Monday, June 25, 2012

Sacrifice/ Coming to Ourselves

Elder Oaks is so very smart! His brother, USAF Retired 4 Star General Oaks, has been to our ward a couple times to visit, and he's simply a delight to be around! His wife is so sweet! Anyway.. back to Elder Oaks. As is customary of lawyers and judges, Elder Oaks distinctly outlines his written talks and I love it!
I am grateful for the marvelous examples of Christian love, service, and sacrifice I have seen among the Latter-day Saints. I see you performing your Church callings, often at great sacrifice of time and means. I see you serving missions at your own expense. I see you cheerfully donating your professional skills in service to your fellowmen. I see you caring for the poor through personal efforts and through supporting Church welfare and humanitarian contributions.10 All of this is affirmed in a nationwide study which concluded that active members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints “volunteer and donate significantly more than the average American and are even more generous in time and money than the upper [20 percent] of religious people in America.”
I believe that Latter-day Saints who give unselfish service and sacrifice in worshipful imitation of our Savior adhere to eternal values to a greater extent than any other group of people. Latter-day Saints look on their sacrifices of time and means as a part of their schooling and qualifying for eternity. This is a truth revealed in the Lectures on Faith, which teach that “a religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things never has power sufficient to produce the faith necessary unto life and salvation. … It [is] through this sacrifice, and this only, that God has ordained that men should enjoy eternal life.”

It was so good to see Elder Hales, looking much better, at Conference! His talk was so sweet. I especially loved his counsel to those who teach, instruct, oversee the youth of the church.
As our spiritual desires increase, we become spiritually self-reliant. How, then, do we help others, ourselves, and our families increase our desires to follow the Savior and live His gospel? How do we strengthen our desires to repent, become worthy, and endure to the end? How do we help our youth and young adults let these desires work in them until they are converted and become true “saint[s] through the atonement of Christ”?
I challenge each of us to follow our spiritual desires and come to ourselves. Let’s have a talk with ourselves in the mirror and ask, “Where do I stand on living my covenants?” We are on the right path when we can say, “I worthily partake of the sacrament each week, I am worthy to hold a temple recommend and go to the temple, and I sacrifice to serve and bless others.”

Monday, June 18, 2012

Converted to His Gospel/The Doctrine of Christ

I love talks where they are clear about outlining the principle they are talking about! :) This one was one of those talks. Elder Hallstrom out lines three fundamental ways to have the gospel be our foundation:
    1.Deepen our understanding of Diety
    2.Focus on the ordinances and covenants
    3.Unite the gospel with the Church

The Lord wants the members of His Church to be fully converted to His gospel. This is the only sure way to have spiritual safety now and happiness forever.

This was a great talk and has helped us teach our children how to respond to those in their circle of friends who question things about the church.
We have seen of late a growing public interest in the beliefs of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This is something we welcome because, after all, our fundamental commission is to teach the gospel of Jesus Christ, His doctrine, in all the world (see Matthew 28:19–20; D&C 112:28). But we must admit there has been and still persists some confusion about our doctrine and how it is established. That is the subject I wish to address today.

Monday, June 11, 2012

A Little Child Shall Lead Them/ Upon Principles of Righteousness

It was very clear this April, that there was a renewed emphasis on the Family.  At least from the perspective here in our home and from others I've talked with about Conference. And Pres Packer doesn't mince words- he's bold and unapologetic.  I loved this talk. There was so much in here! I especially loved the parts about not scheduling the family so much with Church activities.
"The ultimate end of all activity in the Church is to see a husband and his wife and their children happy at home, protected by the principles and laws of the gospel, sealed safely in the covenants of the everlasting priesthood. Husbands and wives should understand that their first calling is to one another and then to their children... in all that we do in the Church, we need to provide a way,as leaders, for parents and children to have time together as families... Family time is sacred time and should be protected and respected. We urge our members to show devotion to their families."

This was another talk about Parents' Responsibilities to their Children. We've tried so hard to make sure our children understand the doctrine- (That's in another talk later on)- to have them feel the spirit on their own, to see the hand of God in their lives, and to feel the Spirit in their own good choices.
In raising our family, we decided that our most important goal would be to help our children establish their own connection to heaven. We knew that ultimately they would need to depend on the Lord, not on us. Brigham Young said, “Were I to draw a distinction in all the duties that are required of the children of men, … I would place first and foremost the duty of seeking unto the Lord our God until we open the path of communication from heaven to earth—from God to our own souls.”

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Monday, June 4, 2012

As We Gather Again/ As We Close this Conference

This was one of the best descriptions of the purpose of Conference, and the blessings we can receive from Conference.
We meet each six months to strengthen one another, to extend encouragement, to provide comfort, to build faith. We are here to learn. Some of you may be seeking answers to questions and challenges you are experiencing in your life. Some are struggling with disappointments or losses. Each can be enlightened and uplifted and comforted as the Spirit of the Lord is felt.

Should there be changes which need to be made in your life, may you find the incentive and the courage to do so as you listen to the inspired words which will be spoken. May each of us resolve anew to live so that we are worthy sons and daughters of our Heavenly Father...Many messages will be shared during the next two days. I can assure you that those men and women who will address you have sought heaven’s help and direction as they have prepared their messages. They have been inspired concerning that which they will share with us.

His closing remarks echoed his opening. I especially appreciated the counsel to love your family and avoid contention.
My dear brothers and sisters, may your homes be filled with love and courtesy and with the Spirit of the Lord. Love your families. If there are disagreements or contentions among you, I urge you to settle them now. Said the Savior:

“There shall be no disputations among you. …

“For verily, verily I say unto you, he that hath the spirit of contention is not of me, but is of the devil, who is the father of contention, and he stirreth up the hearts of men to contend with anger, one with another.

We have been so richly blessed as we have listened to the counsel and testimonies of those who have spoken to us. I think you will agree with me that we have felt the Spirit of the Lord as our hearts have been touched and our testimonies strengthened...Now as we leave this conference, I invoke the blessings of heaven upon each of you. May you who are away from your homes return to them safely. May you ponder the truths you have heard, and may they help you to become even better than you were when conference began two days ago.