Sunday, April 01, 2007

Reflections on Conference

While some thoughts are still fresh, I wanted to record some of what struck me from conference (with no order...more stream-of-consciousness)....

- (An addition to my original list): I am amazed at how simple the gospel really is. Just consider what kind of people we would be if we really put into practice what we have been taught: forgiveness, repentance, covenantal marriage, testimony, controlled communication with others, gratitude....) Really, sometimes I think we look for "some new thing" rather than realizing the power of simple gospel principles to bring us to Christ and to allow Him to change our minds and hearts.
- I noticed a lot on prayer, both directly and indirectly. I feel that improving my prayers, increasing quantity and sincerity is something I need to do.
- There were several wonderful and powerful testimonies about the Restoration.
- I loved Sister Parkin's talk on gratitude. I also appreciated how she began it, talking of how blessed we are as women in the Church (and now I read that she channeled Eliza R. example of a woman of spirituality, strength and perspective). [I recently wrote on a quote of hers.] I suspect that the more gratitude we have, the more we will feel that as daughters of God. I was humbled by her testimony and counsel, and feel I have a long way to go in being grateful, even in trials.
- That ties into Elder Holland's words about being "of good cheer" -- a commandment! I'm not so good at that when I don't feel good. Lately, I've been struggling with not feeling gloomy about feeling yucky day after day. I need to do better there. There is so much to be grateful for!
- And, along with that, I felt an urgency in the last session about repentance, and not procrastinating such. I felt the need to use every day to prepare to meet the Lord. (A side thought for me is how trials are there to help us with that, so I need to meet my trials head-on...which ties into the last two points for me). (My husband is reminding me of something Elder Eyring said a couple of years ago...that it is going to become harder, not easier, to keep our covenants. So we'd better be about figuring out how to better do that so we can be on firm ground as the world keeps ripening in iniquity.)
- I was tempted for a moment to zone out a bit on the talk on tithing...after all, I have been a full tithe-payer my whole life. I'm grateful I kept focused (felt a nudge to do so) because one of the most moving stories from Conference was that from Elder Kikuchi. I was reminded of the powerful story of the saints in St. George who were admonished by Pres. Lorenzo Snow to pay their tithing, and that they would be blessed in their time of drought. Here, we have a modern version of the same pattern. I felt the Spirit very strongly during that story.
- Elder Holland's words on words will stay with me for a long time. There will always be improvement in that area to be had, I'm afraid. After all, using scripture he said we could be perfect if we could control our tongues! I loved the way he ended talking of having the tongue of angels. If only I allow the Spirit to help me in the use of the tongue, I can be more perfect in Christ.
- Elder Anderson's talk was great: "The gospel's true, isn't it?" If that is the case, then nothing else matters! Reading someone else's notes from this: "The gospel is true, isn’t it? Then what else matters? We must simplify and sacrifice, distinguishing between what is nice, what is important, and what is absolutely necessary." Powerful, powerful stuff. Simple and powerful.
- Also from those same notes (thanks, Christian!): "Knowing what is right that others think is wrong, and what is wrong that others think is right, requires a testimony. Especially for those born in the Church, it may not be spectacular. One must respond to feelings from the Holy Ghost rather than nailing down every intellectual loose end." How often I would love to yell that from the rooftops when reading or participating in online discussions. :)
- Pres. Faust's talk on forgiveness was stirring. He has such a tender heart anyway, but I've never seen him fight with his emotions as he did today. The examples he gave were truly inspirational, and gave me food for thought. I sometimes have a hard time letting go of hurt and clearly I need to do better there. I've always loved the thought that he shared about leaving room for forgiveness, but I'm also reminded that the faster we get there, the better off we will be. I think it's really a worldly fallacy that we should hold onto bad feelings for some purpose. The Lord really can help us let go if we let Him, for I have experienced that. And yet, I still fight it! (What's up with that? That natural (wo)man thing....)
- When Elder Dahlquist gave his talk on "Who's on the Lord's Side, Who?" I and my daughters yelled out "I am!" I love the doctrine that if we stay on the Lord's side, the devil cannot have power over us. My children find comfort in the fact that the devil isn't more powerful than the Savior, and that our choices can determine how much influence he has in our lives. This talk reinforced that so beautifully, and it was fun to see them make that connection in their little minds (big spirits).
- Elder Nelson on repentance: "the prize is worth the price."
- I need to read the Bible more!
- I appreciated Elder Oaks' talk on divorce. I wept while thinking of loved ones in my life who suffered much in their marriages and waited on the Lord who led them to finally leave (those situations where abuse is continued and unrepented of). I know this happens because I have seen it. And yet, I think it's such an important message for most of us that covenant marriages require commitment. And that is also sometimes easier said than done. But I think "the prize is worth the price" can apply here, too. It's too easy to think working through a marriage is too hard, and I appreciated his solemn reminder that usually, staying in a marriage and working through that tough climb to marital harmony is a lot better than dealing with the fallout of divorce. (We listened to the talk again tonite. Those concerned about women staying in abusive marriages should really pay attention to how he comparmentalizes his counsel. He makes that exception first, but then spends the rest of the time on the rule, and that is important to remember, IMO.)
- I want to use the hymns more in our home.
- Pres. Packer's talk was stirring...such a testimony of the truth received from prophets (as shared in the tabernacle). It was moving to think of early church leaders testifying and teaching there. Imagine what they must think to see how the word of the Lord is spread today!
- I want to be a pickle! :)
- One of the thoughts I had is that it must be something else to have a church with such breadth as ours...internationally and also experientially with respect to the church. What may be an oft-repeated topic for me might be a first-time talk for someone who just joined the Church. And, as was reiterated to me with Elder Kikuchi's talk on tithing, there are things to be gleaned for all of us, regardless of how long we have been in the Church. Even though their words are for the whole church, with the help of the Spirit, they can be personal and meaningful.
- I've been thinking a lot about the role of history in our Church, and Elder Tingey helped show us that there is much in our history that is meaningful and useful. [On the other hand, there are aspects of our history that aren't as necessary for us to focus on. What matters most is to focus on that which inspires, edifies and changes our lives.]
- I can't wait to hear the concluding song of the priesthood session! Ron Staheli is a talented man. I will always be grateful for the chance to sing in one of the choirs at BYU way back when (I was in Women's Chorus, and had a couple of chances to sing under Drs. Staheli and Wilberg. I still get chills whenever I hear a Wilberg arrangement. It was great to hear his "Redeemer of Israel" which I got to sing in General Conference when Elder Holland (then BYU President) was first called to be a General Authority.)
- I have to say that I was so impressed with my children. I don't know that I really listened to Saturday sessions until I was well into my teenage years. They really paid a lot of attention both days. They really are like little spiritual sponges. I also just love being home and sharing this time together.

