31 May 2022

Pioneer Journeys

This post is part of the General Conference Odessey This week covers the Sunday morning session of the April 1997 conference. 

When I was serving as a missionary (1979-80) in the Florida Tallahassee mission investigators would sometimes say, "I'm not sure if I can join the church, I don't have any pioneer ancestors." To which I would reply, "Neither do I; but I will be forever grateful to my grandpa who joined the church in Norway in 1905 and immigrated to Zion. You will be that grandpa (or grandma) in your family, and your descendants will love and honor you forever."

Elder M. Russell Ballard said this:
We are all bound together--19th- and 20th-century pioneers and more--in our great journey to follow the Lord Jesus Christ and to allow His atoning sacrifice to work its miracle in our lives. While we all can appreciate the footsteps of faith walked by Joseph Smith and his followers from Palmyra to Carthage Jail and across the Great Plains, we should ever stand in reverential awe as we contemplate the path trod by the Master. His faithful footsteps to Gethsemane and to Calvary rescued all of us and opened the way for us to return to our heavenly home.

Handcart Pioneer Statue, Temple Square, Salt Lake City, by Torleif Knaphus (my great-uncle)

17 May 2022

Take Your Pick

This post is part of the General Conference Odessey This week covers the Saturday afternoon session of the April 1997 conference. 

I couldn't discern a theme for this session; all of the talks were wonderful, and spiritually filling.

Elder Dallin H. Oaks spoke of bishops and how we can sustain or help them.
Elder Henry B. Eyring spoke of listening to and following prophetic counsel.
Elder Monte J. Brough spoke about knowing your calling is from God.
Elder Sheldon F. Child spoke about honesty being the only policy.
Elder Dennis E. Simmons talked about how Jesus' peace is different from the world's.
Elder Jerald L. Taylor expressed gratitude and bore his testimony.
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland gave his now classic address on motherhood.

So take your pick! Any of the talks could have been given at this last conference. I especially felt comforted by Elder Simmons, "It should be noted that Jesus promised His peace--not the peace that the world gives. The world cries out for freedom from war, from violence, from oppression, from injustice, from contention, from disease and distress. That the Savior did not expect such worldly peace is clear from His concluding remark as He finished His special teaching to His Apostles: 'These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.'" (John 16:33; emphasis added)

Elder Simmons also said, "His peace is that peace, that serenity, that comfort spoken to our hearts and minds by the Comforter, the Holy Ghost, as we strive to follow Him and keep His commandments."

We can't have peace following the ways of the world, we must follow the Savior and keep His commandments to have His peace! What a much needed concept in today's world.

Marilyn has more at Light in Leaves.

10 May 2022

Getting Members to the Temple

This post is part of the General Conference Odessey This week covers the Saturday morning session of the April 1997 conference.

We sustained a new branch president earlier in the year who announced that his vision for our branch is to get members to the temple. He felt that his calling from the Lord is to help all those who haven't ever been to become worthy and go to the temple, and encourage those who have been to keep their recommend current, and attend as often as they can.

President James E. Faust began his talk in this session telling about Brigham Young working hard to get as many through the Nauvoo temple as they could before they had to leave. He spoke of one particular couple, "humble, new converts to the Church, without wealth or position." This couple were ancestors of Pres. Faust. 

President Faust spoke of temples and their importance in giving strength to members as we face challenges.

Our challenges are more subtle but equally hard. Maintaining our spiritual strength is also a daily challenge. The greatest source of that spiritual strength come, as it did in their time, from our temples.

I urge all who have not yet received these greatest of all blessings within the walls of the temple to do whatever may be necessary to qualify to receive them. To those who have received these blessings, I invite you to savor again the experience of being within the sacred premises of the holy temples of God and have the visions of life eternal open again to your hearts, minds, and souls.

I went to the St. Paul temple just before this year's April General Conference and drank in the spirit and beauty, peace and calm that is found there.  It had been about three years since I'd been there and it sure felt good to be back.

Marilyn at Light in Leaves has more General Conference Odessey. 

03 May 2022

The Divinity Which is Within You

This post is part of the General Conference Odyssey. This week covers the General Relief Society session of the October 1996 conference.

Four years ago Noble was awarded an AS degree.
This week she's just finished her second year of a Masters.

At the time of this session I'd just had our fourth child, and though I was in a Stake Relief Society presidency I didn't feel up to attending the reception and viewing of the session at the stake center.
This week has been a joy to listen to and read the talks given then. As always they are timeless in their application. President James E. Faust of the First Presidency was the concluding speaker. His words were just what I needed to hear Monday evening.

Your God-given appreciation for the spiritual, the lovely, and the beautiful is part of the divinity which is within you. You make life so much more pleasant and worthwhile for all of us.

As my dear Ruth faithfully attended Relief Society over the years, our home and family was blessed with more of spirituality and peace. Things seemed to go smoother because of the spiritual enrichment she received.

For the daughters of God, doing the Savior's work . . . include[s] building faith by testimony and example. It includes teaching the doctrines of salvation. It includes following the Savior's example of love for all mankind. It includes ministering to others. . .

The bearing of testimony benefits both the one testifying as well as the one listening. Regular temple attendance will help us meet all our challenges. Accepting calls from priesthood leaders as well as visiting teaching assignments from the Relief Society president will be a great strengthening experience. In rendering compassionate service individually and as a group, you lose sight of your own problems and do the work the Savior did.

When the pressures of measuring up to worldly standards of excellence and achievement begin to overwhelm it's comforting to hear the words of a prophet reminding me of the worth of eternal things and efforts. 

Marilyn at Light in Leaves has more General Conference Odyssey.