Saturday, October 04, 2014

184th Semiannual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 4-5 October 2014

Saturday Morning Session
President Thomas S Monson, Welcome to Conference
1924 Conference was first broadcast on radio.
1949 Conference first broadcast on television.
No new temples announced.

Church membership over fifteen million.

“We reaffirm that missionary work is a priesthood duty, and we encourage all worthy and able young men to serve. We are very grateful for the young women who also serve. They make a significant contribution, although they are not under the same mandate to serve as are the young men.”

My Thoughts
All worthy young men, with very few exceptions, are commanded to serve a mission.  All young men, with no exceptions,  are commanded to be worthy.

With the younger age for young women to be able to serve missions, I think it makes a lot of sense for a lot more young women to do so.  This would increase the missionary force, prepare the young women for life in unique ways, and allow missionary work to progress in situations where men would not be as effective.  Some of those situations are specific and constant and others on a person by person basis.

There are some people that don’t fit a certain demographic that women could reach or need to teach because of a potentially inappropriate situation for the young men.  Often we can not predict where a woman’s perspective or presence can more likely help people to understand better or be more reception to the gospel.

President Boyd K Packer, The Reason for Our Hope
“[The Topical Guide in the LDS edition of the scriptures] is one of the most comprehensive compilations of scriptural references on the subject of the Savior that has ever been assembled in the history of the world—a testimony from the Old and New Testaments, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price.”

Scriptures in the Bible and the BOM that cover the same topics.
2 Nephi 25:26
26 And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins.

6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

9 For it is expedient that an atonement should be made; for according to the great plan of the Eternal God there must be an atonement made, or else all mankind must unavoidably perish; yea, all are hardened; yea, all are fallen and are lost, and must perish except it be through the atonement which it is expedient should be made.
10 For it is expedient that there should be a great and last sacrifice; yea, not a sacrifice of man, neither of beast, neither of any manner of fowl; for it shall not be a human sacrifice; but it must be an infinite and eternal sacrifice.
“The Savior wrought the Atonement, which provides a way for us to become clean. Jesus Christ is the resurrected Christ. We worship and recognize Him for the pain He suffered for us collectively and for the pain He endured for each of us individually, both in the Garden of Gethsemane and on the cross. He bore all with great humility and with an eternal understanding of His divine role and purpose.”

My Thoughts
Separation from God began in a garden, the garden of Eden.  Separation from God was overcome in another garden, the garden of Gethsemane.

“I recently received a letter from a woman who reported having endured great suffering in her life. A terrible wrong, which she did not identify but alluded to, had been committed against her. She admitted that she struggled with feelings of great bitterness. In her anger, she mentally cried out, ‘Someone must pay for this terrible wrong.’ In this extreme moment of sorrow and questioning, she wrote that there came into her heart an immediate reply: ‘Someone already has paid.’”

He also mentioned Church membership is over fifteen million.

“But no matter how large the organization of the Church becomes or how many millions of members join our ranks, no matter how many continents and countries our missionaries enter or how many different languages we speak, the true success of the gospel of Jesus Christ will be measured by the spiritual strength of its individual members. We need the strength of conviction that is found in the heart of every loyal disciple of Christ.”

Lynn G Robbins, Which Way Do You Face?
“‘Which way do you face?’ President Boyd K. Packer surprised me with this puzzling question while we were traveling together on my very first assignment as a new Seventy. Without an explanation to put the question in context, I was baffled. ‘A Seventy,’ he continued, ‘does not represent the people to the prophet but the prophet to the people. Never forget which way you face!’ It was a powerful lesson.”

Isaiah 51:7
7 ¶Hearken unto me, ye that know righteousness, the people in whose heart is my law; fear ye not the reproach of men, neither be ye afraid of their revilings.

“At the youthful age of 22, even Joseph Smith forgot which way he faced when he repeatedly importuned the Lord to allow Martin Harris to borrow the 116 manuscript pages. Perhaps Joseph wanted to show gratitude to Martin for his support. We know that Joseph was extremely anxious for other eyewitnesses to stand with him against the distressing falsehoods and lies being spread about him.
“Whatever Joseph’s reasons were, or as justified as they may appear, the Lord did not excuse them and sharply rebuked him: ‘How oft you have transgressed … and have gone on in the persuasions of men. For, behold, you should not have feared man more than God’ (D&C 3:6–7; emphasis added). This poignant experience helped Joseph remember, forever after, which way he faced.”
Luke 16:13
13 ¶No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

"While it certainly takes courage to face perils, the true badge of courage is overcoming the fear of men. For example, Daniel’s prayers helped him face lions, but what made him lionhearted was defying King Darius (see Daniel 6). That kind of courage is a gift of the Spirit to the God-fearing who have said their prayers. Queen Esther’s prayers also gave her that same courage to confront her husband, King Ahasuerus, knowing that she risked her life in doing so (see Esther 4:8–16)."

“King Saul disobeyed the word of the Lord by keeping the spoils of war because he ‘feared the people, and obeyed their voice’ (1 Samuel 15:24). To appease rebellious Israel at the foot of Mount Sinai, Aaron crafted a golden calf, forgetting which way he faced (see Exodus 32). Many of the New Testament chief rulers ‘believed on [the Lord]; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue: for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God’ (John 12:42–43).”

“Behold, I am Moroni, your chief captain. I seek not for power, but to pull it down. I seek not for honor of the world, but for the glory of my God, and the freedom and welfare of my country” (Alma 60:36).”

My Thoughts
Sometimes when we are offended it is because:
1 Nephi 16:2
2 And it came to pass that I said unto them that I knew that I had spoken hard things against the wicked, according to the truth; and the righteous have I justified, and testified that they should be lifted up at the last day; wherefore, the guilty taketh the truth to be hard, for it cutteth them to the very center.

