Saturday, October 5, 2013

A recap of Sat. morning conf session...

Ok, while it is still fresh in my mind I wanted to do a quick "fave bits" of conference today! Whose with me?
I actually got A LOT out of the sessions today. I didn't have a moment where I dozed off got distracted, I felt captivated by each speaker in their own way. I know that we all tend to have our favourite speakers who we relate to, and others who we have a tough time identifying with, but that is the awesome thing about conference, there is somebody and something for everyone. How blessed we are to have these words to remind us, twice a year, to try to better ourselves, these personal cheerleaders (hahaha! I can't help but imagine the presidency with poms! *slapping my own wrist*) to help us on the harrowing journey that is "life".
I appreciate that we have these conferences twice a year as it reassures me that none of us are perfect. If we were, or the majority of us were, we would not need these meetings. As it is, we are all learning, and are all in need of a little pep talk now and then.
So, on that's my thoughts from today's morning session....I will continue throughout the week sharing my thoughts on each session/talk and hope to read other bloggers thoughts too. : )

Saturday morning session:

President Thomas S. Monson: His was just a quick introduction to the meeting, as his main talk is tomorrow, as we know, but I was struck by the couple awesome facts he stuck out there for us all to chew on. Last month we reached over 15, 000,000 members!!! Whaaaat? It's tough to believe when a lot of us attended schools where we were the only member in our year group/grade, or many like myself, the only member in the entire school. But, the one thing I am noticing is that with the growing members, the multiple projects going on for our church (eg:I'm a Mormon) and social media (which I have a love/hate relationship due to the many negative sides of it that bother me) and the fact that as a church we are slowly being more easily recognized, we are less and less being wrongly referred to as polygamists or a cult, and more and more non-members are happy to stand up for us as Christians since they've gained a better understanding of this religion that previously came across are "secret". I'm so glad that we are growing in numbers and people are starting to understand we're not so kooky afterall. It's quite simple. We are Christians, with family being the center of our church and we have one common goal, to return to live with our Heavenly Father and to remain with our families that we had here on earth.
The other fact is somewhat related, and that is the massively growing missionary army! I say army because these men and women are soldiers of God. They bravely go out into any part of the world that they might be called to and serve among people who more than often ignore them, mock them or argue with them. But for those who want to hear, have waited to hear, it is more than worth it. Since the big news of the missionary age being lowered to 18 for boys and 19 for women it has almost doubled the amount of missionaries out in the field (please say my on the spot math was correct. I'm fairly certain he mentioned something like 50,000's up to 80,000's?) That is mind blowing and in what I feel is quite a sad looking world right now, these men and women must put a smile on the Lord's face.

Robert D. Hales:

I felt this talk was a perfect choice to begin the session with as he spoke about how we should remember that these talks are inspired, and that we should use them to receive personal revelation for our own families and that immediately made me sit up straight to make sure I didn't miss a thing, as an answer to a prayer may be hidden in this or the following talks. No nap for me it appears! ; )
I love his quote that it is not about what is said, but more about what we, personally, hear or feel during the talks.
He observed that the world is moving away from the Lord faster than ever. He gave the blunt truth that we might not like hearing some of the things that the church requires of us as members, and those things might affect our social lives, our relationships, our every day habits but promised us that if we heeded the things that we are asked and acted upon them that the blessings we will receive will be far greater than the moment of pleasure we got from the worldly thing that we didn't want to give up. A couple examples of what he may have been referring to in my opinion were drinking alcohol/coffee, recreational drugs, hardcore partying, tattoos and smoking etc. To be honest, the older I get, the more  realize how these things are really not a sacrifice at all, I am more free because I avoid them, my body does not dictate how I feel because I need a substance, I have not made a decision that one day I may regret yet cannot reverse etc.
{Disclaimer: If anyone knows me, you know I would be mortified if I offend anyone, ever. So I must stress, I am in NO WAY saying to ANYONE that these things are right/correct for everyone, but i'll say again, this is MY blog and contains MY views and opinions. I am not here to judge, preach or dictate to anyone, I'm simply sharing thoughts that I had that may or may not be comforting, eye opening or even amusing to some (!!) in the hopes that even just one person needed to hear.}
He told us that conference serves the purpose for us to gather together to hear the words of the Lord, and to then return to our homes to live those words. (We believe all talks are inspired from the Lord. No one is given a topic or guidelines. They are simply asked to speak and to pray about what they should talk big deal, right!?!)
With that in mind he encourages us to re-read sermons from past conferences and to find words in those to help strengthen our families, too. He reminded us to use the awesome online resources that we have. Our church is quite tech savvy and has countless resources that wonderfully are FREE and easily accessible. You can access all the old Ensign, New Era and Friend magazines, talks, guides, anything and everything. I'll even take a moment to add a resource I love having. Pandora and hopping on the Mormon Tabernacle Choir station. Brilliant! While I work, make dinner, blog etc I can lift my thoughts and feel inspired while listening to what I believe to be the worlds greatest choir and other similar music. There are lots and lots of LDS Mum blogs, even dad blogs, single parent blogs, blogs discussing emotional/medical issues etc where you can find like people and learn from each other. There is a vast majority of ugly things on the internet, but it is all too easy to find the things that are wonderful. Surround yourself with the good and the ugly will become insigificant.
If you're not feeling churchy, I suggest not going to social media as an outlet to pass your time, but go to a favourite craft site, or hop onto Pinterest, but instead of staying, find a fun activity, shut your computer and go do it, enjoy your family! This is what I took from that "use online resources to build your testimony". Not only the obvious choices, but the less obvious, the places to avoid and to know also when to switch it off. I may have gone off in a direction not intended by the speaker, but that's what conference is about....what the talks speak to you about, personally. I think it's fun to hear what others got out of it too, it can be so eye opening. : )

