Well this last weekend was the semi-annual General Conference for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints aka the Mormons. Every year in both April and October, the members of the Church come together to receive council from the leaders of the Church. It is an incredibly spiritual experience for members and nonmembers alike.

There are four general sessions with two on saturday and two on sunday. They are held in either the morning and early afternoon and are 2-hours each. There is a Priesthood session on saturday nights as well which is also 2-hours. There is a special session for the women as well, but that is held at a different time. I have sadly not been able to attend the Priesthood session for some time now (as far as I am aware) as I am usually working on those nights.

Now when it comes to Conference, I am not the best at paying attention, especially on saturdays. That means that I have no real recollection of things said during the saturdays sessions. Also I had to work at 3:30 so I had to miss Dallin H. Oaks talk (he’s my favourite Apostle). Regardless, I paid much better attention on sunday and got a lot from those sessions.

So the sunday morning session was by far my favourite session. Of the six talks, five stuck out to me the most. The first one was the talk by Pres. Dieter F. Uchtdorf. His talk was about believing without needing a miracle. Obviously that relies completely on faith, and that is not always easy to have. Faith is like any talent or skill, the more you practice it the stronger it becomes. Also, the less you practice it, the weaker it becomes. Using faith is so hard sometimes. We are essentially placing our lives in the hands of a being we have not seen nor whose existence we know of with a surety. Faith in a secular term is trust. We are trusting in the unknown, and that is hard. But by practicing even a small particle of faith, we can know with a better surety that we are not alone and that God is real, loves us, and watches out for those who actively seek to do his will. And when we practice our faith without seeking for and needing miracles, the greater we will be blessed and the stronger our faith will be.

The next talk was by Elder Paul V. Johnson. His talk was on trials. Now we all have trials, and some are more difficult than others, but God has promised that our trials will not be harder than we can bear. That in itself is comforting. It means that the harder the trial, the stronger we actually are. Those who suffer with addictions might be enslaved physically, but if they understood this singular truth, then they could understand that they are in fact stronger than the addiction and they would be able to find the strength the endure and succeed. The same goes for everyones trials. We are so much stronger than we believe and God is always there ready to help us realise this. He never moves away and leaves you alone. He is simply waiting for you to humble yourself and accept His help. Interesting how this also requires faith.

The third talk was by Silvia H. Allred about service. Service is such a simple concept when we think about it. It is the act of thinking and acting for the welfare of someone other than ourselves. Helping someone who has fallen down, calling an ailing friend or neighbour, being a shoulder to cry on, etc. These are only a few ways service is rendered. And they are just as important as someone forsaking their home for a few months to do humanitarian work in another country. The hardest act of service I have found is the giving of money to the beggar on the freeway exit or by the store/restaurant entrance. There is common belief that they are actually using the money to buy drugs or alcohol. It may be true but are so perfect to judge and not serve. I admit that I am one of those who doesn’t give to them. In truth, homeless people terrify me. I don’t mean that cruelly, but it is still true. It is something I need to work on.

Next was the talk about receiving revelation by Elder David A. Bednar. A friend made the comment to me about how many people must have complained about not receiving great revelation that an apostle needed to address it at conference. It is true. The problem is that people expect to receive such major revelations when most are simple. There are also a few tips to receive said revelation. BE WORTHY!!! It is very difficult to be able to feel the promptings of the spirit if we are not worthy. You also need to be specific when asking for it. If you are deciding on a job, a spouse or whatever, make a choice and ask if it is the right one. Then don’t get angry when the answer is not the one you wanted. Be grateful that you got an answer. In my eyes, any revelation is great.

The last talk was by Pres. Thomas S. Monson about temples. It was such a beautiful conclusion. All of these talks have the final result, leading us to receive the covenants in the temple. Having faith, enduring trials, serving, help us receive revelation and be worthy for it and to enter the House of the Lord. Plus there is no better place to receive revelation than in the temple. Most of us have one close to us. So we should utilise it. Or work toward utilising it.

In the sunday afternoon session, I was impressed by two talks the most. The first one was by Elder D. Todd Christofferson. He talked about Divine Chastening and divvied it down to three points: 1. to persuade us to repent, 2. to refine us, and 3. to redirect our course to a better path. Now no one likes to be chastened, but if we humble ourselves and have faith, we will understand that the chastening is for our own good. It lets us know that we have done wrong so that we can correct ourselves and become better. I don’t really like it, but I have learned this lesson and so I learn and progress physically and spiritually. He also commented that most Christians view God like a butler, who meets their needs when summoned. I find this to be completely true. It drives me crazy. I am glad that I am not among that crowd.

The last talk was by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland. He said two things that I loved. The first was that he quoted Pres. Harold B. Lee saying, ‘…the gospel is to comfort the afflicted and to afflict the comfortable.’ That is such a beautiful quote, and true. If we get to comfortable, we are doing something wrong. The gospel is there to perfect us and as this perfection is largely unobtainable in this life, there is no reason for us to become complacent. We need to be continually striving to better ourselves and become more Christ-like people. He lastly said that the church is not like a fast food establishment, ‘we cannot always have it our way.’ The gospel is not laid out for us to cookie cutter as we see fit. It is not designed to please us or be whatever is easiest or most convenient for us. It is firm and never unwavering. It is the iron rod from which we must never let go. While it is not always easy, it never changes. It is constant and obtainable. The precepts of the gospel are simple and doable. We must simple practice our faith and believe that we will be blessed. And we will. Maybe not right away, but God never forgets those who obey his commandments.

So as you can tell, I got a lot from Conference. I hope I am able to remember the things I learned and incorporate them in my life. I look forward to the October Conference. For those who heard it, I hope you enjoyed it. And for those who didn’t, I’ll help you out 😉




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