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.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

My Summary of Sunday afternoon session of General Conference, Oct. 2011

Russell A. Nelson, Quorum of the 12 Apostles.
Elder Nelson spoke about the importance of covenants, and especially about the ancient covenants and their relationship to latter-day restoration. He talked about the Abraham a covenant and the promises made Israel and our role in them.

Elder Nelson taught that the coming forth of the book of Mormon was beginning the fulfillment of the covenant to gather Israel and that we as Latter-Day Saints have a duty to assist in the gathering of Israel.

He associated the covenants given anciently with the commandments to live righteously and that we keep covenants in these latter days as part of our devotion to our faith. He stated that the greatest complement one could receive would be being called a covenant keeper. He stated that when we understand that we are the children of the covenant that we know who we are and what God expects of us.

Dallin H. Oaks, Quorum of the 12 Apostles
Elder Oaks spoke on the importance of understanding Jesus Christ and what he has done for us. He cautioned against following the teachings of the world and even other Christian faiths that praise Jesus as a teacher but reject his divinity. He then recalled many New Testament Scriptures wherein the Savior himself testify of his Godhood.

Through this, Elder Oaks demonstrated that Jesus is the only begotten of the Father, his appearance is as that of the Father, that he was in the beginning with God, that he was the Creator, that he was Jehovah, that he is the light and life of the world, that we come to the father through him, that we come to him by following the will of the father.

Elder Oaks taught us that we are guided to follow Jesus by the influence of the Holy Ghost and by following the commandments given. He stressed that we are to seek him first and that we must not be like those who would Jesus declared himself the Bread of Life, many went away because they could not seek him above all else.

He expressed the culmination of the Savior's ministry was the Atonement. And that through this we overcome physical death, and spiritual death and bring about the hope for Exaltation. To summarize the Savior's role as creator, light of the world, and Redeemer. He stated that the way to Christ is first, desire and second, obedience.

Elder Matthew O. Richardson, Of the Seventy
Elder Richardson spoke about teaching. He declared that we all have a responsibility to teach and to teach by the spirit. He talked about teaching by the spirit instead of in front of it or behind it or in place of it. He made mention that some people think they are teaching by the spirit where in fact there only "winging it." He taught how others seek to teach their own thoughts and not teach by the spirit.

He explained to things that we can do to teach after the manner of the spirit. We can do this by following two ways in which the Holy Ghost teaches us. The first being that the Holy Ghost teaches in a very personal way. That we can follow this and strive to teach people instead of teaching lessons. He counseled us to pause and listen and to observe those we teach, to see where they are, to understand them. The second is that the Holy Ghost teaches by inviting us and prompting us and inspiring us to act. And that we can invite others to act for themselves and encourage them to take these lessons to heart to change not only their synapses but also their behavior.

Elder Kazuhiko Yamashita, Of the Seventy
Elder Yamashita expressed gratitude for the missionaries and how he is never forgotten the missionaries who brought him to the gospel. He expressed that even when baptized he did not fully understand all the teachings, but that the love conveyed by the missionaries and the love he felt during his baptism and confirmation came from the Holy Ghost and taught him that he was loved. He encouraged future missionaries to do three things: bring a desire to present gospel, bring a testimony with them, and love others.

Elder Randall K. Bennett, Of the Seventy
Elder Bennett spoke about an experience in swimming in dangerous currents when he thought he had the ability to handle it. He told how this choice he made nearly cost him his life. After struggling to swim back to shore and becoming exhausted to the point of nearly drowning he began to plead for help only to find a lifeguard next him. He said the lifeguard saw him swim in the current new where you would be with their and patiently waited for him to call for help. He likened this to the choices we often make.

He expressed that the choices we make are the choices of not only our actions but are consequences. He told the story of a child who wanted to choose only the best of consequences regardless of her actions. He said we can choose to follow God and seek joy in following his path organ choose the folder world and indulgence in and it's ultimate sorrow, but we cannot choose to do both. We said we all face adversity, temptations, and we all make mistakes. But that we can all repent.

He challenged us to examine the things that we think say and do to see if we are choosing eternal life.

J. Devin Cornish, Of the Seventy
Elder Cornish spoke of God being a physical being and not some intangible feeling or force. That he is a loving father and that we should learn to pray to him as such. He recounted his own story and having an answer to prayer and asked why would God be concerned with something so small. He answered his own question by saying he believes that God loves us so much that our concerns are his concerns.

Even though God does love us agency dictates that he does not affect our lives without us asking him first. We need to seek him and ask for his help. He then used the Lord's prayer as the example of the pattern of prayer that we should have. He explained that the purpose of prayer is not to change the will of God but to have God bestow promised blessings upon us. He taught that is the devil but teaches us not to pray that it times some people think they are too sinful to pray. He said this is like a person being too sick to see a doctor.

He stated that praying and understanding what we should ask for and receiving answers takes practice, but that we can all learn the language of the spirit.

Elder Quentin L. Cook, Quorum of the 12 Apostles
Elder Cook spoke about trials and tribulations. He began by rehearsing some of the tragedies that have occurred in recent years. He addressed the question of why God allows bad things to happen and stated that we don't always know the reasons but that we do understand the principles of God, and that understanding them can give us a better perspective on these tragedies.

These principles include that we have a loving Heavenly Father, that his son Jesus Christ at home for our sufferings, and that there is an eternity and a plan of salvation.

Elder Cook express Sierra of looking at trials in life only through the lens of mortality and that if only look into this lens tragedy does not make sense. He also explain the tragedy come from many different elements, such as the agency of others that another's choice must include the ability to choose bad things and that those bad choices can affect even righteous people. He explained that some tragedies come to others because of disobedience to Commandments such as violation of the word wisdom or the law of chastity. He explained that others may not have any direct explanation but that the perspectives of the eternities can help us.

He looked at to LDS connections to the tragedy of the Titanic. How would one case missionaries were safe from harm by not being able to board the ship, and how in another case a member did board the ship and even though the women and children were placed in the liferafts how she stayed and assisted others even to her own death. It is not easy to understand why some would be spared another's would not, Elder Cook said. But that we know from the wider and clearer lands of the gospel we can see that none of these tragedies are permanent and that those who are righteous and are slain are not lost in the lives are not meaningless.

He spoke of Capt. Moroni and how he stated that the Lord will at times allow the righteous to be slain that he may allow his judgments to come upon the wicked. And that those who are righteous but die, die and to God and will be saved in his kingdom.

He concluded by stating that the atonement covers all of the unfairness of life and that there is no chance or fate or destiny that can circumvent or hinder or control the firm resolve of a determined soul. Our question is not so much why tragedy occurs but how will we choose to live in the face of tragedy.

President Thomas S. Monson
Pres. Monson expressed gratitude for all who have helped in this conference. This included choirs and congregations. He expressed his love for us and his gratitude for our service. He admonished us to be more kind, more loving to be always found doing good and serving the Lord, and to endeavor to increase our testimony.

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