Monday, March 26, 2012

GCBC - Elder Cook

General Conference Book Club
Elder Quentin L. Cook
"The Songs They Could Not Sing"

The talk is here. The online book club is here.  My favorite quote from the talk was his answer to the question, "Why do bad things happen to good people?"

While we do not know all the answers, we do know important principles that allow us to face tragedies with faith and confidence that there is a bright future planned for each of us. Some of the most important principles are:

First, we have a Father in Heaven, who knows and loves us personally and understands our suffering perfectly.

Second, His Son, Jesus Christ, is our Savior and Redeemer, whose Atonement not only provides for salvation and exaltation but also will compensate for all the unfairness of life.

Third, the Father’s plan of happiness for His children includes not only a premortal and mortal life but also an eternal life as well, including a great and glorious reunion with those we have lost. All wrongs will be righted, and we will see with perfect clarity and faultless perspective and understanding.

I was thumbing through the "thoughts" section of my planner and noticed that I have a lot of quotes relating to the topic of dealing with adversity.  I guess it's something I struggle with as well!  And these quotes provide great comfort to me.  Here are a few of them:

Carlos E. Ag├╝ero: “The price for good things is paid in advance by our patience, humility, and obedience, especially during trials. If you don’t give up during your trials or let frustration and discouragement overcome you, trials will refine you spiritually and prepare you for better things. You will see the fulfillment of beautiful miracles in your life.” (New Era January 2006)

Henry B. Eyring: “So, the great test of life is to see whether we will hearken to and obey God’s commands in the midst of the storms of life. It is not to endure storms, but to choose the right while they rage. And the tragedy of life is to fail in that test and so fail to qualify to return in glory to our heavenly home.” (October 2005 general conference)

Henry B. Eyring: “But the test a loving God has set before us is not to see if we can endure difficulty. It is to see if we can endure it well. We pass the test by showing that we remembered Him and the commandments He gave us. And to endure well is to keep those commandments whatever the opposition, whatever the temptation, and whatever the tumult around us.” (April 2004 general conference)

Robert D. Hales: “Unless you are fully engaged in living the gospel—living it with all of your ‘heart, might, mind and strength’ - you cannot generate enough spiritual light to push back the darkness.” (April 2002 general conference)

Finally, one of the ways I deal with the fact that sometimes there are "songs they cannot sing" is to sing (or listen to) the ones that have been written.  Music is a great way to bring peace into our lives.  Go to my guest post here to find one of my favorite hymns for helping me cope with the trials of life.  And don't forget to listen to general conference this weekend!  We're sure to be given many more tools to help us not only cope but triumph.

Monday, March 19, 2012

GCBC - Elder Cornish

General Conference Book Club
Elder J. Devn Cornish
"The Privilege of Prayer"
Dominican Republic Santiago - November 2004
The talk is here.  Elder Cornish was our son's mission president.  For some reason having that personal connection always makes me pay better attention.  Here are some of the thoughts that stood out to me as I listened to and then re-read this talk -

  • Heavenly Father knows each of us individually and personally.  He wants to bless us, but he can't infringe upon our agency.  
  • We must ask and pray in faith.
  • We must live our prayers.
  • "Prayer is the passport to peace." (President Monson)
  • " Prayer is the act by which the will of the Father and the will of the child are brought into correspondence with each other. The object of prayer is not to change the will of God, but to secure for ourselves and for others blessings that God is already willing to grant, but that are made conditional on our asking for them. Blessings require some work or effort on our part before we can obtain them. Prayer is a form of work, and is an appointed means for obtaining the highest of all blessings." (Bible Dictionary)

Prayer really is a privilege.  Am I taking full advantage of this precious gift?

Friday, March 16, 2012

Little Things

I've come across two thought-provoking blog posts in the last little while that I don't want to forget, so here they are:


which contained this "new to me" quote.
“Life, after all,” said President David O. McKay, “is made up of little things. Our life, our being, physically, is made up here of little heart beats. Let that little heart stop beating, and life in this world ceases. The great sun is a mighty force in the universe, but we receive the blessings of his rays because they come to us as little beams, which taken in the aggregate, fill the whole world with sunlight. The dark night is made pleasant by the glimmer of what seem to be little stars; and so the true Christian life is made up of little Christ-like acts performed this hour, this minute…wherever our life and acts may be cast.” 

