The 178th Annual General Conference: Elder Russell M. Nelson’s Talk

Elder Russell M. Nelson, Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Here are some important points I took away from the talk given by Elder Russell M. Nelson, member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, during the 178th Annual General Conference this weekend:

  • Salvation is an individual matter.
  • Exaltation is a family matter.
  • Family is the  support for Salvation.
  • The home is a laboratory for learning the gospel.
  • Men need women to be exalted and visa versa.
  • We cannot be released in our calling as parents.
  • The Church is to assist, not replace parents in their responsibility to teach children.
  • Parents have a sacred responsibility to teach Children of God.
  • We’re taught to shun filth.
  • We’re taught to honor thy parents.
  • You can teach only by persuasion, long suffering, reproving, and more love.
  • We’re all responsible for our own salvation.

These key points from his talk should echo in our minds.  In the bigger scheme of things, we are merely stewards of our children on Earth.  Our children are children of God entrusted under our car to teach them, to protect them and to love.

I also like his point on how Church is to assist and not replace parents.  I believe that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints reinforces and strengthens our families.  It should reiterate what is learned in the home and not be something new when taught during our Sunday Schools.

I’m sure you’ve heard this many, many times before, but I think it makes sense to repeat these words of wisdom:

If you were to erase everything your children learn in Sunday School and Church and strictly rely on what is taught at home, would they still have the same level of knowledge of the Gospel as if they did attend Church and Sunday School?

I hope so.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints: Statistics as of December 31, 2007

During the 178th General Conference, the following statistics were given about the Church:

  • Stakes: 2,790
  • Missions: 348
  • Districts: 618
  • Wards and Branches: 27,827
  • Members: 13,193,999
  • Children added to record in 2007: 93,698
  • Converts Baptized in 2007: 279,218 (Hey, I was one of those! :))
  • Full Time Missionaries: 52,686
  • Temples in operation: 124

These statistics seem to be more up to date than what is listed at the Official Church Website.

I look forward to helping and seeing these numbers increase for 2008!

The 178th Annual General Conference

The First PresidencyThis weekend was the 178th Annual General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

I could remember it like it was only yesterday that it was General Conference in October and it was all new to me.  This time around it felt like old hat.  I actually woke up at 9am to watch the conferences.  I enjoyed all the messages that were given and I have found a new appreciation for our first presidency.  I really didn’t know anything about the first presidency a year ago and I didn’t know Gordon B. Hinckley.

I’m glad I got to know Hinckley during the last conference before he passed.  I’ve come to appreciate all that he’s done for the Church.

It was the first time I’ve seen the calling and sustaining of a Prophet and his First Presidency.  I felt the Spirit as Utchdorf read off the names of our new leaders.  Even though I was at home, watching in my bedroom at 9am in the morning in my t-shirt and shorts, I was engaged enough to stand and sustained each and everyone of them by raising my right hand.  It was a wonder to me knowing that members around the world must be standing as well raising their right hand to sustain as well.

I am so impressed with the new First Presidency!  I never really knew Thomas S. Monson before this general conference.  He had also surprised me with his humor and his stories.  I remember Henry B. Eyring from before and loved hearing what he had to say.  And Dieter F. Uchtdorf is so likable and has such a friendy and welcoming characteristic about himself.

I’ve felt my testimony strengthened watching this conference and seeing the leadership of this Church.  These men are absolutely called of God.  Their words are divinely inspired without a doubt.  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is absolutely the church of our Savior, Jesus Christ.  This is his Church.

Gordon B. Hinckley

hinckley_medium.jpgIs it weird that I am not saddened?

The President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Gordon B. Hinckley has died at the age of 97.

Being less than a year into this, I can’t say that I’m too affected by it. I have only really heard him speak once during the Semi-Annual General Conference. I enjoyed what he had to say in October and was looking forward to him this April.

I realize the progress this Prophet made for the church during his presidency and admire his works. The world went from 56 to 224 temples? Amazing!

So is it weird that I am not saddened by his passing?

No. I am happy for him!  Happy because of the plan of Salvation.

I found out last night when my friend Mike gave me a call.  I said a prayer for his family to have peace and comfort.  I wasn’t saddened really, just  a little surprised.  I thought he was kidding around when he said he was hoping to make it to April’s General Conference.

He had lived a great life. I know where he has gone. He is with our Father in Heaven, his wife and his other family. And he will get his reward:

His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. (Matthew 25:21)

The 177th Semiannual General Conference

This weekend was the The 177th Semiannual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. But this was my first General Conference.

It reminded me of when I was younger and my father used to watch Robert Schuller on TV. I could barely stand being in the same room with this program on. I really thought I wouldn’t be able to watch television for two hours at a time and hear men preach, but this was different. I found it really enjoyable and have taken away a lot from it.

I was also worried about not going to church for the first time since I began attending. It turned out to be just as fulfilling.

Things that stuck out to me this weekend:

  • The way Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin began to shake half way through his powerful message.
  • The general priesthood meeting that I attended at my Stake Center with my friend Joey.
  • Sunday’s session with Gordon B. Hinckley speaking about the church as a large family scattered across the Earth with more than 13,000,000 members in 176 nations and territories.
  • The Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
  • They sang “I am a Child of God.” (One of my favorites!)
  • Elder Robert D. Hales of the Quorum of the Twelve speaking about personal revelation.
  • Elder Daniel K. Judd, First Counselor of the Sunday School General Presidency speaking about how it is possible to “feed a horse without nourishing him”…”Grain is more nourishing than hay, and hay more nourishing than straw.” And how vital it is to focus on the fundamental doctrines in our gospel.
  • Elder Octaviano Tenorio of the Seventy and his experiences, knowledge and faith about the Plan of Salvation when speaking about his children and his later father.  And, the comfort he receives from the Plan of Salvation.

While I was invited by my Bishop to actually go to Salt Lake City for the General Conference, I could not go due to financial reasons. Something that I am regretting. I am hoping to have the same opportunity to go to Salt Lake City next April – I am going to go no matter what.

It is amazing to see again and again how organized this great church is. I can clearly see how this church is true by the fruit it bears.