A life defining General Conference

I love President Benson.

When you watch this talk (rather than just read the text) you see that President Benson almost gave a different talk at the Priesthood Session and just had this one printed in the Ensign.

Please watch this! And to the men who watch this, Please live it!

This talk defined my adulthood. It was essential to the way we raised our family.

I was far from perfect, but I knew what I needed to be doing. I did (and still do) strive to live it.

The following talk (Also from the October 1987 General Conference)  is another that I have referred to time and again in my life as well. It is just as important today as it was then.

Listen to it and live it!

Then … Look up all of President Benson’s talks, find and read his books, and hopefully you will learn to love him the way I do!

Serve God with all your heart, might, mind and strength

Yay! I had the opportunity to talk in Church on Sunday!

I think it went pretty good. I was speaking with the guy from the High Council, so I had to keep it short – I came in at about 12 minutes – perfectly within my allotted time.

For your reading enjoyment – here it is: (Without my comments about Ma Hen being a hottie)

Some topics give you so many different directions you can take. And I started down a number of them in preparing this talk. With the subject I was given I could talk about Mosiah 2:17 – And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God. (And I will expand on this a little bit later).

Or maybe I could talk about home teaching, or loving our neighbors in a generic sence.

To me, almost every topic the bishopric gives you can be used to talk about the Atonement, Agency the Holy Ghost, and the best talks include all of them!

What direction did I end up with? Well, let’s find out.

President Brigham Young taught, [And so you know for the next little while, I’ll be quoting extensively from President Young] “The purpose of our life should be to build up the Zion of our God. We have no business here other than to build up and establish the Zion of God.[And,]it must be done according to the will and law of God [see D&C 105:5], after that pattern and order by which Enoch built up and perfected the former-day Zion”

…[W]e have been commanded to gather ourselves together, to come out of Babylon, and sanctify ourselves, and build up the Zion of our God, by building cities and temples, redeeming countries from the solitude of nature, until the earth is sanctified and prepared for the residence of God and angels (DBY, 407).

When we conclude to make a Zion we will make it, and this work commences in the heart of each person. When the father of a family wishes to make a Zion in his own house, he must take the lead in this good work, which it is impossible for him to do unless he himself possesses the spirit of Zion. Before he can produce the work of sanctification in his family, he must sanctify himself, and by this means God can help him to sanctify his family (DBY, 118).

We have come here to build up Zion. How shall we do it? … We have got to be united in our efforts. We should go to work with a united faith like the heart of one man; and whatever we do should be performed in the name of the Lord, and we will then be blessed and prospered in all we do. We have a work on hand whose magnitude can hardly be told (DBY, 284).

Everything connected with building up Zion requires actual, severe labor. It is nonsense to talk about building up any kingdom except by labor; it requires the labor of every part of our organization, whether it be mental, physical, or spiritual, and that is the only way to build up the Kingdom of God (DBY, 291).

If we are to build up the Kingdom of God, or establish Zion upon the earth, we have to labor with our hands, plan with our minds, and devise ways and means to accomplish that object (DBY, 291).

…[I]f every man and woman would live their religion, and enjoy the light and glory of the Gospel for themselves, be passive, humble and faithful; rejoice continually before the Lord, attend to the business they are called to do, and be sure never to do anything wrong (DBY, 119).

All would then be peace, joy, and tranquility, in our streets and in our houses. Litigation would cease, there would be no difficulties before the High Council and Bishops’ Courts, and courts, turmoil, and strife would not be known (DBY, 119).

Then we would have Zion, for all would be pure in heart (DBY, 119).

So Brothers and Sisters of the Doña Ana ward, will Zion be built in a land that doesn’t honor God’s principles? The answer is of course, “No.” In D&C 105:5 we are told: And Zion cannot be built up unless it is by the principles of the law of the celestial kingdom; otherwise I cannot receive her unto myself.

What are the laws of the Celestial Kingdom?

First of all the New and Everlasting Covenant of Eternal Marriage between a man and woman. Fidelity in that marriage is of course part of the celestial law.

The Law of Obedience to God’s commandments is a celestial law.

To expand on this I want to return to Mosiah Chapter 2 and King Benjamin for a second.

And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God.