That's enough for now, I think. :)


Eric Nielson said...

Thanks for the review.

Elder Oaks talk answered so many of my questions on the important divorce topic. What a blessing.

Also, with some of my doctrinal thoughts lately, I was touched that 'I am a Child of God' and 'Oh My Father' were both sung in the Sunday morning session. I doubt those songs are sung by the choir very often at conference, let alone in the same session, let alone the Sunday morning session.

Probably just a coincidence.

Quite a conference.

Anonymous said...

You sang for Dr. Staheli? What years? I want to see if my Wife knows you. Her name is Larke. She sang in Singers and in Women's Choir in 1996-1999 (she was in Singers the last 2 years)

Matt W.

M&M said...

I was particularly thinking about your doctrinal thoughts during "O My Father." Truth is reason on this topic, IMO. ;)

Matt...Alas, I'm older than that. :)

RoAnn said...

I really enjoyed your thoughts, Michelle. Thanks for taking the time to post them.

Your children are amazing!

M&M said...

p.s. Eric, is there such a thing as a coincidence? :)

M&M said...

Thanks for stopping by. I will have to agree with you about my children. :)

M&M said...

One more thing I wanted to add: I want to be more patient with myself and more forgiving of myself. I have a tendency to feel overwhelmed (think Elder Eyring's talk) and to be negative about myself (think Elder Holland about being of good cheer). So I have a goal to not speak negatively about myself. We'll see how I do. :)

Mary A said...

Michelle, what a wonderful review! Thanks for sharing. I heard so many things that were important to me for one reason or another. Along with the things I need to work harder at, I was given a good dose of hope and encouragement. I'm so glad the talks will be online and in the May Ensign so we can study and review.

Doug Towers said...


I haven't heard these talks yet, as we watch them as a video conference at church this Sunday. But I'd have to share Mary a's comment that your review is inspiring. It is rare that I find a talk as uplifting as I find your review. I think they should invite you up as a reviewer of the talks at the end of conference.

M&M said...

Mary and Doug,

Thanks for your comments. There was much to be savored!

Doug, I'm grateful that you could feel some of the Spirit from Conference in my words. I hope your experience with Conference itself is wonderful.

Mary A said...

Michelle, I have nominated you for a thinking blogger award. See my post at for the particulars. Thanks for being you!