Sunday, October 01, 2017

This Week at Church October 2017 General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

General Women’s Conference
Sharon L Eubank, Turn on Your Light
“Much of the major growth that is coming to the Church in the last days will come because many of the good women of the world … will be drawn to the Church in large numbers. This will happen to the degree that the women of the Church reflect righteousness and articulateness in their lives and to the degree that the women of the Church are seen as distinct and different—in happy ways—from the women of the world.
“Among the real heroines in the world who will come into the Church are women who are more concerned with being righteous than with being selfish. These real heroines have true humility, which places a higher value on integrity than on visibility.” (Spencer W. Kimball, “The Role of Righteous Women,” 103–4; emphasis added.)

“Being articulate means to clearly express how you feel about something and why.”

“Each of us needs to be better at articulating the reasons for our faith. How do you feel about Jesus Christ? Why do you stay in the Church? Why do you believe the Book of Mormon is scripture? Where do you get your peace? Why does it matter that the prophet has something to say in 2017? How do you know he is a real prophet? Use your voice and your power to articulate what you know and feel—on social media, in quiet conversations with your friends, when you’re chatting with your grandchildren. Tell them why you believe, what it feels like, if you ever doubted, how you got through it, and what Jesus Christ means to you.”

14 But and if ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are ye:and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled;
15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:

There is an energy that comes from happiness and optimism that doesn’t just bless us—it builds everyone around us.

26 Behold, I say unto you, go forth as I have commanded you; repent of all your sins; ask and ye shall receive; knock and it shall be opened unto you.
27 Behold, I will go before you and be your rearward; and I will be in your midst, and you shall not be confounded.
28 Behold, I am Jesus Christ, and I come quickly. Even so. Amen.

Neill F Marriott, Abide in God and Repairing the Breach
“We need to continually deepen our knowledge of and obedience to Heavenly Father. ”

3 The Lord hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.

34 Behold my Spirit is upon you, wherefore all thy words will I justify; and the mountains shall flee before you, and the rivers shall turn from their course; and thou shalt abide in me, and I in you; therefore walk with me.

We must understand that God the Father directed His Son, Jesus Christ, to create the earth for our growth, that Heavenly Father gave His Son to pay the demands of justice for our salvation, and that the Father’s priesthood power and the Son’s true Church with the necessary ordinances were restored for our blessings.

It is now, with our mortal limitations, that the Father asks us to love when loving is most difficult, to serve when serving is inconvenient, to forgive when forgiving is soul stretching.

We want to be encircled in the arms of our Heavenly Father’s love and guidance, and so we put His will first and with a broken heart plead that Christ will pour streams of cleansing water into our pitcher. At first it may come drop by drop, but as we seek, ask, and obey, it will come abundantly. This living water will begin to fill us, and brimming with His love, we can tip the pitcher of our soul and share its contents with others who thirst for healing, hope, and belonging. As our inner pitcher becomes clean, our earthly relationships begin to heal.”

Isaiah spoke of those who faithfully live the law of the fast and thus become for their own posterity a repairer of the breach. They are the ones who, Isaiah promises, will ‘build the old waste places.’ (ISaiah 58:12)  In a similar way, the Savior repaired the breach, or distance, between us and Heavenly Father. He, through His great atoning sacrifice, opens the way for us to partake of God’s loving power, and then we are enabled to repair the ‘waste places’ in our personal lives. Healing emotional distance between each other will require our acceptance of God’s love, coupled with a sacrifice of our natural selfish and fearful tendencies.

Joy D Jones, Value Beyond Measure
She discovered her worth through divine principles. Her value as a daughter of God was revealed to her through the Holy Ghost.

“Before I had the gospel in my life, I was always trying to prove to others that I was someone special. But when I learned the truth, that I am a daughter of God, I didn’t have to prove anything to anyone. I knew that I was special. … Don’t ever think that you are nothing.” (Renu Singh - India)

When others asked [referring to her being diagnosed with cancer], “Why you, Taiana?” her response was, “Why not me?”

God is your Father. He loves you. He and your mother in heaven value you beyond any measure. … You are unique. One of a kind, made of the eternal intelligence which gives you claim upon eternal life.” (Spencer W. Kimball, “Privileges and Responsibilities of Sisters,” Ensign, Nov. 1978, 105)

Let me point out the need to differentiate between two critical words: worth and worthiness. They are not the same. Spiritual worth means to value ourselves the way Heavenly Father values us, not as the world values us. Our worth was determined before we ever came to this earth. “God’s love is infinite and it will endure forever.” (D. Todd Christofferson, “Abide in My Love,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2016, 48.)

“...worthiness is achieved through obedience. If we sin, we are less worthy, but we are never worth less! We continue to repent and strive to be like Jesus with our worth intact.

“The least, the most inferior spirit now upon the earth … is worth worlds.” (Brigham Young, “Remarks,” Deseret News, Mar. 6, 1861, 2)

“Thinking small about ourselves does not serve us well. Instead it holds us back. As we’ve often been taught, ‘No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.’ (Attributed to Eleanor Roosevelt) We can stop comparing our worst to someone else’s best. ‘Comparison is the thief of joy.’ (Attributed to Theodore Roosevelt.)

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.
The Lord revealed this additional truth to the Prophet Joseph Smith: ‘He that receiveth of God, let him account it of God; and let him rejoice that he is accounted of God worthy to receive.’(Doctrine and Covenants 50:34) When we feel the Spirit, as this verse explains, we recognize that what we feel comes from our Heavenly Father. We acknowledge Him and praise Him for blessing us. We then rejoice that we are counted worthy to receive.

10 Remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God;
11 For, behold, the Lord your Redeemer suffered death in the flesh; wherefore he suffered the pain of all men, that all men might repent and come unto him.
Sisters, let’s not be confused about who we are! While it is often easier to be spiritually passive than it is to put forth the spiritual effort to remember and embrace our divine identity, we cannot afford that indulgence in these latter days.

President Dieter F Uchtdorf, Three Sisters
“A long time ago in a distant land lived a family of three sisters.”

“The first sister saw herself as a victim—as someone who was acted upon.1It seemed like one thing after another kept happening to her that made her miserable. With this approach to life, she was giving others control over how she felt and behaved. When we do this, we are driven about by every wind of opinion—and in this day of ever-present social media, those winds blow at hurricane intensity.

“Dear sisters, why should you surrender your happiness to someone, or a group of someones, who cares very little about you or your happiness?”

“You have the spiritual DNA of God.”