He doesn’t just remind the people that when they are serving each other that they are serving God, but that even everyone needs to serve the people. Benjamin doesn’t say give me (i.e. the government) all of your money so I can serve the people, he tells them to go serve the people. Then he tells them not to thank him or give him praise for his service but to thank our Heavenly Father. And how do we thank him?

In verse 22 he says:

And behold, all that he requires of you is to keep his commandments; and he has promised you that if ye would keep his commandments ye should prosper in the land; and he never doth vary from that which he hath said; therefore, if ye do keep his commandments he doth bless you and prosper you.

The Law of Sacrifice and the Law of Consecration are of course celestial laws. Elder McConkie defined these as follows:

The law of sacrifice is that we are willing to sacrifice all that we have for the truth’s sake—our character and reputation; our honor and applause; our good name among men; our houses, lands, and families: all things, even our very lives if need be.

The law of consecration is that we consecrate our time, our talents, and our money and property to the cause of the Church: such are to be available to the extent they are needed to further the Lord’s interests on earth.

He also emphasized that we might not be called upon to act on these things, but we must be able to do it. (Not just “willing”). Are we living our lives such that if called upon we could turn over everything to the cause of building Zion?

Can we give the Lord our time? Are we able? Are we willing?

Elder Hales taught that Tithing is part of the Celestial law. In the end it’s just a little reminder of the law of consecration, but one that we must not ignore.

Another celestial commandment is that we must be united as a people. I already quoted D&C 105:5, but you might study D&C 78:11-15 for a little more on that, and you might also read in Section 104:47-53 where the Lord tells the Saints that although they failed to live the United Order, they were still commanded to be united in our Stakes of Zion.

Brothers and sisters, building up the kingdom of God on the Earth, establishing Zion in our own lives, in our families, in our ward, our stake, our community and eventually as far as we can have influence is part of the celestial law.

Sometimes people read D&C 4:2 Therefore, O ye that embark in the service of God, see that ye serve him with all your heart, might, mind and strength, that ye may stand blameless before God at the last day. And think it only applies to full time missionaries, but we are all commanded to be missionaries.

In D&C 59: 5 the Lord commands us: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy might, mind, and strength; and in the name of Jesus Christ thou shalt serve him.

We must commit ourselves, our time or talents our energy, everything the Lord has blessed us with to creating a Zion for all of our brothers and sisters to live in. We must serve, and teach others to serve. We must be self-reliant and teach others to be such. We must love God and teach others to love God.

What is your duty? What is your role in building Zion? You personally? Because in the end we know we can’t do everything? That’s is what the Atonement is for. Christ will make up for the areas we fall short as long as we do the best we can. But how do you know you are doing the best you can?

Listen to the Spirit! We take the sacrament every when so the spirit may be with us. Live worthy of the Spirit, listen to the Spirit and follow the Spirit. Build Zion in yourself. Build Zion in your family. Help the families you teach build Zion in their homes. Help make our ward a Zion, then help Las Cruces become a true Stake of Zion.

Zion will be a place where not only will people live the celestial law but they will do it while exercising their agency. We need to help the people understand that living the gospel will truly make them free.

We must become accurately informed on the issues of the day and then let others know how we feel. Our society is under attack from more sides than many of us realize and we need to stand up against the moral decline going on all around us. Standing by on the sidelines and watching our country implode is not acceptable. We need to put our hearts, might mind and strength into preserving our freedoms and preparing the people to be a Zion people.

The Prophet Joseph Smith said: “It is our duty to concentrate all our influence to make popular that which is sound and good, and unpopular that which is unsound. ‘Tis right, politically, for a man who has influence to use it. … From henceforth I will maintain all the influence I can get”

[By the way, every great talk will also quote President Benson!]

I testify to you that God’s hand has been in our destiny. I testify that freedom as we know it today is being threatened as never before in our history. I further witness that this land…must be protected, its Constitution upheld, for this is a land foreordained to be the Zion of our God. He expects us as members of the Church … to do all we can to preserve our liberty.

Listen to the Spirit. If the Holy Ghost has given you a prompting as to what role you can play in building up God’s kingdom on the earth – Do it! Serve the Lord as you improve the lives of the people of our community and country.

 If you think you’ve done enough to preserve liberty, read Jacob 2:19.

