My family has had a water cooler for years. We’ve gotten our water from a variety of places, and are currently getting it from a do-it-yourself brewery in town. I guess in order to make your own beer, you need reverse osmosis water. A 5 gallon jug of water is only $1. Not a bad price!
The other day we noticed a t-shirt hanging on the wall:
Beer is proof that God loves me and wants me to be happy!!
We giggled at it, but it got me thinking. First of all, I know the shirt is supposed to be a joke, but I sure hope that the person who would wear that can feel that God loves them because of other “proof”. That then led me to wonder what “proof” I have that God loves me (kind of like a “count your blessings” thing). The list could go on and on, but here is the best “proof” that I have:
My wife’s love
My daughter’s laugh
My son’s innocence
My other son’s goodness
The promptings of the Holy Ghost
The flowers growing in our garden (I don’t spend a lot of time outside, but I love nature)
How I feel when I do what is right
The friends I have
As I mentioned, the list could be huge, but those are probably the most important things in my life right now.
I get that some people don’t know which Church is right. There are a lot of competing ideas out there. However, I don’t understand how someone can just not believe. I see God’s hand all around me. As Alma taught Korihor, “all things denote there is a God”!
Well, here we are ready for the last session. In between these Sunday sessions, I lay down with the kids to watch Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, but I fell asleep almost right away. It was a nice nap 🙂
While the countdown was up on the screen for this session of conference, I saw Elder Hales. He stood up when President Monson walked in, and seems to be doing a bit better.
I’m at home for the afternoon session. My kids are bundled up in their blankets (as is my wife) and we will watch at least the first half hour or hour together. The kids will probably then go off and play while my wife and I watch the rest. We also have a friend from Church (one of my institute students) who came to see it with us.
Here we are set to go for another 10 hours of General Conference. I feel pretty confident that it will be worth my time!
As mentioned before, I will be watching this session at work. Hopefully no one disrupts me 🙂
As for what to expect… who knows. I don’t get a sense that there are any big issues at the moment that need to be addressed with the world-wide church. I’m sure we’ll get advice on being kind, helping the poor, and being faithful. It’s all stuff we’ve heard before, but it will be good to hear it again.
Missionary service changes – Up to now, some countries had young men who could start to serve missions at age 18 (instead of 19). The reports have been positive. All young men can now serve at 18 (once they have graduated from high school or equivalent). Young women can now serve at 19 instead of 21.
The First Presidency affirm that missionary work is a Priesthood duty. Young women can serve, but they are not under the same mandate. They do make a valuable contribution and their service is welcome
One of the things that critics of the Church often complain about is that we blindly follow our leaders. Iif you’ve ever been to a regular ward or branch, you know that just isn’t true. There are squabbles and disagreements just like any other organization. But when it comes to important things, we rally together and try to be united. As you move further up the hierarchy in the Church, I would say that the average member follows those leaders more. That kind of makes sense. Generally speaking, those who are called to “higher” positions have obviously demonstrated their righteousness and faithfulness to the Church. That helps us to trust them more and have greater faith that they are called of God.
Regardless of how you look at it, following someone you respect and love (whether it be a bishop or the President of the Church), does not make you blind. It shows the love and trust that you have in that person. President Packer said it simply in this way:
Those who talk of blind obedience may appear to know many things, but they do not understand the doctrines of the gospel. There is an obedience that comes from a knowledge of the truth that transcends any external form of control. We are not obedient because we are blind, we are obedient because we can see.
There are a lot of “faith-promoting” stories, poems, and analogies out there that just don’t do anything for me. However, occasionally I come across something that is quite excellent, or something that I just generally think is “cute”. This is one that I thought was cute (I’m a baseball fan, so I guess I was a little less judgemental of this).
I’m not sure where I first read this (I think it was an email forward). I’ve looked online, and the phrase “the lord’s baseball game” is found 49,000+ times, so I don’t even know who to give credit to. If you know who the originator of this is, let me know.
Here, for your reading pleasure, is “The Lord’s Baseball Game”:
Freddy and the Lord stood by to observe a baseball game. The Lord’s team was playing Satan’s team.
