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Apostles

The 179th Semiannual General Conference: D. Todd Christofferson Talk

Sunday Session 5, Talk 7 – D. Todd Christofferson, Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

My Notes:

  • Moral Agency, the right to make choices and account for those choices.
  • WW II – James E. Faust was in enlisted in the US Army.
    • Asked the question “In times of war, should not the morale code be relaxed? Does not the stress of battle justify men in doing things they would not do while at home under normal situations?”
    • Answered “I do not believe there is a double standard of morality.”
  • Moral Discipline is the practice of exercising agency to choose the right, just be cause it is right.
  • Discipline’s root word is Disciple.
  • The more of God’s laws we obey, the fewer laws we need on earth.
  • Morale Discipline is learned at home.
  • Teach your children while you have them and convert them while they are with you.
  • Book of Mormon quote: “Wickedness never was happiness”
  • His mother’s quick correction put an abrupt end to his life of crime! :)
  • Discipline needs to be founded on faith in Heavenly Father and the son and what we can achieve with atonement of Jesus Christ.
  • God is our Father, his son Jesus is our redeemer. Their law is immutable, truth everlasting and love is infinite.


The 179th Semiannual General Conference: Quentin L. Cook Talk

Sunday Session 5, Talk 2- Quentin L. Cook, Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

My Notes:

  • Accountability/Stewardship
  • Rationalization will be seen in their true light.
  • Repentance means the Lord will forgive and FORGET your sins.
  • Stewardship:
    • Our Family/Children:
      • Remember that having religious observance at home is as important as providing food, clothing and shelter.
      • Children are accountable for time/talents are increasingling subject to foolishness and unrighteousness that are pervasive in the world.
      • Family Proclamation: “Individuals who fail to fulfill family responsibilities will one day stand responsible before God.”
    • Caring for the poor and those in need
      • We are Stewards of those in need. “If any man shall take of the abundance which I have made and impart not his portion of the poor and the needy, he shall with the wicked lift up his eyes in hell, being in torment.
      • Accountable as stewards of earthly blessings the Lord has provided.
  • Emulate Jesus


The 179th Semiannual General Conference: Russell M. Nelson Talk

Sunday Session 4, Talk 5 – Russell M. Nelson, Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

My Notes:

  • Technology allows us to communicate rapidly.
  • Even more amazing than modern technology is our opportunity to access information directly from heaven. Without: hardware, software or monthly service fees.
  • It’s one of the most marvelous gifts the Lord has offered to mortals.
  • Wrote down an idea for General Conference and arose from sleep and wrote down his impressions. The next morning he looked at the paper and his writing was illegible. He writes more carefully now.
  • To access information from Heaven you need:
  1. have a firm faith and deep desire.
  2. Ask with a sincere heart and real intent having faith in Jesus Christ. Real intent means that one really intends to follow divine direction given.
  3. Study the matter diligently. Study it out in your mind. The ask God if it is right. If it is right, he will cause a burning in your bosom, therefore you shall FEEL that it is right.
  4. Know and obey the teachings of the Lord.
  • The natural man knows very little of God and even less of his prophet.
  • Paul wrote: “The natural man receives not the things of the spirit of God for they are foolishness unto him, neither can they know them because they are spiritually discerned.”
  • Another Prophet said: “The natural man is an enemy to God and has been from the fall of Adam and will be forever and ever unless he yields to the enticings of the holy spirit and puteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord. And becometh as a Child: Submissive, Meek, Humble, Patient, Full of Love, Willing to submit of all things with the Lord see fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doths submit to his father.”
  • Gives the Definition of Discernment:
  • Gift of Discernment is a Spiritual is a supernal gift: it allows members of the Church to see things not visible and to feel things not tangible. Bishops are entitled to this gift to seek out the poor and care for the needy.
  • Sisters may view trends in the world and detect those, however popular, are shallow or even dangerous.
  • Members can discern between schemes that are flashy and fleeting – and those refinements which are uplifting and enduring.
  • Discernment was implicit, in important instructions President John Taylor gave long ago, taught stake presidents, bishops and others :

    “It is the right of those holding these positions to obtain the word of God with regard to the duties of their presidencies , that they more effectually carry out his holy purposes. None of the callings or positions int he priesthood are intended for the personal benefits, monuments and fame of those who hold them. But are expressly given to fulfill our purposes of our heavenly father and build up the kingdom of god upon the earth. We seek to understand the will of God and then carry it out and then see that it is carried by those over whom we have the charge.”

