The 179th Semiannual General Conference: Elder David A. Bednar

Saturday Session 1, Talk 5 – Elder David A. Bednar, Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
-Joseph Smith – “More diligent and concerned at home”
Suggestion 1: Express love and show it.  Do it often.
-“I love you” From Spouse, Parent or Child is a rich blessing.
-Do it, even if you feel “unsure, awkward or embarrassed.”
Suggestion 2: Bare testimony and live it. Do it often.  Testimony is truth, witnessed by the Holy Ghost.
-Testimony From Spouse, Parent or Child is a rich blessing.
-Do it, even if you feel “unsure, awkward or embarrassed.”
Suggestion 3: Be consistent.
Scriptures read among outburst such as:
– He’s touching me!
– Make him stop looking at me!
– Mom he’s breathing my air!
Compares Family Home Evening, Scripture Study and Prayer as a brush strokes on the canvas of our souls…like his painting of a wheat field in his office.  Close up you only see individual brush strokes, but step back and you can see a beautiful painting.

Saturday Session 1, Talk 5 – Elder David A. Bednar, Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

My Notes:

  • -Joseph Smith – “More diligent and concerned at home”
  • Suggestion 1: Express love and show it.  Do it often.
    • -“I love you” From Spouse, Parent or Child is a rich blessing.
    • -Do it, even if you feel “unsure, awkward or embarrassed.”
  • Suggestion 2: Bare testimony and live it. Do it often.  Testimony is truth, witnessed by the Holy Ghost.
    • -Testimony From Spouse, Parent or Child is a rich blessing.
    • -Do it, even if you feel “unsure, awkward or embarrassed.”
  • Suggestion 3: Be consistent.
  • Scriptures at his home read among outburst such as:
    • He’s touching me!
    • Make him stop looking at me!
    • Mom he’s breathing my air!
  • Compares Family Home Evening, Scripture Study and Prayer as a brush strokes on the canvas of our souls…like his painting of a wheat field in his office.  Close up you only see individual brush strokes, but step back and you can see a beautiful painting.

Sand & Stone

Yesterday, my home teacher came by and shared an inspirational story with us.  I liked the message it delivered so much that I decided to share it with the family that I home teach and you as well.

The story goes that two friends were walking through the desert.

During some point of the journey they had an argument, and one friend slapped the other one in the face.

The one who got slapped was hurt, but without saying anything, he wrote in the sand:

Today my best friend slapped me in the face.

They kept on walking until they found an oasis, where they decided to take a bath.

The one who had been slapped got stuck in the mire and started drowning, but the friend saved him.

After he recovered from the near drowning, he wrote on a stone:

Today my best friend saved my life.

The friend who had slapped and saved his best friend asked him,

After I hurt you, you wrote in the sand and now you write on a stone. Why?

The other friend replied:

When someone hurts us we should write it down in the sand where winds of forgiveness can erase it away. But when someone does something good for us, we must engrave it in a stone where no wind can ever erase it.

My Thoughts On This Story:

The Stone – Remember the good that people do to you.  It can perpetuate in your behavior and influence those around you.

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. (Matthew 5:16)

The Sand – Forgiveness is a divine attribute we can practice, as Jesus Christ does.  We draw closer to Heavenly Father as we learn to forgive those around us.   We cannot expect to receive forgiveness for our sins unless the same be freely given.  See Matthew 18:23-35 about the King, Servant and Fellowservant.  Forgive your debtors – those who trespass against you.

For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. (Matthew 6:14-15)

Faith, Home Teaching, Obedience and Meekness Really Do Work

Things seem to be very difficult in my life right now with one thing after another going wrong. I’ve been depressed and stressed out. I admit, I did not want to go to Church on Sunday. The night before, I only had two hours of sleep and it was already 8:15am when I woke up. Sacrament started at 9:00am.

I almost rolled over and went back to bed, but didn’t. I felt I had to be strong, if not for myself than for my children. After an agonizing wait to get everyone ready and loaded into the minivan, we arrived at church. It was 9:30am when we arrived.

It’s a bad feeling when I miss sacrament. Something I used to view lightly when I was growing up in Catholic Church now meant so much to me. It meant that I can start over and wash away anything less than righteous from the week before. I sat in the lobby feeling empty and didn’t even try to enter the chapel.

There I sat for about ten minutes until the thought came in my head: “You can leave church, you missed sacrament anyway.” No, I couldn’t do it – I was already there and I remembered that I DO actually get something out of the other Sunday School and Priesthood Meetings. Besides, the children would learn something new and enjoy their Sabbath day. The last twenty minutes went by easier.

The Sunday School Gospel Essentials lesson was a review on the Second Coming of Christ: The signs of the second coming, the gathering of the house of Israel (the story of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob), the Second Coming of Jesus Christ and the Millennium. And there was one more thing – integrity. Then our teacher started touching points of his experiences at his caucus the day before.

