Monday, April 11, 2016

Impressions from April 2016 General Conference: Sunday Morning session

President Thomas S. Monson

Four new temples!  Exciting!  It seems like President Monson’s message was pretty short and sweet this time. There wasn’t the little build-up to the announcement that he’s done in the past that kind of gets you on the edge of your seat. He just launched into it as though there wasn’t a moment to lose.  It gave me the impression of urgency.

I appreciated the reminder that the doors of history turn on small hinges and so do people’s lives.  It’s a hint to be careful about even the small choices. 
More quotables: “Choose to build up great and powerful faith.” “Choose the harder right instead of the easier wrong.”

Bonnie L. Oscarson

Great story about the mother who had taught lessons about eternal families and knew the doctrine, but had to decide whether she really believed it when her son was airlifted to another hospital with bad pneumonia.  That’s the thing about doctrine; occasionally things happen in life that present you with the choice to really trust the doctrine and live it or cave in and fall to pieces.  Those kinds of experiences kick one out of complacency pretty quick.

This whole talk was a review of the magnificent blessings we enjoy as part of the gospel. And it is true that it can be easy to take them for granted.  Which is why talks like this are needed.

W. Christopher Waddell (Pres. Bishopric 2nd counselor)

This was another great reminder to keep focused on Christ and how it can give us peace.   Moving story about the new member couple who had just lost their son and were devastated at the thought that they would never see him again, then their joy at learning he had been born in the covenant because they had been sealed in the temple before he was born.  My heart bled for that couple, and I was so happy someone was able to explain those blessings to them.

I loved the principle Elder Waddell taught that it will protect us from the mocking in the great and spacious building if we partake continuously from the tree of life rather than stop partaking.

D. Todd Christofferson (12)

I appreciate that he called for fathers to be portrayed better in media. It really is a problem. But I don’t think it is going to improve anytime soon because in real life, good fathers make a big difference and in fiction, that removes sources of conflict that keep a story going.  Fathers have real power for good, so media will portray fathers as powerless or absent so other characters can have trouble to deal with. Or they will weaken them by making them only a source of comic relief. 

I loved the story of the father who prayed for his son every morning before going to work. That kind of thing can make a big impression.  It’s something mothers can do, not just fathers. 

Quentin L. Cook (12)

I loved the story about the excitement of the missionaries in Thailand concerning the announcement of a temple in Bangkok.  It reminds me of how excited I was about the announcement of a temple in Gilbert, AZ.  I think I called a bunch of people.  I also felt some connection to it because my husband and I have visited Bangkok before and have gone to church there.  I can imagine it.

Elder Cook went on to speak about temple work and I felt like I needed to get back into family history.  I dip in and out of it, and while I’m in it, it is a magnificent obsession.  What I need to do is do indexing too so I can add to the resources available.

Dieter F. Uchtdorf (12)

I loved the story of the cathedral at Dresden that had been destroyed during the firestorms and rebuilt with some of the old charred stones.  I love the analogy made with it that if man can take the ruins and rebuild an awe-inspiring structure, so much more is God’s ability to restore his fallen children.  I also like how he encouraged us to draw near to God and He will draw near to us.

Another wonderful principle he shared that I resonated with was that we may impress others with our interpretation, but if our faith doesn’t change the way we live, then our religion is vain and our faith is in danger of flat-lining.  This is one of the great truths I’ve learned from blogging about the scriptures is that it does me no good to rhapsodize about a principle if I don’t live it. Living the principles of the gospel is the great challenge and quest of life.  I struggle every day in various ways to put what I learn into practice and I don’t have any statistical data about how much I fail versus how much I succeed, but I fail far more often than I would like.  But I have hope that Christ will help me if I don’t give up.


Rozy Lass said...

One of the blessings of my life has been to meet people through blogging that have helped me. You are certainly one. I enjoy reading your insights and perspectives. It's almost as good as having a conversation. Thanks for continuing to share through this blog.

As for failures and successes, I've come to believe that most of our growth is in such small increments that we don't recognize it until we look back ten or more years and see where we were. Keeping a journal has helped me see just how far I've come and how my core values and goals have remained unchanging over the years. I'm still pretty far behind many others, but this isn't a race to see who gets there first; we all win as we cross the finish line having faithfully obeyed and endured to the end. Keep up the good work.

Michaela Stephens said...

Hi Rozy Lass, I appreciate your comments! I'm pleased if I could have been of any help.

I agree that much of our growth is in small increments that are hard to recognize. I also keep a journal with my victories in it, and some defeats that I eventually recognize as instructive.
Maybe it would help me to be more granular about recording, as it has helped me with writing fiction. When I write fiction, I keep track of my word-count meticulously and track how I'm doing each month. That helps me realize that I am slowly getting closer to my goal, even though it is taking me a while. (I'm still in the nascent stage, though, so I've a long way to go.)