Sunday, April 4, 2010

Reflections on General Conference (April 2010)

I feel that there was so much emphasis on teaching our families because the Lord sees how more and more families are becoming isolated and disconnected from each other because of media over-consumption. Parents are escaping from children through media. Children are escaping from parents through media. Spouses are escaping each other through media. I’ve noticed this in my own life. The emphasis our church places on teaching families shows that the world trend is toward leaving kids to themselves (the opposite direction).

I loved what Elder Bednar said about early warning signals parents can use with their children. How children respond to the messages of the gospel is indeed a fabulous sign of their spiritual well-being. If they are reluctant to be involved, it can signal that they are pointed in the wrong direction. If they are excited to be involved, it can show that they are on the right track.

In a world where the gospel light is being obscured in day-to-day interactions and secular viewpoints, we can be a beacon of light. First by showing that it is okay to talk about these things, and secondly by sharing the important principles we know.

Elder Bednar suggested that we teach our children how to learn by study and by faith. This can only be done if we model for them our diligent learning process. This can be modeled in family home evening if parents pose the family with a question and then guide the family towards searching for the answer in the scriptures to find the answer, and then help the family commit to a more godly course of action as suggested by family findings. Consistent use of this method will teach the children that it is okay to have questions and teach them important methods and strategies for finding the answers themselves. In this way, parents can teach their children by example how to learn by diligent study and also by faith.

I really liked how Elder Holland took a fresh approach to decrying pornography by going to the root of the matter, which is lust. This showed great spiritual discernment. When he said that there is so much of an improper portrayal of love in society and family, this suggested to me that those of us in the arts need to make sure to incorporate PROPER portrayals of love in society and family into our works

Elder Holland’s analysis of lust versus love suggested to me that we would do well to try and find the roots of other great sins.

The mention of the Personal Progress and Duty to God programs caused me to realize that maybe I need to go to those booklets and seek to increase my talents and capabilities that way.

I liked how Elder M. Russell Ballard suggested that we teach our daughters the joy of nurturing children. One way this could be done is if we put a daughter in charge of teaching a younger child how to do something particular. This will allow the daughter to experience joy when the younger child achieves success. In preparing their daughters to teach the younger child, there can be discussions of why the child needs to learn it, how best to approach it, ideas for things to try, encouragement and support, etc. Not only can the daughter gain the confidence of being a good influence on the younger child, but she can gain a sense of the planning that has to happen behind effective teaching. This will give her a new respect for her parents’ teaching and help her begin to see the intent behind what they ask her to do.

This can also help create a second force for good in the life of the younger child. Not only will they look up to the parent, but they will look up to and revere the older sibling, who taught them something special. This kind begin the process of binding siblings together in love, which is very important in families, especially when there are so many dysfunctional families.

I really liked what Elder Anderson said about teaching our children about Jesus and telling them stories from His life. I liked how he said we can apply stories from His life to their problems. It seems evident to me that this will become more natural for us if we become adept at applying those same stories to OUR lives first. I remember my own testimony of Christ began to sprout most quickly as a teenager when I decided to read the New Testament on my own every day.

I really liked Elder Keith McMullin’s points about doing our duty. One great key he gave was to watch and pray always lest we enter into temptation. Satan tempts us to neglect our duty, and his temptations are alluring, so we need to recognize when we are being tempted and then pray for power to overcome those temptations. I’ve found this to be increasingly true in my life. I’m finding that I am faced with so many distractions now that I have to pray for wisdom to know what is most important to do.

President Monson’s talk on the resurrection suggests to me that in these dark times we can find hope in the prospect of future resurrection.

For those of us who have lost loved ones, there is the anticipation of reuniting with them in the future. For those of us who are struggling with sin, we use our anticipation of the resurrection to drive us to prepare for that day when we will have mercy restored for mercy, righteousness restored for righteousness, and so on.
The doctrine of the resurrection reminds us that this life is preparatory, and that what we do here and now DOES matter.

President Monson reminded us of the people in the scriptures who witnessed the reality of the resurrection. The apostles saw it. The Nephites saw it. Joseph Smith saw it. They all wrote it so that we know it isn’t some pipe dream. We can’t see now how important this reminder may be in the coming days, so we need to be watchful and let these things sink deep into our hearts.

Elder M. Russell Ballard made a very good point about how mothers need to teach their daughters about modesty. One good time for teaching about modesty is just before going to shop for clothes with daughters and sons. This teaching can prep them as to what they need to think about as they choose clothing. Mothers can share with daughters expectations about what kind of clothes are appropriate and what clothes will not be permitted. Mothers can help daughters develop tests for their clothes to determine whether they are modest enough. Mothers can also discuss the fit of the clothing their daughters are trying on and analyze it with their daughters according to righteous principles like the following:
  • Can I raise my hands high and not have any waistline skin show?
  • Can I bend over and not worry about people seeing cleavage?
  • Can I squat and not have to worry about my jeans gaping in back?
Mothers can also share with daughters their own strategies for finding modest clothes. Where do you go? How do you look? What brands do you find consistently modest?

Summary of instructions given in conference:
  • Teach our children:
  • The stories of Jesus
  • All things pertaining to righteousness
  • How obtain knowledge by study and by faith
  • About modesty, dating, and other important issues
  • Do family history and help to resolve errors and duplication in the current records online.
  • Participate in Personal Progress and Duty to God with our children
  • Cultivate greater spiritual power through the priesthood in the home
  • Seek affirmation from the proper sources (not worldly ones)
  • Do our duty
  • Study the scriptures
  • Be fully obedient to the commandments
  • Look for early warning signals by considering children’s reactions to gospel conversations
  • Beware of lust

  • Too many men are living below their privileges
  • There will be times when all that stands between families and Satan is the power of the priesthood.
  • Spiritual decline starts from offense taken.
  • Those who reject things of righteousness after having known them become worse than though they had never known these things.
  • Move to higher ground; violence and vandalism is not an appropriate way to act in disagreement.
  • It is not enough for the youth to do Personal Progress and Duty to God on their own; we must participate too.
  • A distraction doesn’t have to be evil to be effective.
  • How we react to our difficulties will determine our success and happiness.
  • Avoid complaining and murmuring in our trials.
  • Many blessings are missed by applying worldy judgment to a spiritual decision.
  • The testimony of earthquakes and disasters follows the testimony of the prophets.
  • We can’t be casual in how we prepare the youth.
What are your impressions of conference? What stuck out to you?


Mormon Blogger said...

You did a great job summarizing highlights of conference. Thank you for doing so. It was a wonderful conference. The weekend was extra special for our family because we had two children receive their Patriarchal Blessings before the Sunday morning session. I enjoyed the many testimonies of Jesus Christ and the special music throughout the conference sessions.

Paul said...

Thanks for this terrific summary and for linking to it from my blog.

I like your summary of key instructions at the end. My wife and I made a similar list last night.

Matthew said...

For me what stuck out were the testimonies given in the talks. They were tremendously moving.

Thanks for the summary!

tbrochny said...

Thanks for your very nice summary of the Conference, Michaela. We used it as a quick review at our FHE this week, and I've taken the liberty of mentioning it to my own readers at