Ulisses Soares: (what a fun name!)

His talk reminded us to be "meek", and explained how meek is in fact a strength, and not what it is often thought of, as perhaps "weak".
He spoke about being Christlike. Being kind and controlling our tempers. To be tolerant. Having 4 young children made this talk very easy to relate to. Haha! How wonderful it is to be reminded to take a step back and rein in a temper. It is all to easy to shout or yell and use words too quickly, without thinking them through. He prompted us to put aside the pride and wait to see what comes from that. The Holy Ghost will be more likely to show approval and our prayers might be answered a little more clearly when our minds are more "quiet" and peaceful.
Those who are humble and meek are teachable. Who doesn't need to be taught? I sure do.
This is something I will work on. Being a little more likely to take a breath and not be so quick to bark at my children. If the Lord doesn't shout at us when we make mistakes that disappoint him that are a lot more serious that messing up a playroom, or answering back, who are we to shout at our children?

Carole M. Stephens:

My husband was impressed with her hair and how is stayed in place so perfectly....glad I still have a few years to master the perfect "elegant American grandma" hair thing! ; )
I loved her talk. She spoke about how we each have a divine nature and divine destiny.
She spoke about our equality as men and women in our church. This is often something very much misunderstood by people both as members and non-members. She spread light on the issue in an informative way.
I also loved how she reminded us of the importance of the Priesthood in our lives and homes. How blessed we are when we have so many Priesthood holders in our lives that are able to ensure that
when needed it is right there. There are many people that it is not so easily available. When we have it in our homes we need to respect that and help to keep the Spirit in the home to ensure that blessing remains there for our families.
 I particularly enjoyed her saying also that "Sons of God need daughters of God, and that daughters of God need sons of God." We are a team, and neither is dispensable, we are equal and must respect one another and build each other up.

Edward Dube:

He began with his fun story referring to his mother that ended with telling us a wise quotes: "Never look back. Look forward at what we still have left to do."
He continued with an eye opening and inpspirational talk. I gathered a few favourite moments and most came in quotes that I wrote down. So I will share those with you.
  •  "It is not where you serve, but how." We must never feel small in our actions, we must never feel inferior, and for that matter, superior. 
  • To refer back to the previous talk, we are equal. He referred to a quote that I believe was said by Cheryl Brown, that "out of small things proceedeth that which is great".
  • He reminded us of another great quote, this time from Jeffrey R. Holland, that reads “The past is to be learned from but not lived in. We look back to claim the embers from glowing experiences but not the ashes. And when we have learned what we need to learn and have brought with us the best that we have experienced, then we look ahead; we remember that faith is always pointed toward the future.” 
  • And lastly he urged us to keep a balanced yoke and to stand together in order to be the strongest we can be. 
I thoroughly enjoyed his talk and appreciate a good quote as they somehow stick in your head quite easily, and so those words can sometimes pop up in my head at times when I need them most.

David A. Bednar:

His talk was about Tithing. It was wonderfully informative and inspiring. I appreciated this talk in the way that I felt it was helpful to me as he worded it in a way that I would be happy to share this with my non-member friends. He explained tithing and why we do it and how it works perfectly. So many of my friends, in the past, have asked why on earth we pay 10% of our earnings to the church. Yes, this is on top of tax etc. No, it does not and has never bothered me. I understand tithing, why we do it, why it is needed, how it may someday help me and that the Lord blesses my family because we are tithe payers. I got some main points from this talk and the best way for me to share these are to list them. It's less of a "discussy" kind of talk and more straight forward, lay it all out there, kind of here's what I came away with...
  • He discusses the "significant but subtle blessings" that we receive by paying our tithing, and how easily we might overlook these blessings. To notice these blessings we need to be more "spiritually observant and attentive". 
  • The spiritual gift of gratitude helps us to be aware of what we have and thus less caught up with what we want. 
  • Change our circumstances instead of waiting for someone to change it for us. Obvious, right? But I can pretty much guarantee we've all be there, and whined while we waited....(no show of hands...but i'm fairly certain i'm not alone here...)
  •  To keep in mind we may get answers in ways we don't expect.
  • The more spiritually observant and assertive we are the more we will see. 
  • Conveniently the financial program of our church is explained in the Doctrine and Convenants section 119 and 120. This is pretty awesome as it backs up the fact that our church does not change. We do things according, quite literally, to the book. It is how the Lord planned it, and his plans are pretty perfect, it's safe to say.
  • The funds that are raised from our tithes are used in Authorized dispersements, and so brilliantly organized. It is intended in our church that no one is left in need. The funds are used to spiritually bless us via our Temples, churches that built with that money, missions that are paid for, geneology centers that are open to the public so bless non-members too, and all the other wonderful resources that the church provides for us. We have a wonderful relief service out there too that is at every disaster to provide help/relief to those suffering, it's simply just not done with bells and whistles.
  • The church lives within it's means and does not spend a penny over than what it recieves. What a great lesson for us all.
  • He stressed that it is not how much you give, but by offering what you are able is greater than anything. If we pay our tithing, do not procrastinate or complain, we will be blessed. 
  • The simplicity of the Lords way provides patterns that will continue to bless us throughout our lives.
What a helpful reminder to us as to why we pay our tithing, and a good way to explain to those who wonder. 