Priesthood Meeting was good. We sang “I am a Child of God” as the opening song and then everyone shared their missionary stories and the bishop talked to us about fulfilling our home teaching. Both ways – meaning that if you had not been contacted by your home teacher, seek them out and get it rolling!

Afterwards, I spotted my home teaching companion and my assigned member and we scheduled an appointment. I had a home teaching appointment with my companion and family at 3:30pm.

After Priesthood Meeting, we went to Elders Quorum where we had an abbreviated lesson on God the Eternal Father and the true nature of the Godhead.

I left for home feeling like I didn’t really get anything out of Church and that my Sabbath day was wasting away.

I napped from 12:30pm until about 1:30pm and then I could not get back to sleep. I searched for and pulled out my unopened January issue of Ensign and began to read the First Presidency message to see what I would teach my family. I read it and thought I was ready to go.

My home teaching companion finally came and he met me at my house. We walked down the street to the family’s home and walked in. He saw that I had my Ensign and he was excited and he left his in the car. After some small talk, we began our lesson with my giving the invocation prayer. My companion offered me the lead and I refused. He kindly took the lead and delivered it like a professional.

After he had done his part and gone through the lesson about how Jesus Christ built bridges, I finally added in my two cent about how Obedience, Service and Prayer has helped me in the past year. There was some more small talk and then my companion gave the benediction prayer and we left. I felt enlightened and really took something away from my time at their home.

My companion and I was walking back to his car when he asked what seemed to be a routine question.

What can I do for you?

Usually I am prideful or embarrassed so I give the routine response back, “Oh nothing, we’re doing fine.” Not this time, something came over me and I humbled myself and told him.

I told him about my problems and he counseled me.

My first problem was about my expensive plumbing issues with my house. It turned out he has ownership in a plumbing company so he said he would help me.

“That’s nothing” he said, “piece of cake, if I can I’ll do the work for you and eat the cost.” He then asked again, “What else?” I hesitated for a second and then I humbled myself and continued.”

My second issue was about my mortgage situation. My ARM adjusting for the 3rd time and my payment going ridiculously high. How high? So high I could be living in a house three times the size of the one I have now.

He told me I should talk to the Bishop, if the plans that I have to fix things do not go through, perhaps it can be arranged that someone who is a mortgage expert in the stake can help me. He told me to make an appointment with the bishop.

“This is easy” he said.

“Everyone in our ward is here when you need us, this can be taken care of.”

He then looked at me again and asked me again, “What else?” My heart lightened and then continued again about another issue that has been weighing on me.

My third issue we discussed as well and he again gave me some advice and suggested that I talk to the bishop about it.

My meekness was now obvious and then he asked me again. “What else?” I replied “Nothing else.” He smiled and we talked for a while more. We then were going to part ways and instead of a shake he gives me a hug. It was just what I needed.

I really appreciate him and I hope I can somehow convey that fact and help him one day.

What else good can come from doing home teaching?

Having a home teacher!

At 6:00pm we had a dinner and family home evening scheduled at my new home teacher’s house. I am glad that we went and that they took time out to visit with us. It was very fun and we got along very well since were all pretty similar in age. It also helped that they have very loud boys as well and we felt right at home.

I really appreciate my home teacher as well, with everything he has done for us. We were on the subject of large families and I cannot forget what he said to me.

He said:

“Family is the only thing you can take with you.”

When dinner was over (it was a very good one) and it was time for Family Home Evening, he began and showed me how it was done. All the boys in the room lasted less than five minutes and then the lesson was done. I actually relieved to see it doesn’t last long for him either.
After about three very fun hours at their house we left and went back home.

When we got home I realized that I only had a total of three hours of sleep.

I quickly fell asleep feeling satisfied, content and at peace.

I can say that not giving up faith, being obedient, service, prayer and being meek do have its rewards.

Thank you, Heavenly Father.

Sustained

Sunday was Stake Conference. We got to sleep in an extra hour because it started at noon. The entire building was full and we ending up sitting in the back. Shortly after the first hymn and the invocation they began to read the names of members who were to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood. My name was read from the short list and I felt exceedingly great joy as I stood there and was sustained by the entire Stake.

It has been a whirlwind: receiving the Aaronic Priesthood and learning, serving and growing in that capacity and now being able to be a Melchizedek Priesthood holder. And now more than ever, I will strive to be humble and obedient. As a husband and father, I understand the many responsibilities and blessings that come with the Melchizedek Priesthood: the ability to greater serve my family and others with blessings for direction, healing and comfort.

