Selected October 2009 General Conference Quotes and Thoughts – Priesthood Session

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The following notes are only from talks by the Apostles.
 
Elder M. Russell Ballard – Communication Between Fathers and Sons

Priesthood and family are two of the most powerful things in the gospel.

Fathers and sons – how to talk to each other. We are all on a journey of becoming who we will become someday. No one has arrived yet. Fathers are the primary model of manhood for their sons.

Sons – how to take full advantage of your relationship with your father.

  1. Trust your father. He is not perfect but can help you. Talk to him, let him know your thoughts and dreams. You dad wants you to be happy and successful.
  2. Take an interest in your father’s life and his job and who he is. Find out what you don’t know about him.
  3. Ask your father for his advice on friends, dating, school, church, and so forth. This can also motivate him to give better advice and be a better person.

Fathers

  1. Listen to your sons. Ask the right kind of questions. Need to know what is going on in his life. Don’t assume you know how he feels or is thinking. Find a best way to connect. Have a one on one relationship. At least one really good conversation per month. Ask about feelings as often as you can without overdoing it. Listen more than you talk.
  2. Pray with and for your sons. Give them blessings. Share your testimony. Never give up even when fervent prayer in behalf of any who wander is all you can do.
  3. Have the big talks with your sons – drugs, girls, gospel, sex, pornography. Have open and frequent conversations on these topics. Talk about wholesome sexual relationships within marriage.

The most important decision for returned missionaries is to marry the right girl in the temple. Court and date and do not just “hang out”. Do not go the way of the world.

Honor your priesthood and love one another by making relationships with each other.

Pres. Dieter F. Uchtdorf – Adversity and Work

The brethren pray always for us. Winter will always give way to Spring. Remain steadfast in hope.

Shared story when he was 11 and living in the loft/attic of a barn. He was a refuge for the 2nd time in a few years. Boys made fun of him because of his East German accent. Now he can look back and see the great personal growth he made in the midst of that adversity.

Two important principles that sustain through adversity.

1. Work. Keep working, regardless of what you do. His parents worked various jobs to survive – truck driving, mining, laundry. Work kept their minds off their difficult circumstances. As they kept working, things got better. Those who are not afraid to roll up their sleeves and work are a benefit to all. Don’t compare your efforts to others. Just do the best we can. Work is an ointment for anxiety.

If stuck in the mud, the Lord will be more willing to him who gets out and pushes instead of just praying. The righteous work we do in our homes cannot be delegated. Do not devote ourselves solely to worldly things.

Retirement is not part of the Lord’s plan of happiness. We need to consecrate everything to the Lord’s word. Endure joyfully to the end. Whether you are the youngest Deacon or the oldest High Priest, there is work to do.

2. Learn. Education is not the filling of a bucket, it is the lighting of a fire. Learning is not merely a good idea, it is a commandment. You do not progress faster than you gain knowledge. Knowledge does away with darkness, anxiety, and doubt.

Books can become your university. Seek knowledge by study and faith. Apply faith to your study. It will amplify your intellectual capacity. Do not neglect the fountain of revelation. Seek out the knowledge that leads to peace and truth.

It is often in the trial of adversity that we learn the most important things.

Pres. Henry B. Eyring – Spiritual Preparation

His containers of consecrated olive oil. Be prepared for any emergencies. When the call comes be ready. Preparation begins long before the crises that we might face.

Make choices to rise to your destiny as children of God. We don’t know what will come but know what you need to be ready.

1. Have faith. Priesthood is power to act in the name of God. You have to have faith that God lives and has confidence in you. Faith dies not come on a moment, it comes from courageous and sustained labor in the Lord’s Kingdom.

Deacons and Teachers an Priests can give as inspired and powerful talks as you hear in General Conference.

Some do not prepare as they should. We will be held accountable if we can help and do not.

2. Confidence to live up to the promises and blessings. Courage to stand firm in the face of temptations and adversities. We can be examples for the youth. D&C; 121 – pattern of righteous priesthood action.

Be unwearying in the Lord’s work. No lights out method of shepherding the youth.

