Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Status update on counsel from general conference

I feel like I want to share some things I’ve been doing since general conference in October. For a long time I’ve felt that I needed to do something to get better at following the prophet. For years I have typed so many notes in conference, and then I have never looked at them again once conference is over. Yes, it is sad, but I'm being real here. I could remember the really general counsel...if it got repeated over and over by members around me.  But I lacked initiative and focus. 

This year I felt it was important to figure out a way to make sure that I captured a list of things they counsel us to do and then work that stuff into my task list so that I actually do it.  An urgent feeling has grown in me lately of how important it is to follow the prophet’s counsel. 

So after October conference,  I made the list, and I put them into my task app on my phone and decided on when I would complete them and how often. So far I feel pretty good about how that is working in my life. There are a few things that I haven’t been able to implement as completely as I would like, but I am still trying. 

One of the things President Nelson challenged the women of the church to do was read the Book of Mormon by the end of the year and mark all verses mentioning Christ as we read. At the time, I made a note of the reading, but not of the marking aspect. I started reading, but I was kind of mechanical about it, just trying to get through the 6.5 pages I needed to read for the day. (Eventually I started just reading 7 pages to be safe.)

 I think it was mechanical at the beginning for me because I already read my scriptures every day, so I started it wondering what this was going to do for me more than I was already doing. It forced me to push through more pages than I usually read, and I think I had a hard time continuing the movement when I usually like to ruminate over things that catch my attention. 

Then someone at church mentioned they were doing the marking as President Nelson had said. I went back to look at the talk to verify that's he’d said, and it was. So I decided I needed to do that too so that I could be complete in my obedience. I started just marking instances of “God” and “Lord” and “Christ” and the various pronouns used for God. The first day I did that, I felt something special from that. But then the next days afterward it went back to feeling like a mechanical exercise. But I persisted. And then I got the idea that I should mark everything that God did and said too (not just the whole verses; I wanted to be targeted with my marking). And that made it more special, but I still felt I was missing something. (It was also difficult because I was using a dying highlighter that barely showed much. Once I switched highlighters, marking got easier.)  Eventually I realized that after having read and marked the requisite number of pages, I also needed to look back over the pages to see what I could learn from those markings. That has made it even more special.

The fascinating thing is that this marking exercise is the same thing I would do if I were trying to revise a book to fix a particular problem. (When I was trying to revise some of my fiction (still unpublished), on one of my passes I marked all instances of scenery description to see if I had enough of that and then added when there wasn’t anything there.) 

What President Nelson’s marking exercise is doing is getting us to notice all instances of God’s dealings with the Book of Mormon peoples so that we can learn more about His character and what He can do for us. It is a prophetically-mandated scripture study program to help us notice principles that we might otherwise pass over. The principles we learn will help increase our faith in God.  We need that increased faith in this day and age.

What have you learned from that challenge?
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Rozy Lass said...

I'm learning that He loves us, cares about what happens to us, and will direct us if we will let Him. Well, I knew all that already, but it's so nice to be looking for Him and find all that He does for us.

Michaela Stephens said...

I'm learning more about the Lord's great mercy and long-suffering and how much He wants us to understand that and turn to Him.