April 2014 General Conference: Saturday Highlights

General Conference so far has been wonderful. I was more conscientious about note taking this time around, so I just wanted to recap a few of my favorites. Note that some of these might not be actual quotes, but what my head and heart heard as I listened today.

Elder Holland: Christlike love is the greatest need on our planet. How do I love as Christ does? Pure christlike love flowing from pure righteousness can change the world.1328737


Elder Rasband: Love, prayers, appreciation

Sister Reeves: how do we lead children to deep conversion? By “we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ…(2 Nephi 25:26). Daily scripture study and prayer and weekly FHE should be the priority-it doesn’t matter in the long run whether the dishes or laundry are done. The Book of Mormon carries power to protect families-how can I study it more and better?1328748

Elder Anderson: challenges will come, but the Lord can strengthen you. The Book of Mormon protects from the world’s whirlwinds. Stand in holy places.1328753

President Eyring: everyday you can choose to make or keep a covenant with God. If you let the Lord be the leader of your family, things will work out.

Elder Nelson: faith is the antidote of fear. Even if everyone is doing it, wrong is never right.1328948

Elder Scott: loving them is a powerful motivation for influencing those you want to help. The greatest example who ever walked the earth is our Savior, Jesus Christ.

Elder Hales: obedience is motivated by true love.

Elder Cook: our doctrinal obligation is to to our own ancestors. Do the work for my family, both the roots and the branches. Our family history centers are now in our homes.

Endure to the End (a spiritual analogy for runners)

Elder Maynes makes an insightful analogy between running a race and enduring trials in life. As a beginning runner, his words took on new meaning to me.

Our ability to endure to the end in righteousness will be in direct proportion to the strength of our testimony and the depth of our conversion. When our testimonies are strong and we are truly converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ, our choices will be inspired by the Holy Ghost, they will be Christ-centered, and they will support our desire to endure in righteousness. If our testimonies are weak and our conversion superficial, the risk is much greater that we will be enticed by the false traditions of the world to make poor choices.”

“The Apostle Paul stated, “Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.”5 The race that is set before us on this earth is an endurance race filled with obstacles. The obstacles in this race are the challenges we wake up to each morning. We are here on earth to run the race, to exercise our moral agency, and to choose between right and wrong. In order to honorably and successfully finish the race and return to our Heavenly Father, we will need to pay the price of dedication, perseverance, and self-discipline. We need to get into spiritual shape. We need to develop spiritual stamina. We need strong testimonies that will lead to true conversion, and as a result we will find within ourselves the inner peace and strength needed to endure whatever challenges we may face.”

Elder Richard J. Maynes, “The Strength to Endure”. October 2013 General Conference.

“What is our ultimate priority?” (Highlights from Elder Oaks-Oct 2013)

One theme that seems to always be ever present in my mind is that of priorities. As a wife and a mother, am I really focusing on the things that are of most importance? Am I more concerned about cleaning the house than I am about nurturing my children? I never quite seem to fully answer the question, so I am continuously  studying more on this topic (and this blog is my place to record my research and reminders !). So Elder Oaks talk regarding our “ultimate priority” really struck me. He cautions us “We must never dilute our first priority—to have no other gods and to serve no other priorities ahead of God the Father and His Son, our Savior, Jesus Christi.” It appears that Elder Oaks is one who also continues to reflect on priorities, since his Good, Better, Best talk from 2007 is always a source of inspiration to me. 

“The question posed by the second commandment is “What is our ultimate priority?” Are we serving priorities or gods ahead of the God we profess to worship? Have we forgotten to follow the Savior who taught that if we love Him, we will keep His commandments? (see John 14:15). If so, our priorities have been turned upside down by the spiritual apathy and undisciplined appetites so common in our day.”

“Knowledge of God’s plan for His children gives Latter-day Saints a unique perspective on marriage and family. We are correctly known as a family-centered church. Our theology begins with heavenly parents, and our highest aspiration is to attain the fulness of eternal exaltation. We know this is possible only in a family relationship. We know that the marriage of a man and a woman is necessary for the accomplishment of God’s plan. Only this marriage will provide the approved setting for mortal birth and to prepare family members for eternal life. We look on marriage and the bearing and nurturing of children as part of God’s plan and a sacred duty of those given the opportunity to do so. We believe that the ultimate treasures on earth and in heaven are our children and our posterity.”

“I pray that we will not let the temporary challenges of mortality cause us to forget the great commandments and priorities we have been given by our Creator and our Savior. We must not set our hearts so much on the things of the world and aspire to the honors of men (see D&C 121:35) that we stop trying to achieve our eternal destiny. We who know God’s plan for His children—we who have made covenants to participate in it—have a clear responsibility. We must never deviate from our paramount desire, which is to achieve eternal life.”

“I pray that we will not let the temporary challenges of mortality cause us to forget the great commandments and priorities we have been given by our Creator and our Savior. We must not set our hearts so much on the things of the world and aspire to the honors of men (see D&C 121:35) that we stop trying to achieve our eternal destiny. We who know God’s plan for His children—we who have made covenants to participate in it—have a clear responsibility. We must never deviate from our paramount desire, which is to achieve eternal life. We must never dilute our first priority—to have no other gods and to serve no other priorities ahead of God the Father and His Son, our Savior, Jesus Christi.”

