In closing the 1975 General Conference, Pres. Spencer W. Kimball stated some personal goals that he would go home to pursue:
“While sitting here, I have made up my mind that when I go home from this conference this night there are many, many areas in my life that I can perfect. I have made a mental list of them, and I expect to go to work as soon as we get through with conference.”
We too have recently concluded another wonderful conference where so many thoughts and ideas have run through our heads. Maybe you think, as I do, that hope comes from having a desire for personal improvement? First of all, I am humbled to hear a prophet say he has his own work to improve, and second, I am eager to learn so that I also might overcome my weaknesses in order to be a stronger servant of the Lord’s. That is where my hope is, that I can work toward being useful to the Lord as I work through my weaknesses.
In fact, that’s why I enjoy this General Conference Odyssey so much. What our prophets said 40, 150, 2000, 3500 years ago is always going to be self-improving and worth pondering. The Plan, set by our Heavenly Father, was set in motion to make us better people in order to fulfill the purposes of our creation. We work toward obedience and Jesus Christ carries us home; it’s that simple.
Some of the highlights of the 2017 conference reminded me that I need to practice certain behavior better. Sis. Bonnie H. Cordon quoted Amy Wright, who discovered a strange paradox. Continue reading →
When I was a teenager there was a 7-Eleven convenience store seemingly on every corner. You couldn’t drive a couple of miles without passing one of their establishments beckoning you in for a Slurpee. They were everywhere. Back then I had no idea that each and every time I saw their green, orange and red sign there was a message there for me, a spiritual reminder hidden in plain sight.
Do you remember 7-Eleven’s slogan? If you’re my age you certainly do. It is often cited in the advertising industry as one of the most memorable slogans ever……
“Oh, Thank Heaven for 7-Eleven!”
Who knew that there in the store’s name, signage, and slogan was a message of spiritual encouragement, an invitation to remember the marvelous atonement performed by our Savior, Jesus Christ. I’m sure the company has no idea what their advertising is helping me, and soon you, to remember.
Nestled midway through the Book of Mormon, is the record of a once-rebellious young man – who after full repentance and a total conversion to the gospel of the foretold Savior of the World, Jesus Christ – was transformed into the mighty government and prophet leader Alma.
In chapter seven of Alma is recorded his teachings to the people of Gideon concerning the Saviors birth, His mission – culminating in the fulfillment of the atonement by His bearing the sins of the world and loosing the bands of death – and the promise that those who repent, are baptized, and keep the commandments of God will inherit eternal life. After his own life experience, Alma speaks with power, and I’m sure great gratitude of the miracle of the Savior’s gift of the Atonement. Listen to his words:
Have you ever had the experience of casually listening to something and without fully paying attention to what is really going, on a certain phrase will stick out and enter your subconscious? That phrase will work on you, coming to mind over and over again until you realize, “Oh! God must be trying to teach me something!”
This past Saturday I sat in a darkened chapel with four of my daughters and my infant son. It was too dark to take notes so I became distracted watching my daughters interact with their baby brother trying to get him to smile. I was only half-heartedly listening to Pres. Uchtdorf (did I just admit that publicly?) when I heard this part of his parable, A Summer with Great-Aunt Rose.
“And every evening as the two of them knelt by Eva’s bed to pray, Great-Aunt Rose would say the most beautiful prayers, thanking her Heavenly Father for the blue jays and the spruce trees, the sunsets and the stars, and the “wonder of being alive.” It sounded to Eva as though Rose knew God as a friend.”
“Rose knew God as a friend.” That statement pierced my heart causing me to ask myself pointedly, “Do I know God as a friend?”
I feel I do and, yet, why would the question come to mind to begin with? Maybe there are some areas of my life I need to work on. I looked again to Pres. Uchtdorf’s parable to teach me more about becoming God’s friend. What actions did Great-Aunt Rose take? Continue reading →
It’s a “New Year,” a time for thinking about how we might consider adjusting our lives to live with more purpose and meaning. When we live in a world seemingly dominated by negative news coming from every direction, living with faith sufficient to maintain a spirit of hope and optimism can become a non-stop challenge. Looking for more “positives” in our lives, while standing firm in our convictions and beliefs, isn’t an easy task. But when it’s achieved, we can become a more powerful people, filled with mental, physical, and spiritual strength.
When I had the calling of ward organist for many years, I always made sure that the hymn, “Come, Let Us Anew,” (hymn # 217), was on the sacrament program for the first Sunday of the new year, to be sung as the opening hymn. The first line talks about how as the year rolls by we should be thinking about our journey’s pursuit—why we are here in mortality. It also talks about how we should “never stand still until the Master appears.”
Never standing still obviously means we have a lot to do, especially as members of the Church. Forget inertia, and there is no time for the lackadaisical, or the lukewarm. Defending our beliefs will take all the courage we can gather, as in some circles what we believe has become the subject of increased levels of ridicule and scorn, the level of vehemence rising in its impassioned intensity and fervor. Continue reading →
Fall of my sophomore year of college is now just fragments of memory, odd details that stand out in my mind. They all circle around one event: the day my father left, leaving in his wake a trail of shattered dreams, horrific memories, and a broken family. Dad’s leaving was a pebble tossed into a pond whose ripples still extend into my life, and at the time, it left me wounded but still clinging to hope.
I’m not perfect, but I’m trying. Over and over again since October 2014 General Conference, I’ve had this phrase repeating in my mind. It seems to be my overall take-away from six incredible and inspiring meetings.
Like most members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I participate in General Conference to learn how I can be more like Jesus. And, just as with most members of the Church, I too am trying to be like Jesus in all that I say and do. Trying to love as He loved and working on being the woman of God that He wants (and needs) me to be.