And after ye have obtained a hope in Christ ye shall obtain riches, if ye seek them; and ye will seek them for the intent to do good — to clothe the naked, and to feed the hungry, and to liberate the captive, and administer relief to the sick and the afflicted.

We need to use our resources to restore God’s intentions to this land. We need to liberate the captives in our own land. There are people all around us who are enslaved by sin, who are enslaved by dependency, people who are enslaved by ignorance. If we love God with all of our heart, might, mind and strength, we will seek to free them in the name of Jesus Christ. It is service in a righteous cause. Of this I testify, in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Jacob 2:19

For those of you who aren’t members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints – that’s in the Book of Mormon.

And after ye have obtained a hope in Christ ye shall obtain riches, if ye seek them; and ye will seek them for the intent to do good — to clothe the naked, and to feed the hungry, and to liberate the captive, and administer relief to the sick and the afflicted. – Jacob 2:19

This verse has had me thinking for a few weeks now. The world is full of captives, and we need to do what we can to liberate them.

Some people out there (probably not too many who would read my blog, but …) think that means we need to raid the prisons and let the prisoners out. If that’s what you think, you would be mistaken. People need to face the consequences of their actions, and if they are criminals, they need to do their time, but they need to be liberated from the bondage of sin that put them in prison in the first place. Yes, we need to put support people in their struggles to become free from the bonds of sin. But the truth is, they need to free themselves by shunning sin (See John 8:31-36) and by the saving power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

But there are other types of bondage that enslave billions around the world as well. The worst part of this type of bondage is that a huge part of these people (and perhaps a majority) have no idea they are in bondage.

To best understand this, you must first understand another concept – agency.

The Atonement of Jesus Christ is the most important gift our Father in Heaven has given us. Only through the Atonement can we be made perfect and return to the presence of God. But the second most important gift is that of our Agency.

[mantra-pullquote align=”left|center|right” textalign=”left” width=”40%”]Agency is our ability to choose and to act for ourselves.

Freedom is power or ability to make personal choices without compulsion.

Liberty is the state or condition of being able to act and think freely. [/mantra-pullquote]

God will not take away our Agency. It is His intention that we have the freedom to exercise our agency. If we live in a land of liberty, we will have that freedom.

This has been how it was since the beginning. We will have consequences for our actions and disobeying the commandments of God, but we ARE free to choose.

Look at the world around us. What countries live under some sort of socialist or some other form of despotism? Obviously we start with North Korea, China, Burma, Cuba, Zimbabwe, Iran, Venezuela, Laos, Vietnam, Zambia, Syria, Belarus, Turkmenistan, but these are just a start. If you are just looking at economic despotism you need to add Sweden, Norway and increasingly Russia, France, Great Britain – heck, all of Europe. Want to see economic oppression combined with religious persecution – look all over the Middle East and Northern Africa. Don’t get me started on Central and South America.

We live in a world were most people have few if any rights, and the few people who have some rights are oppressed in other areas of their life. Unfortunately most of these people seem to be completely unaware of their plight.

Even in a country like ours, we are being overrun with government regulation, idiotic rules and made to believe we are still a free country. Well guess what? THE EMPEROR HAS NO CLOTHES ON! Someone has to say it!

People … we need to use our resources to restore God’s intentions to this land. We need to liberate the captives in our own land, and reignite the beacon of freedom. It is a righteous cause and I will be writing more about this.

Satan is an impostor

We already know Satan is an impostor. One of his strategies is to counterfeit the things of God. Many of you have heard my explanation of Islam being Satan’s attempt to counterfeit the Latter-Day Restoration, maybe I’ll even make a blog post about it one day.

Now some of his followers (atheists, not actual Satanists) are having “church” services – just without God.

There are certain things inside us, part of our nature that we long for, and Satan tries to fill those longings we have with something cheap and artificial. Whether it’s alcohol and drugs, a permiscuous lifestyle or sodomy. We must stand for what God intended, and seek after the blessings he has for us. An Eternal Life as heirs to ALL He has, not just the temporary things of this world.

