General Conference Oct 2011

Another excellent conference come and gone. I think the most exciting part of it was the announcement that the Provo Tabernacle (which suffered a severe fire) will be rebuilt into a temple!

In general the comments that stuck out to me were the ones that talked about standing up for the Gospel of Jesus Christ and also about being more diligent in our regular responsibilities: daily scripture study and prayer (individually and as a family), attending church meetings and the temple, etc. I’ve referred to these things as the Primary Answers for two reasons:

  1. They are the answers to virtually every question asked by a gospel instructor since we were in Primary. If you had fallen asleep in class and were woken up by the instructor asking you a question, your safest bet is to reply: “Go to church, listen to the prophets, read your scriptures, and pray” (OK, so this isn’t really the case, but sometimes it feels like it)
  2. They are Primary, meaning first and foremost. There is a reason why said instructors are trying to pound those things into our heads. It is critical that we stay close to the gospel, and the way that is done is not through some occasional or once-in-a-lifetime super-spiritual experience (Even the scriptures demonstrate that while such things do happen, they do not by themselves bring about either salvation or conversion). Instead, conversion to the Gospel, and developing a relationship with our Father in Heaven, is done through steady, regular, consistent effort.

I particularly liked President Monson’s talk in the Priesthood Session. He summarized a survey that indicated many young people in the country have little if any sense of morality, often stating that they do what feels right at the time. (see http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/13/opinion/if-it-feels-right.html). Here is President Monson’s response to the holders of the Priesthood:

“Brethren, none within the sound of my voice should be in any doubt concerning what is moral and what is not, nor should any be in doubt about what is expected of us as holders of the priesthood of God. We have been and continue to be taught God’s laws. Despite what you may see or hear elsewhere, these laws are unchanging.

As we go about living from day to day, it is almost inevitable that our faith will be challenged. We may at times find ourselves surrounded by others and yet standing in the minority or even standing alone concerning what is acceptable and what is not. Do we have the moral courage to stand firm for our beliefs, even if by so doing we must stand alone? As holders of the priesthood of God, it is essential that we are able to face—with courage—whatever challenges come our way. Remember the words of Tennyson: ‘My strength is as the strength of ten, because my heart is pure.'” (see http://lds.org/general-conference/2011/10/dare-to-stand-alone?lang=eng).