The Lord’s team was at bat, the score was tied zero to zero, and it was the bottom of the 9th inning with two outs. They continued to watch as a batter stepped up to the plate whose name was Love.
Love swung at the first pitch and hit a single, because Love never fails.
The next batter was named Faith, who also got a single because Faith works with Love.
The next batter up was named Godly Wisdom. Satan wound up and threw the first pitch. Godly Wisdom looked it over and let it pass: Ball one. Three more pitches and Godly Wisdom walked, because Godly Wisdom never swings at what Satan throws.
The bases were now loaded. The Lord then brings in His star player. Up to the plate stepped Grace. Freddy said, “He sure doesn’t look like much!”
Satan’s whole team relaxed when they saw Grace. Thinking he had won the game, Satan wound up and fired his first pitch. To the shock of everyone, Grace hit the ball harder than anyone had ever seen. But Satan was not worried; his center fielder let very few get by. He went up for the ball, but it went right through his glove, hit him on the head and sent him crashing on the ground; then it continued over the fence for a home run!
The Lord’s team won!
The Lord then asked Freddy if he knew why Love, Faith, and Godly Wisdom could get on base but could not win the game. Freddy answered that he did not know why.
The Lord explained, “If your love, faith, and wisdom had won the game you would think you had done it by yourself. Love, Faith and Wisdom will get you on base but only My Grace can get you Home. Psalm 84:11, “For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord will give grace and glory; no good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly.”
After going to Kirtland last year, one of my sons was obsessed with his old-style replica hymnbook. He read from it regularly, and sang many of the songs. One day he and his brother filmed the singing of Redeemer of Israel:
It’s beautiful to hear your children singing the hymns of the gospel on their own!
However, even more “fun”, is when you get a sneak peak into what really happened during the filming. Check out this “behind-the-scenes” video. My son sings the line that ends in “…Zion in love” and then immediately scolds his brother. Pretty funny stuff!
If you saw General Conference, you definitely noticed that Elder Robert D Hales looked significantly different. He looked “puffy”, spoke from a chair, and had oxygen tubes in his nose. He didn’t say what was wrong with him. Elder Ballard and President Monson both referred to how it was nice to see him, but no one shared what was wrong.
I continue to work with doctors and physical therapists to regain my strength. I am grateful for the faith and prayers that made it possible for me to participate in general conference and resume my responsibilities. I am touched by the many kind expressions of love and support shown to me and your continued prayers.
None of the three sources I mentioned talk about what the health challenges were that Elder Hales faced.
Do you think it was a good idea to post the statement, or does it lead to more questions? Part of me says they should share what is wrong with him. There are millions of people who are concerned about him, and continually using the phrase “health challenges” seems pointless. Another part of me says that it is his health, and he deserves privacy, so we should all back off. Yet another part of me says that if Elder Hales shared what is wrong with him, there would be critics of the Church who would use that as an excuse to talk about the “old men” who lead the Church and that they aren’t capable.
I’m still not settled on what I think the best way is to handle this, but I do know that I hope for the best for Elder Hales. I hope and pray that he isn’t suffering, and that he recovers.
I made it home from work to watch this session at home (4 PM start where I am). It was much easier to pay attention at work. Saturdays are always slow, so I could just watch the session. However, at home, there were 3 small children running around, talking, and being generally distracting. It’s hard to be mad at them for being themselves, but it was also a little frustrating. We still managed to get through it 🙂
“I realized that I was not praying with all of my heart, and decided to do so. One morning I woke up early and knelt in my small apartment and prayed sincerely. To my surprise, the confirmation of the Holy Ghost came upon me as promised. My heart burned, my body shook…”
Follow the prophet, he knows the way
Sometimes we feel we lack the experience to rescue others, but we need to do it
I’m at home now. I can’t say enough about how great the Move Networks player is. I watched it through my laptop on my 26″ HD TV, and it was perfect. Very impressive. The only thing is that the stream seems to be a few minutes behind the live broadcast (even when you are showing it “live”).