“The scornful often accuse prophets of not living in the 21st century or of being bigoted. They attempt to persuade or even pressure the Church into lowering God’s standards to the level of their own inappropriate behavior, which in the words of Elder Neal A. Maxwell, will ‘develop self-contentment instead of seeking self-improvement’3 and repentance. Lowering the Lord’s standards to the level of a society’s inappropriate behavior is—apostasy.”

“Still others, self-deceived and in self-denial, plead or demand that bishops lower the standard on temple recommends, school endorsements, or missionary applications. It isn’t easy being a bishop under that kind of pressure. However, like the Savior who cleansed the temple to defend its sanctity (see John 2:15–16), bishops today are called upon to boldly defend the temple standard. It was the Savior who said, ‘I will manifest myself to my people in mercy … if my people will keep my commandments, and do not pollute this holy house’ (D&C 110:7–8).”

“I will manifest myself to my people in mercy … if my people will keep my commandments, and do not pollute this holy house” (D&C 110:7–8)

"The Savior, our great Exemplar, always faced His Father. He loved and served His fellowmen but said, “I receive not honour from men” (John 5:41). He wanted those He taught to follow Him, but He did not court their favor. When He performed an act of charity, such as healing the sick, the gift often came with the request to “tell no man” (Matthew 8:4; Mark 7:36; Luke 5:14; 8:56). In part, this was to avoid the very fame which followed Him in spite of His efforts to eschew it (see Matthew 4:24). He condemned the Pharisees for doing good works only to be seen of men (see Matthew 6:5)."

“May His inspiring example strengthen us against the pitfalls of flattery from without or of conceit from within. May it give us courage to never cower or fawn at the feet of intimidation. May it inspire us to go about doing good as anonymously as possible and not ‘aspire to the honors of men’ (D&C 121:35). ”

“A group of young women once asked me, “What do you wish you had known when you were our age?” If I were to answer that question now, I would include this thought: “I wish when I was your age I had understood the significance of the sacrament better than I did. I wish I had understood the sacrament in the way that Elder Jeffrey R. Holland described. He said, ‘One of the invitations inherent in the sacramental ordinance is that it be a truly spiritual experience, a holy communion, a renewal for the soul.’1””

“The sacrament becomes a spiritually strengthening experience when we listen to the sacrament prayers and recommit to our covenants. To do this, we must be willing to take upon us the name of Jesus Christ.2Speaking of this promise, President Henry B. Eyring taught: ‘That means we must see ourselves as His. We will put Him first in our lives. We will want what He wants rather than what we want or what the world teaches us to want.’3

JST, Matthew 26:24
24 For this is in remembrance of my blood of the new testament, which is shed for as many as shall believe on my name, for the remission of their sins.

“As we partake of the sacrament, we witness to God that we will remember His Son always, not just during the brief sacrament ordinance. This means that we will constantly look to the Savior’s example and teachings to guide our thoughts, our choices, and our acts.8

“Each week, she conducted a self-evaluation during the sacrament. She recalled mistakes she had made, and she committed to be better the next week. She was grateful to be able to make things right and be made clean. Looking back on the experience, she said, ‘I was acting on the repentance part of the Atonement.’”

“One Sunday after her self-evaluation, she began to feel gloomy and pessimistic. She could see that she was making the same errors over and over again, week to week. But then she had a distinct impression that she was neglecting a big part of the Atonement—Christ’s enabling power. She was forgetting all the times the Savior helped her be who she needed to be and serve beyond her own capacity.”

“Our wounded souls can be healed and renewed not only because the bread and water remind us of the Savior’s sacrifice of His flesh and blood but because the emblems also remind us that He will always be our “bread of life”12 and “living water.”13

Chi Hong (Sam) Wong, Rescue in Unity
He spoke in his own language.  I think this was the first time a talk has been delivered in any besides English in general conference.

“In conclusion, may I share with you one more hidden treasure found in this scripture account. It is in verse 5: “When Jesus saw their faith” (emphasis added). I had not noticed this in the past—their faith. Our combined faith will also affect the well-being of others.”

"In order to assist the Savior, we have to work together in unity and in harmony. Everyone, every position, and every calling is important. We have to be united in our Lord Jesus Christ."

D Todd Christofferson, Free Forever, to Act for Themselves
“...who bears responsibility for what happens to men in battle—the king or each individual soldier.”

“But God intends that His children should act according to the moral agency He has given them, “that every man may be accountable for his own sins in the day of judgment.”2 It is His plan and His will that we have the principal decision-making role in our own life’s drama. God will not live our lives for us nor control us as if we were His puppets, as Lucifer once proposed to do.”

“Indeed, the real manifestation of God’s love is His commandments.”

My thoughts
Follow the prophet.  He knows the way.

“Christ died not to save indiscriminately but to offer repentance. We rely ‘wholly upon the merits of him who is mighty to save’19 in the process of repentance, but acting to repent is a self-willed change. So by making repentance a condition for receiving the gift of grace, God enables us to retain responsibility for ourselves. Repentance respects and sustains our moral agency...”

“A God who makes no demands is the functional equivalent of a God who does not exist. A world without God, the living God who establishes moral laws to govern and perfect His children, is also a world without ultimate truth or justice. It is a world where moral relativism reigns supreme.”

“To those who believe anything or everything could be true, the declaration of objective, fixed, and universal truth feels like coercion—’I shouldn’t be forced to believe something is true that I don’t like.’ But that does not change reality. Resenting the law of gravity won’t keep a person from falling if he steps off a cliff. ”

President Dieter F Uchtdorf, Receiving a Testimony of Light and Truth
“But before mankind had instruments powerful enough to gather celestial light and bring these galaxies into visibility, we did not believe such a thing was possible.
“The immensity of the universe didn’t suddenly change, but our ability to see and understand this truth changed dramatically. And with that greater light, mankind was introduced to glorious vistas we had never before imagined”
“It seems to be a trait of humanity to assume that we are right even when we are wrong. And if that is the case, what hope is there for any of us? Are we destined to drift aimlessly on an ocean of conflicting information, stranded on a raft we have poorly pieced together from our own biases?”

