April 2011 General Conference Sunday Afternoon

Wow.

Elder Scott was just funny!  And the funnier he knew he was, the funnier it got!

Good counsel to STAY within the bounds of worthiness.

He also said “Never engage in conversation with others that you wouldn’t want your spouse to overhear.”  While I do not have a spouse, I understand its potency.  Whether in my office, this is always significant symptoms and destructive.  When friends have done it, it put me in a position between them instead of supporting them, so that I was isolated from both and lost them as friends.  How interesting that he shared this specific counsel.

Express gratitude often!

I cried through his sweet stories about the notes with his wife, the painting on the fridge, and the specific ways they expressed their love and gratitude in “small and simple” things.

I loved how she had protected and preserved his kind words.  I loved that the words he used were “protected” and “preserved”. Girls can be so mean and hateful, destroy so much with only a few words… I liked having the example of someone who “protected” and “preserved” what they were creating, instead of destroying it.

When he spoke of marriage having the purpose to conquer self-centeredness, my mind went to both my professional work and my personal preparation.

When he said he weeps for the women who are lonely and unappreciated, I thought of my own self alone, but also those lonely and unappreciated within marriage, and also those lonely from grief.

His talk, one that would normally blast us with doctrine (and rightly so – that isn’t a complaint) was incredibly soft and tender and deeply human.  I loved it.  It made me love him.

Elder Christoffersen

His talk was one of three that reminded us our spiritual life is not a series of checklists or things to do, but rather something that we are – who we are, who we need to become.

He said we must be willing to SEEK and accept correction…. not just be willing to accept it, but seek it out.

He gave us three purposes for chastisement:  to persuade us to repent, to sanctify us, and to redirect our path into a way He knows but we cannot yet see.

We were told (for the second time this conference) not to resent what is good for us, including chastisement or repentance.

I loved his story of the currant bush, and “thank you for loving me enough to cut me down”.

We were told (for the third time this conference) that if we strive to do what He wants, He will give us what we need – even trials – to help us be who He knows we can be.

We should be self-correcting!

When we need to reproof others, it should be quick and sharp and direct, but followed up by an increase in love (in word and deed).

He closed with at-one-ness!  I love it!

Pratt of the Seventy

TITHING!  Again!  But this was amazing because it totally answered my earlier question about why I was getting such an emphasis on tithing when I do my tithing.  Because it is MORE than just the numbers of tithing.  His story of tithing not being related only to cash income was moving and powerful.  It made me think of one of the first things I learned from Bishop Myers, which was that I will always be indebted to the Lord.  Besides the fact that He died for me, there is also the issue that any time I obey, He IMMEDIATELY blesses me in some way.  So I can never catch up!  This reminded me of that lesson, as if we were in his office in that moment.  It made me think about what “increase” I have, and what blessings I have, that could be acknowledged in a tithes and OFFERINGS kind of way.  I do my tithes.  But I have not done OFFERINGS since my surgeries, because it seemed there was nothing left.  So I did the minimum which was required, but I know better than that.  I really got a lot out of all the tithe & offering talks both days of conference, and feel very specifically prepared to act – even with specific ways/amounts/sacrifices coming to mind for how to do… so I will do it.  And those blessings, he said, will not only come to me, but also my family.  I like that.  Not just because my family needs blessings to, but because of restitution and just love – what an easy way (really, when you get out of the way of it, it is such a simple thing) to show love to the Savior.

He also promised that paying our tithing will help us be honest with our fellow man, and later he said it will help us develop integrity in all we say and do.  Those are big blessings!

Also, he instructed that our tithes and offerings should come first, and not be delayed to the leftovers.

In his whole talk, he gave a TON of blessings (besides financial) that come to me (and to my family) if I pay my tithing:  wisdom, answered prayers, self-reliance, gratitude, charity (that answered the benevolent question, too!  See?!), submissive, humble, faith, testimony, etc.  WOW.

HEY!  That Robbins guy is the guy who came to see us!  I remember him, and I remember the words he gave me.  So neat to get more words.

AND WOW, those were some words!  It was like a CEU meeting for my work!  All about family therapy and discipline and how to do “family” (be family!) the Lord’s way.  He talked about the difference between “doing” and “being”, which I love because that is what I have studied for the last decade… so for those words to come up in General Conference really got my attention!  He gave examples of baptism and sacrament as being things we do, but faith (before baptism) and worthy (to take Sacrament) are things we are.

He gave specific parenting ideas, tasks, and examples.  This thrilled the therapist in me!  It was all so good!

He said “Never let failure progress from behavior to identity”, and “Disappointing behavior is an act, not an identity”.  This made me think, of course, of my own parents, and the differences in their perspectives.  It made me grateful for my mother who was waiting for her prodigal daughter to come home, and welcomed me home with open arms – even though we have had much healing since.  She knows who I am, even before I was, and even when I wasn’t sure, and that was a special feeling as he spoke.

There was also specific instruction to pray for the attributes of the Lord as we learn about them in Scripture!