I liked watching all of the various leaders sit down before the session started. There is a lot of smiles, a lot of hand-shaking, and a lot of talking. I know people who are so uptight about reverence, and that when you walk into the chapel it should be silent. I know the Conference Center isn’t a chapel, but for the purposes of General Conference, it is, and it is great to see people being so friendly with each other. It’s also nice to see everyone (including the leaders) stand as the First Presidency walks in. I also liked seeing President Eyring whisk something off of President Monson’s shoulder. Maybe something from lunch? 🙂
President Henry B Eyring conducted the session.
The choir sang “Let Zion in Her Beauty Rise”.
Elder Carlos H Amados offered the invocation.
The choir sang “Know This, That Every Soul Is Free”
President Eyring conducted the business. Several members of the First and Second Quorums of the Seventy were released, but no one was called to replace them.
Elder Dallin H Oaks ** might use as a 4th Sunday lesson **
God’s love and God’s commandments
The love of God does not supersede his commandments.
His commandments do not diminish the love of God
Every parent knows you can love a child and be angry and disappointed
The love of God is so universal, even those who are rebellious benefit
Where do parents draw the line with children that are not following the commandments. Don’t go to extremes (shunning the person, or totally ignoring the disobedience)
Real love does not support self-destructive behaviour
Elder Robert D Hales ** might use as a 4th Sunday lesson **
We live in a time where secularism is deepening
We declare We believe in God the Eternal Father, and in his son Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost
Why is belief in God so important?
Without God, life would end at the grave, and life would have no purpose
Cultivate a diligent desire to know God lives
Elder Jorge F Zeballos
From a purely human point of view at first, the commandment to be perfect seems to be an impossible task
The command to become perfect encourages us to achieve the best of ourselves
God will not require more than the best we can give
Let us with enthusiasm do all that is within our reach
It is possible to achieve the impossible. We can receive eternal life. We can be happy now
President Eyring forgot 3 other names that are being released from the 2nd Quorum of the Seventy
The choir sang “Come, Ye Children of the Lord”
Elder Tad R Callister ** might use as a 4th Sunday lesson **
Joseph was the Lord’s anointed
He learned 4 fundamental truths
God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ are two separate, distinct beings
The Father and Son have glorified bodies of flesh and bones
God still speaks to man today; the heavens are not closed
Does God love us as much today as before?
Does God have the same power today as then?
Do we need him as much today as then?
The full and complete Church of Jesus Christ was not on the earth
Hard to believe Joseph Smith saw angels? Were there not angels before? Mary, Joseph, Peter, James, John, Cornelius, Paul, Stephen all saw angels
There will always be an intellectual crisis, but there will always be faith that can strengthen us
Attempts to intellectualise salvation will never find the answers they seek. At some point, one must trust in God.
Elder Kent R Watson
Peace of mind and security and happiness do not come from buying things we can’t afford
Security from our families comes from learning self-control
Peace of mind comes from faith in Jesus Christ
Happiness comes from being diligent in keeping covenants
Elder Neil L Andersen ** might use as a 4th Sunday lesson **
I have felt His love in sacred and unforgettable ways
Spiritual arms of mercy, safety, love
We rejoice in repenting and the joy of forgiveness
There is no sin that cannot be forgiven (other then turning away)
“Will ye not now return unto me… that I may heal you?”
Repentance is more of a journey than an event
“You can’t feel what I have felt” – I don’t fully understand, but there is One who does. He does. He has felt your pain. He has said “I have engraven thee upon the palms of my hands”
I promise you, relief will come
Do not procrastinate the day of your repentance
President Boyd K Packer (spoke from a chair)
We must use our agency wisely
Pure intelligence can be spoken into the mind
The Spirit can protect you
The Gift of the Holy Ghost operates with men, women and children
Keep your mind clean and free from the clutter of the world
No matter who you are and what you may have done, you can always pray
Learn to pray. Pray often. Pray in your mind, in your heart. Pray on your knees. Prayer is your personal key to heaven and the lock is on your side of the veil.
He has learned to conclude all prayers with “Thy will be done”
The choir sang “I Know That My Redeemer Lives”
The benediction was offered by Robert S Wood (who was released today)
Read the recaps and other notes from the 179th Semiannual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints: