Saturday, May 19, 2012

Recap of April 2012 Conference

Here is the re-cap of the April 2012 General Conference.  The technology of the Church is pretty incredible.  Those Church IT guys have done a tremendous job making GC available so quickly after it's over.  I remember several years ago when they first started steaming GC on-line.  Then it would take about 3 weeks for the videos or text to be available.  Now it's practically instantaneous.  The videos and mp3s are up the next day and the text is up by the Thursday after GC.

My wife and I were talking about whether we should force the kids to watch GC all day Saturday or not.  My point is that if you watch everything at once, you just don't get everything.  So we decided not to sit through all 10 hours at once.  Rather, we are going to watch one or two talks each Sunday as a family and then discuss the talk.  We did watch conference on Sunday though.

One other thought - I think I've successfully stayed awake through an entire GC once or twice in my life.  It is nearly impossible for me to sit in my living room and listen to talk after talk after talk and stay awake and alert.  I love that I can listen to or watch and read along the weeks after GC is over.  I get so much more out of the talks this way.

So BIG KUDOS to the Church IT guys!!  If tithing money is spent on this technology, then I think it is very well-spent!

President Thomas S. Monson - As We Gather Once Again
why we meet: strengthen, encouragement, comfort, build faith, to learn
if changes need to be made in your life, may you find the courage to do so
oppose evil whereever it is found
be instructed and be inspired
be filled with the Lord's spirit

President Boyd K. Packer - And a Little Child Shall Lead Them
the ultimate end of all activity in the Church is to see husband and wife with their family happy at home.
too often, someone comes to me and says, "President Packer, wouldn't it be nice if ..." I usually stop them and say, "No" because I suspect what follows will be a new activity or program that is going to add the burden of time or financial means on the family."
personal application: what can i do, as scout leader, to promote family time?
the goal of scouts, according to this talk, would be to help fathers spend meaningful time with their sons - to provide opportunities to let fathers and sons learn and grow together.
if scouting becomes a burden, then it would seems it has failed the mission of "supporting the family"
if we get all the eagles scouts in the world, but no real fathers, we've accomplished nothing.

Elder Dallin H. Oaks - Sacrifice
Mormon Pioneers example of sacrifices
Husband left wife and family to serve a mission
Symbols of our Christian faith (Mormons) is our daily sacrifice
Home teaching and visiting teaching
full-time missionaries (time spent to save money, actual time serving, family sacrifices time they are not with their child)
converts' sacrifices: loss of family temple service: time spent to save money to be sealed with family in temple

President Henry B. Eyring - Mountains to Climb
there are giant opportunies (challenges) to be met.
give me this mountain; give me these challenges and adversities he prayed for a challenge
1) god heard his prayer and answered it
2) he learned that a great blessing could come from adversity
repent have faith that the way through trials is the balm of gilead
foundation for faith = personal integrity (consistently choosing the right) curing that faith takes time and patience and experience

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland - The Laborers in the Vineyard
do not covet, do not pout or tear others down; do not demean others to improve yourself
do not throw away your good fortune in protest of the perceived injustice - accept the good fortune (mercy from God) and rejoice in the mercy He gives to "late" repenters.
don't dwell on old issues or grievences (of self, of neighbor or even the Church)
simply accept the Atonement of Christ, don't dwell on anything else, enjoy the fellowship of the labor

accept mercy and be merciful

personal thoughts: the key premise in this parable, in my mind, is that there is a shortage of work for the laborers.  Laborers are standing around, waiting for work. The need the work or else they don't feed their families.  Anything to do for work would be great - and it doesn't matter when they get the work - they will take it first thing in the morning and work all day or take the job in the late afternoon and get something rather than nothing.  so how does this apply to our life today?  perhaps it can be said there is a shortage of "good fortune" in the world - just like there was a shortage of jobs to be done in the parable.  so, if someone is blessed with abundance from the time they were born until the time they die, that person should be grateful and thank God for what they've been blessed with.  That person should also learn not to be envious when good fortune comes to those who receive it later in life.  If they are envious of another's good fortune, despite having good fortune their entire life, they choose to experience ill feelings toward another person who has received good fortune!  As Elder Holland puts it, they drink a quart of pickle juice every time someone else receives good fortune, rather than pondering their own good fortune.

another thought: similarly to what I stated above, we can envision a person who was "born in the Church", who was faithful all his life - who went to Church, Boy Scouts, service projects, received the Priesthood - was a Deacon, Teacher, Priest, became an Elder; served a difficult mission - maybe not even baptizing a single convert; returned honorably, married in the temple; started family and continued serving faithfully day after day - week after week for his whole life.

