Category Archives: Mormon Church Scripture

186th Semiannual General Conference – Priesthood Session

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We went to the chapel tonight to watch the broadcast. It is my middle child/youngest son’s first time at conference. There was a bit of a social beforehand where we could have subs and chips.

Afterwards we went to Boston Pizza for more food. It’s a great tradition!


President Henry B Eyring conducted

A choir made up of Melchizedek priesthood holders from stakes in West Valley City, Utah and Magna, Utah sang Ye Elders of Israel

The invocation was offered by Elder Paul B Pieper

The choir sang Love at Home

Elder Jeffrey R Holland

  • Home teaching… we struggle anywhere near an acceptable level of performance
  • Some people have 18-20 families
  • In the best of all worlds, a monthly visit in each home is still the ideal we’re striving for
  • Read from a First Presidency letter from 2001
  • Use the resources available
  • Visit the house of each home, no matter how many months it would take us
  • Prioritize our time with those who need us the most
  • If you can’t visit, make contact in any way you can
  • Watch for them at Church, make calls, send emails/texts
  • Lift your visit of home teaching
  • In newer, better ways, see youselves as emmisaries of the Lord

Elder Le Grand Curtis Jr

  • Told the story of how the Church had been “freeze’d” out of Ghana
  • Shared several stories of how some Ghana members found the Church
  • Some people have experiences like Parley P Pratt, while most people have smaller, but still powerful experiences
  • A testimony of the Book of Mormon can come slowly

The choir and congregation sang Now Let Us Rejoice

President Dieter F Uchtdorf

  • He recounted the story of Alma the younger
  • What can I learn from Alma?
  • How am I like Amulek?
  • Like Alma, to be successful, you must find your Amuleks
  • Who needs a call to action?
  • Who has the Lord been preparing? Find them by seeing with your heart!
  • Listen with your heart and follow the promptings of the Spirit
  • If the Lord calls, will I hear?
  • Seek out, find, inspire, and rely upon the Amuleks

President Henry B Eyring

  • The Lord grants his power to those of all priesthood offices who worthily serve in their duties
  • The Aaronic Priesthood is an appendage of the Melchizedek Priesthood. They are connected.
  • The AP prepares YM for a more sacred trust

President Thomas S Monson

  • Spoke of the Word of Wisdom
  • Told a story about someone in the war who had been given added strength and stamina
  • The Word of Wisdom is a divinely provided plan

The choir sang You Can Make the Pathway Bright

The benediction was offered by Elder Bruce D Porter




Read the recaps and other notes from the 186th Semiannual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:

186th Semiannual General Conference – Saturday Afternoon General Session

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I almost didn’t make it home from work on time. I have to cross a canal on the way home, and there is a website where you can check when the bridge will be up. I left work and it was supposed to be up in about an hour. Then 30 minutes later when I got there the bridge was up. Frustrating!

Regardless, as a family we are gathered in our family room watching the broadcast.


President Dieter F Uchtdorf conducted

A choir made up of missionaries from the Provo Missionary Training Center sang Joseph Smith’s First Prayer (it was beautiful!)

The invocation was offered by Elder Daniel L Johnson

President Henry B Eyring did the sustaining of Church officers. As is usual now, there were those who opposed during the sustaining of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve. There were a few General Authority Seventies released (Daniel L. Johnson, Jairo Mazzagardi, Kent F. Richards and Francisco J. Viñas) but no new ones called. There was also one Area Seventy released and two sustained. There were no other changes.

