Monday, April 8, 2013

A Spiritual Weekend

Twice a year the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has something called General Conference.  It is held on a weekend in April and October.  Instead of going to our church meetinghouses we have the opportunity to listen to our modern-day prophet, Thomas S. Monson, his counselors, apostles, and other church leaders.  It is a chance for us to feel connected to the Church and leaders on a world-wide level, to receive counsel, and to hear about some of the the things the Church has been doing around the globe, like building new temples and missionary and humanitarian work.

This past weekend was General Conference weekend.  And on Saturday, April 6th, it was also the 27th anniversary of my baptism.  Sometimes, though, I feel like I've only been a member for 17 years, because I wasted 10 of those years being inactive.  One this weekend's talks was on the light of Christ in our lives, and while I never really let the light of Christ extinguish completely, I will admit that I spent many years letting it stay dim and not basking in its full glow.

Happily, those days are behind me.  I don't want to let that happen again, which takes work, humility and, did I mention work?  For many years on Conference weekend I saw it more as a vacation weekend.  I would watch it sporadically or not at all, sometimes reading random talks when they were published in The Ensign (the Church magazine for adults) the following month.

Last October I made the commitment to dedicate all of Conference weekend to watching Conference.  That's 2 two-hour sessions on Saturday and Sunday.  And you know what? I appreciated it in an entirely new way.  It wasn't boring.  I listened intently to every talk and took copious notes, which forced me to be an even more active listener.

OK, I will admit that by the end of the last session on Sunday I was tired.  But it was a happy, uplifted, tired.  I learned a lot and was able to recall those things in the coming months, both in my own life and when they were brought up in our local church meetings.

This weekend I did the same thing, getting up by 8am or earlier so I could be showered and dressed, armed with the iPad to take notes, and having the TV all set up on time for the first session at 9am PST.  It was a good decision.  A decision I want to make again and again. 

I plan to write about the talks in more detail on my other blog Improvise the Harmony, but I will say that the running theme this weekend seemed to be obedience to the commandments.  I know our church leaders look at the world sometimes with dismay at the lack of morality, greed and materialism.  It is hard not to.  I do it too.  But the wonderful thing about the way their talks are presented is that, even though the messages are powerful and thought-provoking, they are always presented with love and a feeling that there is always hope--hope for the world and hope for us as individuals.

As I said, I will post more about the talks at a later time, maybe tomorrow, on my other blog, but I will leave you with 2 things:  A link to listen to the talks yourself and a video of one of my favorites from the weekend.

If you are not LDS, let me assure you that these talks are for everyone of every faith.  The messages are universal because we are all imperfect, we are all trying our best, and we are all children of a Heavenly Father who loves us.

This is my challenge to you.  Watch just one and see if you are uplifted in some way.  I want to share with you a little of what I got to see and feel this weekend.  And if you are uplifted and want to see more, click on the link that takes you to the index of talks from the conference.  I was particularly impressed with the one on the light of Christ by Pres. Uchtdorf, which I will post below.  The one on chastity by Elder Bednar was fantastic, Elder Clayton did a wonderful talk on marriage, Elder Holland spoke on faith and how to gain and nurture it.  These are just a few.

As I said in one of my Facebook posts, my spiritual cup is full, very full, and it is a great feeling.

You can view any of the talks HERE.

And now one of my personal favorites. (Pres. Uchtdorf is so eloquent, I find myself gravitating to his talks all the time, and I know I'm not the only one!)

No comments: