth, with the mandate to serve and to lift His children. He is dependent upon each of us.” (Thomas S. Monson, “What Have I Done for Someone Today?” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2009, 86, 87)

“It is so important for each of us to strive to lay up our spiritual treasures in heaven—using our time, talents, and agency in service to God.”

My Thoughts
As we learn to consecrate all that we are to God, a little more each day, the more we learn to be like God.  The more we are like God, the more we are prepared to receive those blessings He has for us.

This is much like, the more a child learns to be an adult, the more he is ready to receive greater responsibility and more freedom.

Doctrine and Covenants 84:88
88 And whoso receiveth you, there I will be also, for I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up.

“May we all find the joy that comes from the sacred service of bearing one another’s burdens, even those simple and small”

Elder Carlos H. Amado, Christ the Redeemer
“His preaching was simple, and even though multitudes followed after Him, His ministry always consisted of blessing people one by one.”

My Thoughts
Sometimes we get overwhelmed by all that there is to accomplish and all of the huge social problems to overcome.  The way that these things are overcome is serving one person at a time.  We can’t do everything, but we can do something.  Something accomplishes more than nothing and lots of something can be tremendous.

“At each moment of His suffering, the Redeemer of the world showed exceptional self-control. He always thought of blessing others; with kindness and tenderness, He pleaded for John to take care of His mother, Mary. He asked His Father in Heaven to forgive the executioners who crucified Him.”

“We as leaders are increasingly concerned about the destruction that pornography is causing in the lives of Church members and their families. Satan is attacking with unprecedented fury.
“One reason we are here on earth is to learn to manage the passions and feelings of our mortal bodies.”
“The intimate marriage relationship between a man and a woman that brings children into mortality is also meant to be a beautiful, loving experience that binds together two devoted hearts, unites both spirit and body, and brings a fulness of joy and happiness as we learn to put each other first.”

“the spouse … becomes preeminent in the life of the husband or wife, and … [no] other interest [or] person [or] thing shall ever take precedence over the companion spouse. …
“Marriage presupposes total allegiance and total fidelity.” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Spencer W. Kimball (2006), 199–200.)
“How grateful we are when these loved ones choose to confide in us as parents or a Church leader. We would be wise not to react with shock, anger, or rejection, which may cause them to be silent again.
“We as parents and leaders need to counsel with our children and youth on an ongoing basis, listening with love and understanding. They need to know the dangers of pornography”

“As we counsel with our children, together we can create a family plan with standards and boundaries, being proactive to protect our homes with filters on electronic devices.”

My Thought
It is easy to get stuck in a rut and not prepare for emergencies.  This preparation includes being proactive and making a plan.  Protecting your family from pornography is also preparations for an emergency.

The best places of preparation are those places where we can prevent the emergency.

“It is OK if the house is a mess and the children are still in their pajamas and some responsibilities are left undone. The only things that really need to be accomplished in the home are daily scripture study and prayer and weekly family home evening.”

My Thoughts
Obviously tending to our homes is important and keeping a clean home can bring peace, but not as much as daily scripture study and daily prayer.

“I must testify of the blessings of daily scripture study and prayer and weekly family home evening. These are the very practices that help take away stress, give direction to our lives, and add protection to our homes.”

“Youth, take responsibility for your own spiritual well-being.”

My Thoughts
This is good counsel for any of us.  We can’t leave it up to the Church to instruct us or for things to just magically fall into place in our lives.  We must take responsibility for seeking out and obtaining spiritual experiences.  We much do what it takes to have revelation.  We must work and follow God’s instructions on how revelation works and how life works.  We need to put away our ideas on how we think it should work or how we want it to work and do things how it actually works.

Elder Neil L Andersen, Spiritual Whirlwinds
“Sin has always been part of the world, but it has never been so accessible, insatiable, and acceptable."

“Not all the whirlwinds in life are of your own making. Some come because of the wrong choices of others, and some come just because this is mortality.”

My Thoughts
Trials come because of many things.
  • Because of our own choices.
    • Often we try to live life how we want it to work, instead of how it actually works.  This can lead to trials as we create problems for ourselves by doing things that do not make life better, but make it worse.
  • Because of the choices of others.
    • When others make bad choices they sometimes impact us.  Part of our learning experience on how to be more like God is learning to deal with those trials correctly.
  • Because it is mortality and that’s why we are here.
    • The way that we learn is not through comfort and ease.  We learn and grow by struggle and testing to see how we are progressing, that we may know where we need work.

“In nature, trees that grow up in a windy environment become stronger. As winds whip around a young sapling, forces inside the tree do two things. First, they stimulate the roots to grow faster and spread farther. Second, the forces in the tree start creating cell structures that actually make the trunk and branches thicker and more flexible to the pressure of the wind. These stronger roots and branches protect the tree from winds that are sure to return.”

“Changes in the civil law do not, indeed cannot, change the moral law that God has established. God expects us to uphold and keep His commandments regardless of divergent opinions or trends in society.” (First Presidency letter, Mar. 6, 2014; see also David A. Bednar, “We Believe in Being Chaste,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2013, 41–44; Dallin H. Oaks, “No Other Gods,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2013, 72–75; For the Strength of Youth (booklet, 2011), 35–37)

“The Savior of mankind described Himself as being in the world but not of the world. We also can be in the world but not of the world as we reject false concepts and false teachings and remain true to that which God has commanded.” (President Thomas S. Monson, Ensign or Liahona, May 2011, 67)

“While many governments and well-meaning individuals have redefined marriage, the Lord has not.”

My Thoughts
People are so concerned with rights and feelings that they try to make life work how they think it should work, even though that is not how life actually works.

One can try to redefine what marriage to fit how they want to live their life, but it will never make life and marriage work.  There will be moments of pleasure and even times of happiness, but it will bring unnecessary struggles as one tries to change a natural law.  One can dislike the way gravity works, but you will have to adapt, not gravity.

President Henry B Eyring, A Priceless Heritage of Hope
He shared a story of his great-grandfather becoming a penniless orphan after his family has been powerful and wealthy and then coming to America to find opportunity.  He eventually found the Church.

“...duties are sometimes simple but are often difficult. But remember, the duties must sometimes be difficult because their purpose is to move us along the path to live forever with Heavenly Father...”

“We can draw from Lehi’s example by studying scripture prayerfully and by observation.”

Saturday Afternoon Session
Brook P Hales, Statistical Report, 2013
Church Membership just over 15 million.

My Thoughts
It will be interesting to see to see what will happen the next few years.  For a long time it has seemed like the Church has been growing by roughly the same numbers.  It has seemed like the percent of growth has been dropping.

With increased number of missionaries and the “hastening of the work” that the leaders keep talking about, I wonder how much the numbers will grow in the next little while.

Elder Russell M Nelson, Let Your Faith Show
“I have overheard conversations on Monday mornings about professional athletic games that took place on the preceding Sunday. For some of these avid fans, I have wondered if their “religion” would “tie them back” only to some kind of a bouncing ball.
We might each ask ourselves, where is our faith? Is it in a team? Is it in a brand? Is it in a celebrity? Even the best teams can fail. Celebrities can fade. There is only One in whom your faith is always safe, and that is in the Lord Jesus Christ. And you need to let your faith show!”
“Spiritual truth cannot be ignored—especially divine commandments. Keeping divine commandments brings blessings, every time! Breaking divine commandments brings a loss of blessings, every time!”

Elder Richard G Scott, “I Have Given You an Example”
“Both Grandmother Whittle and Jeanene loved me enough to share their conviction that the ordinances of the gospel and serving Father in Heaven would bless my life. Neither of them coerced me or made me feel bad about the person I was. They simply loved me and loved Father in Heaven. Both knew He could do more with my life than I could on my own. Each courageously helped me in loving ways to find the path of greatest happiness.”

“Show your sincere interest in their well-being; then share your testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ.”

“Sometimes we get so wrapped up in things that we find fascinating or become so consumed by mundane responsibilities that we lose sight of God’s objectives. As you consistently focus your life on the most basic principles, you will gain an understanding of what you are to do, and you will produce more fruit for the Lord and more happiness for yourself.”

My Thoughts
Do we get so weighed down we our responsibilities of the world that we are exhausted when it comes time for our spiritual needs and responsibilities?

Do we get so caught up in our own agenda that we forget to ask the Lord for His plan?

“Keep your sharing of the gospel simple.”

“In the premortal Council in Heaven, Lucifer rebelled against Heavenly Father’s plan. Those who followed Lucifer ended their eternal progression—be careful who you follow!”

“When we obey, we accept His sacrifice...”

My Thoughts
There are many who teach that all you have to do is accept Jesus to be Saved.  What does it mean to accept Jesus?  Some would say that you accept him through a pray.  Some would say you accept him publicly in front of a congregation.

How do we accept someone as our Lord if we do not follow his instructions?

“At times members may participate in “selective obedience,” claiming to love God and honor God while picking and choosing which of His commandments and teachings—and the teachings and counsel of His prophets—they will fully follow.
Some obey selectively because they cannot perceive all the reasons for a commandment, just as children do not always understand the reasons for their parents’ counsel and rules.”
Elder Claudio D Zivic, Let’s Not Take the Wrong Way
“It would be wonderful to have a desire deep in our hearts to keep the commandments without anyone constantly reminding us and to have a firm conviction that if we follow the right path, we will have the blessings promised in the scriptures.”

Elder W Craig Zwick, What Are You Thinking?
“The gospel of Jesus Christ teaches us to love and treat all people with kindness and civility—even when we disagree” (First Presidency letter, Jan. 10, 2014)
Proverbs 15:1
1 A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.

“Nevertheless, what would happen to the “corrupt communication” Paul spoke about if our own position included empathy for another’s experience first? Fully owning the limits of my own imperfections and rough edges, I plead with you to practice asking this question, with tender regard for another’s experience: “What are you thinking?””

“I bear humble witness that we can “minister grace” through compassionate language when the cultivated gift of the Holy Ghost pierces our hearts with empathy for the feelings and context of others. It enables us to transform hazardous situations into holy places.”

Elder Quentin L Cook, Roots and Branches
“The “now what” in the face of death in this life and the “now what” in contemplation of life after death are at the heart of the questions of the soul that the restored gospel of Jesus Christ answers so beautifully in the Father’s plan of happiness.”

“Our Father’s plan is about families. Several of our most poignant scriptures use the concept of the tree with its roots and branches as an analogy.”

“Elijah’s return occurred in the Kirtland Temple on April 3, 1836. He declared he was fulfilling Malachi’s promise.”

“The Savior was emphatic about the necessity of baptism. He taught, ‘Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.’11 The Savior was personally baptized to set the example. What about the deceased who have not been baptized?”

My Thoughts
We must be baptized in order to enter the kingdom of God.

“Our doctrinal obligation is to our own ancestors. This is because the celestial organization of heaven is based on families.14 The First Presidency has encouraged members, especially youth and young single adults, to emphasize family history work and ordinances for their own family names or the names of ancestors of their ward and stake members.15 We need to be connected to both our roots and branches.”

“...we have gone from microfilm readers in dedicated family history centers to sitting at my kitchen table with my computer doing family history after my children are finally asleep.” Brothers and sisters, family history centers are now in our homes.”

Priesthood Session
"There is no ‘up or down’ in the service of the Lord. There is only ‘forward or backward,’ and that difference depends on how we accept and act upon our releases and our callings."

My Thoughts
It matters how we do our duty in the calling we are in and not the calling that we have.

"...all keys of the priesthood are held by the Lord Jesus Christ, whose priesthood it is. He is the one who determines what keys are delegated to mortals and how those keys will be used. We are accustomed to thinking that all keys of the priesthood were conferred on Joseph Smith in the Kirtland Temple, but the scripture states that all that was conferred there were ‘the keys of this dispensation’ (D&C 110:16).  At general conference many years ago, President Spencer W. Kimball reminded us that there are other priesthood keys that have not been given to man on the earth, including the keys of creation and resurrection."

My Thoughts
Mankind is only given as much authority as they need to advance the work of God and only as much responsibility as we need to learn.

"Whoever exercises priesthood authority should forget about their rights and concentrate on their responsibilities. That is a principle needed in society at large."

My Thoughts
People are so concerned about defending their rights that they forget about being a grown up and having responsibilities.

Also, just because we have the right to do something doesn’t mean we should do it.

"[Women] are not bearers of the Priesthood; they are not charged with carrying out the duties and functions of the Priesthood; nor are they laden with its responsibilities; they are builders and organizers under its power, and partakers of its blessings, possessing the complement of the Priesthood powers and possessing a function as divinely called, as eternally important in its place as the Priesthood itself." ( J. Reuben Clark Jr., “Our Wives and Our Mothers,” 801)

Elder Donald L Hallstrom, What Manner of Men?
“The purpose of the priesthood session of general conference is to teach priesthood holders what manner of men we ought to be (see 3 Nephi 27:27) and to inspire us to reach that ideal.”

"...this vastly increased accessibility to the voices of the Lord’s servants, which are the same as the Lord’s own voice (see D&C 1:38), has little value unless we are willing to receive the word (see D&C 11:21) and then follow it. Simply stated, the purpose of general conference and of this priesthood session is fulfilled only if we are willing to act—if we are willing to change."

My Thoughts
Do we use conference and specifically priesthood session as they are intended, to change us?

"...once any of us conclude—’That’s just the way I am,’ we give up our ability to change. We might as well raise the white flag, put down our weapons, concede the battle, and just surrender—any prospect of winning is lost. While some of us may think that does not describe us, perhaps every one of us demonstrates by at least one or two bad habits, ‘That’s just the way I am.’
“Well, we meet in this priesthood meeting because who we are is not who we can become. We meet here tonight in the name of Jesus Christ. We meet with the confidence that His Atonement gives every one of us—no matter our weaknesses, our frailties, our addictions—the ability to change."
“We need to be priesthood men! Whether we are young men holding the Aaronic Priesthood or men bearing the Melchizedek Priesthood, we need to be priesthood men, showing spiritual maturity because we have made covenants. As Paul said, ‘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’ (1 Corinthians 13:11).”

