In between the morning and afternoon sessions of conference on Saturday, I usually like to watch the Church’s World Report of different things the church has done or been involved in since last conference. I am frequently fascinated by the story of the how the church takes root and grows in different countries. I wish that more could be known about this. A book about how the church spread to different countries would be wonderfully interesting to me.
It is amazing to me that we now have 150 temples in operation. I remember only 17 or 18 years ago when President Hinckley announced the goal of having 100 temples in operation by the year 2000.
Ronald L. Rasband (12)
I particularly liked how Elder Rasband talked about the story of Peter walking on the water to Jesus and needing Jesus to save him. I got the impression that Elder Rasband had times when he felt he doing the equivalent of walking on the water and then finding he couldn’t do it alone and he needed the Savior. I also appreciated his mention that the YW/M theme for this year is “Press forward with a steadfastness in Christ.” I think I need a liberal dose of that in my life too.
Neil L. Andersen (12)
I loved the stories of children learning to be active in the gospel, particularly how they began to link up. I like that Elder Andersen affirmed the ideal family configuration while also explaining different ways we can be sensitive to those who are not in the ideal situation.
The story of the new bishop who greeted the boy with “It’s so good to see you!” when he came back to church shows just how much of an impact those words can make. I’ve had people say those words to me, and it always makes me feel loved. I try to use those words too, especially with my scouts, so they know I care.
Mervyn B. Arnold (70)
I would like to rescue people, but I feel I’m pretty bad at it, so Elder Arnold’s four principles of rescue were helpful. I particularly loved the story of the man who went into the ocean in his suit to bring someone to church who wanted to serf instead. That’s a great example of putting someone else’s spiritual welfare ahead of one’s own dignity or comfort.
This talk was interesting because it was an example of someone from another country who had questions about why the church had to be restored in the United States, and I appreciate that he shared his quest to find answers that satisfied him. I hope this will encourage anyone else who has similar questions. In the past I have sometimes wondered if there were members in other countries who felt some nationalistic jealousy (for lack of a better term) about the Restoration happening in the United States. And Elder Mazzagardi’s talk demonstrates it can become an issue. I liked that he reaffirmed gaining a personal testimony through prayer, searching, and study.
Concerning the question that he had wrestled with, for my part, I also think that Heavenly Father needed a place with a particular cultural-political climate of freedom. (A really complicated historical-cultural comparison would need to be made to determine the hows and whys.) Also, the fact that the plates were buried at Hill Cumorah suggests that area would have to be the place of the Restoration. I don’t know if Moroni was guided to bury the plates where he did or if Moroni buried the plates where he could and Heavenly Father then guided all subsequent events so that the appropriate cultural-political climate would encompass the Hill Cumorah for the Restoration. But I have heard the stories of what Joseph Smith’s family went through before they came to Palmyra, and it is a lot of difficult circumstances that forced them to move from place to place. I think Heavenly Father helped them in such a way that circumstances that might have broken them instead refined them and guided them.
But back to the Restoration issue-- I think if Moroni had buried the plates in, say, Brazil, then Brazil would have had to become the country of freedom as the United States is considered today, and likely it would have been the place of the Restoration.
David A Bedar (12)
I appreciated Elder Bednar’s analysis of how ordinances and the power of the Holy Ghost work together to sanctify us. I love that scripture he quoted from the D&C about how the power of godliness is manifested through the ordinances. I still remember how I felt when I was baptized at age eight, and I remember marveling over how clean I felt inside. It took me many years to learn why I had felt that way, but thankfully it wasn’t the only cleansing experience I had. I can testify I’ve felt it in the sacrament too.
I also appreciated the reminder that we can always have the Spirit to be with us if we try to always remember the Savior. I’ve written about how I experimented with that and experienced great blessings. I know it can really help, but it is something I still have to work at and have to be reminded of. I think everyone needs to try it to see what it is like.
Great quote: Baptism is a departure, not the destination. Sacrament is redemptive progress.
M. Russell Ballard (12)
I loved his talk on family counsels and the different types of counsels that are possible. My family used family counsels on occasion, and I felt it helped us become more unified, but I don’t think we figured out how it could become an engine for finding solutions to family problems.
I love that Elder Ballard said that counsels could help children feel heard and that it can protect us from distractions that would steal our relationships.
I also liked that Elder Ballard described how to make counsels formal. Formality can create respect for the decisions made by them and give additional weight that helps ease consistently enforcing decisions over the long term. As someone who struggles with impulsiveness, formality and official planning helps me be more consistent.