Don’t tell your kids to do something or make a sacrifice you are not willing to do yourself. Have a feeling of wanting to do more to rise to the occasion and he prepared.

Pres. Thomas S. Monson – Anger

Anger is the root of many of the tragic stories in the news. Cease from anger and forsake wrath.

Story of husband and wife arguing in the car, thrown toy that was aimed at wife but hit the 18 month old son and damaged his brain.

Anger doesn’t solve anything. It doesn’t build anything and can destroy everything.

There are many causes for anger. We can get upset for perceived wrongs or insult. A man is a fool who takes an insult where none is intended.

Can you be angry and not sin? Can you feel the Spirit when you are angry? No. The spirit of contention is of the Devil. God’s doctrine is to do away with anger.

No one can make us angry – it is a choice. Becoming angry is following the influence of the devil.

Shared story of Elder Marsh’s wife saving the strippings of the milk. Thomas B. Marsh became angrier and angrier and swore before a magistrate that the Mormons were dangerous. This was a factor in Bogg’s extermination order. 19 years later Marsh came back, saying he had lost much because of his choices.

Don’t given in to the feelings that lead to anger – irritation and so forth. Think of the consequence of anger. Leave unsaid the harmful and hurtful things you might say. School thy feelings.

The Oath & Covenant of the priesthood applies to all of us priesthood holders. Great promises await us if we are true to the Oath & Covenant of the priesthood. Harbor no animosity but be peacemakers.

Selected October 2009 General Conference Quotes and Thoughts – Saturday Afternoon Session

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Note: These are not necessarily direct quotes. Many times they are my paraphrasing and additional notes of what was said.
 

Elder Dallin H. OaksGod’s Love and Commandments

God’s love is shown in all the blessings of His gospel plan. God’s love should guide parents in their teachings.

Some people disbelieve eternal laws based on their own understanding of [what God should act like, or what His love should be like].

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son. He sent His son to suffer and die for us because He loves us so much!

God’s love is tied to His laws. It is not completely unconditional. Mercy cannot rob justice. Those who receive mercy are they who received the covenant and kept the commandment. God’s anger and wrath are part of His love. He wants us to become like Him and is displeased when we do not follow Him.

We obtain blessings from God based on obedience to His laws. Agency is fundamental to the plan that brings us to earth. God will bless us if we endure the poor choices of others but He will not stop them [most of the time].

Whom the Lord loveth, He chasteneth.

The straying of our loved ones will detract from our happiness but should not from our love.

Elder Robert D. Hales – The Nature of God

Prophets and apostles testify of God.

Some people might be surprised that we look like God. Some theologians even think it is making a “graven image” to even picture God as looking like us. But God Himself said, “Let us make man in our own image and likeness.”

God has a face. He walks and talks. Enoch spoke with Him. God has a body with parts like ours. His glory and countenance are greater than the sun.

Joseph saw and talked with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. Joseph’s was a special witness of God.

Korihor not only disbelieved in God but also ridiculed Him. He mocked the believers. Alma replied, “All things denote there is a God.”

Cultivate a diligent desire to know that God lives. This will lead to a softened heart. Most of us will not see God as the prophet has but the still small voice of the Holy Ghost will give us an undeniable knowledge that God lives.

With your own testimony of God you will be able to bless your family, your posterity, your friends, and many others.

Elder Neil L. Andersen – Repentance

The Savior’s arms are open and extended. They are arms of mercy and safety. They are lengthened all the day long, open unto us. God is He who comforts us.

When we sin we turn away from God. When we repent, we turn back unto God. The call to repent is a call to turn around and re-turn to God. It is a call to change and feel the happiness of keeping the commandments.

We each need to feel the arms of mercy through the repentance of our sins.

If it feels too difficult to change and if you feel if no one can understand what you are going through, the Savior understands. He will provide the strength to change.

Repentance becomes part of our daily lives. Partaking of the sacrament is a way to acknowledge our dependence upon the Lord.

The scriptures do not say that we will forget our forsaken sins in mortality but rather that the Lord will forget. [We should not, however, dwell to much upon our sins].

In this life it is never too late to repent.

