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.
“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.