As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I believe the Lord Jesus Christ has established the order of His church on the Earth today. This includes the role of Seventy, Apostle, and Prophet. Every six months, we have an opportunity to sit at the feet of these men and hear the word of the Lord. At this conference, we were taught about Jesus Christ, forgiveness, family councils, eternal families, priesthood power, rescuing the lost, the Sacrament, and so many other topics. I heard words that apply to my life–I felt inspired. I know that we all can feel inspired, motivated, and uplifted as we listen to a prophet’s voice.
Today, I want to share with my family some of the counsel I heard at the latest General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints–this is what I heard, it may not be phrased exactly as it was spoken.
President Henry B. Eyring, First Counselor in the First Presidency
In the parable of the sower, the seed is the word of God, the soil is the heart of the person who hears the word of God. We can choose over the next few days to soften our hearts and hear the word of God and therefore grow and be fruitful through the words, songs, and prayers of this Conference. The Gospel of Jesus Christ requires us to active participants…it isn’t enough to simply be present, we must be willing to to action.
Sister Durham, Second Counselor in the General Primary Presidency
The home is the best immersion setting to learn spiritual things. Consider the story of Samuel–it is our role as parents to help our children learn to recognize the voice of the Lord in their lives.
Elder Donald L. Hallstrom, of the Seventy
We all face real setbacks and challenges in this life. When these happen, what is our immediate response? Do we doubt our faith and blame others…or do we remember who we are…children of God? Unfortunately, the world has so many distractions that cause to first to treat casually, then ignore, and then forget our connection with God. Do I know who I am? Do I know that I am a Child of God?
Elder Gary A. Stevenson, Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
He opened with a story about losing his car keys while skiing. I was taken back 25 years to a time when my sister and I were skiing in the mountains of Colorado and discovered that we had lost the car keys sometime during the day (I’ll share that story another day). Elder Stevenson’s point was that a car has great potential, but with keys, is useless. Likewise the Priesthood of God has great potential, but is limited without keys of authority. There are 3 ways we can find the keys of the Priesthood:
- Prepare for Missionary Service
- Attend the Temple
- Go Forward with Faith
Elder Duncan, of the Seventy
It’s not up to us to demand justice when we forgive. Remember that we are all Saul-like individuals with Paul-like potential. If you’re having trouble forgiving another person (or yourself), then ask God for help. Even though we may be a victim once, we need not be a victim twice by carrying the burden of hate, bitterness, pain, resentment, or even revenge.
Elder Dale G. Renlund, Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
The greater the distance between the giver and the receiver, the more the receiver develops a sense of entitlement. That is why the Church system of welfare encourages people to go to family first when they need assistance. This same concept applies spiritually. The greater the distance between God and myself, the more I am likely to feel entitled to blessings, etc. The closer I am to God, the more likely I am to realize the profound sacrifice of Jesus Christ, the more likely I am to feel it a blessing to receive grace. The best way to draw closer to the Savior is by preparing for the Sacrament each week. Finally, we each need to prepare for hard days. The parable of the wise and foolish man doesn’t say “if the winds blow” it says “when the winds blow.” Everyone will face challenges and hardships in life.
Elder Ronald A. Rasband, Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
The Restoration began with a youth asking a question. Having questions isn’t a bad thing, we just need to ask the right source for the answers. The Prophets and Apostles today have been warning us of:
- casual Sabbath-day observance
- threats to the family
- assaults on religious freedom
- disputing latter-day revelation
Am I listening? Am I taking action?
Elder Melvyn B. Arnold, of the Seventy
There are four principles in the concept of going to the rescue (of those who have fallen away):
- Don’t delay going to the rescue
- Never give up
- How great shall be your joy if you bring save it be one soul unto Christ
- No matter our age, we are all called to go to the rescue
Elder David A. Bednar, Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
The Holy Ghost burns the dross and evil from the human soul. The ordinances of baptism by immersion, the laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost, and the sacrament are not isolated and discrete events; rather, they are elements in an interrelated and additive pattern of redemptive progress.
