Not every speaker is represented here. There was probably a ton more that I could have included but these were some of the highlights that were particularly meaningful to me personally. I’ll include some commentary here and there at the end of each list.
Stephen W. Owen
- “They starved to death with their stomachs full.”
- “They went through the motions of spirituality but were not converted.”
- This is a day of spiritual malnutrition.
- “[Satan] is the master of distraction and author of procrastination.”
I really liked how the story of the deer eating the hay in winter can apply to us filling ourselves with things that don’t nourish. I have felt like this is a problem for many of our members for a long time, especially the youth. We feel safe and secure as members because of the church around us but we need to have a personal relationship with God that is real and living.
D. Todd Christofferson
- Having religion or faith in God will not protect you from bad things. When our faith is strong, if bad things happen, and they will, we will be able to deal with them.
- “Be intentional about creating time and space to hear God’s voice.”
- “Act without delay. When you receive promptings and act with intention, the Lord can use you.”
- “Get your errand from the Lord.”
- If you ask questions like that, you will feel nudges from the Holy Spirit as to who you can help.
- “You can pray and ask the Lord for an errand.”
I need to be better about this, a lot better. I felt a call to turn to God and incorporate some of these things back into my life from her talk.Read Full Post
Bishop Dean M. Davies begins by sharing a story that involved the selection of a temple site with Gordon B. Hinckley. While on the surface the story itself isn’t all that impressive to me personally. One side of my mind says that this was merely a matter of selecting a different site out of many that could have equally worked.
President Hinckley was a senior man with decades of experience, insight, and intelligence and had an idea in his mind of what to look for. The implication is that the Lord was directing all of this and I’m not saying that he wasn’t. On the one hand, this isn’t a mind-blowing story, it’s not parting a sea or translating ancient scripture, but on the other, maybe there is a different message.Read Full Post
Elder D. Todd Christofferson is someone that I look forward to hearing from and his talks always seem to have some very rich ideas in them that are worth pondering. He started off talking about Elijah and the priests of Baal, interesting stuff worthy of a whole post but I feel more like skipping ahead.
In the most recent general conference, President Russell M. Nelson declared: “You don’t have to wonder about what is true. You do not have to wonder whom you can safely trust. Through personal revelation, you can receive your own witness that the Book of Mormon is the word of God, that Joseph Smith is a prophet, and that this is the Lord’s Church. Regardless of what others may say or do, no one can ever take away a witness borne to your heart and mind about what is true.”
The quote is consistent with my experience, at least in principle. There is a wrestle that occurs in the search for truth. The desire of the individual is the key factor in whether or not they find what they are looking for. In this pursuit, one will become very well acquainted with failure as various avenues are explored.Read Full Post
I really loved this talk. I like most talks from Dallin H. Oaks because he doesn’t share a lot of touchy-feely stories, he sticks to the doctrine. One of my favorite quotes is “great leaders kill ambiguity” from Scott Belsky the founder of Behance and Oaks is a great leader.
“Modern revelation defines truth as a “knowledge of things as they are, and as they were, and as they are to come” (Doctrine and Covenants 93:24). That is a perfect definition for the plan of salvation and “The Family: A Proclamation to the World.”
This is such a powerhouse statement and it is worth reading in reverse; the Proclamation is part of the plan of salvation and the truth of how things are, were, and are to come. On the contrary, the world is wrong about a lot of things; they are, they were, and they will be in the future.Read Full Post
“Please do not focus primarily upon the logistical aspects of what has been announced. We must not allow procedural details to obscure the overarching spiritual reasons these changes now are being made.”
This is an important statement because it is all too easy to look at the logistics of a thing rather than understanding the spiritual foundation. I love these changes because I think that they take away constraints that have allowed me to focus more specifically on needs rather than utilizing more time worrying about scheduling visits for everyone when other things might be more valuable. True, you could do both, but why place unnecessary constraints on people?Read Full Post
“Some years ago, one of our young married daughters and her husband asked Sister Rasband and me a very important, life-influencing question: ‘Is it still safe and wise to bring children into this seemingly wicked and frightening world we live in?’”