That the rights of the priesthood are inseparably connected with the powers of heaven, and that the powers of heaven cannot be controlled nor handled only upon the principles of righteousness. (D&C 121:36)

Though he may not know it, a home teacher of mine set a great example in my early membership as I asked him on the spot to offer a blessing for my children. I watched him bless my children for the coming school year. I am glad to be able to be able to do as he once did.

And once again I have put my friends on the spot in asking them to confer the Melchizedek Priesthood by the laying on of hands. I also see the importance of remaining worthy-as my home teacher was able to exercise his priesthood at a moments notice and as my friends are able to confer the Melchizedek Priesthood in such short notice as well.

Strengthening Our Families

Last Sunday during Elders Quorum, we had a lesson on Strengthening Our Families out of the Book Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Spencer W. Kimball.

Within this lesson we discussed how the family is central to Heavenly Father’s plan. We, as parents, need to “build reservoirs” of spiritual strength when our children for the tough times they may face. It is our responsibility to make sure home is a refuge for our children from the outside world.

Home is where our children should be nurtured: both in temporal things and spiritual things. The lesson also teaches how important it is for: scripture study, family activities, just spending time with them and having family home evenings. Prayer in our homes should done in the morning and in the evening and be a common event, not reserved for special occasions.

One of the men in Elders Quorum mentioned a book in which one of the quick things they do during the morning and evening is read from a devotional book: Stand a Little Taller: Counsel and Inspiration for Each Day of the Year by Gordon B. Hinckley, the current profit of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  This book came highly recommended.

This definitely seems to be a book that I have to get as soon as I can.

A missionary at a moment’s notice

Yesterday, my companion asked me to speak on my experiences of how I was lead to the church. The message the spirit prompted me to give was the importance of every member to be a missionary by leading in example.

My companion spoke afterwards and got a different message about what I spoke about. He pointed out that as I had my friend Mike to make me feel comfortable with the missionaries, his brother had a similar opportunity by passing a young married couple talking to missionaries in a department store parking lot. As he walked by he overheard the unsureness of the young married couple.

He joined the conversation by introducing himself to the young married couple as a member of the church and shortly speaking about how the gospel has helped him raise a large family. He gave his name and number to everyone and let them know that his family was at their disposal if they should need anything.

A few days later, the missionaries called thanking him for taking a minute to help. The missionaries had been out all day and that young married couple had been the first people to agree to hearing more about the gospel.

It just goes to show how mindful we have to be at all times about the fact that there are people waiting to hear the gospel, but don’t know where to start or do not feel comfortable without a little help.

Our duties to the Church: Home Teaching

As an investigator attending Elder’s Quorum. I often heard about assignments called “Home Teaching.” It seemed a bit different and I did not quite understand what it was about. I began looking into what is entailed in home teaching and I came across an article: Confessions of a Halfhearted Home Teacher

As a new member and Aaronic Priesthood holder in the Church, I have found Doctrine and Covenants, Chapter 20 (D&C:20) to be very useful in instilling an enthusiastic urge in performing the duties that I have. Two verses that really stick out me are:

The priests duty is to preach, teach, expound, exhort, and baptize, and administer the sacrament, And visit the house of each member, and exhort them to pray vocally and in secret and attend to all family duties. (D&C 20:46-47)

Another two verses that jump out at me are:

And see that there is no iniquity in the church, neither hardness with each other, neither lying, backbiting, nor evil speaking; And see that the church meet together often, and also see that all the members do their duty. (D&C 20:54-55)

I have been blessed with being able to perform most of my duties in my short time that I’ve been a member. Specifically: baptize, administer the sacrament (passing and preparing – I am privileged to bless sacrament in two weeks!), and home teaching. Taking part in these ordinances gives me a tremendous feeling of joy!

This evening, I had the opportunity to meet with the family I was assigned to “home teach” with my new companion. It was a wonderful experience. I was a bit anxious to go to my first home teaching but it went great. I got to meet and learn about a new family that just moved in to my ward and more about my home teaching companion. I had the chance to teach a gospel principal and hopefully leave an impression on the family for the month.

As we were walking to the house of the family we were to home teach, I let my companion know that I have never done it before. He explained to me how the purpose of home teaching is to get to know the family, letting the family get to know you and get them comfortable for asking for any type of help when needed. This reminded me of the scripture in the Book of Mormon that greatly impressed me when I was investigating the church. This verse is about Alma preaching to people in the wilderness:

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 (Mosiah 18:8)

“…willing to bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light.” What a powerful concept that I observe in this church every day.

As I saw for myself, home teaching is an important component to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It teaches something to the families and also teaches the teacher. It lets us get to know each other, it allows us strengthen each other and it allows us to “watch over the church” just as this verse in Doctrine and Covenants says:

The teacher’s duty is to watch over the church always, and be with and strengthen them. (D&C 20:53)

I cannot wait to do it again.