As an addict involved in the LDS Addiction Recovery Program, I had to dig deep to find and embrace my inner Mormon. What follows is my journal from this point forward.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

My Summary of Sat. afternoon session of General Conference - October 2011

Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the 12 Apostles
Elder Bednar spoke about the need for family history and Temple work. He began his talk speaking of spiritual priorities as seen in the restoration. And demonstrated how this made it clear that family history was to be a priority in our lives. He then focuses attention on to the youth. He explained that family history was not restricted to a specific age and that in fact, given that family history is now centered around information technology, and that social networking has prepared the use to be the leaders in family history.

The most impactful part of his talk was the story of two Aaronic Priesthood young men who were assigned to teach a family history course in their Ward. He explained how they both became interested in family history and diligent in performing it. He also explained how this example and others show that the youth can be leaders in doing family history and even teaching older people how to do family history and how to handle the new technologies surrounding it. He encouraged leaders to help teach you the importance of family history. He also cautioned leaders to not over program this or make the teaching over detailed. Showing the use the tools found at should be sufficient.

Elder Bednar are reinforced the need for family history as a vital part of our exaltation. It's not just an interesting program created by the church. It is a critical part of the plan of salvation.

Neil L. Anderson of the Quorum of the 12 Apostles
Elder Anderson directed his talks on the importance of family and specifically the importance of having children. He made it clear that these commandments to be fruitful and multiply are not forgotten. It is part of the plan for us in our lives and marriage and child-rearing is an important part of that plan. He stated that motherhood is not a hobby like stamp collecting. It's not something that you do if you have some extra time, it is the reason God gave you time. He emphasized that the decision on the number of children to have is a matter between the couple and the Lord. It should be discussed and taken seriously and the decision should be made prayerfully.

He also cautioned members about judging others who do not have children or large families. He especially gave comfort to those who want to have families but cannot. He told the story of a couple who were unable to have children for 25 years until they were able to adopt two children.

Elder Ian Arderm of the Seventy
Elder Arderm taught us on the importance of making good use of time. He focused his talk on using time to give service and to not waste time. He especially put emphasis on new technologies such as social networking and texting that may seem like we are being busy but in fact become an addictive habit that is unproductive. He stressed that we should not let these things replace real relationships and serving our fellow man. He discussed taking our time wasting habits and learning to grind them to dust. He concluded with a charge to balance our time between serving the Lord, our family, work, and wholesome recreational activities.

Elder Carl B. Cook of the Seventy
Elder Cook began by recounting an experience as a Seventy and looking at the floor while in an elevator only to have Pres. Monson entering and tell him it's better to look up. He used this to express Pres. Monson's commitment to always look to God and that we should take this lesson and follow it. He addressed the question as to why is it so hard to look to God and answer it by explaining that at times we may not believe that the answer can be found simply by looking to Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. He recounted the story of Moses and the serpents and Alma's retelling of the story and how many perished simply because they would not look at the staff. He so mentioned that looking up is not a one-time experience and that we have to have both a hearing ear and a seeing eye to look to the Lord.

Elder LeGrand Curtis of the Seventy
Elder Curtis focused on the role of Jesus Christ and his title as Redeemer. He spoke about redemption as a way of purchasing us from the bondage of sin and mentioned the effect of redemption including overcoming physical death, and spiritual death. He told us that not only do those who have committed serious sin need the redemption, but those who have always strived to live a good life also need it.

Elder D. Todd Christoffersen of the Quorum of the 12 Apostles
Elder Christoffersen reviewed Book of Mormon stories about Nehor and Korihor and their relevance in our day. He talked about the deception of these two individuals. One taught that because God created all of us he will redeem all of us regardless of our actions. The other taught that there was no sin and that we relied only on our own selves and our own intelligence. He likened this to the teachings in our day and how these falsehoods can be appealing because they allow us to justify anything, but are not the teachings of the Lord. He stressed that repentance is crucial and that we need to both repent and preach repentance.

He talked about repentance being a joyful doctrine and that we should teach it with a smile and that it should be received with joy. He explained that repentance was both refraining from sin and turning to the Lord through obedience. He declared that those who believe that salvation requires no effort on our part make a mockery of all of the suffering the Savior endured. If he was going to do so much can we not do what little we can do to show our devotion to him? He also explained that repentance is not superficial; that is not simply a matter of saying I admit I did that and I'm sorry. He said that repentance causes deep emotional desires to change and that confessing and forsaking sins are powerful and sometimes agonizing concepts. He gave words of comfort that the despair of sin repentance brings redemption, and that despair becomes hope.

Elder L. Tom Perry of the Quorum of the 12 Apostles
Elder Perry spoke about how much information about the church is being spread in the media today. How many people are writing and talking about our faith. He stated that we are receiving more attention than ever and that with the Internet, we are able to reach more people than ever and share the message of who we are. He spoke about how there are changes in the way we communicate and how these changes can be used to spread the message about the church.

He explained that while there is much good being written about us, there is still much misinformation out there. He mentioned that many people have been raised with negative preconceptions about the church. He said that we can do much to help dispel these faults perceptions. He said that we must be bold in our testimony of Jesus Christ; that we need to let others know that he is our Savior and our redeemer and the son of God and that the   gospel is centered around him. He said that we must be righteous examples to others; that we need to engage in doing good and by doing so let our light so shine. He said that we must speak up about the church; that our speech the should be a two-way conversation. We should speak about our faith but also question others about theirs. We do not need to put some sort of spin on our faith but speak clearly and honestly and directly.

You can view a collection of tweets relating to conference here

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