For those of you who are new to my blog, I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (aka Mormons). Twice a year, we attend what is called General Conference. General Conference is broadcast from Salt Lake City and is comprised of five sessions (two, 2-hour sessions on Saturday and on Sunday plus a Priesthood session on Saturday night). During this time, we listen to the leaders of the church speak on a variety of topics.
Almost every conference session since I began blogging, I have wanted to do a write up of the sessions. But in recent years, my focus has been on tweeting about conference and my notes haven’t been as good as I would have liked. This time, while I still did my fair share of tweeting, I made sure I had my Evernote open so I could take good notes. Now I have a new problem, deciding what to share in this post. I have to say that the first two sessions of conference were amazing. We heard some really great talks. I don’t think I am going to attempt to cover every speaker. Just give the highlights.
I think the best place to start might be with the talk that Elder Robert D. Hales, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, gave on the purpose of conference. I think it will help those not familiar with conference to understand it’s purpose. During Elder Hales’ talk, he reminded us that this conference is Christ’s conference and it is His word that we would be hearing (Doctrine & Covenants 1:38). One of the reasons we come to conference is to “fortify our faith and strengthen our testimonies.”
During the two general sessions on Saturday, we were reminded of the importance of missionary work in three separate talks. First, when President Thomas S. Monson opened the conference. (I love to listen to President Monson speak.) Later when Elder Gifford Nielsen (yes, the former Houston Oilers quarterback) of the Quorum of the 70 gave his talk in the afternoon session and then that session was wrapped up with a talk from Elder M. Russell Ballard (Quorum of the Twelve Apostles) on missionary work. In all three talks, we were reminded that as members of the church, we play an important part in missionary work. This is not just the work of the full-time missionaries.
There were other important topics covered in the Saturday sessions. The topics for the morning session included Meekness (Elder Ulisses Soares), our divine nature and destiny (Sister Carol M. Stephens), faith (Elder Edward Dube and Elder Timonty J. Dyches), and tithing (Elder David A. Bednar). During the afternoon session, important topics such as raising children in the gospel (President Boyd K. Packer), qualities and contributions of women (Elder D. Todd Christofferson) and the importance of small and simple things (Elder Aruulfo Valenzuela). I don’t have time to look at these talks in today’s post But I will be taking a look at some of these talks in future Sunday posts.
There were two additional talks given yesterday that I think may have been the two most important talks of the Saturday sessions. The first was the talk given by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf (Second Counselor in the First Presidency). President Uchtdorf reminded us that only one person who walked this Earth was perfect and that was Jesus Christ. Therefore, Christ has to depend on imperfect people to run His church. This means that mistakes will occur. We were also reminded that all members of the church are not the same. And that’s okay. We don’t need to be the same. In fact, it is the diversity of the people in the church that gives the church strength. And it’s okay to have questions. But that we don’t need to let our doubts consume us. We need to not give up and continue seeking the truth because it is found in Christ’s church. While the members of the church and it’s leaders are not perfect, Christ is perfect. And we can find our answers within the truths of the gospel.
The text of this talk is not yet available online. But the video is ready for watching. I cannot stress enough how important this talk is and I highly recommend watching the video. I believe you will be uplifted by it.
The second talk that I found to be so important came from Elder Jeffrey R Holland (Quorum of the Twelve Apostles). In his talk he focused on de-stigmatizing mental illness and major depressive disorder (depression). He reminded us that both of these are very real and just like we would seek help for appendicitis, we should seek help in dealing with mental illness and depression. He asked members suffering from these disorders to believe in miracles and to realize that not everything can be fixed but somethings can. We were all reminded that patiently enduring somethings is part of the struggles of mortality, but we are infinitely more than our limitations or our afflictions. “One day the dawn will break brightly and all shadows of mortality will flee. Broken minds can be healed.” As members of the church, we need to be “merciful, unjudgemental and kind.” Amd we were asked to “live by faith, hold fast to hope and show compassion one of another.” It was absolutely an amazing talk and I cannot begin to give it the justice it deserves. Here is the full video of the talk. It is another talk I cannot more highly recommend.
I look forward to two more great sessions today. I would love to know what struck you as important during yesterday’s sessions. Just leave a comment below. Or if you have questions about General Conference or the Church, post them and I will do my best to answer them.
I hope everyone has had a wonderful weekend. I may be back later today to talk about today’s sessions. But if not, until next time don’t forget to document your memories.