Posted in General Conference, Holy Ghost, Inspirational

Sunday Afternoon session April 2017

Elder D Todd Christofferson

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It becometh every man who has been warned to warn his neighbour.

Who is my neighbour that I should warn? [The parable of the Good Samaritan].

The motivation for raising the warning voice is love.

It means teaching children the doctrine of Christ.

Jesus was not hesitant to warn.

He devoted time to sinners.

His warnings and commandments were direct.

[Shame culture]. A culture of over sensitivity, over reaction and moral panics.

As watchmen and disciples we cannot be neutral.

Do not abandon those who would welcome truth to flounder and flail in ignorance.

Psalms 40:10 I have not hid thy righteousness within my heart; I have declared thy faithfulness and thy salvation: I have not concealed thy lovingkindness and thy truth from the great congregation.

Elder Joaquin E Costa

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[Story of conversion]

  1. Once you meet the missionaries please take them seriously.

2. If this is the first time you have attended a Church meeting …do not worry I was clueless too….Remember the feelings you have experienced. They come from God.

3. Reading the Book of Mormon. Moroni 10:4.

4. Repenting. Alma 42:1. [Reading it with his name in it]. We continued reading slowly verse by verse…The book spoke directly to me. ..I had expected to receive revelation without paying the price….Every decision I have made in my life was influenced by that moment…Nothing brings you closer to Jesus Christ than a desire to change.

[A simple but effective and moving talk aimed at investigators}

Elder S Mark Palmer

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[Experience as a Mission President. Missionary who didn’t like people. New Testament story of rich young man. Noticed 6 words.] ‘Then Jesus beholding him loved him”

He felt an overwhelming love and compassion for this young man and because of this love he asked even more of him.

How can I be filled with Christ like love so that the missionary can see that in me and want to change.

I prayed for the gift of charity that I might see each missionary as the Lord sees them.

  1. As we learn to see others as the Lord sees them our love for them will grow. We will never give up.
  2. No teaching or learning will will ever be done in frustration or anger.
  3. Love should never be withdrawn when a child, friend or family member fails to live up to our expectations.
  4. Because He loves us the Lord expects much of us.

Proverbs 3:11-12 My son, despise not the chastening of the LORD; neither be weary of his correction:

For whom the LORD loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth.

Elder Gary E Stevenson

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[Story of 9 year old teaching a family home evening] How can the Holy Ghost help you?

[Story of his father telling him not to climb on a rock. Later found rattle snake there. Was warned by the Holy Ghost] see https://www.lds.org/ensign/2016/06/elder-gary-e-stevenson-an-understanding-heart?lang=eng

The Holy Ghost is the third member of the Godhead.

The Holy Ghost has a spirit body.

The gift of the Holy Ghost comes by the laying on of hands.

[Story of missionaries kept safe in Japan following tsunami and nuclear accident]

The Holy Ghost will help you by warning you.

John 14:16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another aComforter, that he may babide with you for ever;

[The role of the Holy Ghost as Comforter]

The Holy Ghost will help you by comforting you.

The Holy Ghost will help you by testifying to you.

It is vital that we keep the gift of the Holy Ghost.

Stay close to the Spirit and the Spirit will stay close to you.

Elder C Scott Grow

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[Addressed to Young Adults]

  1. For aGod so bloved the cworld, that he dgave his eonly begotten fSon, that whosoever gbelieveth in him should not perish, but have heverlasting ilife.
  2. And this is alife beternal, that they might cknow thee the only true dGod, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast esent.

[Final testimony of Bruce R McConkie]

[Scripture study]

Helaman 10:4 aBlessed art thou, Nephi, for those things which thou hast done; for I have beheld how thou hast with bunwearyingness declared the word, which I have given unto thee, unto this people. And thou hast not feared them, and hast not sought thine cown life, but hast sought my dwill, and to keep my commandments.

Through our faith in his atoning sacrifice the Saviour cleanses us.

He can make more of us than we could ever make of ourselves.

[Role model – Elder Neal A Maxwell]

Knowing God is the quest of a lifetime.

God knows you and invites you to know him.

Elder Benjamin De Hoyos

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[Would we have followed Christ if we had lived in His day]

One of the great standards of these latter days is this great General Conference.

What has the Lord revealed to President Monson that we need to be doing?

Line upon line and precept upon precept.

[Ways to shine a light]:

1.Observing the sabbath day

2. Serving those on both sides of the veil

3, Teaching in the Saviour’s way

Elder Quentin L Cook

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Personal foundations are usually laid slowly.

Malcolm Gladwell – the 10000 hour rule.

10000 hours of practice are required to obtain the mastery to be a world call expert on anything.

Spiritual guidance is received when needed in the Lord’s time and according to his will.

Weekly participation in weekly sacrament meetings has spiritual implications that we do not fully understand.

[Story of the woman with the issue of blood]

The foundations of faith should be the great desire of our heart.

The completion of the Kirtland Temple was foundational for the entire church.

[Story of Parley P Pratt’s disaffection from Joseph Smith] Joseph frankly forgave Parley.

Adversity should not be viewed as either disfavour of the Lord or a withdrawal of his blessings.

D&C 122:7 if the heavens gather blackness, and all the elements combine to chedge up the way; and above all, if the very jaws of dhell shall gape open the mouth wide after thee, know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee eexperience, and shall be for thy good.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in General Conference, Inspirational

Saturday Afternoon Session April 2017

[Why bother to go to Conference if you are opposed to the Brethren?]

[Excited that our friend Roy Tunnicliffe was called as an Area Seventy]

Statistical report

The First Presidency has issued the following statistical report concerning the growth and status of the Church as of December 31, 2016.

CHURCH UNITS

Stakes

3,266

Missions

421

Districts

556

Wards and branches

30,304

CHURCH MEMBERSHIP

Total membership

15,882,417

New children of record

109,246

Converts baptized

240,131

MISSIONARIES

Full-time missionaries

70,946

Church-service missionaries

33,695

TEMPLES

Temples rededicated
(Suva Fiji, Freiburg Germany)

2

Temples dedicated
(Provo City Center, Sapporo Japan, Philadelphia Pennsylvania, Fort Collins Colorado, Star Valley Wyoming, Hartford Connecticut)

6

Temples in operation at the end of 2016

155

Elder Robert D Hales

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[Looking gaunt and frail but voice was strong]

Genuine discipleship is a state of being. This suggests more than studying and applying a list of individual attributes. Disciples live so that the characteristics of Christ are woven into the fiber of their beings, as into a spiritual tapestry.

Listen to the Apostle Peter’s invitation to become a disciple of the Savior:

“Giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;

“And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;

“And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity” [2 Peter 1:5–7].

As you can see, weaving the spiritual tapestry of personal discipleship requires more than a single thread.

In the Saviour’s day there were many…who practised selective obedience.

The attributes of the Savior, as we perceive them, are not a script to be followed or list to be checked off. They are interwoven characteristics, added one to another, which develop in us in interactive ways. In other words, we cannot obtain one Christlike characteristic without also obtaining and influencing others. As one characteristic becomes strong, so do many more.

D&C 4 – faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is the foundation.

Faith is the catalyst.

Virtue is more than sexual purity.

Virtue is also a power.

We embody Christ not only in what we say and do but in who we are.

