The 179th Semiannual General Conference: Brent H. Hielson Talk

Sunday Session 5, Talk 3 – Brent H. Hielson, of the Seventy

My Notes:

  • Kimball’s Prophetic Address that challenged the Church to stronger missionary work.
  • The rising generation is the fulfillment of prophesy of the Gospel blanketing the earth.
  • Scripture Quote Matthew 28:18-20 – Teach all nations
  • Jacob – Olive Tree Story, working in the vineyard.
  • The Savior said to Peter and Andrew: “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men”
  • The new generation should do their part and teach all nations.

The 179th Semiannual General Conference: Dallin H. Oaks

Saturday Session 2, Talk 1 – Dallin H. Oaks, Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
-God’s perfect and universal love are shown in all the blessings of his Gospel plan.  His choicest blessings are reserved for those who obey his laws.
-Talks about law and love and other deep doctrine.

Saturday Session 2, Talk 1 – Dallin H. Oaks, Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

My Notes:

  • God’s perfect and universal love are shown in all the blessings of his Gospel plan.  His choicest blessings are reserved for those who obey his laws.
  • Talks about law and love and other deep doctrine.

The 178th Semiannual General Conference: Elder Richard G. Scott’s Talk

This year, I missed the October 2008 General Conference Priesthood session because I was on vacation in San Luis Obispo, CA and had trouble finding a Stake Center.  I knew I should have waved down the missionaries on the bikes one of the many times I saw them but I was concentrating on driving in unfamiliar territory.

I had the Saturday and Sunday sessions Tivo’d while I was away at least.  I’m not sure why the General Conference Priesthood session is not available in video on the lds.org General Conference Gospel Library, but I assume it is for a good reason.

Elder Richard G. Scott

I finally got to sit down with my November 2008 Ensign magazine and I went straight to the Priesthood Session talks.  The first one was by Elder Richard G. Scott Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

His talk was entitled “Honor the Priesthood and Use It Well.”  I’ve heard the saying “Honor the Priesthood” before and this pertains to setting standards for ones self and making sure that we, as Priesthood Holders, are worthy to exercise our privileged authority at any given moment.

I love how he implores us to give ourselves a personal worthiness interview and ask ourselves the following questions:

  • Are your private, personal thoughts conducive to the guidance of the Holy Spirit, or would they benefit from a thorough housecleaning?
  • Do you nourish your mind with elevating material, or have you succumbed to the enticement of pornographic literature or Web sites?
  • Do you scrupulously avoid the use of stimulants and substances that conflict with the intent of the Word of Wisdom, or have you made some personally rationalized exceptions?
  • Are you most careful to control what enters your mind through your eyes and ears to ensure that it is wholesome and elevating?
  • If you are divorced, do you provide for the real financial need of the children you have fathered, not just the minimum legal requirement?
  • If you are married, are you faithful to your wife mentally as well as physically?
  • Are you loyal to your marriage covenants by never engaging in conversation with another woman that you wouldn’t want your wife to overhear?
  • Are you kind and supportive of your own wife and children?
  • Do you assist your wife by doing some of the household chores?
  • Do you lead out in family activities such as scripture study, family prayer, and family home evening, or does your wife fill in the gap your lack of attention leaves in the home?
  • Do you tell her you love her?

Now hopefully we can all answer yes to these questions.  But before we can do so, we should take these questions and turn them into directives for our lives.  Just as in the Boy Scout’s Slogan “Do a good turn daily,” we should turn these questions into our slogan or motto for our daily lives.

I feel that if we ask these questions to ourselves every night and strive from the moment we wake up every morning to answer “yes” to these questions we will become better in our role and responsibility to serving the families that we love so dearly.

Elder Scott’s talk speaks more about treating the daughters (mothers, sisters and daughters) of Heavenly Father with love and kindness.  And that:

God will hold us accountable for how we treat His precious daughters.

I’d like to take this a step further and apply this to our Fathers, brothers and sons as well.  We are charged by Heavenly Father to take care of one another.  We must gauge ourselves with these personal worthiness interview questions often and keep in mind that we are all children of Heavenly Father.  Doing so will bring us closer to emulating the perfect role model, Jesus Christ.

Click here to read Elder Richard G. Scott’s Talk in the November 2008 Ensign online.

A Convert’s Survival Guide: Getting Your First Calling

Soon after you are baptized, you will receive a calling in your Ward.  A calling is an assignment, usually in a Ward where you help it run smoothly and serve each other.

