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

Words from a living prophet (April 2013)

“May I suggest a formula that will ensure our success: first, search the scriptures with diligence; second, plan your life with purpose (and, I might add, plan your life regardless of your age); third, teach the truth with testimony; and fourth, serve the Lord with love.”

President Thomas S. Monson, “Come, All Ye Sons of God”. April 2013 General Conference.

 

“A knowledge of truth and the answers to our greatest questions come to us as we are obedient to the commandments of God.”

Story of lighting a field on fire as an 8 year old boy.

“My brothers and sisters, the great test of this life is obedience. “We will prove them herewith,” said the Lord, “to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them.”

“The knowledge which we seek, the answers for which we yearn, and the strength which we desire today to meet the challenges of a complex and changing world can be ours when we willingly obey the Lord’s commandments. I quote once again the words of the Lord: “He that keepeth [God’s] commandments receiveth truth and light, until he is glorified in truth and knoweth all things.”

President Thomas S. Monson, “Obedience Brings Blessings”. April 2013 General Conference.

 

“I admonish you to be good citizens of the nations in which you live and good neighbors in your communities, reaching out to those of other faiths as well as to our own.”

“As this conference now concludes, I invoke the blessings of heaven upon each of you. May your homes be filled with peace, harmony, courtesy, and love. May they be filled with the Spirit of the Lord. May you nurture and nourish your testimonies of the gospel, that they will be a protection to you against the buffetings of Satan.

Until we meet again in six months, I pray that the Lord will bless and keep you, my brothers and sisters. May His promised peace be with you now and always.”

President Thomas S. Monson, “Until We Meet Again”. April 2013 General Conference.

Highlights from General Conference: President Monson “Consider the Blessings”

“…take an inventory of your life and look specifically for the blessings, large and small, you have received.”

“My brothers and sisters, 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 the inspiration and impressions which come to us, the more the Lord will entrust to us His errands.

“Again, my brothers and sisters, our Heavenly Father is aware of our needs and will help us as we call upon Him for assistance. I believe that no concern of ours is too small or insignificant. The Lord is in the details of our lives.”

“I never cease to be amazed by how the Lord can motivate and direct the length and breadth of His kingdom and yet have time to provide inspiration concerning one individual—or one cultural celebration or one Jumbotron. The fact that He can, that He does, is a testimony to me.”

Thomas S. Monson, “Consider the Blessings”. October 2012 General Conference

Printable from …and Spiritually Speaking

Have a Positive Attitude

“William James, a pioneering American psychologist and philosopher, wrote, “The greatest revolution of our generation is the discovery that human beings, by changing the inner attitudes of their minds, can change the outer aspects of their lives.”

“So much in life depends on our attitude. The way we choose to see things and respond to others makes all the difference. To do the best we can and then to choose to be happy about our circumstances, whatever they may be, can bring peace and contentment.

“Charles Swindoll—author, educator, and Christian pastor—said: “Attitude, to me, is more important than … the past, … than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness, or skill. It will make or break a company, a church, a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day.”

“We can’t direct the wind, but we can adjust the sails. For maximum happiness, peace, and contentment, may we choose a positive attitude.”

Thomas S. Monson, “Living the Abundant Life”, Ensign, January 2012.

Notes from Oct. 2011 General Conference: President Monson

I recently reviewed President Monson’s talk from the October 2011 General Conference.  Then we reviewed the talk for a Family Home Evening Lesson. I retold the story of the $5 bill in his pants pocket, and I shared some of my highlighted notes below. Then we played a few rounds of one of our favorite games
“Where’s the prophet?! (go here to get the skinny on this awesome game for the young ones).

The Ten Commandments

“The Ten Commandments are still just as valid today as they were when they were first given to the children of Israel.

“Our code of conduct is definitive; it is not negotiable. It is found not only in the Ten Commandments but also in the Sermon on the Mount, given to us by the Savior when He walked upon the earth. It is found throughout His teachings. It is found in the words of modern revelation.

“Our Father in Heaven is the same yesterday, today, and forever. The prophet Mormon tells us that God is “unchangeable from all eternity to all eternity.” In this world where nearly everything seems to be changing, His constancy is something on which we can rely, an anchor to which we can hold fast and be safe, lest we be swept away into uncharted waters.”

Praying with Faith

Tell story of leaving $5 bill in his pants pocket. He prayed that the money would be kept safe; after two days his pants returned from the laundry with the money still intact.

“Since that time of long ago, I have had countless prayers answered. Not a day has gone by that I have not communicated with my Father in Heaven through prayer. It is a relationship I cherish—one I would literally be lost without. If you do not now have such a relationship with your Father in Heaven, I urge you to work toward that goal. As you do so, you will be entitled to His inspiration and guidance in your life—necessities for each of us if we are to survive spiritually during our sojourn here on earth. Such inspiration and guidance are gifts He freely gives if we but seek them. What treasures they are!