As tempered disciples we live the gospel in a tempered and balanced way.

When faced with the storms of tribulation we ask ‘What wouldst thou have me learn from this experience?’

We delight in the agency of others and the opportunity it gives them to grow.

We bless them that curse us. We do good to them that spitefully abuse us.

Brothers and sisters, now more than ever, we cannot be “part-time disciples”! We cannot be a disciple on just one point of doctrine or another.… The constellation of characteristics that result from faith in Christ—including the ones we have talked about today—are all necessary to our standing strong in these last days

I testify that everyone can be a disciple of the Savior. Discipleship is not constrained by gender, age, ethnic origin or calling. …Now is the time to recommit ourselves to being His disciples with all diligence.

Elder Jeffrey R Holland

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Among the realities we face as children of God living in a fallen world is that some days are difficult, days when our faith and our fortitude are tested. These challenges may come from a lack in us, a lack in others, or just a lack in life, but whatever the reasons, we find they can rob us of songs we so much want to sing and darken the promise of “springtime in [the] soul” that Eliza Hewitt celebrates in one of her verses [“There Is Sunshine in My Soul Today,Hymns, no. 227].

So what do we do in such times?

Hope for that which we see not and in patience wait for it.

We should stand as close as humanly possible to the Saviour and Redeemer of the world who has ‘perfect pitch’.

On those days when we feel a little out of tune…remember that it is by divine design that all the voices in God’s choir are nor the same.

Diversity is not cacophony and choirs do require discipline.

Our Heavenly Father delights to have us sing in out own voice and not in someone else’s.

When I see the staggering economic inequality in the world I feel guilty…

…guns and slurs and vitriol are not the way to settle human conflict.

Brothers and sisters, we live in a mortal world with many songs we cannot or do not yet sing. But I plead with each one of us to stay permanently and faithfully in the choir, where we will be able to savor forever that most precious anthem of all—“the song of redeeming love” [Alma 5:26; see also Alma 26:13]. Fortunately, the seats for this particular number are limitless.

There is room for the single, the married, for those with large families and for the childless.

There is room in this choir for all who wish to be there.

“Come as you are,” a loving Father says to each of us, but He adds, “Don’t plan to stay as you are.” We smile and remember that God is determined to make of us more than we thought we could be.

In this great oratorio that is His plan for our exaltation, may we humbly follow His baton and keep working on the songs we cannot sing, until we can offer those “carol[s] to [our] King” [Hymns, no. 227].

And then one day we will sing and we will shout with the armies of heaven Hosanna Hosanna to God and the Lamb as Jesus descends in his chariot of fire.

[Another masterful address by Elder Holland]

Elder Gary B Sabin

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The Lord requires the heart and a willing mind [see D&C 64:34]. Our whole heart! When we are baptized, we are fully immersed as a symbol of our promise to fully follow the Savior, not half-heartedly. When we are fully committed and “all in,” heaven shakes for our good [see D&C 21:6]. When we are lukewarm or only partially committed, we lose out on some of heaven’s choicest blessings [see Revelation 3:15–16].

[Story of taking scouts camping in the desert – boy freezing all night because he didn’t want to unroll his sleeping bag]

When we are complacent with our covenants, we are complicit with the consequences. The Lord has counseled us “to beware concerning yourselves, to give diligent heed to the words of eternal life” [D&C 84:43]. And He further declared, “My blood shall not cleanse them if they hear me not” [D&C 29:17].

In reality, it is much easier to be “all in” than partially in. When we are partially in or not in at all, there is, in the Star Wars vernacular, “a disturbance in the force.” We are out of sync with God’s will and therefore out of sync with the nature of happiness [see Alma 41:11].

‘My strength is as the strength of 10 because my heart is pure’ – Tennyson

It is time to stand up and defend His plan again.

We may need to let go of the world so that we can hang onto immortality.

It is far better to follow the Creator than the crowd.

Elder Valeri V Cordon

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Language loss may happen when families move to a different land.

I noticed a similarity between preserving a mother tongue and preserving the gospel of Jesus Christ in our lives.

  1. Be more diligent in speaking the language at home.

One factor that influences language loss is when parents don’t spend time teaching their children the native language. It is not enough to merely speak the language in the home. If parents desire to preserve their language, it must be taught. Research has found that parents who make a conscious effort to be preserve the native language tend to be successful in doing so.

We can therefore conclude that powerful teaching is extremely important to preserve the gospel in our families, and it requires diligence and effort.

2. Strong modelling in the home.

You need to bring the language alive for the children.

[Story of father’s business going bankrupt. Choosing to pay tithing or buy food for the family.]

Another way language can be altered or lost is when other languages and traditions are mixed with a mother tongue.

As families, we need to avoid any tradition that will prevent us from keeping the Sabbath day holy or having daily scripture study and prayer at home. We need to close the digital doors of our home to pornography and all other evil influences. To combat the worldly traditions of our day, we need to use the scriptures and the voice of our modern prophets to teach our children about their divine identity, their purpose in life, and the divine mission of Jesus Christ.

It is my testimony that Heavenly Father will bless us in our efforts as we strive to embrace His language, even until we become fluent in this higher level of communication, which always was our mother tongue.

Elder Neal L Andersen

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Jesus said, “Be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” [John 16:33].

Later He added, “I will that ye should overcome the world” [D&C 64:2].

Overcoming the world is not one defining moment in a lifetime, but a lifetime of moments that define an eternity.

It can begin as a child learns to pray and reverently sings, “I’m trying to be like Jesus” [Children’s Songbook, 78]. It continues as a person studies the life of the Savior in the New Testament and ponders the power of the Savior’s Atonement in the Book of Mormon.

Praying, repenting, following the Savior, and receiving His grace lead us to better understand why we are here and who we are to become.

Overcoming the world is not a global invasion, but a private, personal battle, requiring hand-to-hand combat with our own internal foes.

Overcoming the world is keeping our promises to God.

Overcoming the world leads us to the sacrament every week.

Overcoming the world means turning ourselves outward.

The happiness of our spouse is more important than our own pleasure.

The world builds its universe around itself.

Overcoming the world will always mean that we will have some beliefs that will be ridiculed by the world.

The Lord gives us safety as we listen to the words of his living Prophet and apostles.

Overcoming the world is remembering the times we have felt the love and light of teh Saviour

Overcoming the world does not mean we live a cloistered life, protected from the unfairness and difficulties of mortality. Rather, it opens the more expansive view of faith, drawing us to the Savior and His promises.

[Tribute to Bruce D Porter]

May we each try a little harder in our efforts to overcome the world, not excusing serious offenses yet being patient with minor slips and falls, eagerly hastening our speed and generously helping others.

Elder M Russell Ballard

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It is my assignment is to speak to you and your assignment is to listen. My goal is to finish my assignment before you finish.

[Difference between a goal and a plan]

Our greatest and most overriding goals should fit into Heavenly Father’s eternal plan. Jesus said, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you” [3 Nephi 13:33].

Experts on goal setting tell us that the simpler and more straightforward a goal is, the more power it will have. When we can reduce a goal to one clear image or one or two powerful and symbolic words, that goal can then become part of us and guide virtually everything we think and do. I believe that there are two words that, in this context, symbolize God’s goals for us and our most important goals for ourselves. The words are return and receive.