Meanwhile, his younger brother chose the opposite all his days, indulged in all his desires rather than being obedient and serving others.  He ate, drank and was merry all the days of his life.  Then, when he reached the end of his rope, he found he was not happy.  He decided to clean up his life - it was a difficult process back into the fold.

Now they both die and are both granted eternal life - the reward of living in the presence of God for eternity.  Does the faithful brother act like the other son who is not the prodigal son?  Does he refuse eternal life because his "unfaithful" brother receives it?  Or does he act like the father and rejoice in the mercy of Christ?

Elder Robert D. Hales - Coming to Ourselves: The Sacrament, the Temple, and the Sacrifice in Service
prepare to worthily take the sacrament before coming to sacrament meeting; leave the daily work and recreation behind; do not think of worldly thoughts or concerns.  then ponder the Atonement; ponder the sacrifice of Christ
sing the sacrament hymn; listen to the sacrament prayers; partake of the emblems
seek forgiveness of sins and shortcomings of previous week; make specific commitments for the coming week.
search from the scriptures
live the gospel standards
obtain a temple recommend
gain a testimony of God, Christ, the Holy Ghost, the Atonement, Joseph Smith, the Restoration
sustain leaders; be kind, stand as a witness of Christ, attend Church meetings, honor covenants, be a good parent, be virtuous
assist the youth to prepare for lifelong service
learn to work; live within your means; avoid debt, save money now so that we can give full-time service later in our lives; to be able to lift others.

Elder Quentin L. Cook - In Tune with the Music of Faith
a great divide between those who love, worship and feel accountable to God and those who do not
destroyers of faith: pride, vanity & foolishness
love the Lord; love His gospel; continually try to live and share His message - especially with your families.
be in harmony with the promptings of the Spirit
observe religion in your home
strive to be a disciple of Christ
with regard to his paragraph that starts out "We recognize how busy you are"  From that paragraph, I hear "if you are serving; don't feel guilty for not serving enough"
don't judge others
rescue those who have "fallen away"
avoid being judgemental about conduct that is foolish or unwise, but is not sinful
be an example in action, not just words (as a parent to your children)
read and gain a testimony of the Book of Mormon

Elder Richard G. Scott - How to Obtain Revelation and Inspiration for Your Personal Life
revelation = crisp, clear and essential communication from the Holy Ghost
inspiration = series of promptings that guide us step by step toward a worthy goal
we are supposed to ask the Lord to receive revelation
fast, pray for finding scriptures that will be helpful with the answer for the question, read those scriptures, ponder, pray, write down what the Lord would have you do, pray again
don't let daily activities distract us from the spirit

Elder David A. Bednar - The Powers of Heaven
distinguishing feature of the church is priesthood (the authority of god delegated to man on earth to act in all things for the salvation of mankind)
be active in priesthood service - promote the cause of righteousness in the earth
by not doing your duties, you break your priesthood covenant
be righteous; faithful; obedient; diligent; worthy; willing to serve
lift souls, teach, testify, bless, council, advance the work of salvation
take the lead in scripture study, family prayer, fhe - be a strong leader - preside - protect

President Dieter F. Uchtdorf - The Why of Priesthood Service
the why of priesthood service is to motivate others; to awaken their spirit; to inspire action
be enthusiastic about the gospel as you teach others.
let the fire of your testimony bring light and warmth and joy to the hearts of those you teach
priesthood service is to provide a vision of what it means to establish the kingdom of god on earth
building the kingdom of god on earth means building personal testimonies and strengthening families
priesthood service helps us prioritize between good, better, best - it helps us stay focused on the most important things
the most important things are: increase our love for god and our fellowmen, invigorate marriages, strengthen families and build the kingdom of god on earth
how we specifically decide on our priorities: study the scriptures, heed the prophets, hold serious and dedicated prayer
act before being acted upon; the value of an idea is in using it