“You are in His hands.
“Very good hands.
“Loving hands.
“Caring hands.
“And nothing anyone ever says about you can change that. Their words are meaningless compared to what God has said about you.”
“...each group [Democrat and Republican] thought of themselves as the ‘good guys’—fair, kind, and truthful. By contrast, they saw their rivals as the ‘bad guys’—uninformed, dishonest, even evil.”
When someone opposes or disagrees with us, it’s tempting to assume that there must be something wrong with them.“
Of course, we must always stand for what is right, and there are times when we must raise our voices for that cause. However, when we do so with anger or hate in our hearts—when we lash out at others to hurt, shame, or silence them—chances are we are not doing so in righteousness.”

44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.
“‘Yes,’ you might say, ‘I would be willing to love my enemies—if only they were willing to do the same.’
But that doesn’t really matter, does it? We are responsible for our own discipleship, and it has little—if anything—to do with the way others treat us.”
“So, as members of the Church of Jesus Christ, we will love our enemies.

“We will overcome anger or hate.”

My Thoughts
As we strive to be followers of Christ, we may still have enemies, but we are to overcome anger and hate as we interact with our enemies.

”She lived joyfully not because her circumstances were joyful but because she was joyful.”

Dear sisters, dear friends, if you find it difficult to hold fast to the iron rod and walk steadfastly toward salvation; if the laughter and ridicule of others who seem so confident cause you to waver; if you are troubled by unanswered questions or doctrines you don’t understand yet; if you feel saddened because of disappointments, I urge you to remember Lehi’s dream.”

“...when anyone tries to make you ashamed for partaking of the love of God, ignore them.”

I invite you to consider religion and faith from a higher perspective. Nothing offered in the great and spacious building can compare with the fruit of living the gospel of Jesus Christ.”

It will not be easy. It will require the very best that you have—all your intelligence, creativity, faith, integrity, strength, determination, and love. But one day you will look back upon your efforts, and oh, how grateful you will be that you remained strong, that you believed, and that you did not depart from the path.”

You cannot allow circumstances to make you sad.”

“The song of true discipleship may sound off-key or even a little loud to some. Since the beginning of time, this has been so.”

Sunday Morning Session
President Dieter F Uchtdorf, A Yearning for Home
I believe that every man, woman, and child has felt the call of heaven at some point in his or her life. Deep within us is a longing to somehow reach past the veil and embrace Heavenly Parents we once knew and cherished.

“God knows your every thought, your sorrows, and your greatest hopes. God knows the many times you have sought Him. The many times you have felt limitless joy. The many times you have wept in loneliness. The many times you have felt helpless, confused, or angry.
“Yet, no matter your history—if you have faltered, failed, feel broken, bitter, betrayed, or beaten—know that you are not alone. God still calls to you.”

“I testify that when we embark upon or continue the incredible journey that leads to God, our lives will be better.”

Doctrine and Covenants 35:14
14 And their arm shall be my arm, and I will be their shield and their buckler; and I will gird up their loins, and they shall fight manfully for me; and their enemies shall be under their feet; and I will let fall the sword in their behalf, and by the fire of mine indignation will I preserve them.

“We are, each one of us, ‘strangers and pilgrims’14 in this world. In many ways, we are far from home. But that doesn’t mean we need to feel lost or alone.”

No one else is responsible for your personal journey. The Savior will help you and prepare the way before you, but the commitment to follow Him and keep His commandments must come from you. That is your sole burden, your sole privilege.”

The Lord has established The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to help you in this commitment to serve God and fellowmen. Its purpose is to encourage, teach, lift, and inspire.”

The gospel is a transcendent message of hope, happiness, and joy. It is the pathway that leads us home.”

As we embrace the gospel in faith and deed, each day and every hour, we will draw a little closer to our God. Our lives will be better, and the Lord will use us in remarkable ways to bless those around us and bring about His eternal purposes.”

Bonnie L Oscarson, The Needs before Us
In recent days we have witnessed a large number of natural disasters, in Mexico, the United States, Asia, the Caribbean, and Africa. It has brought out the best in people as thousands have stepped in to help those who are in danger or need and who have suffered loss.

“I believe the Savior is telling us that unless we lose ourselves in service to others, there is little purpose to our own lives. Those who live only for themselves eventually shrivel up and figuratively lose their lives, while those who lose themselves in service to others grow and flourish—and in effect save their lives.” (Thomas S. Monson, “What Have I Done for Someone Today? Ensign or Liahona,Nov. 2009, 85)

But I also think that sometimes it’s easy to miss some of the greatest opportunities to serve others because we are distracted or because we are looking for ambitious ways to change the world and we don’t see that some of the most significant needs we can meet are within our own families, among our friends, in our wards, and in our communities. We are touched when we see the suffering and great needs of those halfway around the world, but we may fail to see there is a person who needs our friendship sitting right next to us in class.”

What good does it do to save the world if we neglect the needs of those closest to us and those whom we love the most? How much value is there in fixing the world if the people around us are falling apart and we don’t notice?”

Another area of focus for our service can be in our ward families. Occasionally our children would ask us the question, ‘Why do I have to go to Mutual? I just don’t get very much out of it.’
“If I was having a good parenting moment, I would reply, ‘What makes you think you go to Mutual because of what you get out of it?’”
“A major reason the Lord has a church is to create a community of Saints that will sustain one another in the ‘strait and narrow path which leads to eternal life.’” He goes on to say, “This religion is not concerned only with self; rather, we are all called to serve. We are the eyes, hands, head, feet, and other members of the body of Christ.” (D. Todd Christofferson, “Why the Church,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2015, 108, 109.)

Young women and young men, next time you are at Mutual, instead of picking up your phone to see what your friends are doing, stop, look around, and ask yourself, ‘Who needs me today?’ You may be the key to reaching out and touching the life of a peer or to giving encouragement to a friend who is quietly struggling.”

“Even if—and maybe especially if—your family situation is less than perfect, you can find ways to serve, lift, and strengthen. Begin where you are, love them as they are, and prepare for the family you want to have in the future.”

Elder Dallin H Oaks, The Plan and the Proclamation
As is evident in our family proclamation, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are blessed with unique doctrine and different ways of viewing the world.

In a parable, Jesus described those who “[hear] the word” but become “unfruitful” when that word is “choke[d]” by “the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches” (Matthew 13:22). Later, Jesus corrected Peter for not savoring “the things that be of God, but those that be of men,” declaring, “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” (Matthew 16:23, 26).

“...the writings of Jesus’s early Apostles frequently use the image of ‘the world’ to represent opposition to gospel teachings. “Be not conformed to this world” (Romans 12:2), the Apostle Paul taught. “For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God” (1 Corinthians 3:19).