Elder M. Russell Ballard, Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
There are four types of family councils we need to know, understand, and use:
- Full family council: consists of all members of a family and are used to discuss general issues pertaining to the family, scheduling events, or other decisions that need broad acceptance/support
- Executive family council: consists of husband and wife and is used to discuss the spiritual, physical, and emotional needs of each member of the family as well as the relationship between husband and wife. Never retire for bed without first kneeling together, holding hands in prayer
- Limited family council: consists of mother, father, and a child; is used to help a child make important decisions before they face the decision; also used to establish goals and objectives and is a time to listen to the serious concerns and challenges a child may face
- One-on-one family council: consists of two members of a family and often “just happens” as family members drive places, work together, or simply need to talk
There was a time when the walls of our home provided all the defense we needed…those days are gone. We need to be actively engaged to defending our family.
President Russell M. Nelson, Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
There is power in the Priesthood. Only a man who has paid the price to develop priesthood power will be able to keep his family safe now and through eternity. Do I commune with God? Do I feast on the scriptures? Do I worship in the temple regularly? Do I ask questions about what I want to learn? Most importantly, do I cherish my wife and her council?
Sister Bonnie L. Oscarson, YW General President
We hear the promises of the Temple, that families can be together forever, but do I believe it? If I do believe it, then I need to be grateful for that promise and do everything I can to make it effective in my life
Bishop W. Christopher Waddell
The dial on the wheel of sorrow will eventually point at each of us. At some point, all must experience sorrow. What is important is how we deal with that sorrow. The key is to find the peace the Savior offers us. We can do this by learning of him, listening to his words, then walking in the meekness of his Spirit.
The highest role of a man is husband and father; society today is very ambivalent toward fathers. Young Men, prepare now by diligent education, positive associations, learning about healthy relationships (in person); live your life so that as a man, you’ll bring honor to marriage and your children. We all wish we were better fathers, but we must press on; think first of the happiness and well-being of others; despite our inadequacies, Heavenly Father will magnify our efforts
Each of us needs to see ourself in the Temple. Until you’ve entered the house of the Lord, you have not obtained everything the Church has to offer. The crowning blessings are those blessings received in the Temple of God.
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, 2nd Counselor in the First Presidency
Families are meant to be eternal. They are the order of heaven…an echo of a celestial pattern and an emulation of God’s eternal family. Relationships begin to break when we stop looking at the good and begin to notice the faults. We need to pull the weeds and water the flowers. He was 4 years old when the city of Dresden was destroyed by bombs. Over the past 70 years, the people of Dresden have rebuilt their city into a beautiful place. If man can take the ruins of a city and build a new, glorious city; how much more able is God able to take the ruins of a mans life and build a new, glorious life. The sheep is worth of divine rescue simply because it is loved by the Good Shepherd; he knows when we are lost, he knows where we are, he knows how to find us and how to bring us back to the fold. German author Erich Kästner said: “Es gibt nichts Gutes, ausser man tut es”– “There is nothing good unless we do it”
President Thomas S. Monson, Prophet
There is a very real power in the Priesthood. We must remember that Priesthood power is predicated upon righteous living and will go away if we try to force others to do things.
When Alice came to the fork in the road, she asked the Cheshire Cat which way to go. “Where do you want to go?” asked the Car. “I don’t know” replied Alice. “Then it doesn’t matter which road you take.”
We are different from Alice because we know where we want to go. May we choose the harder right instead of the easier wrong. Above all, whether we make one choice or another, as long as we choose Christ, we’ll always be right
I believe the important thing about General Conference is what we do once it is over. We should study this counsel not once, but many times over the next six months. These aren’t just idle words, this is what the servants of the Lord are saying to us…today. If we are to draw closer to our Father in Heaven, if we are to be more like the Savior, Jesus Christ, then we need to recognize the voice of the Holy Spirit when it speaks. In order to do this we need first, to “open our ears” and hear the word of the Lord. Then we need to “gird up our loins” and take upon us the full armor of God. Finally (and most importantly) we need to take action.