“...we need to wake up to how commonly accepted practices in the world choke our power in the priesthood.”

Randall L Ridd, The Choice Generation
"I would like to address you as the 'choice generation' because never before in history have individuals been blessed with so many choices. More choices mean more opportunities; more opportunities mean more potential to do good and, unfortunately, evil."

"You are growing up with one of the greatest tools for good in the history of man: the Internet. With it comes an elaborate buffet of choices. The abundance of choice, however, carries with it an equal portion of accountability."

"With the click of a button, you can access whatever your heart desires. That’s the key—what does your heart desire? What do you gravitate toward? Where will your desires lead?"

"Your choices determine whether technology will empower you or enslave you."

"..don't do dumb things with your smart phone."

Mosiah 4:29
29 And finally, I cannot tell you all the things whereby ye may commit sin; for there are divers ways and means, even so many that I cannot number them.

President Dieter F Uchtdorf, Are You Sleeping through the Restoration?
“Today, I would like to take the same theme and propose a question to all of us who hold God’s priesthood: are you sleeping through the Restoration?"

"The best defense against addiction is never to start."

“Always remember, with the Savior’s help, you can break free from addiction. It may be a long, difficult path, but the Lord will not give up on you. He loves you. Jesus Christ suffered the Atonement to help you change, to free you from the captivity of sin."

President Henry B Eyring, The Priesthood Man
“I have observed three common characteristics of the priesthood holders who are my heroes. One is a pattern of prayer, the second is a habit of service, and the third is a rock-hard decision to be honest.”

“In the evening...get on your knees and thank God for the blessings of the day... thank Him for parents, for teachers, and for great examples to follow...describe in your prayers specifically who has blessed your life and how, during that day. That will take more than a few minutes and more than a little thought. It will surprise you and change you.

“As you pray for forgiveness, you will find yourself forgiving others. As you thank God for His kindness, you will think of others, by name, who need your kindness.”

“As you pray and serve others, your knowledge that you are a child of God and your feelings about Him will grow. You will become more aware that He is saddened if you are dishonest in any way. You will be more determined to keep your word to God and to others. You will be more aware of taking anything that does not belong to you. You will be more honest with your employers. You will be more determined to be on time and to complete every task you are given by the Lord that you have accepted to do.

“Rather than wondering if their home teachers will come, children in the families you are called to teach will look forward with anticipation to your visit. “

President Thomas S Monson, Be Strong and of a Good Courage
"...decisions are constantly before us which can determine our destiny. In order for us to make the correct decisions, courage is needed—the courage to say no when we should, the courage to say yes when that is appropriate, the courage to do the right thing because it is right."

"Inasmuch as the trend in society today is rapidly moving away from the values and principles the Lord has given us, we will almost certainly be called upon to defend that which we believe. Will we have the courage to do so?"

“I recall reading some time ago the counsel a father gave to his son when he went away to school: ‘If you ever find yourself where you shouldn’t ought to be, get out!’ I offer to each of you the same advice: ‘If you ever find yourself where you shouldn’t ought to be, get out!’”

"Brethren, are you the same person wherever you are and whatever you are doing—the person our Heavenly Father wants you to be and the person you know you should be?"

“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 also as the determination to live decently.”

Sunday Morning Session
President Dieter F Uchtdorf, Grateful in Any Circumstances
“We can be grateful!
“It might sound contrary to the wisdom of the world to suggest that one who is burdened with sorrow should give thanks to God. But those who set aside the bottle of bitterness and lift instead the goblet of gratitude can find a purifying drink of healing, peace, and understanding.”
“As disciples of Christ, we are commanded to ‘thank the Lord [our] God in all things,’1 to ‘sing unto the Lord with thanksgiving,’2 and to ‘let [our] heart be full of thanks unto God.’3

“All of His commandments are given to make blessings available to us. Commandments are opportunities to exercise our agency and to receive blessings. Our loving Heavenly Father knows that choosing to develop a spirit of gratitude will bring us true joy and great happiness.”

“In pain, we can glory in Christ’s Atonement. In the cold of bitter sorrow, we can experience the closeness and warmth of heaven’s embrace.”

“We sometimes think that being grateful is what we do after our problems are solved, but how terribly shortsighted that is. How much of life do we miss by waiting to see the rainbow before thanking God that there is rain?

“Being grateful in times of distress does not mean that we are pleased with our circumstances. It does mean that through the eyes of faith we look beyond our present-day challenges.”

“...transformed the Savior’s Apostles from fearful, doubting men into fearless, joyful emissaries of the Master.”

“The more we learn about the gospel of Jesus Christ, the more we realize that endings here in mortality are not endings at all.”

“Gratitude to our Father in Heaven broadens our perception and clears our vision.”

Elder M Russell Ballard, Following Up
“Preach My Gospel teaches everyone how to not only invite, but also to follow up.”

“[Preach My Gospel] is a guidebook for missionary work—which means it is a guidebook for all of us.”

Sister Jean A Stevens, “Fear Not; I Am with Thee”
20 And when the Jews heard these things they were angry with him; yea, even as with the prophets of old, whom they had cast out, and stoned, and slain; and they also sought his life, that they might take it away. But behold, I, Nephi, will show unto you that the tender mercies of the Lord are over all those whom he hath chosen, because of their faith, to make them mighty even unto the power of deliverance.

My Thoughts
Those had things to say that the people did not understand and even made them contentious, some even angry, were made strong to be able to deliver their message properly and not be harmed.

“We can come to feel, as C. S. Lewis described: ‘I pray because I can’t help myself. … I pray because the need flows out of me all the time, waking and sleeping. It doesn’t change God. It changes me.’3

“The gospel of Jesus Christ is not a checklist of things to do; rather, it lives in our hearts. The gospel ‘is not weight; it is wings.’4 It carries us.”

Bishop Gary E Stevenson, Your Four Minutes
“The recent Olympic Winter Games enthralled the world as athletes representing 89 countries competed in 98 different events. Remarkably, 10 of these athletes were members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 3 of whom earned medals recently highlighted in the Church News: Christopher Fogt, Noelle Pikus-Pace, and Torah Bright”

“Now, consider how your pathway to eternal life is similar to these athletes’ ‘four-minute performance.’ You are an eternal being. Before you were born, you existed as a spirit. In the presence of a loving Heavenly Father, you trained and prepared to come to earth for a brief moment and, well, perform. This life is your four minutes. While you are here, your actions will determine whether you win the prize of eternal life. The prophet Amulek described, ‘This life is the time … to prepare to meet God; yea, behold the day of this life is the day … to perform [your] labors.’5

Elder David A Bednar, Bear Up Their Burdens with Ease
“It was the load of wood that provided the traction necessary for him to get out of the snow, to get back on the road, and to move forward. It was the load that enabled him to return to his family and his home.”

“Is the load I am carrying producing the spiritual traction that will enable me to press forward with faith in Christ on the strait and narrow path and avoid getting stuck? Is the load I am carrying creating sufficient spiritual traction so I ultimately can return home to Heavenly Father?”

28 ¶Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
“In essence, the Savior is beckoning us to rely upon and pull together with Him, even though our best efforts are not equal to and cannot be compared with His. As we trust in and pull our load with Him during the journey of mortality, truly His yoke is easy and His burden is light.”

14 And I will also ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders, that even you cannot feel them upon your backs, even while you are in bondage; and this will I do that ye may stand as witnesses for me hereafter, and that ye may know of a surety that I, the Lord God, do visit my people in their afflictions.
15 And now it came to pass that the burdens which were laid upon Alma and his brethren were made light; yea, the Lord did strengthen them that they could bear up their burdens with ease, and they did submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord.
“The challenges and difficulties were not immediately removed from the people. But Alma and his followers were strengthened, and their increased capacity made the burdens lighter. These good people were empowered through the Atonement to act as agents (see D&C 58:26–29) and impact their circumstances. And ‘in the strength of the Lord’ (Words of Mormon 1:14; Mosiah 9:17; 10:10; Alma 20:4), Alma and his people were directed to safety in the land of Zarahemla.”

“do we also understand that the Atonement is for faithful men and women who are obedient, worthy, and conscientious and who are striving to become better and serve more faithfully? I wonder if we fail to fully acknowledge this strengthening aspect of the Atonement in our lives and mistakenly believe we must carry our load all alone—through sheer grit, willpower, and discipline and with our obviously limited capacities.”

11 And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people.
12 And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities.
“There is no physical pain, no spiritual wound, no anguish of soul or heartache, no infirmity or weakness you or I ever confront in mortality that the Savior did not experience first.”

“I invite you to study, pray, ponder, and strive to learn more about the Savior’s Atonement as you assess your individual load. Many things about the Atonement we simply cannot comprehend with our mortal minds. But many aspects of the Atonement we can and need to understand.”

“We also will pray for the strength to learn from, change, or accept our circumstances rather than praying relentlessly for God to change our circumstances according to our will.”

President Thomas S Monson, Love—the Essence of the Gospel
“...some of our greatest opportunities to demonstrate our love will be within the walls of our own homes. Love should be the very heart of family life...”

“‘Of all sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest are these: ‘It might have been!’ ’ 11 Brothers and sisters, as we treat others with love and kind consideration, we will avoid such regrets.”

