Friday, October 9, 2009

Thoughts from General Conference

Twice a year, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (sometimes called Mormon), of which I am a member, broadcasts a General Conference for its members. This conference is broadcast worldwide and allows us the opportunity to listen to uplifting, Christ-centered messages. We believe that there is a living prophet today, Thomas S. Monson, as well as living apostles. General Conference provides an amazing opportunity to listen to these men, as well as the women who lead organizations within our church, an. Each time I attend Conference, I increase my testimony and understanding of gospel principles. I am so grateful for this month's General Conference and was touched by so many talks.  Next month, two church publications, the Ensign and the Liahona, will publish text of these talks in various languages.I wanted to share some quotes from a few talks that particularly spoke to me.

From The Love of God by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf,Second Counselor in the First Presidency
Think of the purest, most all-consuming love you can imagine. Now multiply that love by an infinite amount—that is the measure of God’s love for you.
God does not look on the outward appearance. I believe that He doesn’t care one bit if we live in a castle or a cottage, if we are handsome or homely, if we are famous or forgotten. Though we are incomplete, God loves us completely. Though we are imperfect, He loves us perfectly. Though we may feel lost and without compass, God’s love encompasses us completely.
He loves us because He is filled with an infinite measure of holy, pure, and indescribable love. We are important to God not because of our résumé but because we are His children. He loves every one of us, even those who are flawed, rejected, awkward, sorrowful, or broken. God’s love is so great that He loves even the proud, the selfish, the arrogant, and the wicked.
What this means is that, regardless of our current state, there is hope for us. No matter our distress, no matter our sorrow, no matter our mistakes, our infinitely compassionate Heavenly Father desires that we draw near to Him so that He can draw near to us.


My thoughts: Days after listening to President Uchtdorf, his words resonated with me and I kept returning to this incredible passage:Though we are incomplete, God loves us completely. Though we are imperfect, He loves us perfectly. Though we may feel lost and without compass, God’s love encompasses us completely."These words so eloquently express what I feel in my heart. As my children grow, feel discouraged, and make choices, this is a message I want them to internalize.

From More Diligent and Concerned at Home by Elder David A. Bednar, Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
As our sons were growing up, our family did what you have done and what you now do. We had regular family prayer, scripture study, and family home evening. Now, I am sure what I am about to describe has never occurred in your home, but it did in ours.

Sometimes Sister Bednar and I wondered if our efforts to do these spiritually essential things were worthwhile. Now and then verses of scripture were read amid outbursts such as “He’s touching me!” “Make him stop looking at me!” “Mom, he’s breathing my air!” Sincere prayers occasionally were interrupted with giggling and poking. And with active, rambunctious boys, family home evening lessons did not always produce high levels of edification. At times Sister Bednar and I were exasperated because the righteous habits we worked so hard to foster did not seem to yield immediately the spiritual results we wanted and expected.
Today if you could ask our adult sons what they remember about family prayer, scripture study, and family home evening, I believe I know how they would answer. They likely would not identify a particular prayer or a specific instance of scripture study or an especially meaningful family home evening lesson as the defining moment in their spiritual development. What they would say they remember is that as a family we were consistent.
Sister Bednar and I thought helping our sons understand the content of a particular lesson or a specific scripture was the ultimate outcome. But such a result does not occur each time we study or pray or learn together. The consistency of our intent and work was perhaps the greatest lesson—a lesson we did not fully appreciate at the time.

My Thoughts: Listening to this talk made me grin as I both recalled some laughing fits during prayers as a kid and thought of my little family's Family Home Evenings that often consist of a short story, quite a few songs, and a highly anticipated dessert. I worry sometimes that it's not as spiritually edifying as it should be. Elder Bednar's words helped me to understand that it is the consistency that matter. Even a short thought on eternal families, followed by "Families Can Be Together Forever," then brownies  strengthens my family. He also inspired me to consider other ways I can be more consistent in my personal study and worship.


From What Have I done for Someone Today? by President Thomas S. Monson
The Apostle Paul admonished, “By love serve one another.”3 Recall with me the familiar words of King Benjamin in the Book of Mormon: “When ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God.”4


The Savior taught His disciples, “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.”5
I believe the Savior is telling us that unless we lose ourselves in service to others, there is little purpose to our own lives. Those who live only for themselves eventually shrivel up and figuratively lose their lives, while those who lose themselves in service to others grow and flourish—and in effect save their lives.


My Thoughts: I think it is significant that Thomas S. Monson, our prophet, chose to emphasize service during conference. When we struggle personally, professionally, financially, etc., it can be easy to look inward. I definitely have a long way to go before I serve others as I should, but I have a testimony that, when you lose yourself in service, that is when you find yourself. President Monson also shared stories of ways young children celebrated his birthday through gifts of service and they inspired me to find ways to help my own children understand the joy of service.

Text, Audio, and Video from these and other talks from the October 2009 General Conference can be found at www.lds.org

1 comment:

Photographer: Rebecca Pierce said...

I enjoyed reading both your article on prefolds...I'll be using them exclusively because I am almost positive it is the only option through the diaper service I am going to use. I will love them because I won't know the difference, and for the same reasons as you love them...they aren't disposables!!

I appreciate your comments on General Conference. I loved those talks as well. My favorite talk was by D. Todd Christofferson, "Moral Discipline". I try to understand why I always like the same kinds of talks the most. I LOVED "Faith of Our Fathers" by President Uchtdorf a few years ago, another is one on the nature of God and the Godhead by Elder Holland, and I think I know why. There are some things you hear at General Conference that kind of stick it to "the world" view in a way that I'm not capable of sticking it. Isn't that horrible? I mean I get a lot from the talks for my own improvement, but my favorites are my faves becasue they speak to some of the world views with such power and education and spirit and accuracy that I am left just empowered in the face of all the weak arguments made by "the world". Because I tend to be a wee bit vocal, I do have friendly conversations with many people of different beliefs, and sometimes my own limitations leave me speechless. So the D. Todd Christofferson talk is one I need to memorize for all my agnostic friends who live by a Bart Simpson code, "If I don't get caught, I didn't do anything wrong." The President Uchtdorf talk is for all the people on my mission who accepted that they were Catholic based on tradition and couldn't see that their own tradition wasn't necessarily the tradition of JESUS, who is the founder of our religion. Then the one on the Godhead by Elder Holland, I don't know how long ago it was, it may have been the same conf. as the Uchtdorf one. Anyway, that is my PET DOCTRINE, and when I am talking to non-members, it is pretty much the first thing I go to. It just makes so much sense to me and it must make sense to their spirits and I've had people kind of stop and think about it and say, "no, I don't think that Jesus and God are the same being either." I love that truth! Anyway, thank for the thoughts, I haven't been on blogs in ages and I'm always glad when I come to yours.