Here are my notes of what I learned in the Saturday morning session of General Conference! This is not all I wrote, nor is it an effort at transcribing what was said. This was the part of General Conference that was meant for Emily World.
President Monson – His list of thank you-ness was as much a call to repentance! Faith, devotion to the Gospel, love and care for one another, faithfulness in tithing, generosity to other funds – and specifically, he asked us to donate money to the General Missionary Fund… that hit me strongly, since I myself was rescued by missionaries and so do want to support their efforts.
Elder Perry’s talk really felt very much in sync to me for what I have been learning this whole year about the balance of work, rest, and play. His teachings of the principles of the Sabbath helped strengthen me in several layers. More than just not spending money on Sunday, not working on Sunday, not buying food or shopping on Sunday, more than wearing your dress clothes all day as a reminder of the Sabbath, but also the rest and worship and service for which the Sabbath is intended. Good stuff!
His teaching on Sacrament gave me layers for HOW to be prepared, and reminders for what internal processes should be happening before I ever even get to Sacrament meeting itself, so that taking the Sacrament can mean the most and do what is intended. He reminded us to study the New Testament teachings beyond just the Sunday School curriculum this year. And again, prepare ourselves physically and spiritually for the Sabbath and Sacrament ahead of time.
Also – he said in closing that joy is found in following the Savior, and I mention that because Gonzalez repeated it again for us.
Sister Stevens – The interesting thing to me about her talk… it was mostly about becoming like a child and in that way following the example of our Savior… but it opened with a talk about tithing. Both President Monson and President Eyring spoke about tithing. Two speakers talked about women being in tune and receiving revelation to help the priesthood, and the one woman speaker talked about the same topic as both presidents mentioned. That was interesting to me! It was like a demonstration of it, a testimony of it playing out in how the talks unfolded, beyond just the words that were sad. I loved that!
Something in her talk that was very powerful to me was when she told the story about the little boy who couldn’t see his father but could hear his voice… she said “We cannot see our Heavenly Father, but we can listen for His voice”. This made me cry and cry and cry, for because I so needed that. This year has been so hard, and I am very alone – except not, and so that was very good for me. Really good for me. Then when she talked about the Nephite children being blessed one by one, it reminded me of cleaning the crystals on the lights at the Temple, and how we had to clean one at a time, and how that reminded us of taking names through the Temple one at a time.
Gonzalez – three times talked about making and keeping covenants. He warned of upcoming difficulties, which was a good reminder that life isn’t always easy nor should we expect it to be. Also, I had never thought of making covenants “as an expression of love”. It makes sense, but I had never thought of it in those words, so I will be thinking about that more.
He stated that the way we treat others shows how we love the savior, and that was a call to repentance again. He repeated Elder Perry’s statement about how we are happier when we follow the example of Jesus Christ, so we got told that twice already.
Richards – He compared physical recovery from surgery to soul recovery from repentance. THAT is something I can understand! I cried through his whole talk about pain, and I loved Orson Whitney’s quote about “no pain or trial is wasted”, and about it being for our education – part of the purpose of our education which we came here to receive.
I loved when he said the scripture about how we are to “come boldly” to the throne of grace, that we may find mercy. I need me some mercy, but we do have to accept it. DOH!
Also, when studying principles and promises, ask the question “What is required to qualify?”
Elder Cook opened with “Women are incredible!” Everyone laughed because we know it is true! I was glad of it, as I have not “felt” very incredible lately. But it was good to be reminded of what is truth, beyond other people’s choices or the distractions and illusions of the world – that within me are “divine qualities” – love, charity, and willingness to sacrifice.
He talked about how we should be nurturing – this, for me, was the same call to repentance as the YW broadcast about “benevolence”.
OH! OH! OH! THEN, he was telling the story about a woman, and he said that she said “the Lord promised to be my husband” – and I KNEW IT WAS ISAIAH 54! That has been the verses I have clung to, that for me were like the “graduate school” of 2 Nephi 4:16-21… Isaiah 54 says (in part, though it is a short chapter):
4 -Fear not; for thou shalt not be ashamed: neither be though confounded; for thou shalt not be put to shame: for thou shalt forget the shame of thy youth, and shalt not remember the reproach of thy widowhood any more.
5 – For thy Maker is thine husband; the Lord of hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; the God of the whole earth shall he be called.
6 – For the Lord hath called thee as a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit, and a wife of youth, when thou wast refused, saith thy God.
7 – For a small moment have I forsaken thee; but with great mercies will I gather thee.
8 – In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment; but with everylasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the Lord thy Redeemer.
9 – For this is as the waters of Noah unto me: for as I have sworn that the waters of Noah should no more go over the earth; so have I sworn that I would not be wroth with thee, nor rebuke thee.
He closed his talk with the “angel’s errand” that we women are supposed to be on and doing, and I felt that maybe that’s why we were first told to be benevolent and nurturing! I cannot love well enough to do the work of angels if I am not first benevolent and nurturing. Good stuff!
President Eyring – What I loved about his talk was that he showed HOW we can do something. The Lord hears their cries, and feels my compassion, he said. I love how he connected the Law of Consecration to the United Order and to the Welfare Program, so that we can know that isn’t just old discourse-talk. I like that there are specific ways I can do something to help, and I like that working together to help others brings us unity.
The being “willing to share” was a call to repentance like “benevolence” and “nurturing”. I have a lot to learn before I make it to angel-ness!
Then he gave very specific and practical counsel about how to provide for ourselves so that we can use the surplus to help others. After a year of buying a house and two brain surgeries, I appreciated the helpful advice! I know that my house was absolutely a miracle of tithing, as was paying off my hospital bills from last year. So now to be recovering from those big things while on my mission, it has been a challenge – but always I am provided for, and always there is enough. I know that if I keep working hard, being frugal, and giving my tithing, He will continue to provide, and if I also have faith in President Eyrings promise, then not only will I have enough, but I will have a surplus I will be able to share. I am excited to be trying this out, Alma-style! Experimenting in faith to see what the Lord can do!
There were, of course, many more things I wrote down… but oh! It was so good! I did need to be fed, nourished, and filled! And what peace and strength I feel, what cleansing and hope (funny how they go together). I am glad of it, so glad of it. I do thank my Father for a prophet!