“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?
Segmenting and Separating
“Sometimes as members of the Church we segment, separate, and apply the gospel in our lives by creating lengthy checklists of individual topics to study and tasks to accomplish. But such an approach potentially can constrain our understanding and vision. We must be careful because pharisaical focus upon checklists can divert us from drawing closer to the Lord.”
There is nothing wrong with being organized, but often I think that we view the completion of certain goals as a success when not much was actually accomplished. I can go home teaching by showing up at someone’s house, reading a quote and saying ‘see you next month’ but what real good did the visit do? Maybe it did some good for that person, but when the same strategy is being applied to every person and family it can become monotonous, and priority on that specific goal and detract from other important needs.
“…the power of the Savior’s gospel to transform and bless us flows from discerning and applying the interrelatedness of its doctrine, principles, and practices. Only as we gather together in one all things in Christ, with firm focus upon Him, can gospel truths synergistically enable us to become what God desires us to become and endure valiantly to the end.”
I’ve read Elder Bednar’s 3-part book series that starts with Increase in Learning and what he mentions here is what his books revolve around. This idea of interrelatedness and seeing how things fit and relate to one another is very important and can help to increase our faith and motivation when our vision is expanded.
Learning and Linking Gospel Truths
“As we learn and link together revealed gospel truths, we are blessed to receive precious perspective and increased spiritual capacity through eyes that can see the Lord’s influence in our lives and ears that can hear His voice.”
This is true because God doesn’t see individual events as isolated moments, his vision encompasses everything and he comprehends it all. As we begin to do the same by starting with his gospel and teachings, we can indeed see with his eyes and even think his thoughts. This is the process of conversion and becoming one with God as Jesus once prayed. (John 17)
“God has revealed a pattern of spiritual progress for individuals and families through ordinances, teaching, programs, and activities that are home centered and Church supported. Church organizations and programs exist to bless individuals and families and are not ends in themselves. Priesthood and auxiliary leaders and teachers seek to assist parents, not to supersede or replace them.” Handbook 2: Administering the Church (2010), 1.4; emphasis added.
Has this quote from Handbook 2 been there since 2010? I thought that the phrase “home-centered and church-supported” was something new at this conference and while 2010 wasn’t really that long ago, it helps to reinforce Bednar’s examples about the changes over the years.
“I began my message by highlighting the strength that is created as individual strands of material are twisted or braided together into a rope. In a similar way, I promise that increased perspective, purpose, and power will be evident in our learning and living of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ as we strive to gather together in one all things in Christ—even in Him.”
I was thinking the other day about how I struggle quite a bit with my memory in certain areas. Remembering names, for example, is a real struggle for me. I will forget the names of people I have known for years and see every week at church. The name will be there but I will look at them and the name will instantly disappear, it’s very annoying.
When it comes to the gospel subjects I study, however, everything sticks. I have something that borders on a photographic memory when it comes to gospel subjects and I think it is because of how unified these various things have become in my mind. Everything is linked together somehow and that web holds these memories together as a whole.
I’m been thinking about how to do that with names. Mnemonics help more than anything, but maybe the secret is in the same principle of gathering together all things in one.