“The Apostle Paul taught a parallel principle regarding spiritual knowledge. ‘The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God,’ he wrote to the Corinthians, ‘for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.’12
“In other words, if you want to recognize spiritual truth, you have to use the right instruments. You can’t come to an understanding of spiritual truth with instruments that are unable to detect it.”
My Thoughts
We can not understand the world's problems or the solution to them if we take God out of the equation.

While we try to figure it out by ourselves we argue and debate endlessly.

“The more we incline our hearts and minds toward God, the more heavenly light distills upon our souls. And each time we willingly and earnestly seek that light, we indicate to God our readiness to receive more light. Gradually, things that before seemed hazy, dark, and remote become clear, bright, and familiar to us.”

“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is a place for people with all kinds of testimonies. There are some members of the Church whose testimony is sure and burns brightly within them. Others are still striving to know for themselves. The Church is a home for all to come together, regardless of the depth or the height of our testimony. I know of no sign on the doors of our meetinghouses that says, ‘Your testimony must be this tall to enter.’”

“Let us acknowledge that most often gaining a testimony is not a task of a minute, an hour, or a day. It is not once and done. The process of gathering spiritual light is the quest of a lifetime.”

Saturday Afternoon Session
“Why is it so difficult to have Christlike love for one another? It is difficult because we must live among those who do not share our beliefs and values and covenant obligations. In His great Intercessory Prayer, offered just before His Crucifixion, Jesus prayed for His followers: ‘I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world’ (John 17:14). Then, to the Father He pleaded, ‘I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil’ (verse 15).
“We are to live in the world but not be of the world. We must live in the world because, as Jesus taught in a parable, His kingdom is ‘like leaven,’ whose function is to raise the whole mass by its influence (see Luke 13:21; Matthew 13:33; see also 1 Corinthians 5:6–8). His followers cannot do that if they associate only with those who share their beliefs and practices. But the Savior also taught that if we love Him, we will keep His commandments (see John 14:15)”

My Thoughts
It is very difficult to create a kinship with people who we do not have in common the most basic things that make us who we are.  The things that are most important to us.  If people can not understand each other at that level, it can be hard to want to be close with each other.

But we must associate with others we have differences with to help them and us both.

3 Nephi 11:28-30
28 And according as I have commanded you thus shall ye baptize. And there shall be no disputations among you, as there have hitherto been; neither shall there be disputations among you concerning the points of my doctrine, as there have hitherto been.
29 For verily, verily I say unto you, he that hath the spirit of contention is not of me, but is of the devil, who is the father of contention, and he stirreth up the hearts of men to contend with anger, one with another.
30 Behold, this is not my doctrine, to stir up the hearts of men with anger, one against another; but this is my doctrine, that such things should be done away.

James 1:20
20 For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.

“Even as we seek to be meek and to avoid contention, we must not compromise or dilute our commitment to the truths we understand. We must not surrender our positions or our values. The gospel of Jesus Christ and the covenants we have made inevitably cast us as combatants in the eternal contest between truth and error. There is no middle ground in that contest.”

“Loving-kindness is required, but a follower of Christ—just like the Master—will be firm in the truth.”

“We should love all people, be good listeners, and show concern for their sincere beliefs. Though we may disagree, we should not be disagreeable. Our stands and communications on controversial topics should not be contentious. We should be wise in explaining and pursuing our positions and in exercising our influence.”

“We challenge all youth to avoid bullying, insults, or language and practices that deliberately inflict pain on others. All of these violate the Savior’s command to love one another.”

“Kindness is powerful, especially in a family setting.”

“...we must press forward, having ‘a love of God and of all men’ (2 Nephi 31:20)”

Neil L Anderson, Joseph Smith
“Should we be surprised with the evil spoken against him? The Apostle Paul was called mad and deranged.5 Our Beloved Savior, the Son of God, was labeled gluttonous, a winebibber, and possessed of a devil.6

“Some insist upon studying the Church only through the eyes of its defectors—like interviewing Judas to understand Jesus.  Defectors always tell us more about themselves than about that from which they have departed.”(Neal A. Maxwell, “All Hell Is Moved” (Brigham Young University devotional, Nov. 8, 1977), 3;

My Thoughts
When a church that is claiming to be God’s receives so much opposition that is a sign of their validity.  Is that the only thing we need to look at and call them true?  No, but it is something that should get our attention and make us look for more indicators.

Another indicator is that we will know them by their fruits.
Matthew 7:16-17
16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?
17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.

Another indicator is that the church will be lead by a prophet.
Amos 3:7
 7 Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.

Another indicator is witnesses.
“We might remind the inquirer that Joseph was not alone in the visit of angels.
“The Book of Mormon witnesses wrote, ‘We declare with words of soberness, that an angel of God came down from heaven, and … we beheld and saw the plates.’  We could quote many others as well.”
“As parents, we are to be the prime gospel teachers and examples for our children—not the bishop, the Sunday School, the Young Women or Young Men, but the parents.”

“As parents, we can teach our children to pray for things of eternal consequence—to pray for the strength to be morally clean in a very challenging world, to be obedient, and to have the courage to stand for the right.

“No doubt most of our youth have their evening prayers, but perhaps many of them struggle with the habit of personal morning prayer. As parents, as their prime gospel teachers, we can correct this. Which parent in Book of Mormon times would have let their sons march out to the front of battle without a breastplate and shield and sword to protect them against the potentially mortal blows of the enemy? But how many of us let our children march out the front door each morning to the most dangerous of all battlefields, to face Satan and his myriad of temptations, without their spiritual breastplate and shield and sword that come from the protective power of prayer? The Lord said, “Pray always, … that you may conquer Satan” (D&C 10:5). As parents, we can help instill within our children the habit and power of morning prayer.”

