It's been a week since general conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. What do you remember? Here are some memorable quotes from the members of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve and an image that came to mind from their messages.
Prophet Thomas S. Monson, president of the LDS Church, spoke on the importance of recognizing the blessings that occur in our lives. President Monson said his daily journal has allowed him to take a step back and recognize specific examples from his own past that he thought to be small and insignificant at the time. He expressed that by doing this we can find greater happiness.
"I would recommend this same exercise to you — namely, that you take an inventory of your life and look specifically for the blessings, large and small, that you have received. …The Lord is in all of our lives. He loves us. He wants to bless us. He wants us to seek his help. As he guides us, and directs us and as he hears and answers his prayers, we will find the happiness here and now that he desires for us."
President Monson spoke Sunday morning on "Consider the Blessings."
President Henry B. Eyring, first counselor in the First Presidency, talked about how we, just like Joseph Smith in Liberty Jail, may sometimes feel we are far from God and covered by our own "pavilion." We may be unwilling to listen or accept God's will and time for us and by doing so, we are "covered by a pavilion of motivations that draw us away from God and make him seem distant and inaccessible...."
"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 this truth: God is close to us and aware of us and never hides from his faithful children."
President Eyring spoke Sunday morning on "Where is the Pavilion?"
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, the second counselor in the First Presidency, taught the importance of the decisions we make every day and how important it is to not wait until the end of our life to learn how to live. He expressed that external circumstances should not matter or determine our happiness and that we are the ones who are in charge of our own happiness. President Uchtdorf explained that he and his wife enjoy going on bicycle rides together. During this time, he said they do not pay attention to how fast or how far they are going. His wife has expressed the importance that, "It's not a race, it is a journey. Enjoy the moment. ..."
"Sometimes in life we become so focused on the finish line that we fail to find joy in the journey. I don't go cycling with my wife because I'm excited about finishing. I go because the experience of being with her is sweet and enjoyable. ...We shouldn't wait to be happy until we reach some future point, only to discover that happiness was already available — all the time."
President Uchtdorf spoke Saturday morning and his talk is titled "Of Regrets and Resolutions."
President Boyd K. Packer's talk focused on the Atonement. President Packer, president of the Quorum of the Twelve, said there are those who may be lost and are searching for the "lower light" of a lighthouse to return back to the Savior. All have made mistakes and have an enormous need to use the Atonement in their lives so they are no longer in darkness. Jesus Christ is the light of the world, and as long they follow him and his teaching, they will be guided in the direction we need to go.
"No matter what our transgressions have been, no matter how much our actions may have hurt others, that guilt can all be wiped out. ... That is the promise of the gospel of Jesus Christ and the Atonement: to take anyone who comes, anyone who will join, and put them through an experience so that at the end of their life, they can go through the veil having repented of their sins and having been washed clean through the blood of Christ."
President Packer spoke Sunday morning and his talk is titled "The Atonement."
Elder L. Tom Perry, of the Quorum of the Twelve, said that in today's world the adversary has two primary targets: the sanctity of marriage and the central importance of the family. Elder Perry said that all must work to make sure these values of marriage and family endure.
"They provide an anchor and a safe harbor of the home where each child of a loving Heavenly Father can be influenced for good and acquire eternal values."
Elder Perry spoke Saturday afternoon and his talk is titled "Becoming Goodly Parents."
Elder Russell M. Nelson, of the Quorum of the Twelve, spoke about the Lord appearing to his disciples after his resurrection. He commanded his disciples to go, teach and baptize his children. As those disciples heeded the Lord's instructions, today we have missionaries who help fulfill the Lord's command.
"Today, under the direction of modern apostles and prophets, that same charge has been extended to missionaries of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. These missionaries serve in more than 150 nations. As representatives of the Lord Jesus Christ, they strive to fulfill that divine command — renewed in our day by the Lord himself — to take the fulness of the gospel abroad and bless the lives of people everywhere."
Elder Nelson spoke Saturday morning and his talk is titled "Ask the Missionaries! They Can Help You!"
Elder Dallin H. Oaks, of the Quorum of the Twelve, talked about how the Savior has commanded all to love and care for his children. Because of all the dangers that surround us, children are being exposed to more than what they should be.
"Children are highly vulnerable. They have little or no power to protect or provide for themselves and little influence on so much that is vital to their well-being. Children need others to speak for them, and they need decision makers who put their well-being ahead of selfish adult interests."
Elder Oaks' talk on Saturday afternoon is titled "Protect the Children."
Elder M. Russell Ballard, of the Quorum of the Twelve, described how honeybees work together to bring pollen back to their hives. Even though each bee only brings back a small fraction of what is needed, each bee's contrbution is important. That is not unlike the contributions of many members of the LDS Church.
"The Savior’s words are simple, yet their meaning is profound and deeply significant. We are to love God and to love and care for our neighbors as ourselves. Imagine what good we can do in the world if we all join together, united as followers of Christ, anxiously and busily responding to the needs of others and serving those around us — our families, our friends, our neighbors, our fellow citizens."