The last speaker of the morning, President Dieter F. Uchtdorf:

He spoke about how, as a church, we perform our callings and duties for free. He openly admits that the church does require a lot of its members, with no pay, but explains that we feel we are paid in blessings and experience. I whole heartedly agree. I've never gotten out of a calling that I was given and looked back and thought I hadn't grown from it or gained strength from it.
We perform the ministry ourselves each Sunday. We are required to understand our religion and to be able to teach about what we believe, using experience and scripture to back us up. In our church, we "either volunteer or are volunteered"! ; ) 
He discussed the subject of people leaving our church. Whether it be from having taken offense, perhaps too lazy to do what is required, felt too sinful to be within the congregation, but whatever it is/was, he taught us that it is never as simple as we might think, and that many people struggle for years with their thoughts.
Something I really appreciated his mentioning was that whatever our thoughts may be, we MUST honour others right to worship in whichever way they wish. It is OUR right to do so. How relevant a thing to say in my view. Many people are quick to judge and to decide whether or not someone is a good person due to their faith, or lack of faith. It is NOT something we have to right to judge and I appreciated his gentle reminder of that. I consider myself a tolerant and open person and am happy to have friends of all different faiths, backgrounds, view, political simply does not matter to me. I am a strong enough person to live my faith, share my faith, yet not take offense when people disagree. I am grateful that my right to be a Latter Day Saint is not attacked, or dictated, and pray that others have the same respect given to them also.
He discussed how history of our church will always bring up questions. He comforted us in the knowledge that when the entire truth is revealed by our Lord, our answers will come in their entirety. He admitted that some leaders int he past have made mistakes, but helped us understand that again, these leaders are just men, or women, and that we are all not perfect. We must however condemn not the things of God. We must not stumble because of mistakes made by men, but judge the church on God and the things we know to be true and of God.
He said that of course it is natural to have questions, and that there are few members who have not wrestled with doubt and uncertainty, but he followed this up with what my husband I just loved...
"Please, doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith."
What wise words. It is all to easy to throw it all away. After all, what is faith if it is not challenged?
He urged that we may not all "fit in" and feel like we belong in our wards, but he urged that that is all the more reason to try a little harder and to go to church and find your place, to keep the commandments and do what you're supposed to be doing until it fits and feels right.
For those who refer to church goers as hypocrites, because they claim to believe one thing, but act another way, or simply don't live up to the church (or at least no-one should) claim to be perfect, since we are not.  
As a church we tend to attract kind, caring and industrious type of people. People who want to better themselves and their families, have a relationship with the Lord and who don't mind working for those thing. If you expect to find perfect people there you will no doubt be disappointed. But if you seek pure doctrine of Christ, the word of God, the Holy Ghost, this is where you will find them. It is up to you what you make of your time in the church. 
President Uchtdorf asked those who left to "Come back, stay a little longer and to join in with us." 

His words rang true to me for so many reasons, as did all the other speakers.
I pray that me sharing what I normally just keep written down in a journal somewhere may have helped shed some light onto the content of one of our conferences to those how have never heard/seen one, and perhaps helped those who have heard it but haven't come back in a while...maybe now if you come back with a fresh view you might take something away for your life? I am not asking everyone to join our church, I'm just saying these conferences can be such great tools in our lives and I think there's something to take away for everyone. If ever you guys have snippets of something that you think might touch my, or my families life, i'd LOVE to hear it.

If you got through this whole post, well done! I can't believe I wrote so much myself, but I just felt it was something I needed to share and not keep cooped up in a journal this time. I believe our world needs a little positivity right now, especially in the internet world....

Have a wonderful rest of your weekend, and remember, you can still tune in yourself, tomorrow, for the two remaining sessions. ; )

~With love, xoxo 

1 comment:

  1. That was a super fast write up - amazing! What a great weekend x ps - no, never do the 'utah hair' thing haha ;)