Quotes from Conference – Sunday
by Kathryn Skaggs
It’s not too much to describe my General Conference weekend as glorious. I love how the Lord takes our sincere desires and magnifies them beyond what we, ourselves, could EVER imagine!
When I began blogging back in 2008 I had a simple desire to share the basic truths of the gospel with those online who were seeking to know more about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I had a simple and sincere desire to help share our Mormon beliefs in such a way that others could easily understand what we believe. And I had a desire, when the Church began growing its online presence, to assist, completely without anyone knowing (or so I thought) to share official church materials with others.
Said President Monson in his concluding remarks Sunday, “We have had unprecedented coverage of the conference, reaching across the continents and the oceans to people everywhere.” And when he said that, my heart was immediately pierced as the Spirit bore witness to me that in a small way I was assisting in that great effort — as are many of you.
Saturday I enjoyed so much going through all of the talks after a long day of listening to General Conference, and choosing my three favorite quotes from each of our prophets, that I decided to go through the very same exercise with Sunday’s General Conference sessions. In such a short amount of time we are spiritually flooded with inspired teachings from modern-day prophets, requiring us to revisit each talk in order to isolate the specific messages that touched us individually — and prompt us to application and deeper pondering.
I have a tendency to struggle to remember who said what, until I take the time to go back and re-read/listen to each prophet’s message more carefully. Mind you, this is not a problem, but truly a blessing to have living prophets, among us, who speak the mind and will of the Lord for our day. And in that spirit, I sought to extract from their divine counsel, what spoke to my heart. You will surely note, that to me, in general, a ‘quote’ is more than a soundbite.
From the Sunday morning session:
“God is never hidden, but sometimes we are, covered by a pavilion of motivations that draw us away from God and make Him seem distant and inaccessible. Our own desires, rather than the feeling of “Thy will be done, ” create the feeling of a pavilion blocking God. God is not unable to see us or communicate with us, but we may be unwilling to listen to His will and time.”
“Our feelings of separation from God will diminish as we become more childlike before Him. That is not easy in a world where the opinions of other human beings can have such an effect on our motives. But it will help us recognize the truth: God is close to us and aware of us, and never hides from His children.”
“As we do what He would have us do for His children, the Lord considers it kindness to Him, and we will feel closer to Him as we feel His love and His approval. In time, we will become like Him, and will think of the judgement day with happy anticipation.”
“It was understood from the beginning that in mortality we would fall short of being perfect. It was not expected that we would live without transgressing one law or another.”
“We do not know exactly how the Lord accomplished the Atonement. But we do know that the cruel torture of crucifixion was only part of the horrific pain which began in Gethsemane — that sacred site of suffering — and was completed on Golgotha.”
“Throughout your life, there may be times when you have gone places you never should have gone and done things you never should have done. If you will turn away from sin, you will be able to one day know the peace that comes from following the pathway of complete repentance. No matter what our transgressions have been, no matter how much our actions many have hurt others, that guilt can all be wiped out.”
“We have covenanted to “always remember [the Savior] and keep His commandments,” and He said, “This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.” “We are the Lord’s hands here upon the earth, with a mandate to serve and to lift His children. He is dependent upon each of us.”
“To help us better love one another, I would like to suggest four words to remember: ‘First observe, then serve.’”
“What better place to first observe than in the home?”
“I am not certain just what our experience will be on judgement day, but I will be very surprised if at some point in that conversation God does not ask us what Christ asked Peter: “Did you love me?” I think He will want to know if in our very mortal, very inadequate and sometimes childish grasp of things, did we at least understand one commandment, the first and greatest commandment of them all — “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind.” And if at such a moment we can stammer out, “Yea Lord, thou knowest that I love thee,” then He may remind us that the crowning characteristic of love is always loyalty.”
“The Crucifixion, Atonement, and Resurrection of Jesus mark the beginning of a Christian life, not the end of it. It was this truth, this reality that allowed a handful of Galilean fishermen-turned-again-apostles who without a single synagogue or sword went on to shape the history of the world in which we now live.”
“To those who were once with us but have retreated, preferring to pick and choose a few cultural hors d’oeuvres from the smorgasbord of the Restoration and leave the rest of the feast, I say you face a lot of long nights and empty nets. The call is to come back, stay true, love God, and lend a hand. I include in that call to fixed faithfulness every returned missionary who ever stood in a baptismal font and with arm to the square said, “Having been commissioned of Jesus Christ.” That commission was to have changed your convert forever, but it was to have changed you forever as well.”
We live in a unique time in the world’s history. We are blessed with so very much. And yet it is sometimes difficult to view the problems and permissiveness around us and not become discouraged. I have found that rather than dwelling on the negative, if we will take a step back and consider the blessings in our lives, including seemingly small, sometimes overlooked blessings, we can find happiness.”
I testify that much joy comes as we recognize that we can communicate with our Heavenly Father through prayer and that those prayers will be heard and answered — perhaps not how and when we expect they would be answered, but they will be answered, and by a Heavenly Father who knows and loves us perfectly and who desires our happiness.”
