Instant Post-Conference Thoughts: Sunday P.M. (October ’17)

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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.

President Eyring opened with a lovely tribute to Elder Robert D. Hales. Lovely man, great leader. I’m gonna miss him. Pretty confident he will rest in peace. I also like that he just barely got sustained yesterday.

• I LOVE “Have I Done Any Good in the World Today.” Not so much the musicality, but the lyrics are one of the great calls to action in the church. A personal mantra of sorts.

• Had to go re-wash my hands. Don’t want to get buffalo sauce on my keyboard.

 

Elder M. Russell Ballard “The Church is stronger… than it was the day I was first baptized.”

“The early saints were not perfect, but they established a foundation upon which we are building families and a society that loves and keeps commandments…”

Talked about the importance of retaining our ties to our pioneer ancestors (I’m lucky, because I have a bunch of them.)

He is busy calling people out for seeking “secret knowledge” and warned us against listening to those who don’t have callings and authority. Watch out for get-rich or get healthy quick schemes. Don’t give money to them. (I’ll look for the actual quotes, but this was rapid-fire awesomeness.)

“Welcome and embrace anyone who is making their own Trek today, no matter where they are in their journey.”

One thing I love about Elder Ballard is that he is very current, and not afraid to bring down the hammer. He managed to take on apostasy, racism, sexism, nationalism, get-rich-quick schemes, and quack medicine – all in 45 seconds. The hammer has been dropped.

 

Tad R. Callister (Sunday School President): Testimony of the Book of Mormon. How did a farm boy write something so complex, both historically and doctrinally?

MMM personal witness: Being a writer has only increased by testimony that there is no freaking way Joseph Smith could have written the Book of Mormon in 65 days with one draft. Flat out impossible. It required divine intervention.

“God’s fingerprints are all over the Book of Mormon.”  Amen and amen. “While some may choose to believe the critics, for me it is a intellectual and spiritual dead end.”

A powerful, compelling witness of the Book of Mormon.  He’s the Sunday school President, laying down some serious Gospel Doctrine.

“While some may choose to believe the critics, for me it is a intellectual and spiritual dead end.”

“We not only have the privilege to defend the Book of Mormon but the opportunity to take the offense—to preach with power.”

I didn’t take many notes, because I was too engaged it what he said. So, so good.

 

Elder Joni L. Koch. (Brazilero, former president of the Mozambique mission.) A lovely talk about unity, and yet another shot across the bow of racism.

“The Lord expects us to be one…we should leave behind our differences, including race, social status, political preferences and concentrate on our common spiritual objectives.”

“So many ways to destroy unity.” 

“Sometimes we put permanent labels on someone.” “We have no right to portray anybody as a badly finished product.”

“Our words about our fellow beings should reflect our belief in Jesus Christ and His Atonement.”

“What really determines, solidifies or destroys our unity is how we act when we are apart from our Church members.”

Spoke a lot about sustaining our leaders, and being aware of how we speak about them. This has a been brought up quite often in this Conference.

 

• This feels like the “Mic Drop” session of Conference.

 

Elder Stanley G. Ellis. “God Trusts Us.”  “The question for this Conference is, Do we trust Him?”

“It seems clear that hard is good. It makes us stronger.”

One of the great church quotes of all time: Joseph Smith: “A religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things never has the power sufficient to produce the faith necessary unto life and salvation”

“In the world of nature, hard is part of the circle of life. It is hard for a baby chick to hatch out of that tough eggshell. But when someone tries to make it easier, the chick does not develop the strength necessary to live.”

“Hard is the constant! We all have challenges. The variable is our reaction to the hard.”

Note to self: Make kids suffer.

“The Lord has taught me that discouragement and fear are tools of the adversary.”

I like the hope in this part: “Regardless of the issue, hard can be good for those who will move forward with faith & trust the Lord & His plan.”

 

• So, I mentioned that they front-loaded the first session, but it looks like they saved some of the best ammo for the last.

 

Adilson de Paula Parella talked about his family’s conversion story, and heading back to Brazil to find a wife. Funny story. It was fast, but not fast by Provo standards.  Haha!

One of the great blessing of the Gospel is having a correct idea of the true nature of God. “How blessed we are to know that God is a being with a body of flesh and bones as tangible as ours.” (That is a big deal to anyone coming from a religion based on the Nicene Creed)

“He is a loving God who provided a plan through which we can enjoy happiness in this life and in eternity.”

A lovely testimony of the Savior: “Jesus is the promised Messiah, the Lawgiver, the Holy One of Israel, our Lord, our Savior, our Redeemer, our King, our All.”

 

• Elder Ian S. Ardern might challenge President Uchtdorf for coolest agent. New Zealand.

“Our Savior Jesus Christ, is the light of the world and He beckons us to follow Him.”

He is also a veritable quote machine:

“The greater the light in our lives the fewer the shadows.”  (Third talk about light)

“Questions about our Church history and beliefs do arise. Where we turn to find the correct answers requires great care.”

“As we study from the best books we protect ourselves against the menacing jaws of those that seek to gnaw at our spiritual roots.”

“Questions are an invitation to build our faith and should not fuel a passing moment of deceiving doubt.”

 

• It was at this moment that I picked up the remote an turned off the cable box, losing the last few minutes of Elder Adern’s talk. Yeah, I got dirty looks.