My Thoughts
Take a moment to think if there are any parts of your behavior where you might conform to the world at times.

The Apostle James taught that “the friendship of the world is enmity with God[.] Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God” (James 4:4).

My Thoughts
What is “friendship of the world” and what is “enmity”?

President Thomas S. Monson summarized these teachings: ‘We must be vigilant in a world which has moved so far from that which is spiritual. It is essential that we reject anything that does not conform to our standards, refusing in the process to surrender that which we desire most: eternal life in the kingdom of God.’1

God created this earth according to His plan to provide His spirit children a place to experience mortality as a necessary step toward the glories He desires for all His children. “

The restored gospel of Jesus Christ and the inspired family proclamation, which I will discuss later, are essential teachings to guide mortal preparation for exaltation.”

“In this mortal life, we have no memory of what preceded our birth, and we now experience opposition. We grow and mature spiritually by choosing to obey God’s commandments in a succession of right choices.”

“Latter-day Saints who understand God’s plan of salvation have a unique worldview that helps them see the reason for God’s commandments,”

“Our Savior’s Atonement reclaims us from death and, subject to our repentance, saves us from sin.”

“Inevitably, the actions of those who try to follow God’s plan of salvation can cause misunderstanding or even conflict with family members or friends who do not believe its principles. “

‘But whatever the cause of conflict with those who do not understand or believe God’s plan, those who do understand are always commanded to choose the Lord’s way instead of the world’s way.’

“[The Family Proclamation] declarations are, of course, visibly different from some current laws, practices, and advocacy of the world in which we live. In our day, the differences most evident are cohabitation without marriage, same-sex marriage, and the raising of children in such relationships. Those who do not believe in or aspire to exaltation and are most persuaded by the ways of the world consider this family proclamation as just a statement of policy that should be changed. In contrast, Latter-day Saints affirm that the family proclamation defines the kind of family relationships where the most important part of our eternal development can occur.”

“Converted Latter-day Saints believe that the family proclamation, issued nearly a quarter century ago and now translated into scores of languages, is the Lord’s reemphasis of the gospel truths we need to sustain us through current challenges to the family. “

My Thoughts
The Proclamation was restating existing gospel truths, perhaps to show that these are not just a policy or program that can be changed, but doctrine.

“gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose.”

“that God has commanded that the sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between man and woman, lawfully wedded as husband and wife.”

My thoughts
People struggle with issues that God has already given us the answer to years ago.

“The inspiration identifying the need for a proclamation on the family came to the leadership of the Church over 23 years ago. It was a surprise to some who thought the doctrinal truths about marriage and the family were well understood without restatement.”

“With so much of sophistry that is passed off as truth, with so much of deception concerning standards and values, with so much of allurement and enticement to take on the slow stain of the world, we have felt to warn and forewarn.” (Gordon B. Hinckley, “Stand Strong against the Wiles of the World,” Ensign, Nov. 1995, 100.)

Elder John C. Pingree Jr., “I Have a Work for Thee”
“Before we came [to earth, we] were given certain assignments. … While we do not now remember the particulars, this does not alter the glorious reality of what we once agreed to.” (Spencer W. Kimball, “The Role of Righteous Women,” Ensign, Nov. 1979, 102.)

These divine assignments are not reserved for a privileged few but are for all of us—regardless of gender, age, race, nationality, income level, social status, or Church calling.

He has always used ordinary people to accomplish extraordinary things (see 1 Corinthians 1:27–28; D&C 35:13; 124:1).

The Lord has more in mind for you than you have in mind for yourself! You have been reserved and preserved for this time and place. …
“The Lord needs you to change the world. As you accept and follow His will for you, you will find yourself accomplishing the impossible!” (Russell M. Nelson, Accomplishing the Impossible: What God Does, What We Can Do (2015), 147.)
“So how do we come to understand and perform the work God intends for us? Let me share four principles that will help.”
1. Focus on Others
8 Verily, verily, I say unto you, even as you desire of me so it shall be done unto you; and, if you desire, you shall be the means of doing much good in this generation.

2. Discover and Develop Spiritual Gifts
Heavenly Father gave us these gifts to help us identify, perform, and enjoy the work He has for us.”

11 For all have not every gift given unto them; for there are many gifts, and to every man is given a gift by the Spirit of God.
12 To some is given one, and to some is given another, that all may be profited thereby.
“So how do we come to know our gifts? We can reference our patriarchal blessing, ask those who know us best, and personally identify what we are naturally good at and enjoy. Most important, we can ask God (see James 1:5; D&C 112:10). He knows our gifts, since He gave them to us (see D&C 46:26).”

“As we discover our gifts, we have a responsibility to develop them.”

3. Make Use of Adversity
10 Nevertheless, after much tribulation, the Lord did hear my cries, and did answer my prayers, and has made me an instrument in his hands in bringing so many of you to a knowledge of his truth.

4. Rely on God
“ the right times, He will open the doors necessary for us”

A single mother, raising children with developmental disabilities, questioned whether she could adequately meet her family’s needs. Though it has been difficult, she feels strengthened by the Lord to fulfill her most important mission successfully.”

Sin is perhaps our greatest stumbling block, dulling our sensitivity to the Holy Ghost and restricting our access to spiritual power. “

Are we so preoccupied with worldly things that we are diverted from our divine assignments?”

As we follow Christ’s example and yield ourselves to God, I testify that He will also use us to further His work and to bless others.”

Elder D Todd Christofferson  - The Living Bread Which Came Down from Heaven
Several talks were on not neglecting the spiritual because we are so focus on the temporal.

48 I am that bread of life.
49 Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead.
50 This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die.
51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.

The doctrine of Christ expresses what we must do to receive atoning grace. It is to believe and have faith in Christ, to repent and be baptized, and to receive the Holy Ghost, “and then cometh a remission of your sins by fire and by the Holy Ghost.”10 This is the gate, our access to the Savior’s atoning grace and to the strait and narrow path leading to His kingdom.”

“...because it is broken and torn, each piece of bread is unique, just as the individuals who partake of it are unique. We all have different sins to repent of. We all have different needs to be strengthened through the Atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ, whom we remember in this ordinance.”13 As we drink the water, we think of the blood He shed in Gethsemane and on the cross and its sanctifying power.14 Knowing that “no unclean thing can enter into his kingdom,” we resolve to be among “those who have washed their garments in [the Savior’s] blood, because of their faith, and the repentance of all their sins, and their faithfulness unto the end.” (Elder Dallin H Oaks, “Introductory Message” (address given at the seminar for new mission presidents, June 25, 2017), 2.)

As we partake of the sacramental bread and water each week, we would do well to consider how fully and completely we must incorporate His character and the pattern of His sinless life into our life and being. “

As we remember and honor His atoning sacrifice, we should also contemplate His sinless life.”

“We are the product of all we read, all we view, all we hear and all we think.” (Teachings of Thomas S. Monson, comp. Lynne F. Cannegieter (2011), 267)

We seek holiness as we take up our cross daily.”

“...our mortal experiences offer us the opportunity to choose holiness.”

“Service is not something we endure on this earth so we can earn the right to live in the celestial kingdom. Service is the very fiber of which an exalted life in the celestial kingdom is made.” (Marion G. Romney, “The Celestial Nature of Self-Reliance,” Ensign,Mar. 2009, 65; Liahona, Mar. 2009, 19.)

20 In that day shall there be upon the bells of the horses, HOLINESS UNTO THE LORD; and the pots in the Lord’s house shall be like the bowls before the altar.

If we sincerely ask, ‘What lack I yet?’35 He will not leave us to guess, but in love He will answer for the sake of our happiness. And He will give us hope.”

My Thoughts
More than one talked of hope.

Elder Holland, Be Ye Therefore Perfect - Eventually
The scriptures were written to bless and encourage us, and surely they do that.”

“Satan has somehow managed to make covenants and commandments seem like curses and condemnations.”

I also know that, as children of God, we should not demean or vilify ourselves, as if beating up on ourselves is somehow going to make us the person God wants us to become. “

“I would hope we could pursue personal improvement in a way that doesn’t include getting ulcers or anorexia, feeling depressed or demolishing our self-esteem. That is not what the Lord wants for Primary children or anyone else who honestly sings, “I’m trying to be like Jesus.”

We need not be dismayed if our earnest efforts toward perfection now seem so arduous and endless. Perfection is pending. It can come in full only after the Resurrection and only through the Lord.” (Russell M. Nelson, “Perfection Pending,” Ensign, Nov. 1995, 86–88.)

So I believe that Jesus did not intend His sermon on this subject to be a verbal hammer for battering us about our shortcomings. No, I believe He intended it to be a tribute to who and what God the Eternal Father is and what we can achieve with Him in eternity. In any case, I am grateful to know that in spite of my imperfections, at least God is perfect—that at least He is, for example, able to love His enemies, because too often, due to the “natural man”6 and woman in us, you and I are sometimes that enemy.

My Thoughts
We are not to beat ourselves up every day.  We are to repent everyday and let it go.

I hasten to say that focusing on the Father’s and the Son’s achievements rather than our failures does not give us one ounce of justification for undisciplined lives or dumbing down our standards.”

“I am simply suggesting that at least one purpose of a scripture or a commandment can be to remind us just how magnificent ‘the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ’8 really is, inspiring in us greater love and admiration for Him and a greater desire to be like Him.”

Thus, the grace of Christ offers us not only salvation from sorrow and sin and death but also salvation from our own persistent self-criticism.”

“There is some difference of opinion among scholars regarding the monetary values mentioned here—and forgive the U.S. monetary reference—but to make the math easy, if the smaller, unforgiven 100-pence debt were, say, $100 in current times, then the 10,000-talent debt so freely forgiven would have approached $1 billion—or more!
“As a personal debt, that is an astronomical number—totally beyond our comprehension. (Nobody can shop that much!) Well, for the purposes of this parable, it is supposed to be incomprehensible; it is supposed to be beyond our ability to grasp, to say nothing of beyond our ability to repay. That is because this isn’t a story about two servants arguing in the New Testament. It is a story about us, the fallen human family—mortal debtors, transgressors, and prisoners all.” (Referring to the parable of the debtors)
“Jesus uses an unfathomable measurement here because His Atonement is an unfathomable gift given at an incomprehensible cost.”

We may not be able to demonstrate yet the 10,000-talent perfection the Father and the Son have achieved, but it is not too much for Them to ask us to be a little more godlike in little things, that we speak and act, love and forgive, repent and improve at least at the 100-pence level of perfection, which it is clearly within our ability to do.”

We should avoid that latter excessive expectation of ourselves and of others and, I might add, of those who are called to serve in the Church—which for Latter-day Saints means everyone, for we are all called to serve somewhere.”

Attack me, [if you wish,] I do this myself, but [don’t] attack … the path I follow. … If I know the way home [but] am walking along it drunkenly, is it any less the right way simply because I am staggering from side to side?”

Brothers and sisters, every one of us aspires to a more Christlike life than we often succeed in living. If we admit that honestly and are trying to improve, we are not hypocrites; we are human.”

If we persevere, then somewhere in eternity our refinement will be finished and complete—which is the New Testament meaning of perfection.

Saturday Afternoon Session
Gary E Stevenson, Spiritual Eclipse
Many (if not most) of the pictures posted on social media tend to portray life at its very best—often unrealistically.”

“ doesn’t come down to how many likes we get or how many social media friends or followers we have. It does, however, have something to do with meaningfully connecting with others and adding light to their lives.”

Hopefully, we can learn to be more real, find more humor, and experience less discouragement when confronted with images that may portray idealized reality and that too often lead to debilitating comparisons.”

Pride is often competitive; it is a tendency to seek to obtain more and presume we are better than others. Pride often results in feelings of anger and hatred; it causes one to hold grudges or to withhold forgiveness. Pride, however, can be swallowed in the Christlike attribute of humility.”

Humility and meekness fit hand in glove. May we remember that ‘none is acceptable before God, save the meek and lowly in heart.’”

“...when otherwise small and insignificant matters are drawn too close and block the beauty, warmth, and heavenly light of the gospel of Jesus Christ, replacing it with cold darkness.”

In short, don’t let life’s distractions eclipse heaven’s light.”

This is at least the third talk to talk about not letting the temporal distract from spiritual.

Stephen W Owen, Repentance is Always Positive
Too often we think of repentance as something miserable and depressing. But God’s plan is the plan of happiness, not the plan of misery! Repentance is uplifting and ennobling. It’s sin that brings unhappiness.2 Repentance is our escape route!”

When we speak of repentance, we aren’t just talking about self-improvement efforts. True repentance is more than that—it is inspired by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and His power to forgive our sins.”

“Without the Redeemer, … repentance becomes simply miserable behavior modification.” (Dale G. Renlund, “Repentance: A Joyful Choice,” Ensign orLiahona, Nov. 2016, 122.)

“ kept him moving, and faith kept his father watching and waiting patiently,” (Speaking of the prodigal son)

“Repentance both puts us on the right path and keeps us on the right path. It is for those who are just beginning to believe, those who have believed all along, and those who need to begin again to believe.”

“Most of us clearly understand that the Atonement is for sinners. I am not so sure, however, that we know and understand that the Atonement is also for saints—for good men and women who are obedient, worthy, and … striving to become better.” (David A. Bednar, “The Atonement and the Journey of Mortality,”Ensign, Apr. 2012, 42; Liahona, Apr. 2012, 14.)

You who are preparing for full-time missions and you who are returning, take note! It is not enough just to gain a testimony; you have to maintain it and strengthen it. As every missionary knows, if you stop pedaling a bicycle, it will fall, and if you stop feeding your testimony, it will weaken. This same principle applies to repentance—it is a lifelong pursuit, not a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”

Elder Quentin L Cook, The Eternal Everyday
Unfortunately, in our day in almost every segment of society, we see self-importance and arrogance flaunted while humility and accountability to God are denigrated.

32 For behold, this life is the time for men to prepare to meet God; yea, behold the day of this life is the day for men to perform their labors.

Sometimes humility is accepting callings when we do not feel adequate. Sometimes humility is serving faithfully when we feel capable of a more high-profile assignment. “

“Sometimes humility is overcoming hurt feelings when we feel that leaders or others have mistreated us.”

8 He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?

As we read in Mosiah, Alma taught that as often as we repent, the Lord will forgive our trespasses.”

On the other hand, as indicated in the Lord’s Prayer,36 when we do not forgive others’ trespasses, we bring ourselves under condemnation.37 Because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, through repentance our sins are forgiven. When we do not forgive those who trespass against us, we are in effect rejecting the Savior’s Atonement. “

The test of greatness is the way
One meets the eternal Everyday.” (Edmund Vance Cooke, “The Eternal Everyday,” Impertinent Poems (1907), 21.)

Elder Ronald A Rasband, By Devine Design
The Lord loves to be with us. It is no coincidence that when you are feeling His Spirit and acting on first promptings that you feel Him as He promised…”

Most often, our good works are known to only a few. They are, however, recorded in heaven.”

The Lord is in the small details of our lives, and those incidents and opportunities are to prepare us to lift our families and others as we build the kingdom of God on earth.”

“[The Lord] knows our challenges, our triumphs, and the righteous desires of our hearts.”

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.

24 And they saw that they had become weak, like unto their brethren, the Lamanites, and that the Spirit of the Lord did no more preserve them; yea, it had withdrawn from them because the Spirit of the Lord doth not dwell in unholy temples—
25 Therefore the Lord did cease to preserve them by his miraculous and matchless power, for they had fallen into a state of unbelief and awful wickedness; and they saw that the Lamanites were exceedingly more numerous than they, and except they should cleave unto the Lord their God they must unavoidably perish.
When we are righteous, willing, and able, when we are striving to be worthy and qualified, we progress to places we never imagined…”

Each of us has divinity within us. When we see God working through us and with us, may we be encouraged, even grateful for that guidance.”

I testify that He will bless you, sustain you, and bring you peace.”

O Vincent Haleck, The Heart of the Widow
My prayer for each of us is a plea to have the heart to bear our burdens, make necessary sacrifices, and have the will to do and to give.”

In spite of our weaknesses and failings, and because of them, He continues to offer His hands, which were pierced for our sakes.”

All who accept the Lord’s invitation to come unto Him will find peace, love, and light.”

President Russell M Nelson, The Book of Mormon: What Would Your Life Be Like without It?
“You could have given me diamonds or rubies, but nothing is more precious to me than this additional knowledge about the Lord Jesus Christ.”

First, what would your life be like without the Book of Mormon? Second, what would you not know? And third, what would you not have?”

From the Book of Mormon we learn about the gathering of scattered Israel. We know why we are here on earth. These and other truths are more powerfully and persuasively taught in the Book of Mormon than in any other book. The full power of the gospel of Jesus Christ is contained in the Book of Mormon. Period.”

The Book of Mormon both illuminates the teachings of the Master and exposes the tactics of the adversary.”

It abolishes forever the false concepts that revelation ended with the Bible and that the heavens are sealed today.”

When I think of the Book of Mormon, I think of the word power. The truths of the Book of Mormon have the power to heal, comfort, restore, succor, strengthen, console, and cheer our souls.”

My dear brothers and sisters, I promise that as you prayerfully study the Book of Mormon every day, you will make better decisions—every day.”

Priesthood Session
Elder Dale G Renlund, The Priesthood and the Savior’s Atoning Power
“To make His atoning power accessible, He has delegated a portion of His power and authority to men on earth.”

Jesus Christ broke the bands of physical death, allowing resurrection for all. He offers forgiveness of sins, conditioned on obedience to the laws and ordinances of His gospel.”

God intends priesthood to be used for more than just a class on Sunday or as a service opportunity.”

Being casual or apathetic in a priesthood calling is like introducing material fatigue into a rocket component.”

42 Behold, he who has repented of his sins, the same is forgiven, and I, the Lord, remember them no more.
43 By this ye may know if a man repenteth of his sins—behold, he will confess them and forsake them.
Elder David F Evans, The Truth of All Things
“If you do not have a firm testimony of these things, do that which is necessary to obtain one. It is essential for you to have your own testimony in these difficult times, for the testimonies of others will carry you only so far.“ (Thomas S. Monson, “The Power of the Book of Mormon,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2017, 87.)

Moroni 10:3-5
3 Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things, if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and ponder it in your hearts.
4 And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.
5 And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.
“A testimony needs to be kept vital and alive through continued obedience to the commandments of God and through daily prayer and scripture study.” (Thomas S. Monson, “The Power of the Book of Mormon,” 87.)

Each of us has a personal responsibility to do what is necessary to obtain and keep a strong testimony.”

Without knowing everything, we can know the truth.”

Elder Richard J Maynes, Earning the Trust of the Lord and Your Family
I love both ancient and modern-day scriptures that use the phrase “integrity of heart” when describing a righteous person’s character.1 Integrity or the lack of integrity is a fundamental element of one’s character. Men who have “integrity of heart” are men to be trusted—because trust is built on integrity.”

Being a man of integrity simply means your intentions, as well as your actions, are pure and righteous in all aspects of your life, both in public and in private.”

This talk and others reference the family proclamation.

Without that trust and faith, there’s fear and doubt.”

“...once you take a bribe or compromise your integrity, it is very difficult to ever get it back. Don’t ever do it, not even once.”

President Dieter F Uchtdorf, Bearer of Heavenly Light
Today I wish to speak of spiritual wellness—how we can find healing from stagnation and walk a path of vibrant spiritual health.

Sometimes spiritual illness comes as a result of sin or emotional wounds. Sometimes spiritual breakdowns come so gradually that we can scarcely tell what is happening. Like layers of sedimentary rock, spiritual pain and grief can build over time, weighing upon our spirits until it is almost too heavy to bear. For example, this can happen when our responsibilities at work, home, and church become so overwhelming that we lose sight of the joy of the gospel. We might even feel as though we have no more to give or that living the commandments of God is beyond our strength.”

“My dear friends, the healing power of Jesus Christ is not absent in our day.”

Whatever causes our spiritual ailments, they all have one thing in common: the absence of divine light.

“Darkness reduces our ability to see clearly. It dims our vision of that which was at one time plain and clear.”

We will find spiritual healing as we step away from the shadows of the world and into the everlasting Light of Christ.”

12 Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.

The Light of Christ enlightens and saturates the souls of all who hearken to the voice of the Spirit.”

God will not force us to embrace His light.”

Night is nothing more than a shadow.

“Even in the darkest of nights, the sun does not cease to radiate its light. It continues to shine as bright as ever. But half of the earth is in darkness.”
Darkness is not an indication that there is no light. Most often, it simply means we’re not in the right place to receive the light. During the recent solar eclipse, many made great efforts to get into the narrow band of a shadow created by the moon in the middle of a bright sunny day.”

16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

My dear brothers, you are instruments in the hands of the Lord with the purpose of bringing light and healing to the souls of Heavenly Father’s children.”

President Henry B Eyring, The Lord Leads His Church
My dear brethren who hold the priesthood of God, tonight I wish to speak about the wonderful way in which the Lord leads His kingdom on earth. You already know the fundamentals. I pray that the Holy Ghost will confirm them to you.
“First, Jesus Christ is the head of the Church in all the earth.
“Second, He leads His Church today by speaking to men called as prophets, and He does it through revelation.
“Third, He gave revelation to His prophets long ago, still does, and will continue to do so.
“Fourth, He gives confirming revelation to those who serve under the leadership of His prophets.”
“ hope is to build your faith that the Lord is inspiring the imperfect persons He has called as your leaders.”

A bishop is sometimes called to serve people who know him well. Ward members know something of his human weaknesses and his spiritual strengths, and they know that others in the ward could have been called—others who seem better educated, more seasoned, more pleasant, or even better looking.
“These members have to know the call to serve as a bishop came from the Lord, by revelation. Without their faith, the bishop, who was called of God, will find it harder to get the revelation he needs to help them. He will not succeed without the faith of the members to sustain him.”
10 I have not commanded you to come up hither that ye should fear me, or that ye should think that I of myself am more than a mortal man.
11 But I am like as yourselves, subject to all manner of infirmities in body and mind; yet I have been chosen by this people, and consecrated by my father, and was suffered by the hand of the Lord that I should be a ruler and a king over this people; and have been kept and preserved by his matchless power, to serve you with all the might, mind and strength which the Lord hath granted unto me.
The Lord sees His servants perfectly. He sees their potential and their future. And He knows how their very nature can be changed. He also knows how they can be changed by their experiences with the people they will lead.”

I was once called as a bishop of young single adults. I am not sure whether the Lord’s purposes were more for what changes I could help Him make in them or the changes He knew they would make in me.”

“… Disrespect for ecclesiastical leaders has caused many to suffer spiritual weakening and downfall. We should look past any perceived imperfections, warts, or spots of the men called to preside over us, and uphold the office which they hold” (“Called and Chosen,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2005, 54–55).

“Several elders called a meeting in the temple for all those who considered Joseph Smith to be a fallen Prophet. They intended to appoint David Whitmer as the new Church leader. … After listening to the arguments against the Prophet, Brigham [Young] arose and testified, ‘Joseph was a Prophet, and I knew it, and that they might rail and slander him as much as they pleased; they could not destroy the appointment of the Prophet of God, they could only destroy their own authority, cut the thread that bound them to the Prophet and to God, and sink themselves to hell’” (Church History in the Fulness of Times Student Manual [Church Educational System manual, 2003], 2nd ed., 174; see also Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Brigham Young [1997], 79).

Sunday Morning Session
Jean B Bingham, That Your Joy Might Be Full
Contention in families and communities as well as inner struggles with fear, doubt, and unfulfilled expectations also leave us in turmoil. It can be difficult to feel the joy that Lehi taught is the purpose of life.3 We have all asked at times: “Where can I turn for peace? Where is my solace … ?”4 We wonder, how do I find joy despite the difficulties of mortal life?”

As I have studied the life and teachings of Jesus Christ with more focus and committed ‘The Living Christ’ to memory, my gratitude and love for our Savior have increased. Each sentence of that inspired document contains a sermon and has enhanced my understanding of His divine roles and earthly mission. What I have learned and felt through this period of study and reflection confirms that Jesus truly “is the light, the life, and the hope of the world.”8 Ancient scripture and latter-day prophets’ words written or spoken in praise of Him bear witness that ‘His way is the path that leads to happiness in this life and eternal life in the world to come.’9

when we study Heavenly Father’s plan and Jesus Christ’s mission, we understand that Their only objective is our eternal happiness and progress.”

I testify that as you center your life on Jesus Christ, you will find joy in your circumstances, whatever they may be.”

Make time and take time to come to know Jesus Christ through studying diligently, developing greater faith in Him, and striving to become ever more like Him.”

Elder Donald L Hallstrom, Has the Day of Miracles Ceased?
“Do good people and their loved ones have reason to ask the question posed by Mormon: ‘Has the day of miracles ceased?’”

Mosiah 8:18
18 Thus God has provided a means that man, through faith, might work mighty miracles; therefore he becometh a great benefit to his fellow beings.

8 For I am God, and mine arm is not shortened; and I will show miracles, signs, and wonders, unto all those who believe on my name.

Faith in the Father and the Son allows us to understand and accept Their will as we prepare for eternity.”

While it is good to pray for and work for physical protection and healing during our mortal existence, our supreme focus should be on the spiritual miracles that are available to all of God’s children. No matter our ethnicity, no matter our nationality, no matter what we have done if we repent, no matter what may have been done to us—all of us have equal access to these miracles. We are living a miracle, and further miracles lie ahead.“

Elder David A Bednar, Exceeding Great and Precious Promises
In the premortal realm, spirit sons and daughters knew and worshipped God as their Eternal Father and accepted His plan by which His children could obtain a physical body and gain earthly experience to progress toward perfection and ultimately realize their divine destiny as heirs of eternal life. The divine plan of happiness enables family relationships to be perpetuated beyond the grave. Sacred ordinances and covenants available in holy temples make it possible for individuals to return to the presence of God and for families to be united eternally.” (“The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2010, 129.)

