April 2011 General Conference Sunday Morning

President Uchtdorf’s message this morning about “why hesitate to qualify?” really hit home.  I waited those nine months to get baptized, and know that feeling of being right at the edge but not ‘hesitating’ to go forward.  I see that pattern in my life sometimes, and it gave me lots to think about and consider for positive change.

And what a call to repentance:  “strive to be among those the Lord can rely on” – wow!  I feel that the last two years have just barely moved me into the Lord trusting me with any task hardly at all, much less being one He can rely on – that was really a huge shift in my thinking, my perception.  It was the difference between who I was, and who He has led me to be, who He wants me to become.

He began the whole theme of today about serving others, which was yesterday, too.  Answers to our prayers coming to us while we are serving others, and answers to our prayers coming to us when we are being the answer to the prayers of others.

OH!  I did laugh sooo hard when he was talking about social media and current technology, and he made the joke about people sending text messages that he has talked for ten minutes without an airplane reference.  That was so funny because we really did it last night!  I am part of the group that was collaborating with a new experimental online effort, working with thousands of members and bloggers, using twitter and blogs to cover General Conference.  So, for example, we had an online google document that was open to anyone, so that hundreds of people took notes on it together – the same document being worked on all over the world! – we got almost the entire conference transcribed, real time, almost exactly!  It was amazing to watch it unfold – but it was exciting because it wasn’t just the transcribing, but the impressions people felt, so thousands of people were testifying and sharing in response – it was an amazing experience.  But one thing that happened last night was the jokes, in appropriate ways, of people just enjoying uniting with others instead of being alone in the experience… and one of the things our team put out on twitter yesterday was that Uchtdorff made it 9 minutes and 43 seconds before making a reference… and then how funny it was because it was a reference to a ship, not an airplane.  BUT THEN HE ANSWERED IT!  HA!  They were totally watching it all go down, and then he made a joke of it today!  That was hilarious, and so of course it was both a tender mercy for the work of our team, and also a fun moment to see what real people they are.  Oh, it was funny!

Always, the most special part to me is being reminded that Heavenly Father loves me, hears my prayers, and offers peace and comfort.  Maybe that is the most simple piece of all, but it seems to be the piece I need reminding of the most.

Johnson of the Seventy

I knew, of course, that part of why we face difficult challenges was to see if we will do all we are commanded, but I had not thought about trials consecrating us to “put on” divine attributes.  I mean, those direct words in a doctrine kind of way, I had not considered so directly (in implication).  I will have a lot to ponder on that!  Also, the discussion about how trials are very personal to us, like a laser, like what I need just for me, to be refined, purified, and remove impurities.

Also, he gave us that Orson Whitney quote again, the same one as was used yesterday!!!  About it being for our education – love it!

Another call to repentance was that “being good is not enough; we want to be like the Savior.”  That is a place I feel now, of “hesitating”, from just the cleaning up of my life since two years ago, to the unfolding since, to pressing forward not just in words and deeds, but letting that change me, letting that “become” me.  When I resist it, I do make an awful mess of things.

“The only way to see the view is to make the climb.”  Classic one-liner!  One that will stick in my brain, and be recalled at a moment’s notice.

When he said “We don’t seek out challenges, ours will come to us, and be just right for us”.  That is what I was learning at the Temple.  I don’t have to make life harder than it is because it will already contain the challenges meant for specifically for me.

Bishop Burton

“Will this buy me any bread?”  WOW.  The “temporal salvation” of people is a condition I face at work all the time.  But when he said, “as long as the church has resources…” I realized that *I* am a part of that resource.  So whether that means my work at LDS Family Services, my mission, the Temple, or the temporal service of finding a way to give a more generous fast offering, etc. – that is my personal responsibility.  And it will be possible, he promised like Eyring did yesterday, if I am living providently with economic self-discipline.  He expounded upon Eyring’s talk yesterday, giving more examples of economic self-discipline: avoiding debt, being thrifty, preparing for times of economic stress, living according to needs rather than wants, listening to our leadership…and literally taking upon us the yoke of others – and being kind while doing so.  This was deep stuff.  Such simple action, but such profound ramifications.