 

• Elder Jose Alonso. Born in Mexico – Surgeon?pediatrics

Told a tragic story of a boy Cooper who was killed in a car crash. Makes me want to hug everyone. Anyone.

“Love without service is like faith without works; it’s dead indeed.”

“Love is a combination of actions as well as deep feelings.”

“What many of us need to do is leave our mobile devices behind & with our hands & feet, help others in great need.” (A great thought, and I just got a handle on putting my phone away when I drive.)

 

• I enjoy the international sessions with more, shorter talks.

 

And to wrap things up, Elder Neil A. Anderson teach about how General Conference talks come to pass. They are not assigned. And it sounds like it is tough.

“General conference is one of the very important times He gives direction to His Church and to us personally”

“Trusting and believing in the words of the First Presidency & Quorum of the Twelve is vital to our spiritual growth & endurance.”

“Thoughts and feelings will come into your mind that are customized especially for you.” Talking about the type of inspiration we can receive listening to conference, and studying them later. (Here’s a plug for my “Nudge List” idea.)

Interesting: He is reading quotes from some of the talks given today and yesterday – even Elder Ballard from earlier in the same session. Then “because we have an extra minute” he read some remarks that Elder Hales had written:

“When we choose to have faith we stand in the presence of God. Our faith prepares us to stand in the presence of God.”

He shared with us that President Nelson took off quickly after the morning session, skipped lunch and arrived at Elder Hales bedside before he passed.

I don’t recall a talk like this that was not completely written and rewritten long before it is delivered. I kinda like the spontaneity of it.

 

• My Apple Watch keeps telling me that it is time to stand up.  Amen.

• I have no idea who Julie Olson is, but she does these “Conference Sketches” that I stumbled upon. I think they are cool. Check them out: https://twitter.com/julieolsonbooks

• Another great session, made al the more poignant by Elder Hales passing. Another great Conference.

• Don’t forget to keep track of your “Nudge Lists” and keep them accessible.

• Thanks for putting up with me – God Bless!

7 COMMENTS

  1. When Elder Andersen talked about Elder Nelson being there when Elder Hales passed he said something along the lines of “His quorum president was there…” I loved that…the thought of one with a leadership responsibility ministering so personally and with such with love.

  2. Love reading your thoughts on all the conference sessions! Thanks for sharing.

    Fun fact: Elder Anderson’s talk wasn’t spontaneous. (The choir loft gives a fascinating view of conference.) 😉 All the quotes he shared from earlier sessions were on the teleprompter. The teleprompter only stopped when he read the message from Elder Hales.

    • That is cool! Thanks for passing on. He must have been very busy between sessions, or he pulled them from advance copies of the talks.

  3. Being military overseas, we do Conference a week later, and I love getting a preview from your blog before I watch it. It is always awesome to recognize something you mentioned. Your thoughts help get me pumped for Conference and I find I get more out of it. So I guess this is a Thanks!

  4. Thank you so much for your ‘Readers’ Digest’ of the conference! It will help me remember and be able to share thoughts with my co-workers!
    This morning I wrote this in my journal…

    Tuesday, October 3, 2017

    This past weekend was General Conference, with the weekend prior being the General Women’s Conference. The major theme that I could see for me was to keep Jesus Christ the focus of my life; without doing that, I could not withstand this evil day. Part of the other themes was on how I could and should do, and be, better.
    Then the next morning, Monday October 2nd, that ‘evil day’ nudged its way into our lives once again with the news of a massacre in Las Vegas where at last count 59 people were killed, and over 500 injured.
    I know I should do, and be, better. But I never feel ‘up to par’. And when I hear a talk that refers to the Lord saying, “Well done, though good and faithful servant,” I have NEVER felt that could ever happen to me and always dismissed it for me in favor of everyone else.
    Well, today is a different day for me. This morning as I was silently giving thanks to my Father in Heaven for his blessings, naming many of them including my cereal, a thought entered my head. It went something like this:

    An established and well-known artist had a son, and as soon as this little guy could hold a pencil, he showed signs of artistic talent. So the father encourage his young son and as he grew, his talent became sure.
    When the man’s son came home from Kindergarten with a drawing he had made of the sun and some trees, his father said to him, “Well done, son! You did a fine job! Next time it will be even better, I’m sure!”
    When the man’s son came home from his 5th-grade class with a watercolor painting of a landscape with wild animals, his father said to him, “Well done, son! This is a beautiful job! Next time it will be more beautiful, I’m sure!”
    When the man’s son came home from high school with an oil-painting of his mother, his father said to him, “Well done, son! What a magnificent piece! You captured your mother almost perfectly! I can’t wait to see what you do next!”
    When the man’s son came home from art school with an acrylic painting of Jesus Christ, his father said to him, “Well done, my son! You truly have hit the mark! You captured the amazing grace of our Savior in this piece! What a treasure it is! I can’t wait to see more of what you can do!”

    Then without warning, I received a very short and sweet “hug and kiss” from my Father, my Savior, and the Holy Ghost, that they surely love me and are pleased with what I think are my paltry efforts. They let me know that at whatever stage of life I may move on through the veil, that my efforts will be accepted, for they know I will not be perfect for a very long time beyond the veil. Well-done and perfect are not the same thing! Joy filled me as I began to understand that there is great hope that I, too, will hear those words, “Well done,” spoken to me!
    I thanked my Father in Heaven for such a wonderful little insight and tender mercy, with its hope and encouragement to keep on trying and moving on toward Them.

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