Sunday, April 05, 2009

spiritual clambake

(sung to the tune of "a real nice clambake" from rogers and hammerstein's carousel)
that was a real nice conference
we're mighty glad we came
the talks we heard were good, you bet
the company was the same

sitting in the conference center yesterday morning, all i could think was, "how cool it art!"  how seriously awesome is it that we have prophets and apostles who continually speak to us, giving us counsel and guidance in this crazy world, and that this occurs twice a year.  and that i had the opportunity to be at the conference center with president monson, his counsellors, and the quorum of the twelve.  truly, it is good for us to be here!

sitting with a group during a talk is interesting, because, so often, the speaker will say something, and we will all go for our notes at the same time.  some phrases stand out as worth writing down.  yet if we all compared notes, we'd all have heard different things.  like my brother said last week, that can only be because the Spirit is talking to each of us.  because it's true.
here's some of what i heard:

elder hales reminded us to say "get behind me, satan", and that there is love, not weakness, in saying "we can't afford it."  sister lifforth noted that often, the most destructive child (and we are all children) needs our love the most; brother neider nudged us that, as holders of the priesthood, the women of the Church should not be the only examples of virtue.  elder packer of the seventy told us to become acquainted with the voice of the Holy Ghost, but that if we have unrealistic expectations of how that revelation will come, we could miss it.  elder christofferson taught that when we have entered into divine covenants, the Holy Ghost will be our guide, our constant companion.  president eyring poignantly said that sometimes, the Lord calls on us to give to others what we hope He will give to us.  

we got to raise our hand in sustaining the leaders of the Church in mark's car, which i think is kind of cool, to be involved no matter where we are.  elder ballard taught that there are many, many questions in our lives, but the most important questions of our eternal lives have answers in the scriptures are words of the prophets.  i didn't take notes for the rest of the afternoon session because i was doing what i could to entertain my nephew, so that his parents could have a few uninterrupted moments to listen and maybe even take notes.  that was marginally successful.

i got to attend the priesthood session back at the conference center with my brother, which was very cool.  speaking in light of the current world situation, elder packer sagely said that we have moved from a generation of ease and luxury to one of hard work and responsibility, adding to take care of our possessions and property, to not be wasteful, and to be content with what we have.  bishop edgley reminded that continued guidance comes through fasting and prayer, while elder costa's talk about our responsibilities to our family, our employer, the Lord's work, and ourselves had so much to take in that all i could write was, "this is a good talk to study."  president uchtdorf cautioned us of focusing on the inconsequential at the expense of the profound, and asked what could be accomplished if we put away childish things?  president eyring reminded us that there are so many around us in need and danger, explaining that spiritual wounds are not easily visible except with spiritual eyes, and that we are to do for others, as best we can, what the Lord would do.  president monson told us to "be ye ready always" with the comforting reminder that this is not a time for fear, but a time for faith. 

this morning, president uchtdorf reminded us that the world is  continually offering up solutions for the problems we face, and, while some of them may contain elements of truth, only the Gospel can give us the lasting change we are seeking.  elder anderson wisely noted that we are nobody, and if we ever forget it, the Lord will remind us (and it won't be pleasant).  elder snow taught us to face a world of negativity with faith to go forward; to be of good cheer and to laugh.  sister thompson reminded us that at some time in our lives, each of us will be poor (in some way) and will need the help of another.  elder holland spoke to any who feel alone, encouraging us that, even though Jesus pleased His Father in every way, He, too, was left totally alone for a time.  but He held on.  He stood by us, and we need to stand by Him.  president monson spoke as the prophet to the world, telling us that putting the Gospel of Jesus Christ at the center of our lives will give us the strength to move on.

this afternoon, elder oaks described the contrasts between those who give selfless service, particularly in the temple, and those who live of the "me generation" with feelings of entitlement.    elder bednar spoke of what it truly means to take upon us the Name of Christ, an event that is expanded through the work in the temple.  elder stevenson encouraged us to make our home a Temple, reminding that we are never lost when we can see the Temple.  elder teixeira warned us about our conscience becoming dull and losing its guidance.  elder watson testified of the wisdom of prophets, reminding that their counsel may sometimes conflict with our political views or social life, but when we follow them, the evil around us will dispel.  elder perry cautioned us not to be missing in action when a friend, neighbor, or family member is in need.  and president monson closed the conference with admonition to study the conference talks, to ponder them, and to apply them in our lives.

there you are: ten hours of conference in five paragraphs.  i thought of making a "highlight video" of what i listed above.  instead, i second president monson: read the ensign.

in addition to what the stood out from the speakers, there were other things that kept weighing on me.  i wrote those down, too, as i think that what we think about during conference can be even more significant for us that what is in a talk.

yesterday i commented that the saturday morning session often had my favorite talks.  this conference, however, the talk that stood out to me the most was president uchtdorf's talk on sunday morning.  it was a good reminder to  stick with it, to scrub myself a bit and tidy up; to remember the basics of the Gospel, that prayer, going to Church, and reading the scriptures is the solution, reminding that discipleship is a journey.
now is the time to adjust our lives.

looking up elder anderson's press conference this afternoon (he's pretty great), i learned that the Church is on facebook and twitter, and had a youtube channel.  so there you go.

at times, i still miss president hinckley.


Jaime said...

wow. thank you for sharing all your notes and summing up the most important parts of everyone's talks. somehow, i missed elder packer's... i dont know how.? ha.

thank you again for taking me.


Em said...

FYI Jeff you are my hero for enabling a young mother to take notes!

--jeff * said...

em, i'm impressed you made it through that post, being as busy as you are! i did a recap last fall, but only cited some talks (mostly from the twelve). after posting, i thought this was too long, so i'm glad it was helpful to you. : )

~Bekahjo said...

I just wanted to let you know that Saturday night after Conference my friend April called and asked if I wanted to go with her to an Indian Restaurant. And thus, Saturday Conference was complete. =]

Em said...

I'm trying to find a link to the press conference you mentuined. If you have it, send it my way.