Sunday, November 1, 2009

What Did We Learn From Conference??

Flora Harrington, a dear friend of mine (and of Seth's) sent me this email. I felt that she has put it so explicitly that I have asked and received her permission to post her comments on this blog. Over the past several months I have worried and wondered about the future for Dad and myself, but even more so for each of your families. And I have been comforted and reassured that "if we will turn our ourselves and our families to the Lord,if we will continue to do all that we know to be right and if we will trust in the Lord with all our hearts and lean not unto our own understanding, the day will come when He will guide us to Holy places where we will be engaged in the preparation for the His return. I have no greater joy than to know that my children know how to listen to and follow the promptings of the Spirit!! I have learned much from each of you and I appreciate you and admire you because of it. We have each been blessed with great families to learn from and associate with. And the Lord expects the best from us.

At the bottom of Flora's remarks you'll find a video that Janet Gilliand sent to me. It is wonderful!!

Latter-day Preparations: What We Learned at Conference-
Remember past General Conferences when we were told to grow gardens, put in a supply of food, prepare 72-hour kits, get out of debt, and put our houses in order by preparing every needful thing?
The Church's instructions on provident living still stand, of course, and there are wonderful resources available to help us. But when was the last time such counsel received significant attention in General Conference?
As best I can recall, there was a turning point when President Hinckley, after an extensive sermon in a priesthood session on financial preparations, said, "Now that's all I'm going to say about that." It may have been the last time he mentioned physical preparations in a General Conference address.
During the five sessions of conference just completed, I attempted to write down every admonition, instruction, exhortation, suggestion or recommendation given by the speakers. I collected 430 items of counsel in all, but,

No one talked about food storage.
No one advised putting together emergency kits.
No one exhorted us to get out of debt.
No one said to grow a garden.

There were only three references to financial matters (Elder Watson, Bishop Burton and Elder Christofferson) and all of them were warnings against excesses and greed, not about preparations.
Many sense that things could soon break loose - that it wouldn't take much to put many prophesied events about the last days into motion. At this time of turmoil throughout the world, a roller coaster economy, crime, thugocracies, natural disasters, looming inflation and even nuclear threats, it would seem a natural time for our leaders to talk about nuts-and-bolts preparation - to tell us what we should do next.
Well, they did. But not in a direction some may have expected. (And the rumor du jour, that the call-out of Israel to flee to its tents was imminent, failed again - surprise, surprise.)
We've been hearing about food storage and other preparations since 1936. The way I see the talks this conference, those days are over. Members who haven't prepared physically are not very likely to start now simply because two or three more General Authorities plead with them.
This is not to suggest we'll never hear counsel about physical preparations again in General Conference, but rather it appears the emphasis is shifting from physical preparation to spiritual preparation - to build strength of heart, mind and spirit for whatever is coming, and especially to become more proficient at receiving personal revelation.
Those who watched conference hoping for a fish found that they instead were instructed how to fish. Of the 29 individuals who addressed us, 16 of them spoke about the Holy Ghost - how we can cultivate the gift of the Holy Ghost, how to improve our sensitivity to promptings, how to purify our lives so we can hear gentle spiritual communications, and related counsel - in other words, how we can gain personal instruction to guide us through coming events from the Source that knows everything. In speaking order:

Elder Scott: Consistently strive to recognize and follow the feelings prompted by the Spirit. Sister Matsumori: Help others become more familiar with promptings of the Spirit.
Elder Clayton: Be humble so you can hear the word of the Lord.
President Uchtdorf: Listen for the Father's voice for it leads to the ministration of the
Holy Spirit.
Elder Oaks: Listen and feel of God's love.
Elder Hales: Yield to the influence of the Holy Ghost.
Elder Watson: Be temperate in all things as guided by the Holy Ghost.
Elder Anderson: Turn away from pride, anger and impure thoughts.
President Packer: The Holy Ghost communicates to our spirit with promptings and impressions. President Eyring: Learn to follow inspiration.
President Monson: Refrain from anger so you will have the Spirit with you.
Elder Perry: Listen to the Spirit for guidance.
Bishop Burton: Let virtue garnish your thoughts.
Sister Dibb: Use the safety equipment of scriptures, prophets, and the Holy Ghost.
Elder Nelson: Cultivate spiritual discernment.
Elder Ringwood: Be sensitive to the Holy Ghost.
The emphasis on these basic principles suggests that we haven't been following them as we should. Which brings to mind the well-known story of Vince Lombardi, legendary coach of the Green Bay Packers. Every season, even after the Packers had won two Super Bowls, Lombardi would address his players and start with the basics: "Gentlemen, this is a football." (And Max McGee, the team's star receiver who scored the first touchdown in Super Bowl history, would say, "Not so fast, coach, not so fast.")
There wasn't a player who didn't already know what Lombardi would say - blocking, tackling, mental alertness. But he said it over and over because they fell short on execution. Our leaders are obviously telling us it's time to execute the basics better and bulk up our spiritual preparations to match whatever we've prepared for our physical survival.
Having a house full of wheat, beans and rice will be insufficient if we are not strong in spirit and mind as we face prophesied events.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

"That He May Write Upon Our Hearts"

Today in Relief Society Pres. Park taught the lesson from Pres. Henry B. Eyring's August's First Presidency Message. His article is titled: "That He May Write upon Our Hearts" and he tells us that "parents should teach their children to pray...(because)the child learns both from what the parents do and what they say." "In time, when the children are away from home and family, prayer can provide the shield of protection that the parent will want so much for them to have."

Ocassionally I hear from one of my children and they tell me of an experience they've had with prayer. I am always so full of gratitude for children who have learned to go to the Lord and then to listen and obey. I am also thankful for the many times we gathered together as a family to have prayer. I am also grateful to their father who said to us, "We will read our scriptures and have family prayer every day." He told me that soon after we were married and I know he made it a part of our family life. I can still see him at the head of the table with his scriptures in his hands, reading to us as we ate our breakfast before heading out for the day. I also remember the many prayers we had together before leaving home on a trip. And there are those quiet times when we now have our own prayer together.

Later, in Pres. Eyring's message he talks about "Learning to Seek His Will". Sometimes this is a difficult lesson to learn, but I've found it to be one of the most valuable lessons of my life. It brings peace and happiness. It also teaches personal lessons that can only be learned by listening and allowing His will to become our own. One such lesson I learned at the time of Alisha's birth. I continue to learn from His will what he would have of me. It is always a comfort to know that He is mindful of me (and of you) and that He has a plan for each of us.

There are times in each of our lives when we are unsure of what is ahead for us and we pray for assurance and comfort. I know that you know the Lord listens and answers those prayers. It's interesting that President Erying puts it this way, "Those answers (are) the most clear when what we want is silenced by an overpowering need to know what God wants. It is then that the answer from a loving Heavenly Father can be spoken to the mind by the still, small voice and can be written on the heart."

We had a discussion of the meaning of the word "heart" and I thought it remarkable that the dictionary defines "heart" as ...."the whole personality, the emotional or moral as distinquished from the intellectual nature, one's innermost being, the center, the essential part, the memory."

Isn't it wonderful that through searching for the Lord's will for us we allow him to write His will upon our very heart. As we strive for that in all we do and in all we pray for, we will truely become one with our Father.

I bear my testimony that He loves us beyond what we can comprehend in our minds but with a love that we can always feel in our hearts. That we begin to understand Him by listening, trusting and following His will. That He will write it upon our hearts and that He has always and will always assist us in our eternal progression because it is "His work and His glory to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of (you and me)."

I love you all. Mom