“As we press forward submissively with faith in the Savior, then because of His Atonement and by the power of the Holy Ghost, “a mighty change [takes place] in us, or in our hearts, that we have no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually.”5 We are “born again; yea, born of God, changed from [our] carnal and fallen state, to a state of righteousness, being redeemed of God.”

30 For behold, thus saith the Lord God: I will give unto the children of men line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little; and blessed are those who hearken unto my precepts, and lend an ear unto my counsel, for they shall learn wisdom; for unto him that receiveth I will give more; and from them that shall say, We have enough, from them shall be taken away even that which they have.

“We are too apt to forget the great object of life, the motive of our Heavenly Father in sending us here to put on mortality, as well as the holy calling with which we have been called; and hence, instead of rising above the little transitory things … , we too often allow ourselves to come down to the level of the world without availing ourselves of the divine help which God has instituted, which alone can enable us to overcome [those transitory things].” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Lorenzo Snow (2012), 101–2.)

The Sabbath day and the holy temple are two specific sources of divine help instituted by God to assist us in rising above the level and corruption of the world.”

The Sabbath is God’s time, a sacred time specifically set apart for worshipping Him and for receiving and remembering His great and precious promises.”

9 And that thou mayest more fully keep thyself unspotted from the world, thou shalt go to the house of prayer and offer up thy sacraments upon my holy day;
10 For verily this is a day appointed unto you to rest from your labors, and to pay thy devotions unto the Most High;
On His holy day, our thoughts, actions, and demeanor are signs we give to God and an indicator of our love for Him.”

We think, act, and dress differently in the temple than in other spaces that we may frequent.

“A principal purpose of the temple is to elevate our vision from the things of the world to the blessings of eternity. Removed for a short time from the worldly settings with which we are familiar, we can ‘look to God and live’22 by receiving and remembering the great and precious promises whereby we become partakers of the divine nature.”

Please note that the Sabbath day and the temple, respectively, are a sacred time and a sacred space specifically set apart for worshipping God and for receiving and remembering His exceeding great and precious promises to His children.”

Importantly, a home should be the ultimate combination of time and space wherein individuals and families remember most effectively God’s great and precious promises. Leaving our homes to spend time in Sunday meetings and to enter the sacred space of a temple is vital but insufficient.”

The Sabbath and the temple can help us to establish in our homes ‘a more excellent way’24 as we ‘gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him.’25 What we do in our homes with His sacred time and with what we learn in His sacred space is pivotal to becoming partakers of the divine nature.”

We easily can be overcome by the routine and mundane matters of mortality. Sleeping, eating, dressing, working, playing, exercising, and many other customary activities are necessary and important. But ultimately, what we become is the result of our knowledge of and willingness to learn from the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; it is not merely the sum total of our daily pursuits over the course of a lifetime.”

My Thoughts
This is yet another talk mentioning about not getting distracted by the things of life.

The gospel is so much more than a routine checklist of discrete tasks to be performed; rather, it is a magnificent tapestry of truth ‘fitly framed’26 and woven together, designed to help us become like our Heavenly Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, even partakers of the divine nature.  Truly, we are blinded ‘by looking beyond the mark’27 when this overarching spiritual reality is overshadowed by the cares, concerns, and casualness of the world.”

As we are wise and invite the Holy Spirit to be our guide,28 I promise He will teach us what is true. ‘He will testify of Christ, [and] light our minds with heaven’s view’”

9 Or, in other words, I give unto you directions how you may act before me, that it may turn to you for your salvation.
10 I, the Lord, am bound when ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise.
For example, God promises us, according to our faithfulness, the constant companionship of the third member of the Godhead, even the Holy Ghost,10 that through the Atonement of Jesus Christ we can receive and always retain a remission of our sins,11 that we can receive peace in this world,12 that the Savior has broken the bands of death and was victorious over the grave,13 and that families can be together for all eternity.”

My Thoughts
Yet another speaker that spoke on having peace in this life.

W Christopher Waddell, Turn to the Lord
“...we are spirit sons and daughters of God, and we ‘accepted His plan by which [we] could obtain a physical body and gain earthly experience to progress toward perfection and ultimately realize [our] divine destiny as heirs of eternal life.’ (The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2010, 129.)

Unlike friends and loved ones, the Savior not only sympathizes with us, but He can empathize perfectly because He has been where we are. In addition to paying the price and suffering for our sins, Jesus Christ also walked every path, dealt with every challenge, faced every hurt—physical, emotional, or spiritual—that we will ever encounter in mortality.”

In this mortal experience, we cannot control all that happens to us, but we have absolute control over how we respond to the changes in our lives. This does not imply that the challenges and trials we face are of no consequence and easily handled or dealt with. It does not imply that we will be free from pain or heartache.”

20 And it came to pass that they did multiply and prosper exceedingly in the land of Helam; and they built a city, which they called the city of Helam.

“Healing blessings come in many ways, each suited to our individual needs, as known to Him who loves us best. Sometimes a ‘healing’ cures our illness or lifts our burden. But sometimes we are ‘healed’ by being given strength or understanding or patience to bear the burdens placed upon us.”(Dallin H. Oaks, “He Heals the Heavy Laden,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2006, 7–8.)

W Craig Zwick, Lord Wilt Thou Cause That My Eyes May Be Opened
As we learn to become inheritors of all our Father has, the gospel mentors us to look beyond what we see. To look beyond what we see, we must look at others through the eyes of our Savior.”

We live in a world that feeds on comparisons, labeling, and criticism. Instead of seeing through the lens of social media, we need to look inward for the godly attributes to which we each lay claim.”

To accept and love others does not mean we must embrace their ideas. Obviously, truth mandates our highest allegiance, though it should never be a barrier to kindness.”

As members of the Church, we have been gifted personal spiritual alarms that warn us when we are looking with only mortal eyes away from salvation.”

My Thoughts
Another person talking about not letting the temporal blind us to the spiritual.

Our Savior frequently opened eyes of the physically and spiritually blind. Opening our eyes to divine truth, literally and figuratively, prepares us to be healed of mortal shortsightedness.”

President Henry B Eyring, FEar Not to Do Good
“We have felt an increase in the desire to go to the rescue of others.”

The only stress I sensed was that they wanted to stop being thanked so they could get back to work.”

“A man filled with the love of God, is not content with blessing his family alone, but ranges through the whole world, anxious to bless the whole human race” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith [2007], 426).