To return to His presence and to receive the eternal blessings that come from making and keeping covenants are the most important goals we can set.

We return and receive by having “unshaken faith in [the Lord Jesus Christ], relying wholly upon” His merits, pressing “forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men [and women] … , feasting upon the word of Christ, and endur[ing] to the end” [2 Nephi 31:19–20].

Lucifer did not accept our Father’s plan…in fact he rebelled and attempted to completely modify our Father’s plan.

Because of his premortal choices Satan can neither return nor receive.

I have found that to stay focused..I need to regularly take time to ask myself ‘How am I doing?’

I like to read and ponder the introspective words found in the 5th chapter of Alma…Alma’s questions are a reminder of what our goals and plans should include in order to return and receive.

Place a copy of the Living Christ where you can see it.

Without the Living Christ our fondest expectations will be unfulfilled.

Our long term goal and plans should be that when we return to our Heavenly Father we will receive all that he has prepared for us.

 

 

 

 

Posted in General Conference, Inspirational

General Priesthood Session April 2017

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President Thomas S Monson

[President Monson appeared somewhat weak and frail but spoke well. Subtitles for his talk. Haven’t seen that before.]

The prophet Mormon outlined one of the key characteristics of the Savior and which is to be emulated by His disciples. Said he:

“And if a man be meek and lowly in heart, and confesses by the power of the Holy Ghost that Jesus is the Christ, he must needs have charity; for if he have not charity he is nothing; wherefore he must needs have charity.

“And charity suffereth long, and is kind, and envieth not, and is not puffed up, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked. …

“Wherefore, my beloved brethren, if ye have not charity, ye are nothing, for charity never faileth. Wherefore, cleave unto charity, which is the greatest of all, for all things must fail—

“But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him” [Moroni 7:44–47].

Brethren, we do not honor the priesthood of God if we are not kind to others. …

The scriptures teach us that righteous exercise of the priesthood is dependent upon our living the principles of kindness, charity, and love. …

Brethren, let us examine our lives and determine to follow the Savior’s example by being kind, loving, and charitable. As we do so, we will be in a better position to call down the powers of heaven for ourselves, for our families, and for our fellow travelers in this sometimes difficult journey back to our heavenly home.

{As in recent conferences, a very short message from the Prophet]

Elder David A Bednar

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[Subtitles gone]

Mission call letters – You are hereby called to serve as a missionary of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

A missionary is not called to a place; rather, he or she is called to serve. … “If ye have desires to serve God ye are called to the work” [D&C 4:3].

Each mission call and assignment, or a later reassignment, is the result of revelation through the Lord’s servants. A call to the work comes from God through the President of the Church.

The spiritual gifts of revelation and prophecy extend to all mission calls.

An assignment to labour in a specific place is essential and important but is secondary to a call to serve.

My experience has taught me that these principles are not generally understood by the members of the Church.

I have learned over time about the concern, worry, and even guilt felt by many missionaries who for various reasons were reassigned to a different field of labor during their time of service. Such reassignments sometimes are necessary because of events and circumstances such as physical accidents and injuries, delays and challenges in obtaining visas, political instability, creating and staffing new missions, or the evolving and ever-changing needs around the world.

When a missionary is reassigned to a different field of labor, the process is precisely the same as for the initial assignment. Members of the 12 seek inspiration and guidance in making such reassignments.

For all of the members of the Twelve, nothing affirms the reality of ongoing latter-day revelation more powerfully than seeking to discern the Lord’s will as we fulfill our responsibility to assign missionaries to their respective fields of labor. I witness the Savior knows and is mindful of each of us “one by one” and name by name.

Pattern of preparation – Priesthood, Temple, Mission.

Priesthood and temple blessings..also are necessary to fortify and strengthen us throughout our entire lives.

Please learn to live being and remaining worthy.

Going to the temple and having the spirit of the temple go through you precedes faithful service as a missionary.

Be worthy, stay worthy.

Maintaining your temple recommend demonstrates your worthiness.

Sometimes … we focus so extensively upon missionary preparation for young men that we may neglect to a degree the other vital steps along the covenant pathway. …

In our homes and at church, we should give balanced emphasis to all three elements of the Lord’s pattern of preparation and progression for faithful sons of God: priesthood, temple, mission. All three require us to love being and remaining worthy. Be worthy. Stay worthy.

I promise the spiritual gift of revelation will attend your call and your assignment to specific fields of labour.

As you learn to love being worthy you will become a mighty instrument in teh hands of the Lord.

Bishop Gerald Causse

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[Story of boss offering him a managing director position]I –  know your principles and I know what you have learned in your Church and I need you.

This gathering of generations offers a marvelous vision of the unity and brotherhood that exist between the two priesthoods of God. Even though they are vested with different missions and authority, the Aaronic Priesthood and the Melchizedek Priesthood are inseparable partners in the work of salvation. They go hand in hand and have great need of each other.

The perfect model of the close relationship that exists between the two priesthoods is found in the interaction between Jesus and John the Baptist. Can one possibly imagine John the Baptist without Jesus? What would the Savior’s mission have been like without the preparatory work performed by John?

John the Baptist was given one of the most noble missions that ever existed.

People flocked to John to hear him and to be baptised by him.

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Just think of what would take place in our priesthood quorums if the relationships between the holders of the two priesthoods were inspired by the pattern established by Jesus and John the Baptist.

[Duties and role of the Aaronic Priesthood]

[Story of Alex, a young priest]

Too often we relegate our young men to a spectator role.

Let us put the Aaronic Priesthood in its rightful place.

My dear brethren of the Melchizedek Priesthood, I invite you to strengthen the essential link that unites the two priesthoods of God. Empower your Aaronic Priesthood youth to prepare the way before you. Tell them with confidence, “I need you.” To you young holders of the Aaronic Priesthood, I pray that as you serve with your older brethren, you will hear the voice of the Lord telling you: “Thou art blessed, for thou shalt do great things. Behold thou wast sent forth, even as John, to prepare the way before me” [D&C 35:4].

President Dieter F Uchtdorf

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[Story of not receiving invitation to dedication of Spain Madrid temple when serving as Area President.]

[James and John – Sons of Thunder. Suggested calling down fire on a village in Samaria. Men of action. Grant unto us that we may sit on the left and right hand in they glory.]

You can’t get honour in the kingdom of Heaven by campaigning for it.

In God’s kingdom, greatness and leadership means seeing others as they truly are—as God sees them—and then reaching out and ministering to them. It means rejoicing with those who are happy, weeping with those who grieve, lifting up those in distress, and loving our neighbor as Christ loves us. The Saviour loves all of God’s children….and so should we.

God’s greatest reward goes to those who serve without expectation of reward. It goes to those who serve without fanfare; those who quietly go about seeking ways to help others; those who minister to others simply because they love God and God’s children [see Matthew 6:4].

[Accompanying President Faust to a stake reorganisation. Be grateful for graciousness of church members but ‘never inhale it’.]

Leadership is not so much about directing others as being directed by God.

Opportunities to go about doing good and serving others are limitless.

The Church is designed to help us become true and faithful disciples of Christ.

We accept callings with grace, humility and gratitude. When we are released we accept the release with the same grace, humility and gratitude.

One kind of service is not above another.

Sometimes we desire positions of prominence…There is nothing wrong with wanting to serve the Lord..When we inhale the praise of others, that praise will be our compensation.

