General Conference redux

April 9, 2009 | 3 comments
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Perhaps the Thursday following General Conference should be declared some sort of Mormon holiday, as that is when written transcripts of the sessions are due out.  Here’s the link where they should show up sometime today.  Check it out if you are looking to catch that talk you didn’t quite stay awake for (or your kids were jumping on your head during).   Elder Oaks’ talk was a particular hit with me, but I think there were some things in Elder Bednar’s talk that I’d like to take another look at.  

There is, I’m sorry to say, no Elder Wirthlin talk to go over.   Here is a little snippet though, from six months ago in his final address:

The first thing we can do is learn to laugh. Have you ever seen an angry driver who, when someone else makes a mistake, reacts as though that person has insulted his honor, his family, his dog, and his ancestors all the way back to Adam? Or have you had an encounter with an overhanging cupboard door left open at the wrong place and the wrong time which has been cursed, condemned, and avenged by a sore-headed victim?

There is an antidote for times such as these: learn to laugh.

As long as I’m at it, here is a story I liked from Elder Andersen’s talk six months ago:

I once visited a mission in southern Europe. I arrived on the day a new missionary was preparing to return home at his own insistence. He had his ticket to leave the next day.

We sat together in the mission president’s home. The missionary told me about his challenging childhood, of learning disorders, of moving from one family to another. He spoke sincerely of his inability to learn a new language and adapt to a new culture. Then he added, “Brother Andersen, I don’t even know if God loves me.” As he said those words, I felt a sure and forceful feeling come into my spirit: “He does know I love him. He knows it.”

I let him continue for a few more minutes, and then I said, “Elder, I’m sympathetic to much of what you’ve said, but I must correct you on one thing: you do know God loves you. You know He does.”

As I said those words to him, the same Spirit that had spoken to me spoke to him. He bowed his head and began to cry. He apologized. “Brother Andersen,” he said, “I do know God loves me; I do know it.” He didn’t know everything, but he knew enough. He knew God loved him. That priceless piece of spiritual knowledge was sufficient for his doubt to be replaced with faith. He found the strength to stay on his mission.

 

And yes, actually, I did translate for Neil Andersen when he visited my (southern European) mission zone in 1996.  Thanks for asking.

3 Responses to General Conference redux

  1. Ziff on April 9, 2009 at 10:58 pm

    How did you know my kids were jumping on my head during Conference? :)

    I second you on missing Elder Wirthlin.

    I liked Elder Uchtdorf’s point here:

    Sometimes the things that distract us are not bad, in and of themselves; often they even make us feel good.

    It is possible to take even good things to excess. One example can be seen in a father or grandfather who spends hours upon hours searching for his ancestors or creating a blog while neglecting or avoiding quality or meaningful time with his own children and grandchildren. Another example could be a gardener who spends his days pulling weeds from the soil while ignoring the spiritual weeds that threaten to choke his soul.

    Even some programs of the Church can become a distraction if we take them to extremes and allow them to dominate our time and our attention at the expense of things that matter most.

  2. Ziff on April 9, 2009 at 11:00 pm

    Oops! I must have botched the blockquote tag. To clarify, everything after the “here” link is Elder, er, President Uchtdorf’s words.

  3. Frank McIntyre on April 10, 2009 at 7:43 am

    Very nice. This is a favorite theme of Elder Oaks, too, I think.