President Henry B. Eyring - Families Under Covenant
four things you can do as a priesthood father to lift and lead your family home again to heaven
1. gain & keep a sure witness that the keys of the priesthood are with us & held by the president of the church - pray for that every day.
2. love your wife
3. enlist the entire family to love each other
4. discipline when needed - d&c 121:41-44

President Thomas S. Monson - Willing and Worthy to Serve
various definitions of priesthood ...
1. joseph smith - priesthood is an everlasting principle, and existed with god from eternity, and will to eternity, without beginning of days or end of years.
2. wilford woodruff -  the holy priesthood is the channel through which god communicates and deals with man upon the earth; and the heavenly messengers that have visited the earth to communicate with man are men who held and honored the priesthood while in the flesh; and everythign that god has caused to be done for the salvation of man, from the coming of man upon the earth to the redemption of the world, has been and will be by virtue of the everlasting priesthood.
3. joseph f. smith -  the priesthood is the power of god delegated to man by which man can act in the earth for the salvation of the human family, in the name of the father and the son and the holy ghost, and act legitimately; not assuming that authority, nor borrowing it from generations that are dead and gone, but authority that has been given in this day in which we live by ministering angels and spirits from above, direct from the presense of almighty god.
4. john taylor - it is the governmant of god, whether on the earth or in the heavens, for it is by that power, agency, or principle that all things are governed on the earth and in the heavens, and by that power that all things are upheald and sustained.  it governs all things - it directs all things - it sustains all things - and has to do with all things that god and truth are associated with.
stories of examples of priesthood service - soldier blessing injured soldier on beach; saving his life.  writing letters of encouragement to servicemen
there are feet to steady, hands to grasp, minds to encourage, hearts to inspirt and souls to save

President Dieter F. Uchtdorf - The Merciful Obtain Mercy
required to forgive all men - including ourselves
stop hating, gossiping, ignoring, ridiculing, holding grudges or wanting to cause harm
love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.
be kind
talk peacefully with others
do good unto all men
people will be people; learn to rise above the fray, forgive and forget.  this talk had a very similar feel as elder holland's talk

Elder Russell M. Nelson - Thanks Be to God
gives thanks to god
be mindful of the various gifts from god ...
the world, the universe, his son jesus christ, our bodies, the resurrection, spiritual gifts, gospel gifts

Elder D. Todd Christofferson - The Doctrine of Christ
believe in christ; be baptized

President Thomas S. Monson - The Race of Life
personal thoughts: how often do you ask yourself: if you know you are going to die tomorrow ... in a week ... in a month ... in a year; how does that change your current priorities?
endure to the end
we have the power to (and must) think, reason and achieve
pray; listen to the holy ghost, search the scriptures; heed the prophets

Elder L. Tom Perry - The Power of Deliverance
both the people of limhi and the people of alma were delivered
both suffered
limhi's people chose to fight; alma's people chose to pray
what do you need to be delivered from?
which way is your "door" facing? to the world or to the alter of god?

Elder M. Russell Ballard - That the Lost May be Found
our liahona/gps is the holy ghost - the promptings of the holy ghost
new york times: "the share of children born to unmarried women has crossed a threshold: more than half of births to american women under 30 occur outside of marriage"
the most important cause in our lifetime is our family
prioritize - put everything you do outside the home in subjection to and in support of what happens inside your home.
organize - your personal life to provide time for prayer, scripture study and family activities
teach your childen to work and give them responsibilities
marriage first, then family
read family proclamation often, understand it, follow it.

Elder Neil L. Andersen - What Thinks Christ of Me?
pay attention to who and what christ labels in the scriptures ... see 3rd paragraph in this talk
love christ, trust christ, believe christ, follow christ and you will feel his love and approval

President Thomas S. Monson - As We Close This Conference
pray always
fill your homes with love and the spirit of the lord
love your family
settle disagreements
do god's will, serve him, serve others
ponder the words you've heard from this conference