What is the most important calling in the Church? It is the one you currently have. No matter how humble or prominent it may seem to be, the calling you have right now is the one that will allow you not only to lift others but also to become the man of God you were created to be.

Lift where you stand.

Seeking honour and celebrity in the Church…is the trade of Esau.

Let us follow the example of our Savior, who was meek and lowly, who sought not the praise of men but to do the will of His Father [see John 5:41; 6:38].

 

Let us serve others humbly—with energy, with gratitude, and with honor. Even though our acts of service may seem lowly, modest, or of little value, those who reach out in kindness and compassion to others will one day know the value of their service by the eternal and blessed grace of Almighty God [see Matthew 25:31–46].

May we meditate upon, understand, and live the paramount lesson of Church leadership and priesthood governance: “He that is greatest among you shall be your servant.”

[Another wonderful talk from President Uchtdorf]

President Henry B Eyring

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My beloved brethren of the priesthood, my purpose today is both to reassure you and to invigorate you in your priesthood service.

[Story of the rich young man in the New Testament]. I trust that you will go on your way rejoicing.

None of us can do the work of the Priesthood and doing it well relying on our own talents.

[The interaction between Jehovah and Enoch. ‘All thy words shall I justify’ ‘Walk with me’.]

Brethren, our ordination to the priesthood is an invitation from the Lord to walk with Him. And what does it mean to walk with the Lord? It means to do what He does, to serve the way He serves. He sacrificed His own comforts to bless those in need, so that’s what we try to do. He seemed to take particular notice of people who were overlooked and even shunned by society, so we try to do that too. He testified boldly yet lovingly of the true doctrine He received from His Father, even if it was unpopular, and so must we. He said to all, “Come unto me” (Matthew 11:28), and we say to all, “Come unto Him.” As priesthood holders, we are His representatives. We act not for ourselves but for Him. We speak not our words but His. The people we serve come to know Him better because of our service.

As soon as we accept the Lord’s invitation “Walk with me,” the nature of our priesthood service changes. It becomes all at once higher and nobler but also more achievable, because we know that we are not alone.

[Story of drunk driver crashing car into bank window – ‘Don’t shoot, I’m a Mormon’. ..’I’m going to let you see him as I see him.]

God notices and will support event the youngest and new deacon.

The Lord’s work is not just to solve problems, it is to build people. If you will listen he will teach you his ways.

Walking with Saviour in priesthood service will change the way you will see others.

If you walk with the Saviour long enough you will learn to see everyone as a child of God.

I testify that when we walk the path of priesthood service, the Savior Jesus Christ goes with us, for it is His path, His way. His light goes before us, and His angels are round about us.

 

[Some great messages on service and leadership in this session]

[I remember when Priesthood sessions were 2 hours long!]

Posted in Book of Mormon, General Conference, Jesus Christ, Missionary work

Saturday PM Session General Conference October 2016

Opposing votes heard again – invited to contact their Stake Presidents.

Elder Quentin L Cook

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‘There are a number of stumbling blocks to our valor that can prevent us from reaching the goal of eternal life.’

Story of father building cabin on ranch. Window focused on power pole. ‘That power pole is the most beautiful thing to me on the entire ranch.’ To him that pole represented an improved life. While the pole was stumbling block to me it had great practical meaning to my father.

‘One Stumbling Block Is the Philosophies of Men’ . We are committed to intelligence

1 Corinthians 15 – Handel’s Messiah. Describes some of what Christ accomplished. The apostasy – plain and precious truths lost. Christianity did not destroy paganism – it adopted it.

Heber C Kimball warned the time is coming when it will be difficult to tell the face of a friend from the face of an enemy…there is a test coming.

Elder Maxwell said much sifting will occur because of lapses in righteous behaviour which go unrepented of.

 

‘Another Stumbling Block Is Refusing to See Sin in Its True Light

Many people … have no remorse or willingness to acknowledge their conduct as being morally wrong. Even some who profess a belief in the Father and the Son wrongfully take the position that a loving Father in Heaven should exact no consequences for conduct that is contrary to His commandments. ‘

Corianton – son of Alma the Younger. Alma 39. Made the necessity of repentance clear to Corianton. Alma helped Corianton to understand that it is not injustice that the sinner should be consigned to misery Justice and mercy. None but the truly penitent are saved. Sooner or later everyone has to sit down to a banquet of consequences.

‘Looking beyond the Mark Is a Stumbling Block’

Gospel extremism is when one elevates any gospel principle above other equally important principles.

‘Some members elevate causes, many of which are good, to a status superior to basic gospel doctrine.’

‘If we elevate anything above our devotion to the Savior, … then we are looking beyond the mark. Jesus Christ is the mark!’

D&C 76 – being valiant in the testimony of Jesus is the simple test between the celestial kingdom and the lower kingdoms.

If we are to be valiant in the testimony of Jesus we must avoid the stumbling blocks.

Stumbling blocks may be made into stepping stones. Being valiant in the testimony of Jesus Christ is a stepping stone.

 

Elder Gary E Stevenson

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Story of young girl in New York who lost her father. Moved to another state. Missionaries came to town. Told story of Joseph Smith. Two of the missionaries had seen the plates themselves. 12 year old Mary yearned to read it.

‘I went to his house just before the meeting was to commence, and asked to see the book; Brother Morley put it in my hand, as I looked at it, I felt such a desire to read it, that I could not refrain from asking him to let me take it home and read it, while he attended meeting. He said it would be too late for me to take it back after meeting, and another thing, he had hardly had time to read a chapter in it himself, and but few of the brethren had even seen it, but I pled so earnestly for it, he finally said, ‘Child, if you will bring this book home before breakfast tomorrow morning, you may take it.’ He admonished me to be very careful, and see that no harm came to it.’

She became the first person in her town to read the Book  of Mormon.

When you read the Book of Mormon and pray about it you can have the same feeling Mary had.

Joseph Smith described the Book of Mormon as the most correct of any book on the earth and the keystone of our religion.

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Mission experience in Japan. Began to teach about the Book of Mormon. Received the strongest feeling accompanied by a warm feeling of serenity and confidence.

‘Each of you can also receive a personal witness of this book! Do you realize that the Book of Mormon was written for you—and for your day? This book is one of the blessings of living in what we call the dispensation of the fulness of times.’

We have the benefit of the complete Book of Mormon. Moroni saw our day Mormon 8:

 34 Behold, the Lord hath shown unto me great and marvelous things concerning that which must shortly come, at that day when these things shall come forth among you.

 35 Behold, I speak unto you as if ye were present, and yet ye are not. But behold, Jesus Christ hath shown you unto me, and I know your doing.

I’n order to help the Book of Mormon become the keystone of your testimony, I offer you a challenge. I recently learned that many young people spend an average of seven hours a day looking at TV, computer, and smartphone screens. With this in mind, would you make a small change? Will you replace some of that daily screen time—particularly that devoted to social media, the internet, gaming, or television—with reading the Book of Mormon? If the studies I referred to are accurate, you could easily find time for daily study of the Book of Mormon even if for only 10 minutes a day. And you can study in a way that allows you to enjoy it and understand it—either on your device or in book form.’

Not to be treated as nasty medicine to be gulped down (Elder Russell M Nelson).