THEN!  Did you see President Eyring’s face when the choir was to sing “Have I Done Any Good?”, which was the song he quoted in his talk yesterday?  That was awesome!

Sister Allred declared that true discipleship comes when we are united as one by loving (serving) one another.  Again, another instruction to give more generous fast offerings in order to help by giving to the storehouse.  She said this counted as a way to “go about doing good”.

But then it was very powerful to me when she said “He will provide what we need to fulfill our calling.”

She pleaded with us to have an increase in desire and ability to reach out.

This again reminded me of the Temple presidency talk with me some weeks ago, for I cannot have the ABILITY to reach out if I am not taking care of me (in an appropriate way, not a selfish way)… so desire is not enough.  We are called to ACT!  But we do that THROUGH being self-reliant, whether that means economically or eating enough or sleeping enough.  I love how it all ties together!

Elder Bednar  (GO HOGS!  HA!)

How “plain and simple” was that teaching on light?! He described walking into a dark room and turning on the lights, and then described watching the sun slowly rise. The difference between “immediate and intense” and the “gradual and subtle”.  Personal revelation comes the same ways: sometimes it is “immediate and intense and complete” and sometimes it is “gradual and subtle, line upon line”.

This was really good for me, because I think one challenge that I have struggled with this year was how to know the “gradual and subtle” was really on the right track, when it wasn’t “immediate and intense”?  When there is that much light, you can see everything, even if for a moment, and you understand how it is going to unfold, and so you can walk boldly forward…. but this “gradual and subtle” is much more difficult to me, and again in that place where I need the “Do not be afraid… Step forward with this gift of faith…” instruction from my patriarchal blessing.  Because with gradual and subtle, I can tell enough that it isn’t as dark as it was before, but I know it isn’t as light as the Light I know.  So it is more scary to keep stepping forward, because I don’t want to go astray or lose my way… but maybe this is my time of “mists of darkness”, to just hold on and stay in the moment and have faith in what I have seen and known, even in the murky times in between…  Oh!  See, this is my “hestitating” – it is like not wanting to leave the Temple (that will get you kicked out, by the way, hahaha), or not wanting to leave my mission time, because those things create light… and give you light… but I also must learn to “walk the streets of Palestine” (Living Christ!) and “go and do”… I must learn how to not only receive and carry that light, but BECOME that Light. How can I learn to become light, if I am never in the dark to practice my own lighting-up-ness?!  See, it all makes sense now!  (to me, anyway!)

With so many references to Paul this morning, it makes me think of when Paul described the difference between milk and meat.  I am whining about losing milk, instead of being grateful to be offered meat.  So – no hesitating with the meat!  One bite at a time, line upon line!

Then, he gave me another piece about the “press forward” – he said press forward “in faith and obedience”.  So more answers – and all the basic things we know, just do them!  Faith, obedience, study scriptures.

“Cloudy days are more difficult to perceive the light, but we still know it is a new day and we still function within that day.”  That was a good way to stop the whining about milk and start chewing the meat!  Even on the “gradual and subtle” days, I know what is right and what to do and what is asked of me – do those things!

Act and not be acted upon!  It was great that he said that, for such a small phrase means so much since that talk in conference.

THEN, I got another layer of “press forward” – which is exactly even more of what I needed – “hoping and praying, even when not sure what is God’s will in our specific day to day circumstances, we can be confident even while waiting – because if we are honoring our covenants, then we can be confident our steps are in His way and our words are His words.”  That was AMAZING, and will give me lots to ponder and consider.

Also, I think He was telling me to chillax a little bit!  If I am doing the things that honor my covenants, then that IS the will of the Lord, and I will get done what I need to do and be where I need to be and accomplish what He wants me to accomplish.

We also received the promise that as we walk in Light, He will direct and protect our families.  I need that promise, and am grateful for it.

I loved President Monson’s talk about Temples, and how they are built on trial and testimony.  Also, how Temple attendance is always associated with sacrifice.

Then, to finish up the keeping covenants theme, he said that as we keep our covenants, we will find peace and be renewed and be fortified and resist temptation.

This I know to be TRUE.

The closing song was BEAUTIFUL in sign language, oh, I wish I could express it in words but it is not the same!

What a beautiful day with such life-giving an strengthening words!

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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