“The Lord’s purposes are often accomplished as we pay heed to the guidance of the Spirit. I believe that the more we act upon inspiration and impressions which come to us, that more the Lord will entrust to us His errands. I have learned… never to postpone a prompting.”
From the Sunday afternoon session:
“What does it mean to be Christian? A Christian has faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, that He is the literal Son of God, sent by His Father to suffer for our sins in the supreme act of love we know as he Atonement. A Christian believes that through the grace of God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, we can repent, forgive others, keep the commandments, and inherit eternal life.
The word ‘Christian’ denotes taking upon us the name of Christ. We do this by being baptized and receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands, by those holding His priesthood authority. A Christian knows that throughout the ages, God’s prophets have always testified of Jesus Christ. This same Jesus, accompanied by Heavenly Father, appeared to the prophet Joseph Smith in the year 1830 and restored the gospel and the organization of His original Church.
Through scripture and the witness of Joseph Smith, we know that God, our Heavenly Father, has a glorified and perfected body of flesh and bone. Jesus Christ is the Only Begotten Son in the flesh. The Holy Ghost is a personage of Spirit whose work is to testify of the Father and the Son. The Godhead is three separate and distinct beings, unified in purpose.
With these doctrines as the foundation of our faith, can there be any doubt or disputation that we are Christians? Yet, for every Christian, a simple question remains: what kind of Christian are we? In other words, how are we doing in our quest to follow Christ?”
“To be who Heavenly Father wants us to be, we follow Jesus Christ.”
“In all His days the Savior never gave up doing His Father’s will, but continued in righteousness, goodness, mercy and truth to the end of His mortal life.”
“The Lord revealed that through proper priesthood authority baptisms could be performed vicariously for the dead preserved the justice of His statement: “Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” Vicarious baptism can mercifully provide essential ordinances for all worthy deceased who did not receive it in mortality.
This glorious doctrine is another witness of the all-encompassing nature of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. He made salvation available to every repentant soul. His Atonement conquered death and he permits the worthy deceased to receive all ordinances of salvation vicariously.”
“Any work that you do in the temple is time well spent, but receiving ordinances vicariously for one of your own ancestors will make the time in the temple more sacred and even greater blessings will be received. The First Presidency has declared, “Our preeminent obligation is to seek out and identify our own ancestors.”
“This work is a spiritual work, a monumental effort of cooperation on both sides of the veil where help is given in both directions. Anywhere you are in the world, with prayer, faith, determination, diligence, and some sacrifice, you can make a powerful contribution. Begin now.”
“My message focuses upon the relationship between receiving a testimony that Jesus is the Christ and becoming converted to Him and His gospel. Typically, we treat the topics of testimony and conversion separately and independently. However, we gain precious perspective and greater spiritual conviction as we consider these two important subjects together.”
“Seeking for and obtaining a testimony of spiritual truths requires asking, seeking and knocking with a sincere heart, real intent, and faith in the Savior. Fundamental components of a testimony are knowing that Heavenly Father lives and loves us, that Jesus Christ is our Savior, and that the fulness of the gospel has been restored to the earth in these latter days.”
“The essence of the gospel of Jesus Christ entails a fundamental and permanent change in our very nature made possible through the Savior’s Atonement. True conversion brings a change in one’s beliefs, heart, and life to accept and conform to the will of God and includes a conscious commitment to become disciples of Jesus Christ.
Conversion is an enlarging, a deepening, and a broadening of the undergirding base of testimony. It is the result of revelation from God, accompanied by individual repentance, obedience, and diligence. Any honest seeker of truth can become converted by experiencing the mighty change of heart and being spiritually born of God. As we honor ordinances and covenants of salvation and exaltation, “press forward with a steadfastness in Christ”, and endure in faith to the end, we become new creatures in Christ. Conversion is an offering of self we give to God in gratitude for the gift of testimony.”
“May we each watch over one another, assisting in times of need. Let us not be critical and judgmental, but let us be tolerant, ever emulating the Savior’s example of loving kindness. In that vein, may we willingly serve one another. May we pray for inspiration to know of the needs of those around us, and then may we go forward and provide assistance.”
“Let us be of good cheer as we go about our lives. Although we live in perilous times, the Lord loves us and is mindful of us. He is always on our side as we do what is right. He will help us in times of need. Difficulties come into our lives, problems we do not anticipate and which we would never choose. None of us is immune. The purpose of mortality is to learn and to grow to be more like our Father, and it is often during the difficult times that we learn the most, as painful as that lesson may be. Our lives can also be filled with joy as we follow the teachings of the gospel of Jesus Christ.”
“The Lord admonished, “Be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” What great happiness this knowledge should bring to us. He lived for us and He died for us. He paid the price for our sins. May we emulate His example. May we show our great gratitude to Him by accepting His sacrifice and living lives that will qualify us to return and one day live with Him.