You will encounter the Saviour on almost every page.

The Book of Mormon – tangible evidence of the Restoration.

‘Within the book’s pages, you will discover the infinite love and incomprehensible grace of God. As you strive to follow the teachings you find there, your joy will expand, your understanding will increase, and the answers you seek to the many challenges mortality presents will be opened to you. As you look to the book, you look to the Lord. The Book of Mormon is the revealed word of God.’

(Prayer and the Book of Mormon seem to be the emerging themes of this Conference)

 

Elder D Todd Christofferson

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‘One of the terms we hear often today is that God’s love is “unconditional.” While in one sense that is true, the descriptor unconditional appears nowhere in scripture. Rather, His love is described in scripture as “great and wonderful love” [D&C 138:3], “perfect love” [1 John 4:18; Moroni 8:16], “redeeming love” [Alma 5:26], and “everlasting love” [Jeremiah 31:3]. These are better terms because the word unconditional can convey mistaken impressions about divine love, such as, God tolerates and excuses anything we do because His love is unconditional, or God makes no demands upon us because His love is unconditional, or all are saved in the heavenly kingdom of God because His love is unconditional. God’s love is infinite and it will endure forever, but what it means for each of us depends on how we respond to His love.’

To “continue in” or “abide in” the Savior’s love means to receive His grace and be perfected by it. To receive His grace, we must have faith in Jesus Christ and keep His commandments, including repenting of our sins, being baptized for the remission of sins, receiving the Holy Ghost, and continuing in the path of obedience.’

‘God will always love us but he cannot save us in our sins.’

Repentance is his gift to us purchased at a very dear price.

Russell M Nelson – ‘The resplendent bouquet of God’s love—including eternal life—includes blessings for which we must qualify, not entitlements to be expected unworthily. Sinners cannot bend His will to theirs and require Him to bless them in sin. If they desire to enjoy every bloom in His beautiful bouquet, they must repent.’

Dallin H Oaks – ‘The Final Judgment is not just an evaluation of a sum total of good and evil acts—what we have done. It is an acknowledgment of the final effect of our acts and thoughts—what we have become.’

Helen Keller and her teacher, Ann Sullivan. Not a pleasant experience at the beginning. Finally won her trust. Spelling words on her hand.

‘Each of us can love and serve God and be empowered to help our fellow man.’

Production of olive oil. The oil is red.

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Keep his commandments.

 

 

Elder W Mark Bassett

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Given a model of the golden plates as a young boy. Wanted to see what was written on the sealed portion of the plates.

‘Since the Creation of this earth, our loving Father in Heaven has provided direction, leadership, and instruction to His children through prophets. His words have been passed down through these prophets and are saved as scripture for our development and learning.’

‘Sadly, our development and learning can at times be slowed or even halted. … [Our] actions can lead us to seek after things that are not necessarily meant to be understood at this time, all the while ignoring the beautiful truths that are meant for us and our circumstances—the truths Nephi described as written for our learning and profit.’

The mysteries of God are unfolded to us only according to His will and by the power of the Holy Ghost.

‘Nephi’s example of seeking knowledge included (1) a sincere desire, (2) humility, (3) prayer, (4) trust in the prophet, and an exercise of (5) faith, (6) diligence, and (7) obedience.’

In the modern age we expect information to come immediately.

Some things can be learned only by faith – Dallin H Oaks.

‘Faith and trust in the Lord require us to acknowledge that His wisdom is superior to our own. We must also acknowledge that His plan provides the greatest potential for spiritual development and learning.

We were never expected “to have a perfect [understanding] of things” during this mortal existence. Instead, we are expected to “hope for things which are not seen, which are true” [Alma 32:21].’

‘As we acknowledge that we are the workmanship of a wise and devoted Father in Heaven, “O then,” why not allow Him to guide our spiritual development and learning “according to his will and pleasure” rather than our own? [Jacob 4:9].’

Testimony of Joseph Smith.

 

Elder Kazuhiko Yamashita

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Dedication of the Sapporo Temple in Hokkaido.

‘In 1876, a renowned educator named Dr. William Clark was invited to come to Hokkaido to teach. He lived in Japan for just eight months, but his Christian spirit left a lasting impression on his young non-Christian students. Before leaving, he gave his students a parting message that has become immortalized in this bronze statue. He said, “Boys, be ambitious!”—“Be ambitious for Christ” [William Clark, in Ann B. Irish,Hokkaido: A History of Ethnic Transition and Development on Japan’s Northern Island (2009), 156]. His injunction to “be ambitious for Christ” can help direct daily decisions for today’s Latter-day Saints.

What does it mean to “be ambitious for Christ”? Being ambitious for Christ means being motivated, focused, and dedicated to His work. Being ambitious for Christ will seldom mean that we are singled out for public honor. Being ambitious for Christ means that we serve faithfully and diligently in our wards and branches without complaint and with joyful hearts.’

Missionaries are examples of those who are ambitious for Christ.

Story of missionary with prosthetic leg.

The Book of Mormon includes many examples of people who were ambitious for Christ. Alma the Younger.

‘In our lives we experience trials, but if we are ambitious for Christ, we can focus on Him and feel joy even in the midst of them. Our Redeemer is the ultimate example. He understood His holy mission and was obedient to the will of God the Father. What a choice blessing it is to bring His wonderful example to our remembrance each week as we partake of the sacrament.

My dear brothers and sisters, we are ambitious for Christ when we serve faithfully, accept humbly, endure nobly, pray fervently, and partake worthily.’

(Lovely talk, emotionally delivered.)

 

Elder Dallin H Oaks

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Go ye therefore and teach all nations. The Great Commission.

We have many resources not available to previous generations. Are we using all of these resources to maximum effect?

Ideas that will work everywhere.

‘We need the help of every member, and every member can help, since there are so many tasks to perform as we share the restored gospel with every nation, kindred, tongue, and people.’

Member participation in missionary work is vital.

‘Sharing the restored gospel is our life-long Christian duty and privilege.’

‘There are three things all members can do to help share the gospel, regardless of the circumstances in which they live and work. All of us should do all of these.

First, we can all pray for desire to help with this vital part of the work of salvation. All efforts begin with desire.

Second, we can keep the commandments ourselves. Faithful, obedient members are the most persuasive witnesses of the truth and value of the restored gospel. Even more important, faithful members will always have His Spirit to be with them to guide them as they seek to participate in the great work of sharing the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.

Third, we can pray for inspiration on what we can do in our individual circumstances to share the gospel with others.’

This is different than praying for the missionaries.

Praying for a commitment to act upon the inspiration you receive.

We should never set ourselves up as judges of who is ready and who is not.

‘As an Apostle of the Lord, I urge every member and family in the Church to pray for the Lord to help them find persons prepared to receive the message of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.’

Elder M Russell Ballard – Trust the Lord. He is the Good Shepherd. He knows His sheep, and His sheep know His voice; and today the voice of the Good Shepherd is your voice and my voice. And if we are not engaged, many who would hear the message of the Restoration will be passed by. Simply stated, it’s a matter of faith and action on our part. The principles are pretty simple—pray, personally and in your family, for missionary opportunities.

People interested in the results of the doctrine.

As we speak to others we need to remember that an invitation to learn more about Jesus Christ and his gospel is preferable to an invitation to know more about our church.