Pres. Boyd K. Packer – Personal Revelation and Prayer

We are part of God’s great plan of happiness. There was a war in heaven where Satan rebelled against God.

We have been given agency and must use it wisely.

The Holy Ghost can communicate through the mind more than the physical senses. We might feel the promptings of the Spirit more than hear them.

Learn to pray. Pray often. Pray in your mind and heart. Pray on your knees. Prayer is your personal key to heaven.

Selected October 2009 General Conference Quotes and Thoughts – Saturday Morning Session

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One note about Elder Scott. He is not large in stature but he is a spiritual giant. I met him when I was serving as a missionary. He requested that the missionaries all shake his hand. When I shook his hand and looked him in the eyes, I felt my soul bared open to him. I’ve shaken the hands of a number of apostles in my life but that was the only time one was actively filled with and using the spirit of discernment. He based his talk on what he discerned we needed to hear as missionaries. He said some things I needed to hear and I know he said things others there needed to hear.

What follow are a series of quotes and paraphrased quotes from the apostles who spoke during the Saturday morning session of conference.

Richard G. ScottSeeking inspiration in your life

Father in Heaven knew that you would be faced with decisions that would beyond your individual capacity. “Our Father expects you to learn how to obtain that divine help [the guidance of the Holy Spirit] by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Promptings can be special experiences, very personal, like Patriarchal blessings. Some you will keep sacred.

You need to respond to the first promptings that come to you. “Sometimes the Lord reveals truth to you when you are not actively seeking it, such as when you are in danger. However, the Lord will not force you to learn.”

Promptings can be masked by strong emotions: Anger, pride, fear.

[Elder Scott also spoke about the dangers of pornography. Much of this portion of his talk was almost word-for-word what he has said about pornography in conference in the past].

Elder David A. Bednar – Love and Hypocrisy

Hopefully children hear and see the regular expression of love between their parents in their daily lives.

Do our words [of love] match our deeds?

Within the walls of our own homes we can and should bear testimony of the divinity of God’s Son. When was the last time you shared your testimony with your spouse or children or parents?

What we know is not always reflected in what we do. We are not only striving to know more but also do more. We need to live and bear our testimonies.

We invite the Holy Ghost when we witness of truth.

Each scripture study, each family prayer, each family home evening is a brushstroke on the canvas of our souls.

Avoid hypocrisy by living at home and in private what you preach in public.

Pres. Dieter F. UchtdorfLove

Love is the great commandment; it ought to be at the center of everything we do – in our lives, family, and at church. Love is the bond that unites families, communities, and nations. It is the source that overcomes divisiveness and hate. Love should be our walk and our talk.

At the heart of misery, you will find the love of evil things. At the heart of joy you will find the love of good things.

Why does Heavenly Father love us? God’s love is infinite. God does not look on the outward appearance. Though we are incomplete, God love us completely. God does not care whether we live in a cottage or a castle. Regardless of our current state, there is hope for us.

Don’t ever get discouraged if you stumble at times. The first step to walking in righteousness is simply to try. Choose to listen to the Father and do the things He asks of us. Try and keep on trying until that which seems difficult becomes possible.

Listen for God’s voice in everything you do. As we draw near to Heavenly Father, we become more holy. As we become more holy we overcome disbelief.

Why is love the great commandment. Love of God for His children is the core message of the Plan of Salvation. It is given power by the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

Love is the way of the disciple. God is mindful of you. He hears your prayers and knows the desires of your hearts.

Let us be known as a people who love God with all our heart and who love our neighbor as ourselves.

Six Destructive Ds Video

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I previously quoted a portion of Elder Kevin W. Pearson’s talk Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, which he gave at the April 2009 General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It turned out to be a fairly popular post as far as my blog is concerned so I created a simple video of the “6 Destructive Ds” portion of his talk and uploaded it to YouTube.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6e-xY0Nloqs]

Impressions of Conference

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I recently finished listening to all the talks from General Conference again (other than the Priesthood Session but I’ve started re-reading those). I am struck by how wonderful all the talks are. Conference is always good but sometimes there are some talks that aren’t quite so interesting or full of impact. That might just reveal something about myself though. However, this Conference was amazing. Every talk was worth listening to again and again. Normally I listen to all the talks again once, then just listen to the talks by the apostles again (or maybe a particularly good talk by one of the Seventy or general officers). However, I really want to listen to every talk again. I already started.