The choir sang Baptism

Elder Quentin L Cook

  • Eternal life is the greatest gift from God
  • There are obstacles that can stop of us from receiving that gift
  • The philosophies of men can lead people astray
  • We have to beware of gospel extremism, where we raise one gospel principle above another

Elder Gary E Stevenson

  • Told story of Mary Rollins
  • No one is ever too young to gain a testimony of the Book of Mormon
  • He read recently that teenagers spend 7 hours a day looking at screens
  • He asked that they reduce some of that time and spend it reading the Book of Mormon

The choir and congregation sang Called to Serve

Elder D Todd Christofferson

  • The bible tells us that God is love
  • The scriptures use terms other than “unconditional” to describe love
  • What matters is how we respond to His love
  • God will always love us, but He cannot save us in our sins
  • As we trust, not resist, our divine Teacher, we will learn from Him

Elder W Mark Bassett

  • He and his brother had replica gold plates when they were kids
  • They tried really hard to get at the “sealed” portion
  • They spent all their time trying to read something hidden when they
  • We need to focus on the things that matter
  • Keeping our life in harmony with God will allow Him to guide us in our spiritual development

Elder Kazuhiko Yamashita

  • We need to be ambitious for Christ
  • Missionaries are a great example of focus and faith
  • He told a story about a missionary who served in his mission (when he was president) and his challenges with a prosthetic leg

The choir sang I’ll Go Where You Want Me to Go

Elder Dallin H Oaks

  • We need to share the gospel with everyone
  • We have a lot of modern technology that helps us
  • Are we using them to maximum effect?
  • Ideas that will work everywhere
  • We can all pray for desire to help in this work
  • We can keep the commandments ourselves
  • Faithful members are the most persuasive and they always have His spirit with them
  • We can pray for inspiration on what we can do in our individual circumstances to share the gospel with others
  • Invite people to learn about the gospel and about Jesus Christ, not just to learn about our Church

The choir sang Hope of Israel

The benediction was offered by Elder Allen D Haynie




Read the recaps and other notes from the 186th Semiannual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:

“We are His Work and His Glory”

Just a quick thought/note here…

Recently the Atonement Blog posted some remarks that Neal A Maxwell offered in his first address as an Apostle. We are all familiar with Moses 1: 39:

For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.

The Atonement Blog highlighted the fact that Elder Maxwell said that WE are God’s work, and His glory.

We can love Him, we can honor Him, we can worship Him! We can keep His commandments, and we can feast upon His scriptures! Yes, we who are so forgetful and even rebellious are never forgotten by Him! We are His “work” and His “glory,” and He is never distracted!

A very nice thought! Thanks to the Atonement Blog for sharing this…

184th Semiannual General Conference – Saturday Morning General Session

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The family is gathered together and we are set to get started. Since my oldest is now 12, he is going to watch all of the sessions with us. The younger two will watch half an hour of each session, all of Sunday morning, and then President Monson’s conclusion on Sunday afternoon.

Let’s get going…


The Mormon Tabernacle Choir sang The Morning Breaks

President Henry B Eyring conducted

The choir sang High on the Mountain Top

Sister Bonnie L Oscarson offered the invocation

President Thomas S Monson

  • 90-year anniversary of radio broadcast
  • 65-year anniversary of tv broadcast
  • 1 new temple dedicated (Florida Fort Lauderdale) by President Uchtdorf
  • 1 temple rededicated (Utah Ogden) by President Monson
  • New Phoenix temple will be dedicated next month
  • In 2015 there will be 5 temples dedicated or rededicated, with more possible depending on how things go
  • When all previously announced are done there will be  170 operating temples
  • No new temples to announce
  • The Church continues to grow
  • Over 88,000 missionaries serving

The choir sang Beautiful Zion, Built Above

President Boyd K Packer (he looked good, but seemed to have a hard time speaking)

  • Told story about giving Oxford a copy of the scriptures, and pointing out the 18 pages about Christ in the Topical Guide
  • Our scriptures are full of references to the Savior
  • The mercy and grace of Chris is available to all
  • No matter how large the Church becomes, the true success of the Gospel will be measured by the spiritual strength of its individual members

Elder Lynn G Robbins

  • Which way do you face?
  • We should not flip/reverse the first two great commandments
  • We should not try to please others instead of pleasing God
  • If we are facing the wrong way, we can turn around
  • Lowering our standards to meet the world is apostacy

Sister Cheryl A Esplin

  • What do you wish you had known when you were younger?
  • I wish I had understood the significance of the Sacrament
  • Spoke all about the Sacrament

