To Become Better People

This is a General Conference Odyssey post.

In the closing session of October 1977 General Conference, President Spencer W. Kimball stood before the congregation and said,

“This has been a great conference and as each one of these wonderful sermons has been rendered I’ve listened with great attention, and I have made up my mind that I shall go home and be a greater man than I have ever been before.”

This is the prophet of our church inviting us to become better people.

Next year, our Priesthood/Relief Society curriculum manual will be the General Conference talks we have just listened to. Why? In hopes that we will go home, study them, and become better people.

I have said this many times, and I’m going to keep saying it: As I have spent the last couple of years reading the conference talks for our General Conference Odyssey, I have been uplifted, motivated, and inspired with better thoughts. The words spoken by these men of God are inspired. They speak of truth, warning, and perseverance in righteous behavior. These talks, as well as the scriptures, surely will bring us closer to heaven.

Pres. Kimball continues with this invitation:

“I urge you to take much thought in your return home from this conference and think again of the things that have been brought to your attention; and so far as they approach your life in any way, see if you can use them to bring you back–all of us–toward the perfection which the Lord has asked of us.”

We all can improve. The words spoken at conference are to spark a personal revelation that will cause a desire in us to be better people. That’s how much the Lord loves us.

Again, I’m drawn to next year’s curriculum. Many of us are wondering what the lessons are going to look like. The new Come, Follow Me–For Melchizedek Priesthood and Relief Society format will be as follows:

First Sunday–Counsel together about local responsibilities–with plans to act. It has been suggested that we sit in a circle so people are more likely to comment and open up. Class time will become more action-involved and the intent is for us to continue that action outside of the classroom, then later report experiences of the week. This, hopefully, will lead to more focused improvement in our lives.

Second and Third Sundays–Study recent general conference messages–Many lessons, recently, have focused on conference talks, but I’ve heard more than once that these lessons are hard to teach. By thinking outside of the box, we might have to find new levels to create a spirit of action in the classroom as we carry inspiration into our busy week.

Fourth Sunday–Special Topic chosen by the prophets–Until the next General Conference in April 2018, we will all be discussing the importance of the Sabbath Day. Again, the format is meant to help us act on what we learn.

Fifth Sunday–Still under the direction of the bishop.

The November 2017 Ensign has more details on how to integrate this into our wards. As attending members, we can help facilitate by coming to class more prepared for discussion. Spoon-feeding is over. Coming to class to escape the kids is over. Sitting, with a “back row” mentality is over. Our leaders want us to move forward in a mighty way as we prepare for the coming of the Lord.

I remember, years ago, sitting in Relief Society where a baby blanket (because that was the first thing made available) was thrown from one sister to another with the expectation to express a testimony, a feeling of gratitude, an act of service received. (To be honest, I don’t remember what the expectation was exactly, but someone was meant to share something.) Of course, you could pass, if you wanted, and some people did. Why do I remember this lesson? Because it forced us all out of our shells. We didn’t just sit and listen to the teacher, or give the same pat answers. The class was an activity of emotion where we felt the spirit together. I think this is the potential for next year’s lessons.

We need to go to church and feel the spirit and then bring that spirit home, drawing upon it repeatedly throughout the week. Jesus Christ is our source of strength and we need Him now more than ever. He simply asks that we become better people, always working our way along the path of righteousness toward Him.

Our curriculum will offer wonderful resources: General Conference addresses, Sabbath Day observance, the Holy Ghost. We need to feel the power that manifests itself through righteousness, preparedness, and full commitment to the gospel of Jesus Christ.

May we go home, as our prophet did so long ago, ready to study, ponder, and act on these words; becoming a better people.

 

Additional posts:

An Accusation, An Exhortation Nathaniel Givens

Not a gospel of souvenirs Marilyn Nielson

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Jan Tolman

Jan Tolman is a wife, mother of six, and grandmother of seven. She is a writer, as well as speaker, on the history of the Relief Society at www.ldswomenofgod.com. Several articles, written by her on Relief Society history, have been published in the Deseret News. She has taught Institute and served as a docent at the Church History Museum. She urges everyone to learn something new about Church History, and especially about the incredible women of LDS faith.

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About Jan Tolman

Jan Tolman is a wife, mother of six, and grandmother of seven. She is a writer, as well as speaker, on the history of the Relief Society at www.ldswomenofgod.com. Several articles, written by her on Relief Society history, have been published in the Deseret News. She has taught Institute and served as a docent at the Church History Museum. She urges everyone to learn something new about Church History, and especially about the incredible women of LDS faith.

2 thoughts on “To Become Better People

  1. Rozy

    We moved this year to a new branch (in Minnesota) that is getting close to being big enough to become a ward. However, I was dismayed that the fourth Sunday lessons are never announced beforehand so we can study the chosen talk and come prepared. When I asked the RS President about it she said they had never, in her memory, chosen the talks in advance, just whoever was teaching chose what they felt like and then “taught” the lesson. As much as I’m looking forward to the new format I have a feeling it’s not going to work so well in this branch. What good does it do to come to Relief Society not knowing what the topic is or the source talk, then have it read to us in class, and the only question asked is, “Does anyone have any thoughts on this?” Boring!!! I get really antsy and struggle to keep my mouth shut and not take over and lead a discussion and get some testimony sharing going. It’s frustrating to say the least, but I’m determined to not be critical of the RS Presidency and let them figure things out as the Spirit directs them. Any suggestions?

    Reply
    1. Jan Tolman Post author

      You raise a valid point, one that I’ve heard from others. Of course, it will be a learning process, but I believe this is a necessary change getting us more and more ready to declare our relationship with Jesus Christ more and more, and better and better.

      This calls for another post. I do have some ideas, so stay tuned…..

      Reply

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