 

April 7, 2013 – Sunday Afternoon Session

The final session was starting. Yet incredibly great messages were yet to come.

jeffrey-r-hollandJeffrey R. Holland reminded us that even a desire to believe is enough to get started. In your most desperate hour, even if you aren’t sure you fully believe or understand, you can still turn to the Lord. He admonished the young people, focus on your strengths. Don’t focus on your weaknesses. Remember what know, then ask for help gaining more. Be true to the faith that you do have, no matter how much. Seek for the truth and be humble. Do not allow the frailties and failings of others to stop your progress. Only the Lord is perfect. He then bore a fervent testimony of Christ. A perfect message to call someone we all know to come back home.

dallin-h-oaksDallin H. Oaks is awesome, he always says it the way things really are! He admonished us to follow the Savior’s example, then challenged all Christians to see if they are following that example. He spoke of the ordinances of the gospel and Christ’s commandment to keep the commandments, no matter what the world thinks. We must not be “of the world.” Jesus didn’t speak hypothetically, he gave commandments and they are to be followed. He also spoke of the sacrament and prayer (praying to God in the name of Christ). Christ also spoke about marriage between a man and a woman. (Elder Oaks referred to this twice in passing 🙂 ) We need to have love for all of Heavenly Father’s children and we are commanded to forgive others. We must give to the needy and we, as church do this not only among our members, but globally. We do this not only financially, but also through service. The Savior commanded us to be missionaries to the entire world, and this we do, with 65,000 missionaries in over 150 countries and territories around the world. Christ told us to seek perfection as heirs of God. We are heirs to ALL the Father has. We can only do this through Jesus Christ.

Christoffel Golden Jr of the Seventy bore witness about the Restoration and the nature of God and Christ as separate beings, united in purpose. He also bore witness of the Holy Ghost and the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands under proper priesthood power. An understanding the Godhead bears witness to us of the nature of the eternal family.

Enrique R. Falabella of the Seventy spoke to parents and exhorting them to realize that we are in fact given instructions of how to be good parents. He emphasized the critical need for an eternal family and the need to treat each other properly. Teach your children to sing, this will bring joy into the lives of your children. Children need words of love, but also hugs and other tokens. Teach them to study, love and live the scriptures.

Erich W. Kopischke of the Seventy spoke of the need for acceptance. We need to help all of Heavenly Father’s children feel like they are loved and cherished, so they don’t turn to bad sources of acceptance (the world). We also need to seek the acceptance of the Lord. To be acceptable to the Lord be need certain traits: We need to have an honest, broken heart and contrite spirit. Only we can know what our heart really feels. We can fake it to others, but we must be honest with ourselves. A contrite spirit is willing to change. We need to be willing to sacrifice our will to that of the Lord. We can know that the Lord is accepting our efforts is whether we have the companionship of the Holy Ghost.

Bruce D. Porter of the Seventy reminded us that, during these days of tribulation, the Lord has overcome the world. We will find sanctuary in the Stakes of Zion in the hard times to come. That doesn’t mean trials won’t come, but we can have peace during these times. Faith and Hope, even in a darkening world, can help us remain optimistic.

d-todd-christoffersonD. Todd Christofferson bore witness of Christ as our redeemer. We have a universal redemption from physical death, but our redemption from sin requires our repentance. Our missionary work is how we can help spread this redemption to those who do not yet have it. Temple work allows us to bring this gift to those who died without this redemption. Not only did the Savior redeem, but he also ministered. We need to do this as well. Some things we can best do for people with the help of others – thus we have Church to help us magnify our efforts. He proclaimed we ne need God’s Perfect Justice, not the temporary “social justice” sought after by some in our world. (Very Nice! – If you don’t know why, pull your head out of the sand.)

thomas-s-monsonPresident Monson added his witness to the Conference and admonished us to be good people, to reach out to others and be examples of Christ.

It was a great Conference. So many messages to so many people. Many invitations to return, admonitions to stand strong, calls to serve those who need our help and the gospel, exhortations to repent. There were simple statements of the truth and reminders to some that God is God and will always be God. We need to conform to His will, not vice-versa.

April 7, 2013 – Sunday Morning Session

dieter-f-uchtdorfPresident Dieter F. Uchtdorf spoke about enlightenment. He spoke about darkness around many of us because of circumstances in life. He counseled that the Lord promises us the light (The Lord) will lead us out. He said to truly be healed we must look to the light of the Lord and not dwell in the past. Without using the words he advised us not to hold grudges. He also reminded us that, yes, other people can help bring us the light, but sometimes we need to turn on the light ourselves and open our eyes.