Sunday Afternoon Session
President Boyd K Packer, The Witness
"I could not describe to you what happened if I were determined to do so. It is beyond my power of expression, but it is as clear today as it was that night more than 65 years ago. I knew it to be a very private, very individual manifestation. At last I knew for myself. I knew for a certainty, for it had been given to me."
"In the years that have followed, I have come to understand that such an experience is at once a light to follow and a burden to carry."  -  wiki sacred not secret

"Much of what I have come to know falls into the category of things which cannot be taught but can be learned."

"...knowledge which is of eternal value comes only through personal prayer and pondering."

" Parenthood is a sacred privilege, and depending upon faithfulness, it can be an eternal blessing. The ultimate end of all activity in the Church is that a man and his wife and their children can be happy at home."

"I bear my witness that the Savior lives. I know the Lord. I am His witness. I know of His great sacrifice and eternal love for all of Heavenly Father’s children. I bear my special witness in all humility but with absolute certainty, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen."

Elder William R Walker, Live True to the Faith
“It would be a wonderful thing if every Latter-day Saint knew the conversion stories of their forefathers.”

“President Monson has taught us that when we get the inspiration from heaven to do something, we do it now—we don’t procrastinate.”

“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me” (John 10:27)

"If a member of the team [of horses] ever believes that it does not need to obey the will of the driver, the team will never pull and work together to maximize their ability."
My Thoughts
It is very hard to find unity when everyone has their own agenda.  How do we have compassion when someone is being selfish?  How do we not burr up against someone acting that way to avoid being selfish ourselves?  We have things we need to protect like our families, our time, our resources when people are selfish, but how do we keep from taking that to the point of our own selfishness.
If we all burr up defending our territory, we won't be pulling together and nothing gets accomplished.
How do we encourage someone to stop being counter productive?
“An obedient horse which is part of a well-trained team of horses needs little more than a gentle tug from the driver to do exactly what he wants it to do. This gentle tug is equivalent to the still, small voice with which the Lord speaks to us. Out of respect for our agency, it is never a strong, forceful tug."
"If we heed the gentle promptings of the Holy Ghost, it can unite our spirits and bodies in a purpose that will guide us back to our eternal home to live with our eternal Father in Heaven."
“ I recommend it to you and even challenge you to experiment upon my words, and if you do, I promise that they will lead you to clarity of choice when you are bombarded with choices and that they will lead to simple answers to questions that confuse the learned and those who think they are wise.”
“Those who rely solely on themselves and follow only their own desires and self-inclinations are so limited when compared to those who follow God and tap into His insight, power, and gifts.”

Elder Lawrence E Corbridge, The Prophet Joseph Smith
"And yet as anxious as [Joseph Smith] is [to pray and get an answer], he doesn’t run to a quiet corner and rattle off a hurried prayer. He is only 14, but in his haste to know, he is not hasty. This is not to be just any prayer. He decides where to go and when to make the attempt. He prepares to talk to God."
My Thoughts
Joseph Smith determined a place to go to pray and thought about what he would ask beforehand.
How would our prayers be more powerful if we took this approach more frequently?

"Opposition, criticism, and antagonism are companions to the truth. Whenever the truth with regard to the purpose and destiny of man is revealed, there will always be a force to oppose it. Beginning with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, down to the ministry of Christ, and on down to our day, there has always been and will ever be an effort to deceive, derail, oppose, and frustrate the plan of life."
"You are more than human. You are a child of God the Eternal Father and may become like Him"

"The billions who live and die without the gospel and the ordinances necessary for salvation are not lost."
"Marriage and family are not conventions of men until only death do us part. They are intended to be made eternal through covenants we make with God. The family is the pattern of heaven."
"Where did it all come from, these revelations which give light to darkness, clarity to doubt, and which have inspired, blessed, and improved millions of people? Which is more likely, that he dreamed it all up on his own or that he had the help of heaven? Do the scriptures he produced sound like the words of man or the words of God?"
“Look at the evidence, but look at all of the evidence, the entire mosaic of his life, not any single piece. Most importantly, do as young Joseph and “ask … God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given [you].”17 This is not only how you may learn the truth about the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith; it is also the pattern to know the truth of all things.18

Elder Michael John U. Teh, Where Your Treasure Is
"There is no end to what the world has to offer, so it is critical that we learn to recognize when we have enough. If we are not careful, we will begin to chase after the temporal more than the spiritual. Our pursuit for the spiritual and eternal will then take a backseat, instead of the other way around."
2 Nephi 9:51
51 Wherefore, do not spend money for that which is of no worth, nor your labor for that which cannot satisfy. ...
Matthew 6:19-21
19 ¶Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:
20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:
21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

“...the family is ordained of God. It is the most important unit in time and in eternity.” (Handbook 2: Administering the Church (2010), 1.1.1)

Elder Marcos A. Aidukaitis, If Ye Lack Wisdom
“With so much available on the Internet, we must carefully consider where to apply our efforts. Satan can keep us busy, distracted, and infected by sifting through information, much of which can be pure garbage.