  • To receiving revaluation unique to our needs and responsibilities, Certain Guidelines prevail:
    • Develop faith, hope, charity and love with an eye single to the glory of god. then with your firm faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, brotherly kindness, godliness, charity, humility and diligence you may ask and you will receive, knock and it will be upon unto you.
    • Revelation from god is always compatible with his eternal law, never contradicts his doctrine. facilitated by proper reverence for Deity. “I the Lord am merciful and gracious to those who fear me and delight to honor those who serve me in righteousness and in truth unto the end. Great shall be their reward, and eternal shall be their glory. to them i will reveal all mysteries. and my will concerning all things pertaining to my kingdom.
    • Revelation need not come all at once, may be incremental:

      “I will give unto the children of men, line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little there a little and blessed are those who hearken unto my precepts and lend an ear unto my counsel, for they shall learn wisdom, for unto him who receiveth, i will give more.”

  • Patience, perseverance are part of our eternal progression
  • Prophets describe what it feels like when receiving revelation:
    • Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery: “The veil was taken from our minds and the eyes of our understanding were opened”
    • Joseph F Smith: “As I pondered over these things which were written, the eyes of my understanding were opened and the spirit of the lord rested upon me”


The 178th Annual General Conference: Elder Dallin H. Oaks’ Talk

Elder Dallin H. Oaks

Besides President Monson’s talks from 178th Annual General Conference weekend, Elder Dallin H. Oaks who is a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, is the one that has stuck with me the most.

One of the first things he said that has been ringing in my head ever since was what he said on bearing testimony, which was actually quoted from Spencer W. Kimball:

The minute we begin preaching to others, our testimony has ended.

That took me a few moments of pondering, but it makes absolute sense! Preaching is not bearing our testimonies.

The Truth

During a testimony, what do we mean when we testify and say that we know the gospel is true? When we say “I know this church is true,” what does that mean?

Elder Oaks compares it by two examples:

  1. Scientific- “I know it is cold outside.”
  2. Personal and Subjective – “I know I love my wife.”

Scientific knowledge is based on actual facts. We know it is cold because we can measure the temperature and our bodies react the freezing cold. We can prove this to others easily.

Personal and Subjective knowledge is something that others must trust you on. Knowing you love your wife is only something you could really know. While not capable of scientific proof, it is still important. You can’t say that all important knowledge is based on scientific evidence.

Scientific methods will not yield spiritual truths. To gain knowledge – you must desire it, then you ask for it.

  • 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 (D&C 42:61)
  • Behold, I have fasted and prayed many days that I might know these things of myself. And now I do know of myself that they are true; for the Lord God hath made them manifest unto me by his Holy Spirit (Alma 5:46)

Testimonies

  • Testimonies are gained bearing them rather than on your knees asking for it.
  • We need to partake of the Sacrament every week to qualify to have his spirit to always be with us. That spirit gives us testimonies.
  • Children should hear us bear our testimonies frequently. Let them define themselves by bearing their own testimonies and building.
  • When we have a testimony of the restored gospel we also have a duty to share it.  We have a duty to clarify doctrine for others, rather than let others misrepresent. We should speak in mildness and meekness, never be overbearing, shrill or reviling. We should speak the truth in love.
  • Anyone can disagree with our personal testimony but no one can refute it.

Obedience and Knowledge

  • Members who have a testimony and act upon it under direction of church leaders are accused of blind obedience.  Our obedience is not blind but comes from the knowledge we gain through our testimonies.
  • When it comes to learning and knowing the truth of the gospel, our personal testimonies, we all have a personal witness of the Jesus Christ and God through the power of the Holy Ghost.
  • We can be united in following our leaders and independent for knowing for ourselves.

Two Channels to God

  1. Through our Leaders and Prophets. This channel has to deal with doctrine, ordinances and commandments. This results in obedience.
  2. Personal Testimony. The existence of God, our relationship to him and the truth of the restored gospel.
  • These two channels are mutually reinforcing.
  • Knowledge encourages obedience and obedience enhances knowledge,
  • Obedience is not blind when done in knowledge.
  • Choice to follow teachings is not blind obedience.

I began writing this post write after this session but never got around to finishing it until now. Since then, the actual transcript of Elder Oaks’ talk can now be found on lds.org by clicking here.




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