Hi friends! We’re back!
Elder David A. Bednar:
The Spirit of Elijah affects people inside and outside of the Church. However, as members of Christ’s restored Church, we have the covenant responsibility to search out our ancestors and provide for them the saving ordinances of the gospel. “They without us should not be made perfect” (Hebrews 11:40). And “neither can we without our dead be made perfect” (D&C 128:15).
I’ve had a discussion about this scripture before with Natalie. I love the message about us needing each other, on both sides of the veil, to help get everyone back. There is a comforting feeling of solidarity – them reaching for us, us reaching for them – in order to be made perfect. When Natalie introduced me to the verse in D&C, it really made me consider temple work and the reasons for being there. I’m still working on fully understanding what it means, but for now, it feels good.
Elder Neil A. Andersen
Many voices in the world today marginalize the importance of having children or suggest delaying or limiting children in a family. My daughters recently referred me to a blog written by a Christian mother (not of our faith) with five children. She commented: “[Growing] up in this culture, it is very hard to get a biblical perspective on motherhood. … Children rank way below college. Below world travel for sure. Below the ability to go out at night at your leisure. Below honing your body at the gym. Below any job you may have or hope to get.” She then adds: “Motherhood is not a hobby, it is a calling. You do not collect children because you find them cuter than stamps. It is not something to do if you can squeeze the time in. It is what God gave you time for.”
I giggled a little bit during this talk. I was at the C family’s home for Conference and we reflected on the fact that at the last conference, we were instructed to stop putzing around and go get married. Now, to all those who headed this counsel, time to go make babies! I’m putting my money on a whole buncha’ “conference babies” born in July. After I giggled, I thought about what this talk means. First of all, general authorities are reading blogs! PICK ME! PICK FMH! READ US! Second of all, instead of putting my thoughts and heart on the kids I don’t yet have, I realize that God has given me time for the kids in my life now. I’m thinking about the kids of my friends at church, and specifically, the kids in the dorm where I work. This, right now, is my calling. My calling is to care for and love the kids in my life until and when I have kids of my own. This talk helped me frame my job less as a “job” and more of my calling.
Elder Ian S. Ardern
With the demands made of us, we must learn to prioritize our choices to match our goals or risk being exposed to the winds of procrastination and being blown from one time-wasting activity to another. We are well taught about priorities by the Master Teacher when He declared in His Sermon on the Mount, “Wherefore, seek not the things of this world but seek ye first to build up the kingdom of God, and to establish his righteousness.”
Alma spoke of priorities when he taught that “this life became a probationary state; a time to prepare to meet God” (Alma 12:24). How to best use the rich heritage of time to prepare to meet God may require some guidance, but surely we would place the Lord and our families at the top of the list. President Dieter F. Uchtdorf reminded us that “in family relationships love is really spelled t-i-m-e.” I testify that when help is prayerfully and sincerely sought, our Heavenly Father will help us to give emphasis to that which deserves our time above something else.
So, uh, less time on Facebook, huh? I don’t have any lengthy reaction to this talk. I think this pretty much speaks for itself. I need to put this into practice. Ready, set, go.
Elder Carl B. Cook
Since then I have pondered this experience and the role of prophets. I was burdened and my head was down. As the prophet spoke, I looked to him. He redirected my focus to look up to God, where I could be healed and strengthened through Christ’s Atonement. That is what prophets do for us. They lead us to God.
Experience has taught me that if we exercise our faith and look to God for help, we will not be overwhelmed with the burdens of life. We will not feel incapable of doing what we are called to do or need to do. We will be strengthened, and our lives will be filled with peace and joy. We will come to realize that most of what we worry about is not of eternal significance—and if it is, the Lord will help us. But we must have the faith to look up and the courage to follow His direction.
Conference was the first time I was “introduced” to Elder Cook. He wasn’t the Cook with whom I was familiar, but he felt immediately comfortable. He had a sweet countenance, a little bit of a dopey love struck look to him. Listening to his words helped me understand why we have a prophet, and why I need to look to him. They lead us to God. Again, I was reminded of Mosiah 15:14. His message for me was very clear: my focus must be on God, and prophets help me do that. I need to learn to trust and have faith in the prophet.
Elder LeGrand R. Curtis Jr.
I bear my testimony of the power of Christ’s Atonement. When we repent and come to Him, we can receive all of the blessings of eternal life. That we may do so, receiving our own story of redemption, is my prayer in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
First of all, his name roughly translates as “The Big” and that’s way awesome. Also, I had a difficult time picking one specific sentence or paragraph of instruction from his talk, but I love what he said. I think about the woman he interviewed who had committed a “grievous sin.” I think about what repentance and redemption means in my life, I kept thinking that my decision to be baptized and to renew those covenants was fueled by the fact that not only did I want those sins washed away, but that I didn’t want to commit them again. For me, that is how I understand the Atonement right now. When I repent, I hope that it is always in the spirit of asking for forgiveness of my sins and also with the desire to never want to commit that sin again. I think I’m bumbling, but it makes sense in my head.
Elder D. Todd Christofferson
For our turning to the Lord to be complete, it must include nothing less than a covenant of obedience to Him. We often speak of this covenant as the baptismal covenant since it is witnessed by being baptized in water. The Savior’s own baptism, providing the example, confirmed His covenant of obedience to the Father. “But notwithstanding he being holy, he showeth unto the children of men that, according to the flesh he humbleth himself before the Father, and witnesseth unto the Father that he would be obedient unto him in keeping his commandments.” Without this covenant, repentance remains incomplete and the remission of sins unattained. In the memorable expression of Professor Noel Reynolds, “The choice to repent is a choice to burn bridges in every direction [having determined] to follow forever only one way, the one path that leads to eternal life.”
And there you have it. Where I bumbled in articulating my understanding of Elder Curtis’ talk, Elder Christofferson made it simple. Fun, huh?
Elder L. Tom Perry
Be righteous examples to others. After our declaration of our beliefs, we must follow the counsel given to us in 1 Timothy 4:12: “But be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.”
The Savior taught about the importance of being an example of our faith by saying, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).
Our lives should be examples of goodness and virtue as we try to emulate His example to the world. Good works by each of us can do credit both to the Savior and His Church. As you are engaged in doing good, being honorable and upright men and women, the Light of Christ will be reflected by your lives.
The Amish have a saying: “Let your light shine, just don’t shine it in the eyes of others.” This makes perfect sense and is central to Elder Perry’s message. I believe that in addition to a little “how-to PR,” he is telling me that the best way to teach other people about who I am and what I believe in is to be an example. Live what I believe in. I think this is important in another aspect of my life. I’m really good at lecturing, but need some work on the practicing. It’s one thing to tell people that children of gay parents are normal and well-adjusted, it’s another to just live it (Natalie and Marie, I know you’re giggling at that claim). The bottom line, I need to let my light shine, just not shine it in the eyes of others.
And thus concludes Saturday afternoon’s session. Discuss!
So much love,