How do we do that if we are in darkness? Start where you are. No one is perfect, there is no requirement for starting out in your quest for the Lord. Turn your heart toward the Lord. Repent, ask him for help and inspiration. Then, walk in the light. You might stumble, but He loves you and wants to see you on the path. Christ’s light will always defeat the darkness.

neil-l-andersenNeil L Anderson spoke about miracles of Jesus’ life and miracle in the growth of the church. He said we are now in 189 of the 224 countries and territories in the world. He encouraged member missionary work and said social media is a tool we can use. He also emphasis the growth of the church in West Africa shows we can overcome the traditions of the world that go against God’s commandments.

Rosemary M Wixom, Primary General President, exhorted us to speak to the children in a way they can hear us. She said to ask the Lord’s help in this. Pay attention to them – disconnect from the distractions of technology.

L. Whitney Clayton of the Seventy (I wonder how bad his first name must be) – Gave a great talk that made me think of my eldest daughter and her wonderful husband (And of course my own marriage relationship to the perfect woman – for me at least). He talked about happy marriages and what makes them that way. He said their relationship is a pearl of great price, they share faith and in the Lord Jesus Christ, they are obedient to all of the commandments, not picking and choosing. They practice repentance with humility, put their spouse first in decisions. They are partners and respect each other, they focus on the home. They cooperate not negotiate. They love each other in live in that love, they are devoted to each other in all ways. I’m not perfect, but I agree with him. I think that’s why my marriage is so happy! At least to me. 🙂

l-tom-perryL. Tom Perry gave an awesome talk in which he talked about the war going on around us. Secularism is all around us. We must observe God’s law. He reminded us Agency is 2nd only to life as the greatest gifts of God. Satan is driven to destroy us. He spoke to one of my favorite themes, especially when teaching the youth (before their choices become life altering) Every a choice we make is choice between life and liberty or captivity and death. He expounded on 2 Nephi Chapter 2. I encourage you to read it now. I’ll wait. Awesome, right?

By now Elder Perry was on fire! He spoke about how to the world only 4 of the 10 commandments seem to matter killing, stealing lying and honoring parents (And many in the world don’t even accept all four of these) The other 6 are constantly ignored. He went on to defended life – at both ends. Ignoring chastity leads to murder (think about it for a second if you have to – and you better not have to). He spoke about the family being under attack and it is deteriorating. He referred again to the Family Proclamation – probably the most important prophetic statement made in the last 20 years (in my mind at least).

He reminded us, and thus the whole world, there are moral absolutes. Sin will always be sin. God’s promises do not change. Liberty and happiness come from obedience to God’s law. We must not pick and choose what commandments to keep, Stand fast in all things, be a light on the hill.

Awesome!

thomas-s-monsonPresident Monson spoke about truth. Truth never changes. He spoke about his own 8-year-old misadventures with fire and the importance of obedience. Abraham and Issac as an example of obedience. He quoted President Hinckley in reminding us that our peace, happiness, prosperity, and eternal life are dependent on our obedience. He again told the story of the Hungarian guy who had been holding his tithes for years waiting for a chance to pay his tithes, just to remain obedient – whether he would ever be called to account or not. Even the Savior had to be the perfect example of obedience in Gethsemane and on the Cross.

The Choir brought me to tears with their rendition of one of my favorite hymns, Come, Come Ye Saints

A great morning to be sure!

 

April 6, 2013 – Priesthood Session

I think California Mormon Standard Time is worse than about anywhere. When it was time for the meeting to start there were 20 men and 3 youth from the 3 wards that meet in the building. Of course the numbers still weren’t too great later. By the end there were 60 or so including 2 who showed up only 15 minutes before the end. There were still only 4 youth.

 Anyway …

robert-d-halesElder Robert D Hales talked about these being the last days and we were engaged in standing in defense of our inalienable rights. He reminded us to put on the armor of God. He said in previous times people had to seek after trouble, today trouble comes to you, He also lamented the fact that the standards of the world have gotten farther and farther away from the Lord. He reminded us that we can’t judge our actions on where the world stands. He reminded us that “true friends” don’t ask you to stray from the gospel. He encouraged the Youth to engage in temple preparation and to go on a mission.