The best days are ahead for the kingdom of God on the earth. “

Faith always defeats fear. “

Sunday Afternoon Session
Elder Robert D Hales passed away after last session

Elder M Russell Ballard, The Trek Continues
Many of us are on amazing journeys of discovery—leading to personal fulfillment and spiritual enlightenment. Some of us, however, are on a trek that leads to sorrow, sin, anguish, and despair.

“In this context, please ask yourself: What is your final destination? Where are your footsteps taking you? And is your journey leading you to that “multiplicity of blessings” the Savior has promised?8
Be aware of organizations, groups, or individuals claiming secret answers to doctrinal questions that they say today’s apostles and prophets do not have or understand.”

An official Church statement, issued one year ago, states: ‘We urge Church members to be cautious about participating in any group that promises—in exchange for money—miraculous healings or that claims to have special methods for accessing healing power outside of properly ordained priesthood holders.’”

“I testify that ‘the trek continues,’ and I invite you to stay on the gospel path as you continue pressing forward by reaching out to all of God’s children in love and compassion, that we may unitedly make our hearts pure and our hands clean to receive the “multiplicity of blessings” awaiting all who truly love our Heavenly Father and His Beloved Son, “

Tad R Callister, God’s Compelling Witness:  The Book of Mormon
“First, the critics must explain how Joseph Smith, a 23-year-old farm boy with limited education, created a book with hundreds of unique names and places, as well as detailed stories and events. Accordingly, many critics propose that he was a creative genius who relied upon numerous books and other local resources to create the historical content of the Book of Mormon. But contrary to their assertion, there is not a solitary witness who claims to have seen Joseph with any of these alleged resources before the translation began.

“Even if this argument were true, it is woefully insufficient to explain the Book of Mormon’s existence.”

But even if we suppose that Joseph were a creative and theological genius with a photographic memory—these talents alone do not make him a skilled writer.”

Joseph claimed that the Book of Mormon was written on golden plates. This claim received unrelenting criticism in his day—for “everyone” knew that ancient histories were written on papyrus or parchment, until years later, when metal plates with ancient writings were discovered. In addition, the critics claimed that the use of cement, as described in the Book of Mormon, was beyond the technical expertise of these early Americans—until cement structures were found in ancient America. How do the critics now account for these and similar unlikely discoveries? Joseph, you see, must also have been a very, very lucky guesser. Somehow, in spite of all the odds against him, against all existing scientific and academic knowledge, he guessed right when all the others were wrong.”

Elder Joni Koch, Apart, but Still One
As we all enter a meetinghouse to worship as a group, we should leave behind our differences, including race, social status, political preferences, and academic and professional achievements, and instead concentrate on our common spiritual objectives.”

Stanley G Ellis, Do We Trust Him?  Hard Is Good
Hard makes us stronger, humbles us, and gives us a chance to prove ourselves.”

“a religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things never has power sufficient to produce the faith necessary unto life and salvation.” (Lectures on Faith (1985), 69.)

Members of the Godhead are no strangers to hard things. God the Father sacrificed His Only Begotten Son to the terrible suffering of the Atonement, including death by crucifixion. The scriptures say Jesus Christ learned ‘obedience by the things which he suffered’ (Hebrews 5:8). He voluntarily suffered the agony of the Atonement. The Holy Ghost must be long-suffering to prompt, warn, and guide us, only to sometimes be ignored, misinterpreted, or forgotten.”

“May we ever choose the harder right instead of the easier wrong.” (Thomas S. Monson, “Choices,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2016, 86.)

In whatever we do, we should not decide nor act out of a spirit of fear.”

Elder Adilson de Paula Parrella, Essential Truths --- Our Need to Act
Ezra Taft Benson, then-President of the Church, urged every returned missionary to take marriage seriously and make it a top priority in his life.

I am not suggesting that everyone should make a similar list, but I am suggesting—maybe more than suggesting—that we always act when our living prophets speak.”

Another truth we learn because of the First Vision and the Prophet Joseph Smith is the true nature of God.”

10 O how great the goodness of our God, who prepareth a way for our escape from the grasp of this awful monster; yea, that monster, death and hell, which I call the death of the body, and also the death of the spirit.

Elder Ian S Ardern, Seek Ye Out of the Best Books
We live in a day in which misinformation about our beliefs abounds. In times such as these, a failure to protect and deepen our spiritual roots is an invitation to have them gnawed at by those who seek to destroy our faith in Christ and our belief in His restored Church.”

Should the pointed fingers ‘from the other side of the river of water, [where] a great and spacious building [stands]’ (1 Nephi 8:26) appear to be directed at you in the attitude of mocking, demeaning, and beckoning, I ask that you immediately turn away so that you are not persuaded by cunning and devious means to separate yourself from truth and its blessings.”

Surely, our desire to follow Christ, who is the Light of the World (see John 8:12), means we must act on His teachings. We are spiritually strengthened, fortified, and protected as we act on the word of God.”

The greater the light in our lives, the fewer the shadows. However, even in an abundance of light, we are exposed to people and comments that misrepresent our beliefs and try our faith. The Apostle James wrote that “the trying of [our] faith worketh patience” (James 1:3). With this insight, Elder Neal A. Maxwell taught, “A patient disciple … will not be surprised nor undone when the Church is misrepresented” (“Patience” [Brigham Young University devotional, Nov. 27, 1979],”

Elder Jose L. Alonso,Love One Another as He Has Loved Us
In today’s world of so much suffering because of different circumstances, sending a text message with a funny emoji or posting a nice picture with the words “I love you” is good and valuable. But what many of us need to do is leave our mobile devices behind and, with our hands and feet, help others in great need. Love without service is like faith without works; it’s dead indeed.”

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.

We, likewise, can have joy and happiness as we serve and forgive others.”

Elder Neil L Anderson, The Voice of the Lord
“In the commotion and confusion of our modern world, trusting and believing in the words of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve is vital to our spiritual growth and endurance.”

For the First Presidency and the Twelve, who normally speak each conference, the enormous responsibility of preparing their messages is both a recurring burden and a sacred trust.”

(Thomas S. Monson, “Until We Meet Again,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2014, 115.)
“Take the time to read the conference messages.”

Quoting Elder Hales: ‘When we choose to have faith, we are prepared to stand in the presence of God. … After the Savior’s Crucifixion, He appeared only to those ‘who had been faithful in the testimony of [Him] while they lived in mortality.’ [D&C 138:12.] Those ‘who rejected the testimonies … of the … prophets [could not] behold [the Savior’s] presence, nor look upon his face.’ [D&C 138:21.] … Our faith prepares us to be in the presence of the Lord.’”

We should not be alarmed when the words of the Lord’s servants run counter to the thinking of the world and, at times, our own thinking. It has always been this way.”