"One should not roam through garbage.”
"In the kingdom of God, the search for truth is appreciated, encouraged, and in no way repressed or feared. Church members are strongly counseled by the Lord Himself to seek for knowledge."
" can we recognize truth in a world that is increasingly blunt in its attacks on the things pertaining to God?"
"First, we can know the truth by observing its fruits."
"Second, we can find truth by experimenting on the word ourselves."
"...there is yet a third way to know the truth, and that is by personal revelation."

Elder D Todd Christofferson, The Resurrection of Jesus Christ
"The dark afternoon of His Crucifixion, however, was soon followed by the joyous morning of His Resurrection. But that joy came only as the disciples became eyewitnesses of the Resurrection, for even the declaration of angels that He had risen was at first incomprehensible—it was something so totally unprecedented."
My Thoughts
Today the resurrection is such a common topic and concept that we sometimes forget that this was not a topic that was taught the apostles as they were growing up.  The image they had been taught of the Messiah was that of a warrior or a king.  Not of one that would be killed and rise again.  Although what better warrior than one that is killed and gets back up?
As Elder Christofferson says, this was totally unprecedented.  No one had done this before and they had never heard anyone teach this before.
Today the world is obsessed with immortal vampires and zombies, yet they deny the resurrection of Christ.  They cling to that thought of life after death, but in a prevented counterfeit.  Zombies are decaying.  Vampires are cold.
The idea had progressed to the point that they try to make these creatures lovable and give them a love interest with someone who is not dead.  Yet, the creatures are still cold and undead.  Not alive.
"He appeared to Peter in or near Jerusalem;9 to two disciples on the road to Emmaus;10 and in the evening to 10 of the Apostles and others, appearing suddenly in their midst, saying, 'Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.'11 Then to further convince them 'while they yet believed not for joy, and wondered,'12 He ate broiled fish and honeycomb before them.13"
My Thoughts
Once the apostles got their head around that it was indeed the Savior, all they could only fathom that he was a spirit/ghost.  He had them touch him and feel that he was flesh.  He ate to show them he was very much back to being who he was before his crucifixion.
““Christ’s victory over death ended the human predicament. Now there are only personal predicaments," (Neal A Maxwell, The Neal A. Maxwell Quote Book, ed. Cory H. Maxwell (1997), 287)
"...the Savior makes all things right. No injustice in mortality is permanent, even death, for He restores life again. No injury, disability, betrayal, or abuse goes uncompensated in the end because of His ultimate justice and mercy.
"By the same token, we are all accountable to Him for our lives, our choices, and our actions, even our thoughts. Because He redeemed us from the Fall, our lives are in reality His."

President Thomas S Monson, Until We Meet Again
"...take the time to read the conference messages when they become available on within the next few days and when they are printed in coming issues of the Ensign and Liahona magazines, for they are deserving of our careful review and study."
My Thoughts
Conference should be studied thoroughly.  We are greatly missing out if we just watch it when it is aired.
I pick up some many things that I either missed or that hit me differently when I listen and read later.
" kind and loving to those who do not share our beliefs and our standards."
"May our homes be filled with love and courtesy and with the Spirit of the Lord."
"May the Spirit we have felt during these past two days be and abide with us as we go about those things which occupy us each day."

Women's Conference
This was the first women’s conference of the Church to include girls as young as eight years old.

Rosemary M. Wixom, Primary General President, Keeping Covenants Protects Us, Prepares Us, and Empowers Us
"I do not speak Spanish, so only English words came into my mind. I looked into all of their faces and said, 'We are daughters of our Heavenly Father, who loves us, and we love Him.' Everyone immediately joined in, in Spanish. There we were in a crowded hallway, reciting together the Young Women theme as we said, 'We will stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places.' "

“Keeping covenants protects us, prepares us, and empowers us.”

“There are girls among us tonight who are Primary age. Some of you have recently taken that first step on the path to eternal life with the ordinance of baptism.

“Look around you. The future is bright as you see women who have also made covenants and are ready to show you the way along the path ahead.”

19 And now, my beloved brethren, after ye have gotten into this strait and narrow path, I would ask if all is done? Behold, I say unto you, Nay; for ye have not come thus far save it were by the word of Christ with unshaken faith in him, relying wholly upon the merits of him who is mighty to save.
20 Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life.

My Thoughts
When we are baptized we enter the straight and narrow path.  But once we are baptized is that all we need to do?  We must keep working to keep all the Lord’s commandments and do this with firmness till the end.  We should not slack before the finish line.

Video Presentation: I Am A Child of God
It was a video of clips of people from eight countries and nine languages singing parts of I Am A Child of God.  At the end everyone in the conference center sang a verse.