“My beloved brothers and sisters, communication with our Father in Heaven—including our prayers to Him and His inspiration to us—is necessary in order for us to weather the storms and trials of life. The Lord invites us, “Draw near unto me and I will draw near unto you; seek me diligently and ye shall find me.” As we do so, we will feel His Spirit in our lives, providing us the desire and the courage to stand strong and firm in righteousness—to “stand … in holy places, and be not moved.

Thomas S. Monson “Stand in Holy Places”. October 2011 General Conference.

What lessons are you teaching?

Yesterday I attended a stake conference meeting. It was one of the satellite broadcast meetings from  Salt Lake City.  I spent most of the meeting dealing with my almost-two-year-old son, so I unfortunately didn’t hear too much of the meeting. But what I did hear was this:

“The lessons learned in the home are those that last the longest.”

The quote was given in a talk by Sister Esplin of the Primary General Presidency. The words stuck with me, and I know that is the lesson I needed to hear right now. I came home from church and did a little digging to find the original source of the quote. The words are from President Monson, and you can view a short video of his address discussing the importance of Family Home Evening here. The text is below. So the question I am pondering, and what I invite you to consider, is “What lessons are you teaching your children?

“I begin with family home evening. We cannot afford to neglect this heaven-inspired program. It can bring spiritual growth to each member of the family, helping him or her to withstand the temptations which are everywhere. The lessons learned in the home are those that last the longest. As President Gordon B. Hinckley and his predecessors have stated, “The home is the basis of a righteous life, and no other instrumentality can take its place nor fulfill its essential functions.” 2

“Dr. Glenn J. Doman, noted author and medical authority, wrote: “The newborn child is almost an exact duplicate of an empty … computer, although superior to such a computer in almost every way. … What is placed in the child’s [mind] during the first eight years of life is probably there to stay. … If you put misinformation into his [mind] during [this period], it is extremely difficult to erase it.” Dr. Doman added that the most receptive age in human life is that of two or three years. 3

“I like this thought: “Your mind is a cupboard, and you stock the shelves.” Let us make certain that our cupboard shelves, and those of our family members, are stocked with the things which will provide safety to our souls and enable us to return to our Father in Heaven. Such shelves could well be stocked with gospel scholarship, faith, prayer, love, service, obedience, example, and kindness.”

Thomas S. Monson, “Constant Truths for Changing Times”, Ensign, May 2005.

Scripture Reading: Seeking the Good and Living the Abundant Life

Just a few scriptures that I have been thinking about recently…they help me to remember to find joy in the daily moments of being a mother.

Happy Living and Seeking the Good

“And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily…” Colossians 3:23

“And we lived after the manner of happiness” 2 Nephi 5:27

“…men are that they might have joy” 2 Nephi 2:25

Further Reading:

Marlin K. Jensen, “Living After the Manner of Happiness”, Ensign, Dec 2002.

Small and Simple Things and Living the Abundant Life

“…by small and simple things are great things brought to past” Alma 37:6

“Wherefore, be not weary in well-doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great work. And out of small things proceedeth that which is great.” D&C 64:33

Further Reading:

Thomas S. Monson, “Finding Joy in the Journey”, Ensign, Nov 2008.

Thomas S. Monson, “Living the Abundant Life”, Ensign, Jan 2012.

I am not busy, I am enjoying abundance from Northern Cheapskate.

Christmas Quotes: What will you give?

“The spirit of giving gifts has been present in the mind of each Christian as he or she commemorates the Christmas season. Our Heavenly Father gave to us His Son, Jesus Christ. That precious Son gave to us His life, the Atonement, and victory over the grave.

“What will you and I give for Christmas this year? Let us in our lives give to our Lord and Savior the gift of gratitude by living His teachings and following in His footsteps. It was said of Him that He “went about doing good.” As we do likewise, the Christmas spirit will be ours.”

President Thomas S. Monson “What is Christmas?” Ensign, December 1998, 5

Christmas Quotes: A glorious time of year

“This is a glorious time of the year, simple in origin, deep in meaning, beautiful in tradition and custom, rich in memories, and charitable in spirit. It has an attraction to which our hearts are readily drawn. This joyful season brings to each of us a measure of happiness that corresponds to the degree in which we have turned our mind, feelings, and actions to the spirit of Christmas.”

President Thomas S. Monson, “What is Christmas?”, Ensign, December 1998, 2.

Seek and follow Christ

“As we seek Christ, as we find Him, as we follow Him we shall have the Christmas spirit, not for one fleeting day each year, but as a companion always.”

Thomas S. Monson, “A Bright Shining Star”. 2010 Christmas Devotional.