Authenticity.

Our efforts to share the gospel should not be limited to our circle of friends and acquaintances.

No correlation between the depth of a relationship and the probability that someone will be interested in the gospel.

There are many opportunities to share the gospel.

Our young members’ fascination and expertise with social media gives them unique opportunities to reach out.

 

 

Posted in Book of Mormon, General Conference, Inspirational

General Priesthood Session – General Conference Oct 2016

Nice arrangement and rousing rendition of Ye Elders of Israel for the opening hymn.

Love at Home feels a bit slow though.

Elder Jeffrey R Holland

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Story of single sister, Molly, with flooded apartment. Home teachers arrive (it was the last day of the month). ‘Oh Molly we can see you are busy – we will come another time.’

The Church’s first source of help – home teaching. ‘We struggle to achieve anything near an acceptable standard of performance.’

In the best of all worlds, a monthly visit in each home is still the ideal. The First Presidency wrote in Dec 2001 – ‘leaders should do their best to use the resources they have available to watch over and strengthen each member.’

Prioritisation of time and frequency of contacts to those who need us the most. Make other forms of contact. Watch for families at Church. Make phone calls. Send emails and text messages. Use social media. Do the best we can in the resources we have available to us.

‘Brethren, the appeal I am making tonight is for you to lift your vision of home teaching. Please, in newer, better ways see yourselves as emissaries of the Lord to His children. That means leaving behind the tradition of a frantic, law of Moses–like, end-of-the-month calendar in which you rush to give a scripted message from the Church magazines that the family has already read. We would hope, rather, that you will establish an era of genuine, gospel-oriented concern for each member, each individual, watching over and caring for each other in compassionate ways, addressing spiritual and temporal needs in any way that helps.

Now, as for what “counts” as home teaching, every good thing you do “counts,” so report it all! Indeed, the report that matters most is how you have blessed and cared for those within your stewardship, which has virtually nothing to do with a specific calendar or a particular location. What matters is that you love your people and are fulfilling the commandment to “watch over the Church always” [D&C 20:53]. ‘

Story of friend who ran over son in his car on his driveway. Father was inconsolable. into that agonising breach came three redeeming forces 1. Love of Heavenly Father. 2. His wife who loved him and reminded him that she too had last that son and was determined not to lose her husband as well. 3. Home teacher. He reached down and picked up the father from that tragedy on the driveway.

‘When we speak of home teaching or watchcare or personal priesthood ministry—call it what you will—this is what we are talking about. We are asking you as home teachers to be God’s emissaries to His children, to love and care and pray for the people you are assigned, as we love and care and pray for you. May you be vigilant in tending the flock of God in ways consistent with your circumstances.’

A powerful talk from Elder Holland which opens up the possibilities of more flexible, individual-focused watchcare through home teaching.

Elder LeGrand R Curtis Jr

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Story of ‘The Freeze’ in Ghana – a period of time when the Church was outlawed in that country. A young policeman was assigned to watch over a Church building at night. He saw a copy of the Book of Mormon. He felt impelled to read it. After the Freeze ended he and his family joined the Church. He is now serving as a District President.

Story of Italian Catholic priest whose faith wavered. He became convinced that there had been a general apostasy from Christ’s teachings. He met two missionaries and accepted a copy of the Book of Mormon. He is now a Branch President. Their experiences are similar to those of Parley P Pratt when he read the Book of Mormon. For others the realisation of the truth of the Book of Mormon comes more gradually.

‘I encourage every one to discover the power of the Book of Mormon. As President Thomas S. Monson has encouraged: “Read the Book of Mormon. Ponder its teachings. Ask Heavenly Father if it is true” [“Dare to Stand Alone,” Ensign orLiahona, Nov. 2011, 62]. During that process you will feel the Spirit of God in your lives. That Spirit will be part of your testimony that the Book of Mormon is true, that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, and that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is God’s true Church on the earth today. That testimony will help you resist temptation. It will prepare you for “the great call of diligence … to labor in the vineyards of the Lord” [Alma 28:14]. It will stand as a sure anchor when accusations or slanderous statements are used to challenge your faith and will be a rock-solid foundation when you are challenged with questions you cannot answer, at least immediately. You will be able to discern truth from error, and you will feel the assurance of the Holy Ghost reconfirming your testimony over and over again as you continue to read the Book of Mormon throughout your lives.’

‘I also encourage parents to make the Book of Mormon an important part of your home.’

‘The greatest power of the Book of Mormon is its impact in bringing us closer to Jesus Christ. It is a strong witness of Him and His redeeming mission. Through it we come to understand the majesty and power of his atonement.’

A powerful testimony of the power of the Book of Mormon.

 

President Dieter F Uchtdorf

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The story of Alma the Younger. He devoted his life to undoing the damage he had done. He was perhaps the most well-known celebrity of his day. He chose to resign from public office and devote himself to preaching the gospel. The people of Ammonihah rejected him. But an angel told him to return. It was a dangerous assignment but he returned speedily. The story of Amulek. Amulek opened his heart to Alma’s message. He became a champion of truth.

‘One of the most bittersweet narratives in all of scripture [is] in Alma chapters 8–16.

Today, I would like to ask you to consider two questions:

First: “What can I learn from Alma?”

Second: “How am I like Amulek?”’

‘Alma was an exceptionally gifted and capable man. It may have been easy to think that he did not need anyone’s help. Nevertheless, what did Alma do when he returned to Ammonihah?

Alma found Amulek and asked him for help.

And Alma received help.

For whatever reason, sometimes we as leaders are reluctant to find and ask our Amuleks.’

Perhaps we think that we can do the work better by ourselves. Too often we hesitate to invite people to use their talents. The Saviour’s message was Come, follow me.

‘In whatever position you currently serve—whether you are a deacons quorum president, a stake president, or an Area President—to be successful, you must find your Amuleks.’

It may be someone who is unassuming or even invisible in your congregations. What may not be seen at first sight is that they are waiting to hear the words from you ‘The Lord needs you, I need you’

Invite those who need to hear a call to action. ‘You may be surprised yo discover a valiant servant of the Lord who would otherwise remain hidden.’

‘While some of us should be looking for an Amulek, for others the question might be “How am I like Amulek?” ‘

‘Perhaps, like Amulek, you know in your heart that the Lord has “called [you] many times” but you “would not hear.”’

‘There is service that no-one else can give in quite the same way.’

Story of David who became unsettled by negative material. He asked for his name to be removed from the Church records. He spent his time challenging Church members and their beliefs. One person he engaged with was Jacob. Jacob prayed for him for over a decade. Over time David did begin to change. Like Alma he had not forgotten the truths he had once known. He had too much pride to ask to be readmitted. But he continued to feel the pull of the Saviour. He began to listen to the whisperings of the spirit. His doubts began to become faith. Eventually he was re-baptised. This past summer his blessings were returned to him and he serves as a Gospel Doctrine teacher. Let us seek out, find, inspire and rely on the Amuleks in our wards and stakes.

‘Our beloved Savior knows where you are. He knows your heart. He wants to rescue you. He will reach out to you. Just open your heart to Him. It is my hope that those who have strayed from the path of discipleship—even by only a few degrees—will contemplate the goodness and grace of God, see with their hearts, learn from Alma and Amulek, and hear the life-changing words of the Savior: “Come, follow me.””

