Sunday, October 7, 2012
Sunday General Conference--My Impressions
This afternoon marked the end of 4 sessions of General Conference for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I'm happy to say that I watched all 4 sessions live and in their entirety. Although I watched them alone, I didn't feel alone, because I thought of the millions of people around the world who were doing the same thing: resting from their labors and focusing on the messages imparted over these last two days.
I took more copious notes this time than ever before, but I will not do another blog like yesterday. Instead, I look at the notes I took and am thinking about ways that I can improve.
The messages at conference are simple. Sometimes they are even repetitive. We heard a lot about Peter at this conference, and how even the Lord's senior apostle needed to be reminded about where to turn his attention and focus. After denying Jesus three times on the eve of the crucifixion, the resurrected Lord asked Peter three times if he loved Him. Three times Peter said yes. Yet when he was asked this he was back to his old ways and using his time for fishing instead of carrying on the Lord's work. This came from Elder Holland's talk this morning, a reminder that saying it is not enough. We all have a responsibility, especially if we have been baptized and have committed ourselves to God.
Elder Hales carried on this theme, reminding that world that, yes, Mormons are Christians, but asking those of the Mormon faith, "What kind of Christians are we in our quest to follow God?" Again, saying it is not enough. We must live it, love it, share it.
I thought about this especially during the afternoon session. During the morning session I had allowed myself to get distracted a number of times, doing activities (like laundry) within earshot of a couple of talks and hearing but not listening. How often do we do that? I knew it was not the right thing to do, and yet I did it anyway. How often do we do THAT?
Elder Packer, and many others, focused on the Atonement and its role in all of our lives. Many of the speakers reached out to those who are feeling lost, forgotten, offended, or perhaps feel that their decisions have led them down a path from which they can never return. The happy truth is that anyone can come back from the depths of despair and darkness if they humble themselves and embrace the blessings that await us. And because so many talks were also on the importance of service and loving our fellow man, we can also become the instrument by which God answers someone else's prayer. I cannot think of anyone I would rather work in tandem with than the Lord.
I have a special soft spot for Elder Richard G. Scott. Consistently over the years, his talks have messages that touch me deeply and pinpoint specific things I need to do better. Today he talked about temple work and family history. Although I have done more family history and indexing this year than any other, my activity has waned in the recent months. Summers in Washington bring such beautiful weather, and are such a respite from the preceding rainy months, that the last thing I want to do is sit at the computer transcribing genealogical data. But the time has come to start it up again. I remember the feeling when I did it before and knowing that I was one little worker bee in a very important, universal work. Yes, I definitely need to start again.
But my favorite quote from today is from the prophet, President Thomas S. Monson. It is simple in its delivery and yet powerful in its message: The Lord is always on our side if we do what is right.
And the amazing thing is that most of us KNOW what is right. Yet we challenge what we know, hoping to prove that other, easier options are better. This can relate to morality, chastity, family interactions, honoring the Sabbath, honoring our callings in the Church, standing up for what is right and righteous, using clean language, and reaching out to others who are in our proximity and obviously in need. I, in my very imperfect self, have challenged some of these. Not because I didn't already know what was right, but because I was feeling a little rebellious, lazy, selfish or apathetic. I will tell you from personal experience that challenging what we know to be right and true does not bring any kind of lasting happiness. Why? "Because the Lord is always on our side when we do what is right."
Like yesterday I will include the link to the conference sessions: http://www.lds.org/general-conference/sessions/2012/10?lang=eng
If I could recommend 2-3 talks from today if you are not a member of the Church, I would recommend the Sunday morning talks by Elder Holland and Pres. Monson, and the afternoon talk by Elder Bednar.
I'm going to do one more thing here, and that is pay homage to some of the beautiful music that was shared. In particular, a hymn that I have just heard recently called "Weary Not," which the Mormon Tabernacle Choir performed today and in August at a program honoring President Monson's birthday. The words and the melody are just beautiful.
Again, my cup is full and my heart is very grateful. It is a feeling I hope to share with anyone reading this. Happy Sunday, everyone. Enjoy the music below:
WEARY NOT (click link) Words below:
If the way be full of trial, weary not;
If it's one of sore denial weary not;
If it now be one of weeping,
There will come a joyous greeting,
When the harvest we are reaping, weary not;
Do not weary by the way
Whatever be thy lot
There awaits a brighter day
To all, to all who weary, weary not
If the way be one of sorrow, weary not;
Happier will be the morrow, weary not;
Here we suffer tribulation,
Here we must endure temptation,
But there'll come a great salvation, weary not;
If misfortunes overtake us, weary not;
Jesus will never forsake us, weary not;
He will leave us never, never,
From His love there's naught can sever,
Glory to the Lamb forever, weary not;