Elder Ballard's Saturday afternoon talk is titled "Be Anxiously Engaged."
Elder Richard G. Scott discussed the importance of seeking out ancestors to do temple work for. He explained that it is good to go to the temple and help others receive the temple blessings, but it is vital that each find their own family members who still need to receive these blessings. Elder Scott promised that the Lord will help find a way to accomplish the work.
"Any temple work 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. ... I can think of no greater protection from the influence of the adversary in your life."
Elder Scott's talk on Sunday afternoon is titled "The Joy of Redeeming the Dead."
Elder Robert D. Hales, of the Quorum of the Twelve, mentioned that "the call to be a Christian can seem demanding, even overwhelming." Even though we have all experienced this, we do not be afraid or think we are inadequate.
"The Savior has promised that he will make us equal to his work. 'Follow me,' He said, 'And I will make you fishers of men' (Matthew 4:19). As we follow him, he blesses us with gifts, talents and the strength to do his will, allowing us to go beyond our comfort zones and do things we’ve never before thought possible. This may mean sharing the gospel with neighbors, rescuing those who are spiritually lost, serving a full-time mission, working in the temple, raising a child with special needs, loving the prodigal, serving an ailing companion, enduring misunderstandings or suffering affliction. It means preparing ourselves to answer his call by saying, 'I'll go where you want me to go; I'll say what you want me to say; I'll do what you want me to do; I'll be what you want me to be.'"
Elder Hales spoke in the Sunday afternoon session and his talk is titled "Being a More Christian Christian."
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, of the Quorum of the Twelve, said he would not be surprised if we were asked on Judgment Day, just like Jesus Christ asked Peter, "Did you love me?" We must fully understand what the first and greatest commandment, “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” truly means.
"'If ye love me, keep my commandments' (John 14:15), Jesus said. So we have neighbors to bless, children to protect, the poor to lift up and the truth to defend. We have wrongs to make right, truths to share and good to do. In short, we have a life of devoted discipleship to give in demonstrating our love of the Lord."
Elder Holland's talk is titled "The First Great Commandment."
Elder David A. Bednar, of the Quorum of the Twelve, spoke on the relationship between receiving a testimony of Jesus Christ and becoming converted to him and his gospel. He explained that testimony alone will not be enough to provide the spiritual protection that is needed. All must not only know that the gospel is true, but must be true to the gospel. Elder Bednar likened the relationship of testimony and conversion to the oil and lamps in the parable of the 10 virgins. When describing the story, Elder Bednar likened the lamps to represent testimony and the oil to represent conversion.
"As the wise virgins emphasized properly, each of us must 'buy for ourselves.' These inspired women were not describing a business transaction, rather they were emphasizing our individual responsibility to keep our lamp of testimony burning and to obtain an ample supply of the oil of conversion. This precious oil is acquired one drop at a time, 'line upon line (and) precept upon precept' (2 Nephi 28:30). Patiently and persistently."
Elder Bednar spoke Sunday afternoon on and his talke is titled "Converted unto the Lord."
Elder Quentin L. Cook, of the Quorum of the Twelve, discussed how many who are in a "spiritual drought" may not have necessarily committed major sins, but may have made unwise choices. We are told that anyone who has made wrong choices can repent and be spiritually renewed through the scriptures.
"Immersion in the scriptures is essential for spiritual nourishment. The word of God inspires commitment and acts as a healing balm for hurt feelings, anger or disillusionment. When our commitment is diminished for any reason, part of the solution is repentance. Commitment and repentance are closely intertwined."
Elder Cook spoke Saturday morning and his talk is titled "Can Ye Feel So Now?"
Elder D. Todd Christofferson, of the Quorum of the Twelve, described the many challenges men and boys face today, receiving "demeaning and conflicting signals about their roles and value in society." Elder Christofferson notes that men have an essential role to play in their homes and in the church, no matter what society thinks otherwise.
"You adult men — fathers, single adults, leaders, home teachers — be worthy models and help the rising generation of boys become men. Teach them social and other skills: how to participate in a conversation, how to get acquainted and interact with others, how to relate to women and girls, how to serve, how to be active and enjoy recreation, how to pursue hobbies without becoming addicted, how to correct mistakes and make better choices."
Elder Christofferson spoke during the priestood session and his talk is titled "Brethren, We Have Work to Do."
Elder Neil L. Andersen, of the Quorum of the Twelve, talked about how to remain "steadfast and immovable" during a trial of faith. One must immersed in those things that help have faith in the first place: exercise faith, pray, read the scriptures, repent, keep the commandments and serve others.
"When faced with a trial of faith — whatever you do, you don’t step away from the church! Distancing yourself from the kingdom of God during a trial of faith is like leaving the safety of a secure storm cellar just as the tornado comes into view."
Elder Andersen spoke Saturday afternoon and his talk is titled "Trial of Your Faith."