“We might all ask ourselves: do our children receive our best spiritual, intellectual, and creative efforts, or do they receive our leftover time and talents, after we have given our all to our Church calling or professional pursuits? ”

“What thoughts come to mind if you had a personal interview with your Savior one minute from now? Would sins, regrets, and shortcomings dominate your self-image, or would you simply experience joyful anticipation? Would you meet or avoid His gaze? Would you linger by the door or confidently walk up to Him?”

My Thoughts
I have often heard critics of the Church ask members, ‘If you were to die right now do you know where you will go?”

To ask about our personal interview with the Savior is more relevant.  Would we feel comfortable in his presence or would we be embarrassed by the life we have been leading.

Additionally, we are not judged at the time we die, but when Christ returns to judge all men.  On judgement day we are assigned to our reward or our punishment.

“Faithful observance of some commandments doesn’t justify neglecting others.”

“Choosing this day whom you will serve is lip service only—until you actually live accordingly (see Joshua 24:15).”

“Accept trials, setbacks, and “surprises” as part of your mortal experience.”

“Some trials come through your own disobedience or negligence. Other trials come because of the negligence of others or simply because this is a fallen world.”

“...acknowledge and face your weaknesses, but don’t be immobilized by them, because some of them will be your companions until you depart this earth life.”

Elder Gavarret spoke in his own language.  A month or so after conference he came to our stake and spoke to us in English.

“One who is a member of the Church and has accepted this invitation [to be baptised] renews the commitment each week by partaking of the sacrament.6 Part of that commitment includes keeping the commandments; by doing so you are saying, ‘Yes, Lord, I will follow Thee!’7

“...even though the invitation was simple, it was not without sacrifice. It required effort—coupled with decision and action.”

My Thoughts
Even though the Lord’s invitations are simple, they are not without sacrifice.  It requires effort, decision, and action.

2 Nephi 31:10
10 And he said unto the children of men: Follow thou me. Wherefore, my beloved brethren, can we follow Jesus save we shall be willing to keep the commandments of the Father?

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

Jeffrey R Holland, Are We Not All Beggars?
“A journalist once questioned Mother Teresa of Calcutta about her hopeless task of rescuing the destitute in that city. He said that, statistically speaking, she was accomplishing absolutely nothing. This remarkable little woman shot back that her work was about love, not statistics. Notwithstanding the staggering number beyond her reach, she said she could keep the commandment to love God and her neighbor by serving those within her reach with whatever resources she had. ‘What we do is nothing but a drop in the ocean,’ she would say on another occasion. ‘But if we didn’t do it, the ocean would be one drop less [than it is].’9 Soberly, the journalist concluded that Christianity is obviously not a statistical endeavor. He reasoned that if there would be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over the ninety and nine who need no repentance, then apparently God is not overly preoccupied with percentages.10

“...we can...cease withholding our means because we see the poor as having brought their misery upon themselves. Perhaps some have created their own difficulties, but don’t the rest of us do exactly the same thing? Isn’t that why [King benjamin] asks, ‘Are we not all beggars?’11 Don’t we all cry out for help and hope and answers to prayers? Don’t we all beg for forgiveness for mistakes we have made and troubles we have caused? Don’t we all implore that grace will compensate for our weaknesses, that mercy will triumph over justice at least in our case?”

“You will recognize that I speak here of difficult societal needs that go well beyond members of the Church. Fortunately the Lord’s way of assisting our own is easier: all who are physically able are to observe the law of the fast.”

“...the Lord said the poor would one day see the kingdom of God coming to deliver them ‘in power and great glory.’21  May we help fulfill that prophecy by coming in the power and glory of our membership in the true Church of Jesus Christ to do what we can to deliver any we can from the poverty that holds them captive and destroys so many of their dreams...”

“Our journey through life has periods of both good times and bad. Each presents different challenges. How we learn to adjust to the changes which come along depends on the foundation on which we build. The gospel of our Lord and Savior provides a sure and solid foundation. It is constructed piece by piece as we gain knowledge of the Lord’s eternal plan for His children.”

“We must never let the noise of the world overpower and overwhelm that still, small voice.”

“We cannot begin to measure or calculate the influence of women who, in their own ways, build stable family life and nurture for everlasting good the generations of the future. The decisions made by the women of this generation will be eternal in their consequences. May I suggest that the mothers of today have no greater opportunity and no more serious challenge than to do all they can to strengthen the [home]” (Gordon B Hinckley, Standing for Something: 10 Neglected Virtues That Will Heal Our Hearts and Homes [2000], 152).

“Fathers are personally involved in leading family prayers, daily scripture reading, and weekly family home evenings.
“Fathers build family traditions by being involved in helping plan vacation trips and outings that will involve all of the family members. Memories of these special times together will never be forgotten by their children.
“Fathers hold one-on-one visits with their children and teach them gospel principles.
“Fathers teach sons and daughters the value of work and help them establish worthy goals in their own lives.
“Fathers set an example of faithful gospel service.
Priesthood Session
Quentin L Cook, Choose Wisely
" counsel tonight is to rise above any rationalizations that prevent us from making righteous decisions."

"I believe it is of particular importance in our day...that our choices and decisions be made carefully, consistent with the goals and objectives by which we profess to live. We need unequivocal commitment to the commandments and strict adherence to sacred covenants. When we allow rationalizations to prevent us from temple endowments, worthy missions, and temple marriage, they are particularly harmful. It is heartbreaking when we profess belief in these goals yet neglect the everyday conduct required to achieve them."

"Some young people profess their goal is to be married in the temple but do not date temple-worthy individuals. To be honest, some don’t even date, period! You single men, the longer you remain single after an appropriate age and maturity, the more comfortable you can become. But the more uncomfortable you ought to become! Please get “anxiously engaged”6 in spiritual and social activities compatible with your goal of a temple marriage."

"He had not learned to work hard. He was not serious about school or seminary. He attended church, but he had not read the Book of Mormon. He was spending a large amount of time on video games and social media. He seemed to think that showing up for his mission would be sufficient. Young men, please recommit to worthy conduct and serious preparation to be emissaries of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ."

“You can get caught up in endless loops of triviality that waste your time and degrade your potential." (Randall L. Ridd, “The Choice Generation,” Ensign, May 2014, 56.)

"When the Apostle Paul was invited to speak on Mars Hill in Athens, he found some of the same intellectual pretension and absence of true wisdom that exist today.”

Acts 17:21
21 (For all the Athenians and strangers which were there spent their time in nothing else, but either to tell, or to hear some new thing.)

My Thoughts
There is a lot of that today. Looking for new news or the newest technology or some new gossip.

"I encourage everyone, young and old, to review goals and objectives and strive to exercise greater discipline. Our daily conduct and choices should be consistent with our goals. We need to rise above rationalizations and distractions."

"...we need to recognize that there is a seriousness of purpose that must undergird our approach to life and all our choices. Distractions and rationalizations that limit progress are harmful enough, but when they diminish faith in Jesus Christ and His Church, they are tragic."

Elder Craig C Christensen,  I Know These Things of Myself
"I maintain that a strong testimony of our Savior and of His gospel will … protect you from the sin and evil around you. … If you do not already have a testimony of these things, do that which is necessary to obtain one. It is essential for you to have your own testimony, for the testimonies of others will carry you only so far." (Thomas S. Monson, “Priesthood Power,” Ensign, May 2011, 66)

Alma 5:46
 46 Behold, I say unto you they are made known unto me by the Holy Spirit of God. Behold, I have fasted and prayed many days that I might know these things of myself. And now I do know of myself that they are true; for the Lord God hath made them manifest unto me by his Holy Spirit; and this is the spirit of revelation which is in me.

"Your work to grow your testimony is not done—any more than the work of growing a redwood tree is done when the first tiny sprout pokes out of the ground. If we ignore or neglect these early spiritual promptings, if we do not nurture them by continuing to study the scriptures and pray and by seeking more experiences with the Spirit, our feelings will fade and our testimonies will diminish.
As Alma put it: ‘If ye neglect the tree, and take no thought for its nourishment, behold it will not get any root; and when the heat of the sun cometh and scorcheth it, because it hath no root it withers away, and ye pluck it up and cast it out.’ (Alma 32:38)"
"Caring for the poor and needy contemplates both temporal and spiritual salvation. It includes the service of individual Church members as they personally care for the poor and needy, as well as formal Church welfare, which is administered through priesthood authority."

"As followers of the Savior, we have a personal responsibility to care for the poor and needy."

Isaiah 58:6-7
6 Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke?
7 Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh?

“The tremendous blessings that come [from fasting] have been spelled out in every dispensation, and here the Lord is telling us through this great prophet why there is fasting, and the blessings that come from fasting. … If you analyze … the 58th chapter of the book of Isaiah you will find unraveled why the Lord wants us to pay fast offerings, why he wants us to fast.” (Harold B Lee,“Listen, and Obey” (Welfare Agricultural Meeting, Apr. 3, 1971), copy of typescript, 14, Church History Library, Salt Lake City.)

President Dieter F Uchtdorf, “Lord, Is It I?”
[When the Lord told his disciples the one of them would betray Him his] “disciples didn’t question the truth of what He said. Nor did they look around, point to someone else, and ask, “Is it him?

“I wonder what each of us would do if we were asked that question by the Savior. Would we look at those around us and say in our hearts, ‘He’s probably talking about Brother Johnson. I’ve always wondered about him,’ or ‘I’m glad Brother Brown is here. He really needs to hear this message’? Or would we, like those disciples of old, look inward and ask that penetrating question: ‘Is it I?’”

President Uchtdorf shared the parable of the dandelion.  He talked of a man that one day walking saw saw one lone dandelion in another’s yard.  He wondered how the neighbor could’ve been so careless and he obsessed on how to rid this dandelion from his neighbor’s yard.  When he returned home he was oblivious to the multitude of dandelions choking his own yard.

3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?
4 Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?
5 Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.
“My dear brethren, will you please look inside your hearts and ask the simple question: ‘Lord, is it I?’
“Have you disengaged—even slightly—from ‘the … gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to [your] trust’?6 Have you allowed ‘the god of this world’ to darken your minds to ‘the light of the glorious gospel of Christ’?7
“My beloved friends, my dear brethren, ask yourselves, ‘Where is my treasure?’
“Is your heart set on the convenient things of this world, or is it focused on the teachings of the diligent Jesus Christ? ‘For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.’8
“Does the Spirit of God dwell in your hearts? Are you ‘rooted and grounded’ in the love of God and of your fellowmen? Do you devote sufficient time and creativity to bringing happiness to your marriage and family? Do you give your energies to the sublime goal of comprehending and living “the breadth, and length, and depth, and height”9 of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ?”
“Brethren, we must put aside our pride, see beyond our vanity, and in humility ask, ‘Lord, is it I?’”
President Henry B Eyring, The Preparatory Priesthood
24 And we see that death comes upon mankind, yea, the death which has been spoken of by Amulek, which is the temporal death; nevertheless there was a space granted unto man in which he might repent; therefore this life became a probationary state; a time to prepare to meet God; a time to prepare for that endless state which has been spoken of by us, which is after the resurrection of the dead.

My Thoughts
Obviously we have met God before, since we lived with him before this life.  In this case it likely means not an introduction, but the same as if someone is preparing for a date and they say they are preparing to meet their date.  They have been introduced to their date before.  They already know each other.  They are going to go to a predefined location and find each other.