Since I’ve been a member a little over a year, I’ve held a few callings: Assistant Cub Master, Cub Master, Webelos Leader and Ward Website Administrator.

I admit that I struggled with my first two callings two the point where I felt like I failed in the end.  Shortly after, I realized why this was.  Here are some things I’ve learned about callings:

Examples of Church Callings

  • Bishopric (Bishop and his two Counselors)
  • Elders Quorum Presidency
  • Relief Society Presidency
  • Ward Clerk (Finance and Membership)
  • Ward Bulletin Editor
  • Ward Librarian
  • Sunday School Teacher
  • Nursery Worker
  • Chorister
  • Piano / Organ Player
  • Cub Scouts Leader

It Is What Heavenly Father Wants You To Do

In my calling, my young son asks me why I do what I do.  My answer is simple:

It is what God wants me to do.

Before you are extended a calling, your Bishop and others will ponder prayerfully what you should do.  I know how much your Bishop loves and cares for you and seeks nothing but good for you.  Your Bishop is really in tune with the Spirit and only after spiritual confirmation does he extend the call to you.

It Is Voluntary

You have your free agency. Your calling can be accepted or denied.  Your participation is voluntary.  You can say yes or no.  Just remember however, this is what God wants you to do.  I haven’t yet declined a calling as I recognize its divine origins.

In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we do not seek, nor do we decline, callings that come from God through inspired priesthood channels.  (President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, 178th Annual General Conference, April 2008, Sunday Morning Session)

No one in the Church is paid for their calling.  The payment for performing your calling is blessings for you and your family.

A Way Has Been Prepared

When Nephi and his brothers were asked to bring back the brass plates from Laban, his brothers did not think it was possible.  However, Nephi sagely replied:

I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.  (1 Nephi 3:7)

Heavenly Father knows you intimately and does not give you more than you can handle.

Magnify Your Calling

I remember when I first heard my Bishop use this phrase: “Magnify your calling.” What does Magnify mean?  President Gordon B. Hinckley interpreted it as to enlarge, make clear, bring closer, to strengthen.  (Ensign, May 1989) More simply said by President Thomas S. Monson:

How does one magnify a calling? Simply by performing the service that pertains to it.

Consecrate Thy Performance

When you receive a calling, pray over it.  A brother in my ward has told me a few times to consecrate thy performance:

But behold, I say unto you that ye must pray always, and not faint; that ye must not perform any thing unto the Lord save in the first place ye shall pray unto the Father in the name of Christ, that he will consecrate thy performance unto thee, that thy performance may be for the welfare of thy soul. (2 Nephi 32:9)

Finally, in my Stake Conference Adult Session last night, I heard the following four truths about callings:

Callings Do Not Last Forever

There was a story that went with this, basically this brother was called to be a primary teacher for a class and every year he was called to teach the same group of children.  He was blessed in that his callings only lasted a year, he got to watch these children grow up as he progressed through Primary, to the Bishopric and finally to Bishop.  He got to see these children off to a mission and also have them return as a Bishop.  You will no doubt have many callings over your lifetime.

Great Associations Are Created In Callings That Strengthen One Another

His calling had him nourish an everlasting friendship to where his friend would call on him years later, from another state for help.  This was a blessing to both himself and his friend.  Callings are a good way to get to know your new Ward Family and visa-versa.

You Are Usually Helping Those Who Are Helping Others

Callings are all about service to others.  You could be in Nursery watching the children of a Gospel Doctrine Teacher who is teaching your family.  Once again, callings are all about service to others, period.

You Are Doing Something That Someone Else In The Ward Cannot Do (at that time, with those people)

You were called for a reason, whether it be a talent you know you have or didn’t know.  A way has been prepared for you.

I’d like to give my testimony that accepting and taking your callings to heart and magnifying it does bring blessings, joy and immence pleasure as you are serving those around you.  You are doing the your part in building up the Kingdom of Heaven.

God of Our Fathers, We Come unto Thee

Ever since I heard this song sung by the Tabernacle Choir on the last General Conference, I really liked it and couldn’t get it out of my mind.

They were available online for free and I had downloaded them before, but I didn’t like how it sounded in my car when playing off my iPod.   A few weeks ago we went to Deseret Book Store and I picked up the Hymns CD.   So I purchased the Hymn CD and burned them in iTunes.

While copying it, I finally heard the song that I heard in General Conference: God of Our Fathers, We Come unto Thee – Hymn 76!

I love how it is sung and also the words to it.

You can here it for yourself by clicking here.

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.