Note: These are the instant, mildly-filtered things that ran through my brain and heart as I watched this session of General Conference. If you are looking for deep, spiritual analysis, this is not the place. Drive on. Please check back later for that, after I have had some time to process.
• This morning I felt like one of the 10 virgins. I was out running around getting donuts and necessary liquid. (Not lamp oil) and almost did not get back before Conference started. But, all things worked to my benefit and thankfully I got here right before it started. (I am also thankful that I am not a virgin. Wrong place?)
• Nice opening hymn that I am unfamiliar with about the prophet. Nice tribute, being that President Monson can’t attend.
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf:
Bobby the Wonderdog is reminiscent of “Incredible Journey. He found his way home after being lost on a family vacation. Meanwhile, our dog runs into walls.
Do we all have an instinct that draws us homeward? That is what President Uchtdorf talked about. “The sublime message of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is that God is our Father” & “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 & embrace Heavenly Parents we once knew & cherished.”
“Blessings come not because of our abilities but because of our choices,”
Too many quotes to keep up, but a steady reminder that we are all human, fallible, and that great things can come from small things. “The kingdom is full of people who feel inadequate.”
He also dropped a quote that seems a bit Dumbledore: “It is your choices, far more than your abilities that will determine your blessings.”
“Life is not a self-driving car. It is not a plane on autopilot. You cannot float on the waters of life and hope that the current takes you where you want to go.”
We need to heed the call of our Savior and follow him. The purpose of the Church is to encourage, teach, lift and inspire… it is designed to bless your life.
Lots of good, upbeat motivational stuff to encourage us to follow the Savior, within the Church, serve others, and stop worrying about what we lack. If we draw closer to God, our lives will be better.
Sister Bonnie Oscarson, YW President talked about how losing ourselves in service is how we actually save ourselves. ‘Unless we lose ourselves in service to others, there is little purpose to our own lives.”
Cautioned that there is a risk of using our technology to turn inward, rather than focusing on personal, tangible relationships. I would agree.
Some of the most significant needs we can meet are in our homes, and those closest to us. We don’t need to do something huge, far away. We can make a difference right around us. “What good does it do to save the world if we neglect the needs of those closest to us and those whom we love most?” (Interesting timing for this message, given the natural disasters all around the world.)
“Changing the world begins with strengthening your own family.” YES!
I LOVE her discussion that you don’t always go to your meetings for YOU, you go for OTHERS. “We are not just receivers and takers of what is offered at church. We are givers and suppliers.”
• Sis. Oscarson nailed it. I never thought I’d say this, but the bar is pretty high for Elder Oaks.
Elder Dalin H. Oaks vs. The World (My money is on Elder Oaks)
He went through a litany of scriptures about not loving the world and not being a friend of the world. There are lots. Condemning popularity and seeking world things.
“Salvation is an individual matter, but exaltation is a family matter.” (Two in a row about importance of families)
“Latter-day Saints who understand God’s Plan of Salvation have a unique world view.” Those of us who understand the gospel are required to choose the Lord’s way.
Family Proclamation: Highlighted cohabitation and same-sex marriage, and raising kids in those circumstances. Basically, just because the world has warmed to it, doesn’t make it right.
“Balance the competing demands of balancing the Gospel and showing love to all.”
(If you look up the word “Unapologetic” in the dictionary, you’ll find a picture of Elder Oaks.)
(Coincidentally, I just went through the first part of the Family Proclamation in my Sunday school class the other day. It is amazing how prophetic that document is, and how out-of-step we are with the trends of the world.)
He went through the history of the Family Proclamation. Very cool – I encourage you to go back and read it. Modern day prophecy. “The proclamation on the family is a statement of eternal truth, the will of the Lord for His children.”
“Every generation has its tests and its chance to stand and prove itself.” -President Ezra Taft Benson. Elder Oaks: “Our attitude towards the Family Proclamation is one of this generation’s tests.” That is HUGE. (I’m sure some are unhappy with this – I hope they stick around, and take it to the Lord and work through it.)
• Elder Oaks talk was an IMPORTANT talk. A “sifting” kinda talk.
• Donut break.
Elder John Pingree: Four Principles for doing the work God has for us.
- Focus on others
- Discover and develop spiritual gifts
- Make use of adversity
- Rely on God
“It’s God’s work. I am like a pencil in His hand.” – Mother Theresa
Elder D. Todd Christofferson spoke about the sacrament. (I always love talks about the sacrament, yet I rarely find much to comment about in them.)
“If we yearn to dwell in Christ and for Him to dwell in us, then holiness is what we seek.”
“We seek holiness as we take up our cross daily”
“We seek it even in the details of our living daily: speech, our dress, our thoughts.”
“Most often it is the sacrifices we make to keep our covenants that sanctify us and make us holy.”
This is one of those talks that causes some uncomfortable self-reflection. “God will show us our flaws and failings, but he will also help us turn weakness into strength.” “Let us not be content with where we are, but neither let us be discouraged.” (I wrote about this two weeks ago LINK.)
Early Church members put “Holiness to the Lord” on all such of stuff. Pretty cool. Suggesting we need to focus on it all the time.
• Oaks and Holland? Together? Already? Whoa!
Elder Jeffrey Holland picked up where Elder Christofferson left off – Celestial goals can seem beyond out reach, such as “Be ye therefor perfect.”
He has heard many saints expressing concern that they just can’t be good enough.
“As children of God we should not demean or vilify ourselves”
“As children of God we should not demean or vilify ourselves” (Yes, I put it twice.)
“I would hope we could pursue personal improvement in a way that doesn’t include getting ulcers…”
“I believe that Jesus did not intend his sermon on this subject (perfection) to be a verbal hammer for battering us into 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.” (I had to rewind three times to get that down.)
Our inability to reach perfection is not an excuse to goof off our dumb down our behavior, and the only way we will receive perfection is as a gift from God.
Told the story of the “Parable of the Unmerciful Servant.” (Matthew 18)
“Let’s strive for steady improvement, without obsessing over what behavioral scientist call “toxic perfectionism.” We should avoid that latter excessive exception of ourselves, and of others, and, I might add, of those who are called to serve in the Church, which, in the Church, means everyone.”
He referenced a great quote from Leo Tolstoy – here is a fuller version of it:
“I reply that I am to blame, and vile, and worthy of scorn because I do not fulfill them, but in this respect not so much in the way of exculpation, as in explanation of my inconsistency, I say:”Look at my former life and look at my life now, and you will see that I am trying to fulfil them. I have not fulfilled one ten thousandth part, it is true, and I am to blame ; but I have not fulfilled them, not because I have not wanted to, but because I could not. Teach me how to disentangle myself from the net of temptations in which I am caught ; help me, and I will fulfil them.” (Leo Tolstoy)
He This was a great pep talk for when we are being to hard on ourselves, without excusing us, but rather pointing us towards the Savior.
• And it is break time! See you in a couple hours!