"You will remember the Lord’s counsel: “Reproving betimes with sharpness, when moved upon by the Holy Ghost; and then showing forth afterwards an increase of love toward him whom thou hast reproved, lest he esteem thee to be his enemy.”(Doctrine and Covenants 121:43)
“The word increase has special meaning in preparing priesthood holders when they need correction. The word suggests an increase of a love that was already there. The “showing forth” is about the increase. Those of you who are preparing priesthood holders will certainly see them make mistakes. Before they receive your correction, they must have felt of your love early and steadily. They must have felt your genuine praise before they will accept your correction."
President Thomas S Monson, Guided Safely Home
"...each of us is a miracle of engineering."

"A man without a purpose is like a ship without a rudder, never likely to reach home port."

"Ours is the responsibility to be worthy of all the glorious blessings our Father in Heaven has in store for us. Wherever we go, our priesthood goes with us. Are we standing in holy places? Please, before you put yourself and your priesthood in jeopardy by venturing into places or participating in activities which are not worthy of you or of that priesthood, pause to consider the consequences."

Sunday Morning Session
As this session of conference was starting the video switched to a shot over the the edge of the roof of the Salt Lake Tabernacle and pointing toward the temple.  I had a brief hazy memory come over me of what it was like the first time or two that I saw Temple Square.  Having seen it for years only on video it was a wonder to actually be there.  Now I know my way around and I have context of where it is in the city and the state, I find it becoming common place, which breaks my heart a little.  I know my way around temple square, for the most part, and I am a lot more familiar with the city.  While familiarity has made it feel like home to me has this familiarity taken away more than the superficial mystery?

I have wondered the same thing in the temple.  I remember a little of the feelings I had the first time I went and those feelings hung on as I was not able to get to the temple very often due to distance.  Now I find the experience familiar.

We went to the Ogden temple for the first time since it was rededicated.  Even though I was lost trying to find my way around, I found the experience somewhat routine.

I need to find a way to recapture that feeling of wonderment while still having it be home.

I guess it could be compared to Christmas as a child and Christmas as an adult.

President Henry B Eyring, Continuing Revelation
Doctrine and Covenants 121:45-46
45 Let thy bowels also be full of charity towards all men, and to the household of faith, and let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly; then shall thy confidence wax strong in the presence of God; and the doctrine of the priesthood shall distil upon thy soul as the dews from heaven.
46 The Holy Ghost shall be thy constant companion, and thy scepter an unchanging scepter of righteousness and truth; and thy dominion shall be an everlasting dominion, and without compulsory means it shall flow unto thee forever and ever.

I bear you my witness that is true. Heavenly Father hears your prayers. He loves you. He knows your name. Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and our Redeemer. He loves you beyond your ability to comprehend.”

Russell M Nelson, Sustaining the Prophets
“It is an important duty resting upon the Saints who … sustain the authorities of the Church, to do so not only by the lifting of the hand, the mere form, but in deed and in truth.” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph F. Smith (1998), 211; emphasis added. This statement was made in 1898, when President Smith was Second Counselor in the First Presidency.)
When we sustain prophets and other leaders, we invoke the law of common consent...

11 Again I say unto you, that it shall not be given to any one to go forth to preach my gospel, or to build up my church, except he be ordained by some one who has authority, and it is known to the church that he has authority and has been regularly ordained by the heads of the church.

All leaders in the Lord’s Church are called by proper authority. No prophet or any other leader in this Church, for that matter, has ever called himself or herself. No prophet has ever been elected. The Lord made that clear when He said, “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you.”10 You and I do not “vote” on Church leaders at any level. We do, though, have the privilege of sustaining them.

“The obligation that we make when we raise our hands … is a most sacred one. It does not mean that we will go quietly on our way and be willing that the prophet of the Lord shall direct this work, but it means … that we will stand behind him; we will pray for him; we will defend his good name, and we will strive to carry out his instructions as the Lord shall direct.”(Teachings of Presidents of the Church: George Albert Smith(2011), 64; emphasis added. This quotation came from a conference address by Elder George Albert Smith in 1919. He became President of the Church in 1945.)

The living Lord leads His living Church!12 The Lord reveals His will for the Church to His prophet. Yesterday, after we were invited to sustain Thomas S. Monson as President of the Church, we also had the privilege to sustain him, the counselors in the First Presidency, and members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles as prophets, seers, and revelators. Think of that! We sustain 15 men as prophets of God! They hold all the priesthood keys that have ever been conferred upon man in this dispensation.

The Church today has been organized by the Lord Himself. He has put in place a remarkable system of governance that provides redundancy and backup. That system provides for prophetic leadership even when the inevitable illnesses and incapacities may come with advancing age.17Counterbalances and safeguards abound so that no one can ever lead the Church astray.

“The principles and procedures which the Lord has put in place for the governance of His church make provision for any … circumstance. It is important … that there be no doubts or concerns about the governance of the Church and the exercise of the prophetic gifts, including the right to inspiration and revelation in administering the affairs and programs of the Church, when the President may be ill or is not able to function fully.
“The First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve Apostles, called and ordained to hold the keys of the priesthood, have the authority and responsibility to govern the Church, to administer its ordinances, to expound its doctrine, and to establish and maintain its practices.” (President Gordon B Hinckley, “God Is at the Helm”, April 1994 General Conference)
“Despite any health challenges that may come to us, despite any weakness in body or mind, we serve to the best of our ability. I assure you that the Church is in good hands. The system set up for the Council of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve [Apostles] assures [us] that it will always be in good hands and that, come what may, there is no need to worry or to fear. Our Savior, Jesus Christ, whom we follow, whom we worship, and whom we serve, is ever at the helm.” (President Thomas S Monson,  
“Message from President Thomas S. Monson,” Church News, Feb. 3, 2013, 9)
We heed prophetic word even when it may seem unreasonable, inconvenient, and uncomfortable. According to the world’s standards, following the prophet may be unpopular, politically incorrect, or socially unacceptable. But following the prophet is always right. ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.’13 ‘Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.’14