Bonnie L. Oscarson, Young Women General President, Sisterhood: Oh, How We Need Each Other
“What a great privilege it is to be here on this historic occasion and address all the women of the Church ages eight and above. There is tremendous strength in our unity this evening. “

“Tonight we rejoice in our many different roles as women in the Church. Though in many ways we are different and unique, we also acknowledge that we are all daughters of the same Heavenly Father, which makes us sisters.  We are unified in building the kingdom of God and in the covenants which we have made, no matter what our circumstances.”

“To be sisters implies that there is an unbreakable bond between us. Sisters take care of each other, watch out for each other, comfort each other, and are there for each other through thick and thin.”

“The adversary would have us be critical or judgmental of one another. He wants us to concentrate on our differences and compare ourselves to one another. You may love to exercise vigorously for an hour each day because it makes you feel so good, while I consider it to be a major athletic event if I walk up one flight of stairs instead of taking the elevator. We can still be friends, can’t we?”

“When we compare ourselves to one another, we will always feel inadequate or resentful of others.”

“There is no age barrier when it comes to Christlike service.”

“If there are barriers, it is because we ourselves have created them. We must stop concentrating on our differences and look for what we have in common; then we can begin to realize our greatest potential and achieve the greatest good in this world.”

Video Presentation: Walk in His Light
The video opened with with Christus statue.

The video had girls being baptized and girls giving service.

It had young women doing genealogy work and getting temple recommends and going to do baptisms.

It showed newly adult women getting temple recommends and getting married.

It showed women raising small children and women raising teenagers.

It showed older women helping younger women with their children at church and teaching children.  It showed older women serving as missionaries and serving in the storehouse and getting temple recommends and going to the temple with their spouse.

It show and old couple sitting at the kitchen table together holding hands and smiling at each other and then her putting flowers on her husband’s grave with the temple in the background and her descendants behind her.

The video closed with with Christus statue.

“...we can offer hands to help and hearts to hasten Heavenly Father’s wonderful work.”

“...faithful sisters in the scriptures, such as Eve, Sarah, Mary, and many others, knew their identity and purpose…”

10 And verily I say unto thee that thou shalt lay aside the things of this world, and seek for the things of a better.
13 Wherefore, lift up thy heart and rejoice, and cleave unto the covenants which thou hast made.

“...let’s not start beating ourselves up because the Savior spoke to the rich young man about becoming perfect. The word perfect in this account was translated from a Greek word that means “complete.” As we try our best to move forward along the covenant path, we become more complete and perfect in this life.”

My Thoughts
We don’t have to be perfect in all things all at once, but we do have to keep moving in that direction.  We can not sit back and say, “I’m only human.” and do nothing, because we feel perfection is impossible in this life.  We can be constantly approaching perfection, even if we often fall short.  It is about effort and growth.

“We cannot do the difficult things we have been asked to do without help. Help comes through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, the guidance of the Holy Ghost, and the helping hands of others.”

“Don’t you love Mormon? He knew who he was and what his mission was and was not distracted by the evil that surrounded him. In fact, he considered his calling to be a gift.”

“Between now and the day the Lord comes again, He needs women in every family, in every ward, in every community, in every nation who will step forward in righteousness and say by their words and their actions, ‘Here am I, send me.’
“My question is, ‘Will you be one of those women?’” (M. Russell Ballard, “Women of Righteousness,” Ensign, Apr. 2002, 70; Liahona, Dec. 2002, 39)

President Henry B. Eyring, Daughters in the Covenant
“I will speak tonight about the path...that we must take on our journey back to our Heavenly Father. That path is marked by sacred covenants with God. I will talk with you about the joy of making and keeping those covenants and helping others keep them.”

“How deeply those feelings [at your baptism] went down into your heart was determined largely by the way you were prepared by loving people.”

25 And again, inasmuch as parents have children in Zion, or in any of her stakes which are organized, that teach them not to understand the doctrine of repentance, faith in Christ the Son of the living God, and of baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of the hands, when eight years old, the sin be upon the heads of the parents.

“Heavenly Father taught you before you were born about the experiences you would have as you left Him and came to earth. You were taught that the way back home to Him would not be easy. He knew that it would be too hard for you to make the journey without help.”

“Heavenly Father, sees greater potential in His children than we or even our earthly mothers see in us. And whenever you move upward on that path toward your potential, it brings Him happiness. And you can feel His approval.”

“While Satan may be attacking sisters at earlier ages, the Lord is lifting sisters to higher and higher levels of spirituality.”

“In missions across the earth, sisters are being called to serve as leaders.“

“We and all mankind are forever blessed because of Eve’s great courage and wisdom. By partaking of the fruit first, she did what needed to be done. Adam was wise enough to do likewise.” (Russell M. Nelson, “Constancy amid Change,” Ensign, Nov. 1993, 34)

“I know that Eve faced sorrows and disappointments, but I also know that she found joy in the knowledge that she and her family could return to live with God.”

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