Even in these last days we have no need to fear as we live right and stay with the Savior and leave the world behind. We need to remember that the gospel doesn’t, and never will, bend to the political winds of the times.

 Tad R. Callister of the 70s talked about Priesthood power – primarily in the Aaronic priesthood. Basically told leaders to conduct the young men the way they are supposed to. His talk in General Conference says  to me too many men are falling back into the old ways of doing things and aren’t trying to teach the Youth in the ways we have been taught to use for decades now. (A little frustrating, but in small wards it’s really hard to follow all of the admonitions we’ve been given) In a nutshell,  we are taught teach them how to lead, let them lead and expect them to do their duty.

David L Beck of the Seventy spoke to the Aaronic Priesthood. How to minister. Serve others and show how Heavenly Father loves everyone. Follow the Savior’s example especially in the home. strengthen your father and prepare to be a father. Honor you priesthood in how you act and treat others.

Then we sang Hope of Israel – I have loved that some for years now because it reminds me of “The Trek.” So many good memories – including my woman wearing a pioneer dress!

dieter-f-uchtdorfPresident Dieter F. Uchtdorf  then spoke about brotherhood. He said we all have many titles in our life – as family members, workers, church members etc. He wanted to expound on four 4 key titles we all hold.

1) Son of Heavenly Father. We are not perfect, and not always worthy of that title, but we can’t don’t let Satan get us down. Think of teaching our children to walk, do we scold them for stumbling? He counseled us that the Lord  doesn’t scold us for stumbling, he encourages us to get up and keep trying. We progress one step at a time. 2) His disciples. Again we are not perfect, but we are learning. The Church is not only for, or by, the perfect, just the trying. We are all different. 3) Healer of souls – reach out to those who need help. 4) Heirs to all God has. We need to serve and do all we can to be worthy to receive blessings. In the end he taught us that we need to work and learn and live the gospel.

henry-b-eyringPresident Henry B Eyring talked about missionary service, where ever we are. But also to avoid the things of the world. We need to take the take the gospel to the world, but where ever we are is part of that world.  He talked about his military service in Albuquerque were he spent two years as a district missionary in the branch. By the end of his two year military assignment there was a stake. Members were bringing friends and neighbors to be taught. He testified of the effectiveness and need for member missionaries.

thomas-s-monsonOur Prophet, President Thomas S. Monson reminded us that after his resurrection, the Lord sent the eleven to go and teach the world. He reminded us that missionary work is a defining characteristic of the Church, prepare to serve. He spoke of a four step formula to help us in that preparation. Search the scriptures with diligence. Plan your life with purpose. Teach the truth with testimony. Serve the Lord with love.

 

April 6, 2013 – Saturday Afternoon Session

I love General Conference. The world needs to have the truth spoken, without apology and without political correctness. Every once in a while some of the talks will be have a few little phrases to soften the message, but not as much as has happened in the past. I have missed Neal A Maxwell, because of his straight forward approach but I think his style is more evident among all of the brethren then has been in quite a while.

richard-g-scottRichard G. Scott, in his soft-spoken way started out encouraging us to find a refuge from the fast paced world around us. He encouraged us to make our home a refuge, centered on Christ. Children need to help out and be responsible for their actions and how it affects the rest of the family. He then went on to speak in a very straight forward way about how sin can destroy and how Satan tries to influence the world around us. What a great talk. He covered so much in such a short time, in a direct, yet soothing way. When I was younger I didn’t appreciate him as much as I do now. I think I was too immature and easy to put to sleep. 🙂

quentin-l-cook Quentin L. Cook talked about peace and finding strength in the Stakes of Zion. He talked about the difference between the internal peace the gospel brings and the kind of peace which can no longer be found in the world (as the Lord has stated, peace has been taken from the world). We can’t expect that universal peace will be on the earth before the return of the Lord. So we need to find our own internal peace in the Savior. Oh, how the world is being called to repent! We need the gospel, the church and the priesthood. People who claim to be ‘spiritual but not religious’ are missing out on the peace Christ can bring.