The Lord honors and favors those who will heed prophetic direction. For the widow of Zarephath, obedience to Elijah saved her life and ultimately the life of her son. As the prophet had promised, ‘she, and he, and her house, did eat many days … according to the word of the Lord, which he spake by Elijah.’15

In every age the Lord gives his people the direction they need at the moment of their peril and danger. And surely in the days ahead there will be times when nothing but the wisdom of God, descending from heaven and flowing forth from prophetic lips, will be able to save his people.” (Bruce R. McConkie, A New Witness for the Articles of Faith (Deseret Book Company, 1985), 478; punctuation modified; used by permission.)

My own testimony grew as I learned about Heavenly Father and the Savior from the teachings and testimony of my parents, teachers, the scriptures—which I read diligently—and especially the Holy Ghost. As I exercised faith and obeyed the commandments, the Holy Ghost testified that what I was learning was true. This is how I came to know for myself.”

In this process, seeking for personal revelation is a key. Nephi invites each of us to ‘feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do.’4

The Holy Spirit testifies that this is true to each who goes and seeks the knowledge

7 And this shall ye do in remembrance of my body, which I have shown unto you. And it shall be a testimony unto the Father that ye do always remember me. And if ye do always remember me ye shall have my Spirit to be with you.

[The sacrament] needs to become more holy and sacred to each of us. Jesus Christ Himself instituted the ordinance to remind us what He did to redeem us and to teach us how we may avail ourselves of His Redemption and thereby live with God again.

“ taking the bread to ourselves, we acknowledge that, like Christ’s mortal body, our bodies will be released from the bonds of death, rise triumphantly from the grave, and be restored to our eternal spirits

Doctrine and Covenants 19:15
15 Therefore I command you to repent—repent, lest I smite you by the rod of my mouth, and by my wrath, and by my anger, and your sufferings be sore—how sore you know not, how exquisite you know not, yea, how hard to bear you know not.

By the power of the Resurrection, all of us will be restored to the presence of God.

While every one of us will return to the presence of God, not every one of us will remain with Him.

! Corinthians 6:9-11
9 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,
10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.
11 And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.

My thoughts
We become clean through repentance, which is us grasping the atonement daily.  We are justified my repenting in the name of the Lord Jesus everyday.

3 Nephi 27:19-20
19 And no unclean thing can enter into his kingdom; therefore nothing entereth into his rest save it be those who have washed their garments in my blood, because of their faith, and the repentance of all their sins, and their faithfulness unto the end.
20 Now this is the commandment: Repent, all ye ends of the earth, and come unto me and be baptized in my name, that ye may be sanctified by the reception of the Holy Ghost, that ye may stand spotless before me at the last day.

My thoughts
Garments get dirty and must be washed frequently.  One must repent and take Jesus’ name upon us frequently.

We further declare that we will ‘keep his commandments.’ That is a solemn commitment to repent. If our thoughts, words, or actions have been less than what they should have been in days past, we recommit ourselves to more closely align our lives with His in days to come.

“...the Spirit is the agent who cleanses and purifies us from sin and transgression.”

...the ordinance of the sacrament helps us faithfully endure to the end and receive the fulness of the Father in the same way Jesus did, grace for grace.

President Thomas S Monson, Ponder the Path of Thy Feet
I am certain we left our Father with an overwhelming desire to return to Him, that we might gain the exaltation He planned for us and which we ourselves so much wanted. Although we are left to find and follow that path which will lead us back to our Father in Heaven, He did not send us here without direction and guidance. Rather, He has given us the tools we need, and He will assist us as we seek His help and strive to do all in our power to endure to the end and gain eternal life.

My Thoughts
Some of the tools are commandments, the atonement, repentance, and scriptures.

One woman, each time she related experiences she had during a visit to the Holy Land, would exclaim, ‘I walked where Jesus walked!’
“She had been in the vicinity where Jesus lived and taught. Perhaps she stood on a rock on which He had once stood or looked at a mountain range He had once gazed upon. The experiences, in and of themselves, were thrilling to her; but physically walking where Jesus walked is less important than walking as He walked. Emulating His actions and following His example are far more important than trying to retrace the remnants of the trails He traversed in mortality.

“We need not walk by the shores of Galilee or among the Judean hills to walk where Jesus walked. All of us can walk the path He walked when, with His words ringing in our ears, His Spirit filling our hearts, and His teachings guiding our lives, we choose to follow Him as we journey through mortality. His example lights the way. Said He, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life.’”
22 And Samuel said, Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.

The Savior’s example provides a framework for everything that we do, and His words provide an unfailing guide. His path will take us safely home.

Sunday Afternoon Session
M Russell Ballard, Stay in the Boat and Hold On!
In addition to developing the habit of personal scripture reading, we need to be like the sons of Mosiah and give ourselves ‘to much prayer, and fasting.’8

As I have known people who have not stayed in the boat and have not held on with both hands during times of trials and troubles or who have not stayed in the boat during times of relative calm, I have observed that many of them have lost their focus on the central truths of the gospel—the reasons why they joined the Church in the first place; the reasons they remained fully committed and active in living gospel standards and blessing others through dedicated, consecrated service; and the ways in which the Church has been in their lives ‘a place of spiritual nourishment and growth.’9

When Adam and Eve were in the Garden of Eden, all that they needed for daily sustenance was abundantly given to them. They had no difficulties, challenges, or pain. Because they had never experienced hard times, they did not know they could be happy. They had never felt turmoil, so they could not feel peace.