Elder Dallin H. Oaks, “No Other Gods”. October 2013 General Conference. 

Elder Holland’s words on depression (Oct 2013)

Elder Holland’s talk during the 2013 October General Conference is a talk that offers peace and hope. This is a talk that should be reviewed often for anyone who is dealing with mental illness, and for everyone else to read too! I especially liked the following quotes:

“Patiently enduring some things is part of our mortal education.”

“So how do you best respond when mental or emotional challenges confront you or those you love? Above all, never lose faith in your Father in Heaven, who loves you more than you can comprehend. As President Monson said to the Relief Society sisters so movingly last Saturday evening: “That love never changes. … It is there for you when you are sad or happy, discouraged or hopeful. God’s love is there for you whether or not you feel you deserve [it]. It is simply always there.” 4 Never, ever doubt that, and never harden your heart. Faithfully pursue the time-tested devotional practices that bring the Spirit of the Lord into your life. Seek the counsel of those who hold keys for your spiritual well-being. Ask for and cherish priesthood blessings. Take the sacrament every week, and hold fast to the perfecting promises of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Believe in miracles. I have seen so many of them come when every other indication would say that hope was lost. Hope is never lost. If those miracles do not come soon or fully or seemingly at all, remember the Savior’s own anguished example: if the bitter cup does not pass, drink it and be strong, trusting in happier days ahead.”

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, “Like a Broken Vessel”. October 2013 General Conference.


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A woman’s moral influence in the home is powerful

A woman’s moral influence is nowhere more powerfully felt or more beneficially employed than in the home. There is no better setting for rearing the rising generation than the traditional family, where a father and a mother work in harmony to provide for, teach, and nurture their children. Where this ideal does not exist, people strive to duplicate its benefits as best they can in their particular circumstances.”

“In all events, a mother can exert an influence unequaled by any other person in any other relationship. By the power of her example and teaching, her sons learn to respect womanhood and to incorporate discipline and high moral standards in their own lives. Her daughters learn to cultivate their own virtue and to stand up for what is right, again and again, however unpopular. A mother’s love and high expectations lead her children to act responsibly without excuses, to be serious about education and personal development, and to make ongoing contributions to the well-being of all around them. Elder Neal A. Maxwell once asked: “When the real history of mankind is fully disclosed, will it feature the echoes of gunfire or the shaping sound of lullabies? The great armistices made by military men or the peacemaking of women in homes and in neighborhoods? Will what happened in cradles and kitchens prove to be more controlling than what happened in congresses?”

“A pernicious philosophy that undermines women’s moral influence is the devaluation of marriage and of motherhood and homemaking as a career. Some view homemaking with outright contempt, arguing it demeans women and that the relentless demands of raising children are a form of exploitation. They ridicule what they call “the mommy track” as a career. This is not fair or right. We do not diminish the value of what women or men achieve in any worthy endeavor or career—we all benefit from those achievements—but we still recognize there is not a higher good than motherhood and fatherhood in marriage. There is no superior career, and no amount of money, authority, or public acclaim can exceed the ultimate rewards of family. Whatever else a woman may accomplish, her moral influence is no more optimally employed than here.”

My plea to women and girls today is to protect and cultivate the moral force that is within you. Preserve that innate virtue and the unique gifts you bring with you into the world. Your intuition is to do good and to be good, and as you follow the Holy Spirit, your moral authority and influence will grow. ”

Elder D. Todd Christofferson, “The Moral Force of Women”. October 2013 General Conference.

Trust in the Lord and align our will with his

Really loving the Savior means that we want what he wants for us!

“But here is the point—rather than solve the problem Himself, the Lord wants us to develop the faith that will help us rely upon Him in solving our problems and trust Him. Then we can feel His love more constantly, more powerfully, more clearly, and more personally. We become united with Him, and we can become like Him. For us to be like Him is His goal. In fact, it is His glory as well as His work (seeMoses 1:39).”

“Our Savior wants us to really love Him to the point that we want to align our will with His. We can then feel His love and know His glory. Then He can bless us as He wants to. This happened to Nephi the son of Helaman, who reached the stage where the Lord trusted him implicitly and, because of that, was able to bless him with all that he asked (see Helaman 10:4–5).”

Elder Terence M. Vinson, “Drawing Closer to God”. October 2013 General Conference.

“Oh, how we need general conference!”

At the October 2013 General Conference, Elder Hales spoke about how essential general conference is.

“What is said is not as important as what we hear and what we feel. That is why we make an effort to experience conference in a setting where the still, small voice of the Spirit can be clearly heard, felt, and understood.”

“Oh, how we need general conference! Through conferences our faith is fortified and our testimonies deepened. And when we are converted, we strengthen each other to stand strong amid the fiery darts of these last days.”

The greatest blessings of general conference come to us after the conference is over. Remember the pattern recorded frequently in scripture: we gather to hear the words of the Lord, and we return to our homes to live them.”

“In addition to inviting us to hold personal and family scripture study, Heavenly Father wants us to regularly study and apply what we have learned in conference. I testify that those who put their trust in the Lord and heed this counsel in faith will gain great strength to bless themselves and their families for generations to come.”

Elder Hales words sound like a prophetic exhortation to me–study and ponder and apply the teachings from general conference, and blessings will come!

Elder Robert D. Hales, “General Conference: Strengthening Faith and Testimony.” October 2013 General Conference.

Words from a living prophet: President Monson October 2013

My first post of the General Conference Book Club needs to begin with President Monson. I always make it my first priority after a General Conference session to re-read the talks from our prophet, President Monson. I feel it is such a blessing to have a living prophet on the earth, and I want to be sure I know what he is saying!

In the opening session, President Monson addressed missionary work and the growth of the church.

“Now is the time for members and missionaries to come together, to work together, to labor in the Lord’s vineyard to bring souls unto Him”.

President Monson spoke to the priesthood brethren about home teaching. But I think this quote is applicable to all:

“To assist in our efforts, I share this wise counsel which surely applies to home teachers. It comes from Abraham Lincoln, who said, “If you would win a man to your cause, first convince him that you are his sincere friend.”President Ezra Taft Benson urged: “Above all, be a genuine friend to the individuals and families you teach. … A friend makes more than a dutiful visit each month. A friend is more concerned about helping people than getting credit. A friend cares. A friend [shows love]. A friend listens, and a friend reaches out.”

During his Sunday morning address, President Monson spoke tenderly of the passing of his dear wife. He spoke of the burdens that so many face, and offered comfort. He also spoke of the purpose of burdens, and how they offer us spiritual refinement.

“This should be our purpose—to persevere and endure, yes, but also to become more spiritually refined as we make our way through sunshine and sorrow. Were it not for challenges to overcome and problems to solve, we would remain much as we are, with little or no progress toward our goal of eternal life. The poet expressed much the same thought in these words:

Good timber does not grow with ease,
The stronger wind, the stronger trees.
The further sky, the greater length.
The more the storm, the more the strength.
By sun and cold, by rain and snow,
In trees and men good timbers grow.
As the conference sessions draw to a close, I always draw strength from the blessing that President Monson leaves with each of us. 

“May heaven’s blessings be with you. May your homes be filled with love and courtesy and with the Spirit of the Lord. May you constantly nourish your testimonies of the gospel that they will be a protection to you against the buffetings of the adversary…May the Spirit we have felt here be and abide with us as we go about those things which occupy us each day. May we show increased kindness toward one another, and may we ever be found doing the work of the Lord.”

President Monson’s counsel to women during the General Relief Society meeting should not be missed. He reminded us that “we are not placed on this earth to walk alone.” Our lives will be blessed as we turn to the scriptures and prayer. Heavenly Father loves, and that love is always there.

“As we read and ponder the scriptures, we will experience the sweet whisperings of the Spirit to our souls. We can find answers to our questions. We learn of the blessings which come through keeping God’s commandments. We gain a sure testimony of our Heavenly Father and our Savior, Jesus Christ, and of Their love for us. When scripture study is combined with our prayers, we can of a certainty know that the gospel of Jesus Christ is true.”

“As we remember prayer and take time to turn to the scriptures, our lives will be infinitely more blessed and our burdens will be made lighter.”

“My dear sisters, your Heavenly Father loves you—each of you. That love never changes. It is not influenced by your appearance, by your possessions, or by the amount of money you have in your bank account. It is not changed by your talents and abilities. It is simply there. It is there for you when you are sad or happy, discouraged or hopeful. God’s love is there for you whether or not you feel you deserve love. It is simply always there.”

For further study, here are the links to the talks given by President Monson during the October 2013 General Conference.

Welcome to Conference

True Shepherds

“I Will Not Fail Thee, Nor Forsake Thee”

Till We Meet Again

We Never Walk Alone

Habits of scripture study and “The General Conference Book Club”

With the start of a new year, I have been reflecting on and evaluating my personal scripture study habits. I like to keep things interesting, so each week I try to study some of the following:

Some weeks go better then others, and I don’t always get to everything. I seem to go in spurts: some weeks I am really consistent at getting my study done early in the day, but other days it falls by the wayside (sadly, usually on the days when I get too caught up in my blog reader or Facebook updates). But with a new year comes a chance for new beginnings, so I am newly motivated to keep trying!

This blog has long been a place where I keep and share a collection of words to inspire mothers in their most essential role. Mothering is hard work, day after day, so this blog has long been my outlet for reminding myself (and hopefully a few of you) why we do what we do. In recent months I have stepped away from posting regularly as life has just gotten busier and I’ve been sorting out essential priorities.

This week a dear friend shared with me her daughter’s blog “Faith Fortified: General Conference Book Club“. Meg has created a General Conference Book Club–each week she is reading and posting about one talk from the most recent General Conference. I think this is a fantastic idea so I am joining the club! This just might be favorite book club yet! Watch for future GCBC posts coming to you on Mondays. Anybody else want to join?