Stanly G. Ellis of the Seventy, an Idaho farm boy, wanted to be straight forward. So, he was. He spoke on a variety of subjects including: speaking against judging people by outside or worldly appearance, the welfare state; immorality (gay marriage without saying the words), how missionary work is to be done and seeking for our own way instead of the Lord’s will. He spoke a very powerful message that so many need to hear.

John B. Dickson of the Seventy talked about the spread of the gospel and the latter-day restoration. He also bore witness of the growth of the church in West Africa.

david-a-bednarDavid A. Bednar spoke on the Law of Chastity and why it’s important. He was awesome! As one of the leaders of the movement to pass Proposition 8 in California, he has always been awesome of speaking out on this issue with love and a Christ like demeanor. He slammed Satan and all of his plans to destroy us through immorality. I wish the world would listen. Heck, I wish all of the those who claim to be Latter-day Saints would listen.

russell-m-nelsonRussell M. Nelson Talked about missionary preparation. Not just the youth preparing, but all of us a church need to prepare for the growth in missionary work. He also made a little plug for the General Missionary Fund like President Monson did earlier. 🙂 He also encouraged the local ward missionaries and mission leaders in particular. He then proclaimed the truths of the Restoration.

I hope Sunday is just as awesome! I know more people watch on Sunday, but dang was today full of wonderful words of the Lord.

April 6, 2013 – Saturday Morning Session

Wow! What a great morning!

President Monson announced new Temples in Cedar City Utah and Rio D’janero, Brazil. After looking on the Internet, I think if we double the number of stakes in El Paso and Cruces, we should be able to build one in our area. 🙂

packer-bio-world-wide-leadership-trainingPresident Packer is a stud! He always has been. (And boy, do people who hate the Church and righteous living hate his guts.) He once again stepped up to the plate and hit a Grand Slam in defense of the family. He reminded us that tolerance has bounds, we can hate the sin without hating the sinner and we need to be especially wary of the snakes trying to work their way into the gardens of our lives. He reminded us that the Savior told the prostitute “go and sin no more.” He didn’t forgive he in her sin, only as she abandon it. As usually, He spoke out against gay marriage clearly without using the words, and he reminded members of the church that they need to stand up for the family.

Dean M. Davies of the Presiding Bishopric gave a great talk about building on a firm foundation. His talk reminded me that I must help my children build a marriage based on the firm foundation of a temple marriage. trying to build a marriage on a weak foundation is folly. His talk made me think, how sad would it be to have a father in the family who can’t worthily bless his children? Being a member of the Church isn’t enough though, there are other parts too. It also includes personal prayer, scripture study, priesthood ordinances.

elaine-s-daltonSister Elaine S Dalton (Young Women General President) gave a great talk. The Spirit moved me to tears a couple of times as she spoke about “Act well your part.” She talked about how important it is for our women to remember, “We are daughters of our Heavenly Father.” She talked about raising up women of virtue, who can raise up the next generation. She also called upon the sacred, inspired words of the Family Proclamation to great effect. She again called for a return to virtue and reminded us of the admonition in Mosiah 18:9 – … stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places …

Craig A Cardon of the Seventy gave a great talk about forgiveness. He reminded us that the Atonement can help us even in long time and habitual sin. New members can’t be shunned if they stumble. They need to be encouraged to get back on the path.  He reminded us that forgiveness form God requires our heart has to be right – yes he forgives, but the Atonement requires our desire to overcome the sin. Willful sin, without a heart desiring to overcome the sin won’t be forgiven. But we must repent to take advantage of the Atonement.

m-russell-ballard

M. Russell Ballard bore great testimony of the power of the Priesthood of God. He reminded the men that they hold the priesthood, but they are not the priesthood. He reiterated the need men and women have for each other.  Again, a reminder of God’s ordaining of the family. He spoke of the need to nourish with love and the light of Christ (Like we take care of the tomatoes 🙂 ) He bore strong testimony of the priesthood.

henry-b-eyringPresident Henry B. Eyring bore a strong witness of Christ and he spoke more about the admonition in Mosiah 18. He had a special message for my family family that we need to rely on the Lord in our current situation. Two things we are dealing with were both spoken to directly, it was wonderful. President Eyring also reminded us of the central role of the family and that Satan and his followers goal is to the destroy families in this life and in eternity. He also bore mighty testimony of the Church.