He also really changed my frame of reference… earlier I wrote that I was overwhelmed with the idea of becoming someone the Lord could rely on, that my little faith didn’t understand yet how that was possible, even though He has brought me a long way.  Here, Robbins corrected me and said the better question is “In what ways am I dependable?” which is a much better way of looking at it, more positive about being in process, and much more hopeful in outlook.  and it taught it to me in a way so that *I* could change my perspective to the perspective the Lord has, not just someone arguing with me in disagreement with how they view me verses how I view me.  I loved this talk!  It really helped!

De Hoyos of the Seventy

He brought us back to the beginning of conference, talking about the long name of our church.  But I loved how he pointed out that in ancient times, non-believers called them “Christians” and the Christians called themselves “Saints”.  It’s much the same, that we are “Latter-day Saints”, but we are called “mormons”.  It really connected it for me historically.

OH!  Then two more on the same “Do not be afraid… move forward” piece!  He said “move forward with patience”, then he explained that the atonement is the source of strength and peace and nourishment, and then he said “let not your hearts be troubled, do not be afraid”.  Of course the answer, ultimately, is in the atonement!  So much to study here!

Grow of the Seventy

As he shared the story of his brother, who was hedonistic, left the family for a decade, then repented and was baptized and came home to his family, it sure sounded an awful lot like he was talking about me!  I am grateful I can access the atonement through repentance, and grateful for His mercy.  I am grateful for the miracle of the Atonement, even that “as we repent, the Savior removes our guilt”… and the Isaiah verses about “repent, that I may heal you”.  Yes, yes, yes.

And then the reminders to also forgive others, and to forgive yourself.

Holland

I loved that he talked about the PROCESS of General Conference.

No topics are assigned, each person fasts and prays about what to say, and then it all unfolds so beautifully.  Each conference builds on the one before, and the talks fit together so beautifully.  It’s like He is piecing together a quilt for us, and it is majestic to stand back and watch!

His speech about who the audience is (members, non-members, all ages, etc.) really felt to me like specific guidance about how to speak and who to speak to… I have the “preach nothing but repentance” scriptures on index cards typed to the computer where I type my talks I give, but then he really spoke about loving the people as well.  He had a tender, tender, tender heart.

He spoke about Nature already testifying, and how the Apostles speaking to us ARE the trumps being sounded.

Then he spoke about the challenges of President Monson’s life.  That was really good for me.  My life is easy-schmeezey compared to that, and I think I have been so caught up in my new challenges and worrying about DOING them right, that it is better to relax and just BE who I am in the place (and time) He has put me.  The part about President Monson always being cheerful, regardless of what is going on, with remarkable faith and unusual stamina – that was also a call to repentance for me.  Not that I am a prophet, but I mean those are gifts (in a tiny way) He has given me, and I feel like I have let the shock of people not wanting these gifts, the negativity and bitterness in other people, it has tried to infect me.  And I must not let it.  I must hold my ground, and be me.  Because anything not letting me be me, or trying to repress the gifts given to me is not of God.  So this example of President Monson really helped clarify that for me, and did strengthen me in a real way.

How fascinating to then watch President Monson stand there and thank (gratitude!) each group of those who serve with them… it sounded so much like my prayers each morning, for my bishopric, stake presidency, Temple presidency, and then the general leaders of the church – what an experience to in that tiny way, feel an in-sync-ness with his gratitude.  It was almost like I could sustain his gratitude, if that makes sense, because I joined him in prayer and gratitude for them.  Amazing!

I loved most his closing words, that the Savior “reclaimed us” and “taught us how to live”.   That is how I feel.

I know that my Father-in-Heaven lives, and I know that He loves me.  I know that His Son is my Redeemer and Advocate.  I know that this Spirit did correct, instruct, and guide me through this conference.  I know that Thomas S. Monson is our living prophet, and that I am grateful for his example and guidance.  I know that my life is different, better, and happier than it was two years ago.  I know that me following the Savior has brought me back home to my family, whom I love.  I know that there is a reason and purpose that I am alive this day, right here, right now.

About Emily

I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints since 2009. I serve as a Chaplain, and work as a counselor. I got bilateral cochlear implants in 2010, but will always love sign language. I choose books over television, and organics over processed. Nothing is as close to flying as ballroom dancing - except maybe running, when in the solo mood. I would rather be outside than anywhere else, especially at the river riding my bike or kayaking. PhD in Marriage and Family Therapy, and currently doing a post-doc in Jewish Studies and an MDiv in Pastoral Counseling. The best thing about Emily World is that it's always an adventure, even if (not so) grammatically precise. The only thing better than writing is being married to a writer. Nathan Christensen and I were married in the Oklahoma City temple on 13 October 2012, and have since fostered more than eighty-five children. We have adopted the six who stayed, and are totally and completely and helplessly in love with our family. Nathan writes musical theater, including "Broadcast" (a musical history of the radio) and an adaption of Lois Lowry's "The Giver". He served his mission in South Korea, has taught song-writing in New York City public schools, and worked as a theater critic for a Tucson newspaper. This is not an official Web site of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

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