This was such an amazing day!
When I first got baptized, interpreters had to come to our stake center to do the whole conference in sign language.
By the time I was endowed, our building had been upgraded for multiple feeds and we could get both the ASL feed and the captions feed in addition to the regular English feed (and the Spanish and the Hmong feeds in other rooms). It was so great!
This year was another upgrade: we got the feed in our own ward building! How cool is that?! It was very exciting, and somehow it was super special to me to have the feed here, so close.
Excepting we don’t have the ASL and captions feed worked out in the ward building yet, so I was going to meet up with my Deaf and hearing loss peeps at the stake center to watch it there.
Until my mom said she would watch it with me if I stayed home!
And she did!
And we had a whole entire girl day that was AWESOME.
Not only that, but at my brother’s house, all of his kiddos were in town and watching with him – he even took both boys to the priesthood session tonight!
MY WHOLE FAMILY WATCHED GENERAL CONFERENCE TODAY!
Do you know how crazy awesomesauce that is?!
It was a like a family picnic, even though we were states away.
Mom and I are going to watch again tomorrow, and then next weekend we will go to Kansas City to tour the temple with the whole family. We are so excited!
I feel nourished, and loved, and at peace with so many good family days.
I do love my family more than anything.
General Conference is all about family.
President Monson opened this morning, reminding us that General Conference is for us to find strength and encouragement, to build our faith, and to learn – but that we must have the courage to change, even to oppose evil wherever it is.
President Packer was so tender, talking about the beauty and hope of a child. He reminded us to be gentle with others who are doing the best they can with the light and knowledge they have thus far. He taught powerful principles: no pattern can replace the template of having a mother and a father, the atonement can erase painful experiences and pain (even those caused by our own sins and mistakes), singleness is a temporary state (which was the only comfort tonight since the guys were not reminded in priesthood that they are supposed to be marrying us), and that family time is sacred and should be respected and protected. I loved when he said that he was called because of not having a father, and how this experience affected him (a theme repeated in the Priesthood session). He also straight out defined happiness as “redemption”.
Sister Esplin shared the “plain and simple” but profound message that our Father-in-Heaven loves us with a perfect love. She reminded us that not only does He love us, but He helps us. She encouraged us to be alert to teaching moments with the children in our lives, and told us we could measure progress in their lives by being aware when changes happen without external rewards.
Elder Hallstrom defined the “gospel” (the plan of God for eternal life) and the “church” (the people as organized for action to carry out that plan). He encouraged us to feel the Spirit. He also taught us to live the gospel by deepening our understanding of Deity (through constant study and humble pondering), to focus on ordinances and covenants (intently prepare for them and carefully keep them), and to unite the gospel with the church (live the gospel by becoming it).
Elder Koelliker taught about patterns as templates. He said that if we followed these patterns (which requires searching for them, finding them, and studying them), then we will be kept humble, awake, and on the path. He said that as we apply these patterns in our own lives, our ability to help others increases. He said we will feel the love of our Father as we yield to His will. He said that seeking patterns leads us to doctrine, and we will know that Heavenly Father knows us and loves.
Elder Oaks spoke about sacrifice, and that it must be motivated by charity and service in our ordinary lives. Some of our good sacrifices include forgoing companionship while others serve, supporting our families, sacrifices we make because we know what the Savior did for us, enduring persecution and oppression because we know that nothing matters except that the gospel is true, the time and energy and cost of Temple worship, the time and means put into church callings, donating our professional skills, and caring for our families. He said that sacrifice is a necessary part of our schooling, and necessary for our progression.
President Eyring spoke of accepting – even seeking – challenges to prove our courage, our endurance, and the traits we must develop to become like our Father. He spoke of the blessings of adversity, and how these “more than compensate” for what we sacrifice to be diligent and faithful in enduring to the end. He spoke of taking the time to build a solid foundation, and that we must remember there is a time of waiting after the foundation is built – and that we must correctly judge this waiting time. He said that our personal integrity is the foundation of our faith, and that we know in our hearts when we have done wrong and when we have done right. He said the Lord will keep His promises, even when I am being polished by adversity.
Elder Holland opened this evening’s session with the parable of the steward and the workers. He said we should not murmur (just don’t do it!) because we agreed to the wage and to the work. We have no right to complain or be distressed when others get recognition or blessings because we are not diminished by others being added upon. Our Father is just (giving all He has) and merciful (to all His children). We should not dwell on old grievances, no matter if they are the old stuff of someone else or my own past. Let it go, even if we weren’t the ones who started it He said very specifically not to delay, “because it’s getting late”.
Elder Hales told the story of the prodigal son. The prodigal came to himself, and so returned to His father. We can do this by being truly converted. Our conversion deepens as we prayerfully obey, take Sacrament (prepared and worthy), and are worth of the Temple. He reminded us that as we partake in Sacrament, we should seek forgiveness for our sins, think of promises we have kept well in the last week, and make specific covenants about what other changes we need to make or what more we can do.
Elder Baxter said that “we cannot change the past, but we can shape the future”. He said that instead of being burdened or cast down, we should look up to the Lord. He said we should “extend lines of hopeful credit” to those who do not have much hope. He reminded us that we are not alone, and so we can take courage and have faith and wait on the Lord in hope.
Elder Soares said that all thoughts and actions should lift us up to our Heavenly Father. He said we should invest in spiritual things, not things of the flesh (passions, desires, etc.). He said we should be so determined to remain on the Lord’s side that even our countenance is full of Light. We can develop this through being humble, offering a broken heart and contrite spirit, repenting, testifying, and serving. He said we should create a “disposition to fulfill our covenants”.
Elder Cook said that we need to “be in tune with the sacred music of faith”. He told us to have the courage to refrain from judging others, especially in regards to choices that are foolish or unwise but not sinful. Foolishness needs instruction, but only sin needs chatisement. He said that it is us who are far away when we are casual with Divinity, and that we can invite the Spirit back into our lives by reading the Scriptures.
Elder Scott spoke about revelation (inspiration) as the step by step way to accomplish the Lord’s work. He spoke candidly about those who have passed before us, saying that they can see us better than we can see them, and that they love us more than before, and that relationships with them can be strengthened through obedience. He said that if we really want revelation, we simply have to pray and ask for it, and be obedient to it, and ask for more. He said that anger, hurt, and offensiveness will chase the Spirit away, while quiet speech and careful choices and eating healthy and exercising will invite the Spirit and improve our quality of life. He spoke of dreams, encouraging us to capture content quickly after waking, and teaching us that the Lord uses those who have mentored or instructed us to communicate through dreams. He encouraged us to record inspiration, and to protect these sacred experiences from loss or intrusion. He defined “sanctify yourselves” as “keep my commandments”. He reminded us that as we pray for answers, to look for answers already given us and pay attention to these. He said we will know a prompting from God because we feel peace in our heart and a warm feeling, and that the more we follow promptings the happier we will be. He said we need to create a “disposition to do right” (the second talk that said we need to create a positive and active disposition to do good).
The Priesthood session focused on how we need to do our duty, rescue others, and recognizing the impact on rescue (or not rescuing). We gain power through righteousness, and keep our power by acting consistently with that righteousness. We need to prune out distractions (even “good” things) that prevent us from fulfilling our duties. The Holy Spirit can help us learn from our mistakes. Nothing is more important that preparing for (or keeping) the covenants of marriage. We must all love each other, quickly recognizing the beginnings of discord, and celebrate acts of selflessness.
President Monson closed the priesthood session that summaries well the teaching of the day:
As faith replaces doubt, the power of God reveals its purpose.