Elder Ronald A. Rasband introduces a common question that might just as well be valid to ask in virtually any time in human history. Regardless of the nature of the culture, this world is inherently and by design a risky and dangerous place. The way I see it, if we are still alive and the work is still in motion, then it is still our duty to bring children into the world. The Rasband’s answer to their children “Yes, it’s more than OK,” was great.Read Full Post
This year our grandchildren wrote the topic of their message on stones and then, one by one, buried them next to one another, representing a sure foundation upon which a happy life is established.
I think it is cool to do things like this with kids (sure, and adults too). Stories like these that Elder Steven R. Bangerter shared sound like something you would read about in scripture as a parable or relating to an event like the Lamanites literally burying their weapons of war. Acting out symbolic gestures can imprint unique things upon the mind and help draw connections to other doctrines and principles.
Jesus Christ is that precious cornerstone in the foundation of Zion. It was He who revealed to the Prophet Joseph Smith: “Wherefore, be not weary in well-doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great work. And out of small things proceedeth that which is great.”
Underestimating the power of what we perceive to be “small things” was a theme in this conference and something that I think humanity has universally struggled with throughout history.Read Full Post
Frequently, our first reaction to hard things is “Why me?
This is true, but why? Hard things happen to everyone all the time, so why don’t we anticipate them? Why do we feel that somehow we should be shielded from hard things while everyone else isn’t?
Joseph Smith confronted a hard thing in Liberty Jail. With no relief in sight and in despair, Joseph cried out, “O God, where art thou?” No doubt some of us have felt as Joseph did.
This dialogue between Joseph and God that M. Joseph Brough relates is remarkably intimate, relatable, and revealing. It is a testament to how close God always is, even when we are deep within dark places. He has the power to immediately end the suffering, but he forbears. He sees more than we do, around us, inside us, and beyond us.Read Full Post
Elder Quentin L. Cook expanded on the details of the new changes to the Sunday Schedule and numerous ways that it can help impact the lives of the saints for the good. I’m thrilled about this new direction, the loss of an hour is barely noticeable when compared to the greater vision of what is trying to be accomplished here.
“With respect to the Sunday meeting schedule, the senior leaders of the Church have been aware for many years that for some of our precious members, a three-hour Sunday schedule at church can be difficult.”
The current 3-hour block came about in 1980, I believe, but that third hour was still part of the weekly worship. Three straight hours does take a lot of people and time to accomplish every 7 days, 365 days per year.Read Full Post
In keeping with the purpose of this blog as my personal study journal, I’m going to be doing something new. This last General Conference was particularly inspiring for me, as I’m sure it was for many.
I want to dig deep into the talks and post of some of my thoughts here as part of my study process and make them available for any others who may be interested (which is why this is a public blog). I may not do a post for every talk, some talks didn’t feel like they had anything in particular for me and I’m not going to try and force insights where I don’t feel any coming naturally just for the sake of including everyone.
I’ll begin with Russell M. Nelson’s introductory remarks at the Saturday Morning Session to kick things off. I think this is an important one, this is the beginning of something great.
“It is time for ‘home-centered’ church.”
What comes to mind first is the idea that this is the start of something that could be a very positive direction for us as a people. My second thought is the words of Nephi who said: “And thus we see that by small means the Lord can bring about great things.” (1 Nephi 16:29)Read Full Post
I was originally going to post this on facebook, but I decided to post it here because it’s a kind of interesting little situation that I can kind of relate to.
During this fall’s General Conference, Devin Durrant gave a talk about this concept called “ponderizing” and really sought to draw emphasis to the word “ponderize” and the many ways you could use it to study and learn scriptures. But soon after that talk a website appeared promoting “Ponderize” merchandise, uh oh!
At first glance, this looks pretty bad. Here’s a guy who gives a conference talk and uses that sacred platform to promote t-shirt and silicone bracelet sales. It seems really shallow and priestcrafty (that’s a new word) on its surface.Read Full Post