The choir and congregation sang Guide Us, O Thou Great Jehovah

Elder Chi Hong Wong (spoke in Cantonese)

  • Reach out and rescue
  • He compared the story of the man with palsy being lowered through the roof to our efforts to rescuing
  • There are sometimes obstacles, but we can’t give up
  • With so many missionaries in our units, we need to get them involved
  • Our combined faith can help others

Elder D Todd Christofferson

  • We see God’s love through His commandments
  • The Gospel opens the path to what we may become
  • Christ died not to save indiscriminately, but to offer repentance
  • Freedom comes not from resisting it, but from applying it

The choir sang If I Listen With My Heart

President Dieter F Uchtdorf

  • A century ago, we thought we were alone in the universe, that the Milky Way was the only galaxy
  • With greater light, we have been introduced to glorious vistas we had never before imagined
  • If people haven’t experienced things, received the more complete light of truth, then they don’t believe new truth
  • As humans we believe we are right, even when we are wrong
  • We can know truth for ourselves
  • Read the scriptures, ponder, and be grateful
  • Ask Heavenly Father in the name of Jesus Christ to manifest the truth of the Church unto you
  • Put the Gospel and Church teachings to the test in your life
  • Spiritual truth will fill your heart

The choir sang From All That Dwell below the Skies

The benediction was offered by Bradley D Foster


Read the recaps and other notes from the 184th Semiannual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:

Youth Chosen Topic – Participation in Church

A while back I posted some notes from a discussion we had with the youth about the Word of Wisdom. We had asked them what topics they wanted to discuss, and along with Word of Wisdom, they had general questions about why they need to sing, go to seminary, etc. We combined all of those things into a topic about participation. We were going to be addressing this topic at some point, but weren’t sure when. Since I am no longer the YM President, I won’t have an opportunity to discuss this with the youth, but I figured I’d still share my notes. Remember, these are just notes. I’m sure I wasn’t going to share everything, and I would have allowed the youth to direct the discussion in a certain way if it was going well.

From the youth topic survey, people wanted to discuss:

  • skipping classes
  • getting up for seminary
  • singing in Church
    • See D&C 25:12 – the song of the righteous is a prayer unto me
      For my soul delighteth in the song of the heart; yea, the song of the righteous is a prayer unto me, and it shall be answered with a blessing upon their heads.
    • See Mark 14:26 – Jesus and his disciples sang
      And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives.
  • false ideology
    • people focus too much on one thing but not another
  • what if you don’t know the church is true
    • not exactly participation, but we figured that we could cover this as part of this topic since participation is a result of and leads to stronger testimonies

What is the purpose of the Church?

  • Mosiah 18: 8-9
    And it came to pass that he said unto them: Behold, here are the waters of Mormon (for thus were they called) and now, as ye are desirous to come into the fold of God, and to be called his people, and are willing to bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light;
    Yea, and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in, even until death, that ye may be redeemed of God, and be numbered with those of the first resurrection, that ye may have eternal life—
  • Mosiah 18: 19-21
    And he commanded them that they should teach nothing save it were the things which he had taught, and which had been spoken by the mouth of the holy prophets.
    Yea, even he commanded them that they should preach nothing save it were repentance and faith on the Lord, who had redeemed his people.
    And he commanded them that there should be no contention one with another, but that they should look forward with one eye, having one faith and one baptism, having their hearts knit together in unity and in love one towards another.
  • 4 Nephi 1: 12
    And they did not walk any more after the performances and ordinances of the law of Moses; but they did walk after the commandments which they had received from their Lord and their God, continuing in fasting and prayer, and in meeting together oft both to pray and to hear the word of the Lord.
  • Moroni 6: 5-6
    And the church did meet together oft, to fast and to pray, and to speak one with another concerning the welfare of their souls.
    And they did meet together oft to partake of bread and wine, in remembrance of the Lord Jesus.
  • D&C 20: 75
    It is expedient that the church meet together often to partake of bread and wine in the remembrance of the Lord Jesus
  • D&C 43: 8
    And now, behold, I give unto you a commandment, that when ye are assembled together ye shall instruct and edify each other, that ye may know how to act and direct my church, how to act upon the points of my law and commandments, which I have given.