Isn't that a beautiful quote?  (You can find it here in a chapter on developing Christlike character.) 

Enjoy a beautiful day of doing wonderful, extraordinary, simple, little things!

Monday, March 12, 2012

GCBC - Elder Yamashita

General Conference Book Club
Elder Kazuhiko Yamashita
"Missionaries are a Treasure of the Church"

The talk is here.  I liked how that over at Diapers and Divinity, a lot of the comments related these principles of missionary work to motherhood.  As I read the talk again, I was able to apply it to teaching my Primary class.  My favorite quote was this:

“Your attitudes and the love that you show toward others are very significant messages. Even though I didn’t immediately grasp all the doctrines that the missionaries taught me, I felt of their great love, and their many acts of kindness taught me important lessons. Your message is a message of love, a message of hope, and a message of faith. Your attitude and your actions invite the Spirit, and the Spirit enables us to understand the things that are important.”

I also liked his list of three things to take with you on a mission - desire to serve, testimony and love for others.  If you have those, you can do great things anywhere!

GCBC - Elder Bennett

General Conference Book Club
Elder Randall K. Bennett
"Choose Eternal Life"

A couple of weeks ago, we started going through “For the Strength of Youth” for our FHE lessons. Dad thought it would be a good idea to compare the changes that were made with the old version. We happened to do “Agency and Accountability” this week, and it was great to add this talk to our discussion. It helped show that these really are eternal principles.

I love President Monson’s quote that “decisions determine destiny,” and the reminder from Elder Bennett that it’s up to us to “choose” eternal life. And I’m also reminded of something I learned from Elder Bednar, that the purpose of agency isn’t to choose what I want, but to choose what Heavenly Father wants. He said, "The fundamental purposes for the gift of agency were to love one another and to choose God."   For the most part, we already know what we need to do and become. Agency is a wonderful gift. What good is it if we don’t exercise it righteously?

The talk is here is you want to go review it yourself.    And you can find the online book club here.

Monday, March 5, 2012

GCBC - Elder Oaks

General Conference Book Club
Elder Dallin H. Oaks
"Teachings of Jesus"

"What think I of Christ?"  And, more importantly, what am I doing because of it?  As Elder Oaks told her story, my heart ached for the woman who didn't know what Jesus had done for her.  He has done everything for us!  I appreciated the reminders found in the following scriptures:

Matthew 6:33 - Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness.
Matthew 7:7 - Ask and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find, knock, and it shall be opened unto you.
John 7:17 - If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine.

I also appreciated his challenge to examine ourselves.  Are we building our house in Zion yet still trying to keep a summer cottage in Babylon?  (I made a note during conference to look up Elder Maxwell's quote.  It's found in a book, not a conference talk.  However, I did find a wonderful blog post that is definitely worth your time - "A Summer Cottage in Babylon."  Cocoa articulates things much better than I could!)  We need to remember that there is no middle ground, and that the Lord doesn't want fence-sitters.  We need to choose a side, and stay there.  I'm choosing the Lord's side.

GCBC - Elder Nelson

General Conference Book Club
Elder Russell M. Nelson

This summer we're celebrating our 30th anniversary, and we were able to help our parents celebrate their 50th anniversaries not too long ago.  We're grateful for the covenants we made in the temple, for the opportunity to continue to keep them, and we're even more grateful to see the next generation do the same.

Listening to this talk reaffirmed my testimony of these three principles:

1) Patriarchal blessings give us a vision of our future.
2) Temple marriage is the covenant of exaltation, and baptism is the covenant of salvation - both are a necessary part of the celestial kingdom.
3) We keep covenants by obeying the commandments.

And I loved Elder Nelson's enthusiasm as he reminded us that we get to participate in the gathering of Israel! Sometimes I forget that having the gospel in my life, with its attendant covenants and responsibilities, is really a tremendous honor and blessing.  I don't need to complain about overwhelming tasks and duties, I need to rejoice that I have the opportunity to serve my fellowman and help them find the peace and joy that the gospel, which includes making and keeping covenants, brings into our lives.

As Mosiah 2:41 states,  "I would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God.  For behold, they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual; and if they hold out faith to the end they are received into heaven, that thereby they may dwell with God in a state of never-ending happiness.  O remember, remember that these things are true."