A heart-felt plea from President Uchtdorf.

President Henry B Eyring

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The Aaronic Priesthood prepares us for a more sacred trust.

The Lord is preparing the Aaronic Priesthood holder to become an Elder.

A Bishop who treated him as if he was already what he had the potential to become. He taught me to have the courage to go anywhere in the service of the Lord.

‘Many things may help strengthen our younger brothers to rise up in the priesthood, but nothing will be more powerful than our helping them develop the faith and confidence that they can draw on the power of God in their priesthood service.

That faith and confidence won’t stay with them from a single experience of being lifted by even the most gifted Melchizedek Priesthood holder. The ability to draw on those powers must be cultivated by many expressions of confidence from those who are more experienced in the priesthood.

The Aaronic Priesthood holders will also need daily and even hourly encouragement and correction from the Lord Himself through the Holy Ghost. That will be available to them as they choose to remain worthy of it. It will depend upon the choices they will make.’

That is why we must teach by example and by testimony.

Mosiah 4:

29 And finally, I cannot tell you all the things whereby ye may commit sin; for there are divers ways and means, even so many that I cannot number them.

 30 But this much I can tell you, that if ye do not watch yourselves, and your thoughts, and your words, and your deeds, and observe the commandments of God, and continue in the faith of what ye have heard concerning the coming of our Lord, even unto the end of your lives, ye must perish. And now, O man, remember, and perish not.

The power and support of mothers.

‘You priesthood leaders and fathers of Aaronic Priesthood holders can work miracles. You can help the Lord fill the ranks of faithful elders with young men who accept the call to preach the gospel and do it with confidence. You will see many you have lifted and encouraged stay faithful, marry worthily in the temple, and in turn, lift and prepare others.

It will not take new activity programs, improved teaching materials, or better social media. It will not require any call beyond what you have now. The oath and the covenant of the priesthood gives you power, authority, and direction. I pray you will go home and study carefully the oath and covenant of the priesthood, found in Doctrine and Covenants section 84.’

‘I pray that we will rise to our call to lift others to prepare them for their glorious service.’

President Thomas S Monson

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‘In 1833 the Lord revealed to the Prophet Joseph Smith a plan for healthy living. That plan is found in the 89th section of the Doctrine and Covenants and is known as the Word of Wisdom. It gives specific direction regarding the food we eat, and it prohibits the use of substances which are harmful to our bodies.

Those who are obedient to the Lord’s commandments and who faithfully observe the Word of Wisdom are promised particular blessings, among which are good health and added physical stamina [see D&C 89:18–20]. ‘

Story of John A Larsen in WW2. Serving in Coast Guard.

‘May we care for our bodies and our minds by observing the principles set forth in the Word of Wisdom, a divinely provided plan. With all my heart and soul, I testify of the glorious blessings which await us as we do.’

A very short address. President Monson appeared weak and his speech was not always as clear as we are used to.

Posted in General Conference, Inspirational, Missionary work

Saturday AM session General Conference October 2016

Brief notes on the session:

President Dieter F Uchtdorf

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Experiences using technology as a septuagenarian.

We sometimes take the doctrines of the gospel of Jesus Christ for granted.

‘Sometimes we sleep walk on the path to discipleship’

Gratitude for the plan of salvation.

Fundamental questions of life.

‘I am grateful that the restored gospel of Jesus Christ has answers to the most complex questions of life.’

We are eternal beings.

‘We are of the royal house of Elohim, the Most High God’

The plan presented to us in the Council in heaven.

Wonder and joy of the restored gospel.

‘Let the solemnities of eternity rest upon your mind.’

Belfast coat of arms – what shall we give in return for so much.

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Great exposition of the plan of salvation by President Uchtdorf!

Elder Robert D Hales

Looking very frail but speaking strongly.

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‘If we loved the Saviour more, would we suffer less?’

The Saviour gave a new commandment to love one another.

Parents have a responsibility to help their children become converted.

“Thee lift me and I’ll lift thee, and we’ll ascend together.”

‘The calling to be a parent includes the gift to teach in the ways that are right for you and for your children.’

Many of us still missing the blessing of FHE.

Our children and grandchildren measure our love by how much time we give them.

‘We cannot pray away another’s agency.’

‘We can pray for guidance about when to speak what to say and, yes, on some occasions when to be still.’

Tribute to care-givers.

Story of neighbour caring for wife with Alzheimer’s Disease.

‘Let the Saviour be your care giver.’

Mosiah 4:13 And ye will not have a mind to injure one another, but to live peaceably, and to render to every man according to that which is his due.

And ye will not suffer your children that they go hungry, or naked; neither will ye suffer that they transgress the laws of God, and fight and quarrel one with another

Sister Carol F McConkie

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Parable of the unjust judge.

Importance of prayer.

‘A prayer of faith opens the way to receive glorious Heaven-sent blessings.’

James 1:5

We pray to the Father in the name of Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Ghost – all 3 members of the Godhead involved.

President Eyring’s father:

‘When the pain became intense, we found him in the morning on his knees by the bed. He had been too weak to get back into bed. He told us he had been praying to ask his Heavenly Father why he had to suffer so much when he had always tried to be good. He said a kindly answer came: “God needs brave sons.”

And so he soldiered on to the end, trusting that God loved him, listened to him, and would lift him up. He was blessed to have known early and to never forget that a loving God is as close as a prayer.’

‘Sincere prayers …are an expression of our devoted love.’

‘In times of trouble our prayers become a life line of love and tender mercy’

‘Prayer is a gift from God. We need never feel lost or alone.’

Elder Craig C Christensen

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Moroni warned that Joseph Smith’s name would be had for good and evil among all nations.

D&C 122:

The ends of the earth shall inquire after thy name, and fools shall have thee in derision, and hell shall rage against thee;

 While the pure in heart, and the wise, and the noble, and the virtuous, shall seek counsel, and authority, and blessings constantly from under thy hand.

Brigham Young of Joseph Smith:

‘It was decreed in the counsels of eternity, long before the foundations of the earth were laid, that he, Joseph Smith, should be the man, in the last dispensation of this world, to bring forth the word of God to the people, and receive the fulness of the keys and power of the Priesthood of the Son of God. The Lord had his eyes upon him’

James 1:5 (Second mention so far – Youth and FSY theme for 2017)

The First Vision.

Read the Book of Mormon as you were Joseph Smith reading it for the first time.

The fruits of the mission of Joseph Smith.

Elder Juan A Uceda

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Experience of visit to Machu Picchu as a missionary. Saved from death.

Prayer.

‘When you pray do you truly, really want not my will but Thine be done?’

‘Are you really praying or just saying prayers?’

‘Jesus invites us to pray always.’

‘A moment of prayer is a very, very sacred moment.’

J Devn Cornish

A great uplifting and encouraging talk.

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‘It is normal to wonder if we are acceptable before the Lord.’

‘We must stop comparing ourselves to others.’

You are going to be good enough and you are going to make it as long as you keep repenting and don’t become rebellious.

‘All the Lord expects of us is that we try, but you really have to try ‘- Gordon B Hinckley

It is through grace that we get the strength to do good works that we wouldn’t otherwise be able to do.

God may not immediately take away all of the consequences of our sins.

Wickedness never was happiness.