3 main purposes of coming to Church

  1. Partake of the Sacrament
  2. Learn the Gospel
  3. Help others

Parking of the Sacrament

  • The bread and water help us to remember Jesus
  • We take upon ourselves His name
  • It helps us to remember Him
  • We commit to follow Him
  • Sacrament prayers are located in D&C 20: 77, 79
    O God, the Eternal Father, we ask thee in the name of thy Son, Jesus Christ, to bless and sanctify this bread to the souls of all those who partake of it, that they may eat in remembrance of the body of thy Son, and witness unto thee, O God, the Eternal Father, that they are willing to take upon them the name of thy Son, and always remember him and keep his commandments which he has given them; that they may always have his Spirit to be with them. Amen.
    O God, the Eternal Father, we ask thee in the name of thy Son, Jesus Christ, to bless and sanctify this wine to the souls of all those who drink of it, that they may do it in remembrance of the blood of thy Son, which was shed for them; that they may witness unto thee, O God, the Eternal Father, that they do always remember him, that they may have his Spirit to be with them. Amen.

Learn the Gospel

  • Listen to talks
  • Prepare for lessons
  • Be open to the Spirit
  • Don’t disrupt others
  • Even principles we’ve heard before can be interesting if we have the right attitude
  • Classes are as good as you make them
  • We should be edified together
    • See D&C 50: 17-25
      Verily I say unto you, he that is ordained of me and sent forth to preach the word of truth by the Comforter, in the Spirit of truth, doth he preach it by the Spirit of truth or some other way?
      And if it be by some other way it is not of God.
      And again, he that receiveth the word of truth, doth he receive it by the Spirit of truth or some other way?
      If it be some other way it is not of God.
      Therefore, why is it that ye cannot understand and know, that he that receiveth the word by the Spirit of truth receiveth it as it is preached by the Spirit of truth?
      Wherefore, he that preacheth and he that receiveth, understand one another, and both are edified and rejoice together.
      And that which doth not edify is not of God, and is darkness.
      That which is of God is light; and he that receiveth light, and continueth in God, receiveth more light; and that light groweth brighter and brighter until the perfect day.
      And again, verily I say unto you, and I say it that you may know the truth, that you may chase darkness from among you;

Help Others

  • Hymn 270 – I’ll Go Where You Want Me to Go
    • Perhaps there are things we need to do and say that will help others
  • What we say/do, how we act, and our body language has a profound impact on others

Do you know how to receive revelation? Part 3 (final part)

As mentioned previously, the May topic for Come, Follow Me is on Prophets and Revelation. I spent two weeks discussing the ideas in the “How do I receive personal revelation?” topic.

I thought the talks by Richard G Scott and David A Bednar gave some good information. Here are some quotes:

Richard G. Scott, “How to Obtain Revelation and Inspiration for Your Personal Life,Ensign or Liahona, May 2012, 45–47

When I am faced with a very difficult matter, this is how I try to understand what to do. I fast. I pray to find and understand scriptures that will be helpful. That process is cyclical. I start reading a passage of scripture; I ponder what the verse means and pray for inspiration. I then ponder and pray to know if I have captured all the Lord wants me to do. Often more impressions come with increased understanding of doctrine. I have found that pattern to be a good way to learn from the scriptures.

There are some practical principles that enhance revelation. First, yielding to emotions such as anger or hurt or defensiveness will drive away the Holy Ghost. Those emotions must be eliminated, or our chance for receiving revelation is slight.

Another principle is to be cautious with humor. Loud, inappropriate laughter will offend the Spirit. A good sense of humor helps revelation; loud laughter does not. A sense of humor is an escape valve for the pressures of life.

Another enemy to revelation comes from exaggeration or loudness in what is stated. Careful, quiet speech will favor the receipt of revelation.

On the other hand, spiritual communication can be enhanced by good health practices. Exercise, reasonable amounts of sleep, and good eating habits increase our capacity to receive and understand revelation. We will live for our appointed life span. However, we can improve both the quality of our service and our well-being by making careful, appropriate choices.