Our Father in Heaven knew [the fall and trials of mortality] would happen to us. It is all part of His perfect plan of happiness. He prepared a way through the life of His perfectly obedient Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior, for His Atonement to overcome every difficulty that we may experience in mortality.

We were taught in the premortal world that our purpose in coming here is to be tested, tried, and stretched.3 We knew we would face the evils of the adversary

Our Father in Heaven has given us tools to help us come unto Christ and exercise faith in His Atonement. When these tools become fundamental habits, they provide the easiest way to find peace in the challenges of mortality

He listed four tools: 1 Pray, 2 Scripture Study, 3 Family Home Evening, 4 Temple Attendance

Choose to converse with your Father in Heaven often. Make time every day to share your thoughts and feelings with Him. Tell Him everything that concerns you.

Feasting on the word of God each day is more important than sleep, school, work, television shows, video games, or social media.

...[Adam and Eve] were free from challenges, yet they were unable to experience happiness, joy, and peace.

Through daily, consistent scripture study, you will find peace in the turmoil around you and strength to resist temptations.

Do not let employment demands, sports, extracurricular activities, homework, or anything else become more important than that time you spend together at home with your family.

Schedule a regular time to be in the temple. Don’t let anyone or anything prevent you from being there.

The temple is one of the best places to come to understand the power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

The more we develop these habits, the more anxious is Satan to harm us but the less is his ability to do so.

“if you continue to live as you are living, will the blessings promised in your patriarchal blessing be fulfilled?”

He was the second speaker to reference Elder Oaks Good, Better, Best talk.

Principle Number One: We Need to Consider Our Options with the End in Mind

Principle Number Two: We Need to Be Prepared for the Challenges That Will Come

Are we willing to pay the price for our decisions? Are we prepared to leave our comfort zones to reach a better place?

Principle Number Three: We Need to Share This Vision with the People We Love

Allen F Packer, The Book
As we work toward exaltation, we must work on all of the requirements and not become distracted by focusing on one or two requirements or other unrelated things.

The ultimate end of all activity in the Church is that a man and his wife and their children can be happy at home.” (Boyd K. Packer, “The Witness,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2014, 95.)

Our success, individually and as a Church, will largely be determined by how faithfully we focus on living the gospel in the home.” (Spencer W. Kimball, “Living the Gospel in the Home,” Ensign, May 1978, 101.)

Temple and family history work is part of living the gospel at home. It should be a family activity far more than a Church activity.

We must not sacrifice our exaltation or that of our families for less important interests.

Hugo E Martinez, Our Personal Ministries
“He who serves in something is good for something.”

I testify to you that Heavenly Father and our Lord, Jesus Christ, know us individually and personally. For that reason, They provide what we need so we will have the opportunity to reach our divine potential. Along the road, They place people who will help us. ” - This is at least the second speaker to talk about this.

“...being a good example of a disciple of Jesus Christ is our best letter of introduction to those with whom we can share His gospel.

Heavenly Father has blessed us with the supernal gift of the Holy Ghost to guide our choices. He has promised us inspiration and revelation as we live worthy to receive such. I invite you to take advantage of this divine gift and examine your choices by asking yourself the question, “Are my decisions firmly planted in the rich soil of the gospel of Jesus Christ?” I invite you to make whatever adjustments are needed, whether small or large, to ensure the eternal blessings of Heavenly Father’s plan for you and those you love.

David A Bednar, Come and See
“My message is directed specifically to individuals who are not members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I will address a fundamental question many of you may have: ‘Why are Latter-day Saints so eager to tell me about what they believe and to invite me to learn about their church?’”

19 ¶Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

“Latter-day Saints take seriously this responsibility to teach all people in all nations about the Lord Jesus Christ and His restored gospel. We believe the same Church founded by the Savior anciently has been reestablished on the earth by Him in the latter days. The doctrine, principles, priesthood authority, ordinances, and covenants of His gospel are found today in His Church.”

When we invite you to attend church with us or to learn with the full-time missionaries, we are not trying to sell you a product. As members of the Church, we do not receive prizes or bonus points in a heavenly contest. We are not seeking simply to increase the numerical size of the Church. And most importantly, we are not attempting to coerce you to believe as we do. We are inviting you to hear the restored truths of the gospel of Jesus Christ so you can study, ponder, pray, and come to know for yourself if the things we are sharing with you are true.

Some of you may respond, ‘But I already believe in Jesus and follow His teachings,’ or ‘I am not sure if God really exists.’ Our invitations to you are not an attempt to diminish your religious tradition or life experience. Bring all that you know is true, good, and praiseworthy—and test our message. Just as Jesus beckoned two of His disciples to ‘come and see’ (John 1:39), so we urge you to come and see if the restored gospel of Jesus Christ enlarges and enriches that which you already believe to be true.”

Elder Bednar shared a story of a little boy that had been bandaged up by one of his siblings and it made him feel better.  He then ran outside and put bandages on all of his friends.  He used this story to further illustrate why we share the gospel with those of other faiths, even when they already believe in Christ.

“Why did that little boy do what he did? Please note that he immediately and intuitively wanted to give to his friends the very thing that had helped him when he was hurt. That little boy did not have to be urged, challenged, prompted, or goaded to act. His desire to share was the natural consequence of a most helpful and beneficial personal experience.”

Absolute truth exists in a world that increasingly disdains and dismisses absolutes. In a future day, “every knee [shall] bow” and “every tongue [shall] confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:10–11). Jesus the Christ absolutely is the Only Begotten Son of the Eternal Father. As members of His Church, we witness He lives and His Church has been restored in its fulness in these latter days.

President Thomas S Monson, Until We Meet Again

May we be people of honesty and integrity, trying to do the right thing at all times and in all circumstances. May we be faithful followers of Christ, examples of righteousness, thus becoming ‘lights in the world.’2

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