Sunday, October 6, 2013

"MY" General Conference

Every six months in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, we get to listen to a whole lot of amazing, incredible, inspiring talks from church leaders known as "General Conference." These are the best sermons to be heard in the church! This takes place over two days. Depending on your location in the world, you can view and/or listen to General Conference in person in Salt Lake City, on television, by radio, over the internet, etc. When I lived in Hawai'i, the stake sent the video tape of the Saturday sessions over to our tiny little branch on Lana'i by plane so that we could watch it Sunday morning. At this time in our lives, we have the pleasure of just sitting on the sofa together in our pajamas and tuning in by television. I personally love to take notes and change the color of my ink pen for each talk! This morning I am making "Conference Casserole" which is one of our little traditions. We never plan to do much else over this weekend (however, back in April we missed most of it while returning from Spring Break--not much radio reception between Winnemucca and Wendover!). General Conference is "the bomb!" It's somewhat of a religious Mormon holiday--not really a holiday (don't want to lead anyone astray), but a time of gathering and family and uplifting spirituality.

President Thomas S. Monson opened the conference during the morning session yesterday. Following President Monson was Elder Robert D. Hales of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. He actually spoke about General Conference and how it's been a part of the Church since ancient times--Adam, Moses, the Savior Jesus Christ--there have always been conferences held under the direction of the Lord, guided by His Spirit. He said, "Oh how we need General Conference!" I agree. He also stated that the greatest blessings come after conference is over.

Some of the things I learned yesterday are: I need to do more missionary work, I need to work on Meekness, Heavenly Father is GENEROUS with His power, I still have many things to accomplish, there are a lot of significant but subtle blessings associated with keeping the law of tithing one of which is Peace to my soul when it seems impossible to experience Peace, and I find healing in the opportunities I have to serve others.

In the afternoon session, Elder D. Todd Christofferson spoke about the moral goodness of women. So many people get upset about the "authority" women do or do not have in the Church. I would like to go on record as saying that I have never felt degraded in any way because I am an LDS woman. If anything, I have felt elevated, honored, and revered for simply existing. Although I know I already have a moral force within me, I still need to cultivate that to a further degree, so let's add that to my list. Other talks have helped me remember that I need to be much more specific in my prayers, praying for people by name. I need to reach out in normal, pleasant ways (I have such a desire to meet all the neighbors, invite people over for dinner, etc. but the Mister is not so social...). Elder Dyches spoke of being healed by abandoning bad habits. I know! So simple, right? Such a great reminder. Elder Holland spoke of our need to slow down, rest up, and replenish. Such. A. GREAT. Reminder. He said our pursuit of Godliness will be tested again and again. Hope is never lost! I need to show more compassion. I need to quicken my pace!

Rather than feeling overwhelmed by the above listed things I should do, I have confidence that in the next few days the top two or three things I should really be working on will become clear to me while everything else settles a bit. I am looking forward to another day of talks that teach me, heal me, and witness to me that the Savior Jesus Christ lives!

When I was a college student, a wonderful person named Tim walked into the LDS Institute and inquired about serving a mission for the Church. He was Catholic and had simply heard about missions thinking it would be a great opportunity for him. I had to let him know that in order to serve a mission he would need to be baptized and then be a member of the church for at least one year before becoming eligible for full-time missionary service. Of course, we became friends (still a dear, but somewhat dormant friendship) and I invited him to meet with the missionaries. The missionaries gave him a copy of the Ensign magazine, an issue which contained all of the most recent General Conference talks. Tim called me and excitedly exclaimed, "Jody, these are some of the best speeches I've ever read in my entire life!" He was blown away!!! Me too. I am blown away every six months and I invite you to tune in and be blown away as well. There truly is something for everyone, no matter your religion. Please visit and look for General Conference. I promise you will find something that hits home with you!

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