Sin separates us from the Spirit and we stop repenting.

We cannot rationalise instead of repenting.

‘We are in rebellion any time we say in our hearts I don’t need God and I don’t need to repent.’

The balance between grace and works.

‘God wants us to come home.’

Elder Neil L Andersen

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Daniel and Nebuchadnezzar’s dream. The stone cut without hands.

The gathering of Israel. Must have seemed an impossible task to the early Saints.

‘Now is the time for members and missionaries to come together, to work together, to labor in the Lord’s vineyard to bring souls unto Him. He has prepared the means for us to share the gospel in a multitude of ways, and He will assist us in our labors if we will act in faith to fulfill His work.’ – Thomas S Monson.

Missionary work.

Guilt like a battery in a car. It is not sufficient.

Pray for opportunities.

To be a witness of Christ  – how we live and how we speak.

‘As you respond to spiritual promptings the Holy Ghost will carry your words into the heart of another.’

‘The timing of some-one’s conversion is not up to you.’

Don’t see your efforts to share the Gospel as a pass/fail test.

Story of Svetlana and Viktor in Ukraine.

Special invitation to youth and young adults to be witnesses. The Lord needs you to be even more engaged in this great cause.

D&C 65

Call upon the Lord, that his kingdom may go forth upon the earth, that the inhabitants thereof may receive it, and be prepared for the days to come, in the which the Son of Man shall come down in heaven, clothed in the brightness of his glory, to meet the kingdom of God which is set up on the earth.

Posted in General Conference, Inspirational

Choose the light

Were you afraid of the dark as a child? Are you still afraid of the dark? It can be unsettling being in the dark. Objects that are familiar in the light became strange, even frightening, in the dark. Spike Milligan wrote a poem about the fear that can come with darkness:

Things that go ‘bump’ in the night

Should not really give one a fright.

It’s the hole in each ear

That lets in the fear,

That, and the absence of light!

Tasks that are easy in the light can also become very difficult in darkness. When our children were young I once get up early for work and decided to get dressed in the dark so that wife and children would not be disturbed. I drove through the dark streets to the office and it was only in the bright glare of the office fluorescent lights that I discovered that in the darkness I had put on my ‘decorating’ shirt which was liberally covered with gloss paint!

At the last General Conference, Elder Vern P Stanfill spoke about darkness and light (Choosing the  Light, October 2015). He shared a story about going into a dark place:

Those who had gone before warned us that the tunnels were dark and that we needed really strong lights. As we gathered in front of the massive stone opening of the Taft Tunnel, a caretaker explained some of the dangers of the trail, including deep ditches along the edges, rough walls, and complete darkness. Impatiently, we pushed forward into the tunnel. After we had ridden only a few minutes, the predicted darkness engulfed us. The lights I brought proved inadequate, and the darkness soon overwhelmed them. Suddenly, I began to feel anxious, confused, and disoriented.’

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Have you ever been in complete darkness and felt that disoriented feeling? My job often takes me away from home and I have got used to sleeping in strange hotel rooms. At first though, I would find that I would wake up in the middle of the night in complete darkness and not know where I (or the toilet!) was. Now, I always make sure that I leave enough light on to find my way if I wake up in the night.

Elder Stanfill continues:

‘I was embarrassed to admit my anxieties to my friends and family. Although an experienced cyclist, I now felt as though I had never ridden a bicycle. I struggled to stay upright as my confusion increased. Finally, after I did express my discomfort to those around me, I was able to draw closer to the more powerful light of a friend. In fact, everyone in the group began to form a tight circle around him. By staying close to him and relying for a time on his light and the collective light of the group, we pushed deeper into the darkness of the tunnel.’

There may be times in our lives when we need to rely temporarily on the stronger light of another. We should not be embarrassed about this. We should cluster around them and rely on their light until ours is strengthened.

‘After what seemed like hours, I saw a pinpoint of light. Almost immediately, I began to feel reassured that all would be well. I continued to press forward, relying on both the light of my friends and the growing pinpoint of light. My confidence gradually returned as the light grew in size and intensity. Long before reaching the end of the tunnel, I no longer needed the assistance of my friends. All anxiety disappeared as we pedaled quickly toward the light. I felt calm and reassured even before we rode into the morning full of warmth and splendor.’

Darkness has been used as a symbol of many things including sin and ignorance. In this talk Elder Stanfill uses it as a symbol for doubt. He goes on to liken this experience in the dark tunnel to the darkness of doubt that can envelop us if we are not prepared with strong torches of faith:

‘We live in a world in which we will experience challenges to our faith. We may feel confident that we are ready to face these challenges—only to find that our preparations have been insufficient. And just as my friend had warned me about the darkness, we are warned today. Apostolic voices urge us to prepare ourselves with the powerful light of spiritual strength.’

Elder Stanfill then shares some lessons he learned from this experience:

‘First, no matter how intense the darkness of doubt, we choose how long and to what extent we allow it to influence us

‘Second, we must trust in the Lord in order to develop spiritual strength within ourselves.

‘Third, there is no darkness so dense, so menacing, or so difficult that it cannot be overcome by light.

Elder Neil L. Andersen recently taught: “As evil increases in the world, there is a compensatory spiritual power for the righteous. As the world slides from its spiritual moorings, the Lord prepares the way for those who seek Him, offering them greater assurance, greater confirmation, and greater confidence in the spiritual direction they are traveling. The gift of the Holy Ghost becomes a brighter light in the emerging twilight.”’

In D&C 21:4-6 we read:

Wherefore, meaning the church, thou shalt give heed unto all his words and commandments which he shall give unto you as he receiveth them, walking in all holiness before me;

5 For his word ye shall receive, as if from mine own mouth, in all patience and faith.

6 For by doing these things the gates of hell shall not prevail against you; yea, and the Lord God will disperse the powers of darkness from before you, and cause the heavens to shake for your good, and his name’s glory.

What great promises are made to us when we follow the Prophet:

  • The gates of hell shall not prevail against us
  • The Lord God will disperse the powers of darkness from before us
  • God will cause the heavens to shake for our good

Elder Stanfill concludes:

Brothers and sisters, we have not been left alone to be influenced by every whim and change in the world’s attitude, but we have the power to choose belief over doubt. In order to access the promised compensatory spiritual power, we must choose to heed prophetic counsel, recognize and act upon spiritual promptings, be obedient to God’s commandments, and seek personal revelation. We must choose. May we choose the light of the Savior. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.’

Posted in General Conference

Conference word cloud

I love this Wordle of the October 2014 General Conference by Sam Brunson and published on the By Common Consent blog.

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A Wordle is a ‘word cloud’ showing the prominence of words in a text. The more times a word is used in the text, the bigger the word appears in the word cloud. Sam produced the Wordle using the text of all 4 general sessions, the priesthood session and the women and girls session. It’s a great way of depicting the  focus of Conference. A quick glance shows the importance of Jesus, Christ, God, Lord, Father and Church; closer study reveals other important themes for example, gospel, atonement and example. Which words stand out to you?

Posted in General Conference

Hearken

‘Now as we conclude this general conference, let us all give heed to what was said to us. Let us assume the counsel given applies to us. Let us hearken to those we sustain as prophets and seers, as well as the other brethren, as if our eternal life depended on it, because it does!’

President Spencer W Kimball, 1978

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