The other thing I was struck by is how much Elder Holland’s talk about the Savior touched so many people. All I heard from other church members after Conference were things like, “What did you think of Elder Holland’s talk?” or “Wasn’t Elder Holland’s talk amazing?” It was; it is. It’s an instant classic. Elder Holland has always been one of my favorite speakers; there are a few of his talks I’ve listened to and re-read many times. I love his talk As Doves to Our Windows he gave in April 2000. I also really enjoy his talk Broken Things to Mend. A talk I particularly love is his talk An High Priest of Good Things To Come, which he gave in October 1999. I think I’ve listened to that talk at least 10 times, maybe 20. While his talks are frequently encouraging to those who suffer or who are sad or who feel lost, that talk is particularly comforting. In it he tells the story of a young father setting across the country with his young family to attend school. I’ll reprint the story here.

“Forgive me for a personal conclusion, which does not represent the terrible burdens so many of you carry but it is meant to be encouraging. Thirty years ago last month, a little family set out to cross the United States to attend graduate school–no money, an old car, every earthly possession they owned packed into less than half the space of the smallest U-Haul trailer available. Bidding their apprehensive parents farewell, they drove exactly 34 miles up the highway, at which point their beleaguered car erupted.

“Pulling off the freeway onto a frontage road, the young father surveyed the steam, matched it with his own, then left his trusting wife and two innocent children–the youngest just three months old–to wait in the car while he walked the three miles or so to the southern Utah metropolis of Kanarraville, population then, I suppose, 65. Some water was secured at the edge of town, and a very kind citizen offered a drive back to the stranded family. The car was attended to and slowly–very slowly–driven back to St. George for inspection–U-Haul trailer and all.

“After more than two hours of checking and rechecking, no immediate problem could be detected, so once again the journey was begun. In exactly the same amount of elapsed time at exactly the same location on that highway with exactly the same pyrotechnics from under the hood, the car exploded again. It could not have been 15 feet from the earlier collapse, probably not 5 feet from it! Obviously the most precise laws of automotive physics were at work.

“Now feeling more foolish than angry, the chagrined young father once more left his trusting loved ones and started the long walk for help once again. This time the man providing the water said, ‘Either you or that fellow who looks just like you ought to get a new radiator for that car.’ For the second time a kind neighbor offered a lift back to the same automobile and its anxious little occupants. He didn’t know whether to laugh or to cry at the plight of this young family.

“‘How far have you come?’ he said. ‘Thirty-four miles,’ I answered. ‘How much farther do you have to go?’ ‘Twenty-six hundred miles,’ I said. ‘Well, you might make that trip, and your wife and those two little kiddies might make that trip, but none of you are going to make it in that car.’ He proved to be prophetic on all counts.

“Just two weeks ago this weekend, I drove by that exact spot where the freeway turnoff leads to a frontage road, just three miles or so west of Kanarraville, Utah. That same beautiful and loyal wife, my dearest friend and greatest supporter for all these years, was curled up asleep in the seat beside me. The two children in the story, and the little brother who later joined them, have long since grown up and served missions, married perfectly, and are now raising children of their own. The automobile we were driving this time was modest but very pleasant and very safe. In fact, except for me and my lovely Pat situated so peacefully at my side, nothing of that moment two weeks ago was even remotely like the distressing circumstances of three decades earlier.

“Yet in my mind’s eye, for just an instant, I thought perhaps I saw on that side road an old car with a devoted young wife and two little children making the best of a bad situation there. Just ahead of them I imagined that I saw a young fellow walking toward Kanarraville, with plenty of distance still ahead of him. His shoulders seemed to be slumping a little, the weight of a young father’s fear evident in his pace. In the scriptural phrase his hands did seem to hang down.’ In that imaginary instant, I couldn’t help calling out to him: ‘Don’t give up, boy. Don’t you quit. You keep walking. You keep trying. There is help and happiness ahead–a lot of it–30 years of it now, and still counting. You keep your chin up. It will be all right in the end. Trust God and believe in good things to come.'”