It is important that our daily activities do not distract us from listening to the Spirit.

Based on this quote, I tried to emphasize the following:

  • Anger/hurt/defensiveness drive away the Spirit
  • Be cautious with humour. It was interesting that he noted that a good sense of humour (not inappropriate or too loud) helps revelation
  • Do not exaggerate things unnecessarily
  • Get a good amount of sleep and  eat well
  • That last paragraph is simple but powerful… It is important that our daily activities do not distract us from listening to the Spirit

David A. Bednar, “The Spirit of Revelation,Ensign or Liahona, May 2011, 87–90

He starts at the beginning of his talk and talks about light. He talks about how the sun rises and that from moment to moment we can’t tell it is brighter, but as we look back, we can obviously tell it is brighter. He then compares that turning on a light switch in a room when the room gets brighter instantly. Both are very much like revelation. Sometimes we can feel it immediately, and sometimes it slowly grows/builds.

The Prophet Joseph Smith taught, “The Holy Ghost is a revelator,” and “no man can receive the Holy Ghost without receiving revelations” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith [2007], 132)…

This blessing is not restricted to the presiding authorities of the Church; rather, it belongs to and should be operative in the life of every man, woman, and child who reaches the age of accountability and enters into sacred covenants. Sincere desire and worthiness invite the spirit of revelation into our lives…

I emphasize the phrase “apply unto it” in relation to the spirit of revelation. In the scriptures, the influence of the Holy Ghost frequently is described as “a still small voice” (1 Kings 19:12; 1 Nephi 17:45; see also 3 Nephi 11:3) and a “voice of perfect mildness” (Helaman 5:30). Because the Spirit whispers to us gently and delicately, it is easy to understand why we should shun inappropriate media, pornography, and harmful, addictive substances and behaviors. These tools of the adversary can impair and eventually destroy our capacity to recognize and respond to the subtle messages from God delivered by the power of His Spirit. Each of us should consider seriously and ponder prayerfully how we can reject the devil’s enticements and righteously “apply unto it,” even the spirit of revelation, in our personal lives and families…

A light turned on in a dark room is like receiving a message from God quickly, completely, and all at once. Many of us have experienced this pattern of revelation as we have been given answers to sincere prayers or been provided with needed direction or protection, according to God’s will and timing…

The gradual increase of light radiating from the rising sun is like receiving a message from God “line upon line, precept upon precept” (2 Nephi 28:30). Most frequently, revelation comes in small increments over time and is granted according to our desire, worthiness, and preparation…

I have talked with many individuals who question the strength of their personal testimony and underestimate their spiritual capacity because they do not receive frequent, miraculous, or strong impressions…

Another common experience with light helps us learn an additional truth about the “line upon line, precept upon precept” pattern of revelation. Sometimes the sun rises on a morning that is cloudy or foggy. Because of the overcast conditions, perceiving the light is more difficult, and identifying the precise moment when the sun rises over the horizon is not possible. But on such a morning we nonetheless have sufficient light to recognize a new day and to conduct our affairs.

In a similar way, we many times receive revelation without recognizing precisely how or when we are receiving revelation. An important episode from Church history illustrates this principle.

Anyway, that is probably enough. As I said in the beginning, this is something I’ve been thinking about a lot over the last few weeks. I just wanted to share some of the things I’ve read and thought about and discussed. I am by no means an expert in receiving revelation, but I’m trying and asking and I have faith that the revelation does and will come.

Do you know how to receive revelation? Part 2

As I mentioned in the first part, when I was interviewed by Elder Olson and Elder Echo Hawk to be in the Stake Presidency, Elder Olson asked me if I knew how to receive revelation. That, together with the topic for May in the new youth curriculum has given me plenty to think about.

“Do you know how to receive revelation?” is kind of a tricky question. It’s like the question in the temple recommend interview that asks if you are worthy to enter the Lord’s house. If you say yes, you sound boastful. If you say no, then it’s as if something is wrong with you.

I guess the first thing to remember is that what revelation is. To me, revelation occurs any time you feel the Holy Ghost. If someone is bearing their testimony and you feel the Spirit, you have received revelation. The Spirit has let you know that what they are saying is true. This obviously isn’t revelation like Joseph Smith received, but I still consider it revelation.

If we consider revelation to be received anytime we feel the Spirit, then it doesn’t seem so daunting. So let me ask the questions again… “Do you know how to receive revelation?” The answer should be yes. You receive revelation because you keep the commandments. If you aren’t receiving revelation, you probably have some areas that need some work.

I understand that this is a very simplistic way to look at it, but this is the way I was describing it to the Priests that I was teaching the last couple of weeks. At 16, 17 or 18 years old they should be able to receive revelation. Since they are able to receive revelation, they should be receiving it often. If they are not, then they need to figure out what needs to change in their life so they can receive it.

I also want to emphasize how important it is to want revelation. We shouldn’t just wait to see if it comes. We should be seeking it out. I love D&C 42: 61:

If thou shalt ask, thou shalt receive revelation upon revelation, knowledge upon knowledge, that thou mayest know the mysteries and peaceable things—that which bringeth joy, that which bringeth life eternal.

If we ask, we are promised revelation upon revelation. Good stuff!

Do you know how to receive revelation?

That was one of the questions that Elder Jeffery Olson and Elder Larry Echo Hawk asked me during my interview when our stake presidency was changed. I have thought about it every day since. I’m not sure why it has struck me as such a profound question, but it has. I have reflected on what it means, and what I can do to improve my ability to receive revelation.

I plan on a more in-depth posting on revelation soon (it is also the topic in May for the new youth curriculum), but for now I’ll post some of the questions I’ve been thinking about:

  • Do you know how to receive revelation?
  • Do you recognize revelation when it comes?
  • Are you asking for revelation?
  • It is “easy” to understand how revelation pertains to Church life, but do you understand that revelation can be received for literally EVERYTHING in your life?
  • Are you aware of the things in your life that would stop you from receiving revelation?
  • When you receive revelation, do you act on it?

As I said, I’ll have a more thorough post later, but these are some questions to get you thinking…

A little more about Elder Larry Echo Hawk

Over the two days of Stake Conference, I had the opportunity to speak to Elder Larry Echo Hawk several times. I was immediately impressed by his humility. If you read about what he has accomplished in his life, he is remarkably humble. He went to law school, was the Attorney General for Idaho, taught at the BYU law school, oversaw BYU’s NCAA participation, and worked in the Obama administration. However even with all that experience, he rarely brought it up.

He is a very quiet/unassuming man. During lunch on Sunday I asked him about his work in the Obama administration and he said that when he was offered the position, he originally wanted to say now. He loved his job and responsibilities at BYU and didn’t want to leave. Whomever it was that offered him the position told him that his country was calling him to service. Elder Echo Hawk’s wife said that you can’t say no to that, but Elder Echo Hawk took about 10 days to finally decide to accept it.

President Eyring is the person who called him to be a General Authority. He found out many months in advance so he had lots of time to work things out. President Eyring told him that they didn’t want the US government mad at them 🙂

Elder Echo Hawk shared some great stores/experiences of learning more about his Pawnee heritage and doing family history research. He is obviously saddened by the way his people were treated long ago, but didn’t seem to harbour any bitter feelings.

I asked if he or his family was part of the Indian Placement Program (or whatever it was called) that the Church was involved with, and he said they were not. I commented about President Kimball’s love of Native Americans, and Elder Echo Hawk said that President Kimball (at that point an Apostle) is the one who performed the sealing for him and his wife.

I have met my fair share of General Authorities in my life, but Elder Echo Hawk certainly had an impact on me. I’m sure part of it was because of the calling I received, but there was just something about him that really impressed me. There is definitely lots there that I can try to emulate.

As a final point, Elder Echo Hawk’s first General Conference address was called “Come unto Me, O Ye House of Israel”. He spoke about the Book of Mormon, and shared a great story of when he was a Marine.