As with any of his talks, as wonderful as they are to read, they are even better when listened to. Here is the link to the audio of that talk (I believe it requires Windows Media Player or something that can play the format).

Elder Pearson’s General Conference Talk

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I’ve really enjoyed listening to the General Conference podcast. While I enjoy all conferences, I think this one was particularly good. I’ve been touched and impressed by all the talks given. Oftentimes I do not focus as much (and not really enjoy quite as much) on the talks given by the Seventy or general officers but this time they’ve all been wonderful. One that sticks out to me is Elder Kevin W. Pearson’s talk on faith in the Lord Jesus Christ (Update: Visit this post for a video of Elder Pearson’s “6 Destructive Ds”). It is not only powerful but beautifully crafted. I love his “6 Destructive Ds” (patterned, I’m sure, after Pres. Hinckley’s “6 Bes”, which were all constructive and uplifting). He links them together in a tidy chain, each one leading to the next. It’s linguistically and logically a beautiful construction showing a pathway that leads to destruction.

“We do have a choice. We get what we focus on consistently. Because there is an opposition in all things, there are forces that erode our faith. Some are the result of Satan’s direct influence. But for others, we have no one but ourselves to blame. These stem from personal tendencies, attitudes, and habits we can learn to change. I will refer to these influences as the ‘Six Destructive Ds.’ As I do, consider their influence on you or your children.

First is doubt. Doubt is not a principle of the gospel. It does not come from the Light of Christ or the influence of the Holy Ghost. Doubt is a negative emotion related to fear. It comes from a lack of confidence in one’s self or abilities. It is inconsistent with our divine identity as children of God.

Doubt leads to discouragement. Discouragement comes from missed expectations. Chronic discouragement leads to lower expectations, decreased effort, weakened desire, and greater difficulty feeling and following the Spirit (see Preach My Gospel [2004], 10). Discouragement and despair are the very antithesis of faith.

Discouragement leads to distraction, a lack of focus. Distraction eliminates the very focus the eye of faith requires. Discouragement and distraction are two of Satan’s most effective tools, but they are also bad habits.

Distraction leads to a lack of diligence, a reduced commitment to remain true and faithful and to carry on through despite hardship and disappointment. Disappointment is an inevitable part of life, but it need not lead to doubt, discouragement, distraction, or lack of diligence.

If not reversed, this path ultimately leads to disobedience, which undermines the very basis of faith. So often the result is disbelief, the conscious or unconscious refusal to believe.

The scriptures describe disbelief as the state of having chosen to harden one’s heart. It is to be past feeling.

These Six Destructive Ds—doubt, discouragement, distraction, lack of diligence, disobedience, and disbelief—all erode and destroy our faith. We can choose to avoid and overcome them.” (Source).

Christian Courage: The Price of Discipleship

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Elder Robert D. Hales spoke on Christian courage at this past General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a conference held semiannually from Salt Lake City, Utah and broadcast to church locations, homes, and computers worldwide.

Here are a few of my favorite quotes from his talk.

When we do not retaliate—when we turn the other cheek and resist feelings of anger—we too stand with the Savior. We show forth His love, which is the only power that can subdue the adversary and answer our accusers without accusing them in return. That is not weakness. That is Christian courage.

Through the years we learn that challenges to our faith are not new, and they aren’t likely to disappear soon. But true disciples of Christ see opportunity in the midst of opposition.

Meekness is not weakness. It is a badge of Christian courage…. True disciples speak with quiet confidence, not boastful pride.

By arguments and accusations, some people bait us to leave the high ground. The high ground is where the light is. It’s where we see the first light of morning and the last light in the evening. It is the safe ground. It is true and where knowledge is. Sometimes others want us to come down off the high ground and join them in a theological scrum in the mud. These few contentious individuals are set on picking religious fights, online or in person. We are always better staying on the higher ground of mutual respect and love.

You can read the rest of his talk here.