Sunday, April 3, 2011

General Conference

Every 6 months the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints hosts a semi-annual general conference where all members of the church gather to hear the words of our leaders and prophet. It is 2 days of being uplifted, edified, and reminded why we live our faith and how to live it better. I always feel very inspired after conference.

The last couple of times conference has come and gone and I feel like I did not take full advantage of it. I just casually grazed from the words and did not make it a priority to really take time to sit down and absorb everything that was being said. I slept through half of the talks and never got around to reading all of them after. So this conference I decided things were going to be different. I was going to make it my highest priority. I wanted to get a lot more out of it than I had last couple of times.

In order to do this, I decided to get a good nights rest so that I wouldn't be tired while I listened. I decided to prepare spiritually before hand. I came with a few questions that I wanted to receive answers to, and printed out a couple of conference packets that I found here. I combined them to make the perfect conference packet for me. Thanks to those who put these together. They are awesome!

I feel like this conference has been one of the most meaningful for me. I feel like I have learned so much and received all the answers to the questions that I have had and more. Filling out the packet and taking such diligent notes has made me pay a lot closer attention to what was being said and helped me learn so much more than I ever have during a conference. It is true what they say. The amount of effort you put into something is what you will get out of it. I decided I was going to approach this as seriously as I did with my studies in graduate school or a continuing education conference for my profession. I looked at conference as a spiritual continuing education weekend. Because of that, I have really gotten tons more out of it.

The two questions I came seeking answers to were:
1-How can I live the gospel of Jesus Christ better and make it a more integral part of my life? How can I be more intrinsically motivated to follow Christ?
2-How can I prepare for my baby and what do I need to do to be a good mother to him?

There seemed to be pieces of information and personal revelation with each talk that culminated in the answers that I received. It was line upon line and precept upon precept as elder Bednar talked about. It came one piece of information at a time till I had an abundance of it. It all started with Elder Dallin H. Oaks talk about our Desires. He stated that our desires dictate our priorities, and our priorities dictate our choices and actions. He talked about how our desire is the springboard for what we do. He talked about lots of examples of righteous desires in the scriptures including Enos, and king Lamoni's father who said that he would give away all his sins to know God. It helped me see that if I change my desires, it will change everything else that I do. Then Elder Ballard's talk came next and he talked about focusing on the smaller things that will bring us closer to God. That it is the culmination of the small things that bring the great nuggets of gold. These small things include charity and practicing it at home first, the importance of constant service to others(it is how the savior lived his life), listening to the promptings of the holy ghost, and all the other small things like daily prayer and scripture study.

With each talk I learned more principles including: how to keep the sabbath day holy and use it to renew myself spiritually, how to serve others, Temple attendance, forgiving others, keeping my covenants and honoring them, etc. The list goes on. I realized that if I do all these things, it will help me to be more committed to the gospel of Jesus Christ, and become someone with a Christ centered life. Becoming Christ centered will help me know how to be a good mother to my baby. If Christ is the center of my life, He will be the center of little Eli's life also. That is the best way I can help my baby. President Monson spoke about the importance of Temples and his message was very powerful. he said that each Temple is a testimony that life beyond the grave is real. This is where eternal families are formed. I am going to follow his council and put a picture of the Temple in Eli's room so that from the time he is born, he knows how important they are and where to set his focus.

There is one more session of Conference left and still more nuggets of gold for me to find, but I couldn't wait to write my thoughts on what a powerful experience this conference has been. I know my Savior Lives and that he loves me, and that Heavenly Father does hear and answer prayers. Personal revelation is real and available to all who honestly seek the Lord. I love General Conference!

As an afterthought to this blog entry: Next conference I have plans to make it even better. Next time I am also going to try and incorporate a few of the suggestions from this conference traditions packet in order to make conference a special weekend for my family as well as myself, so Eli learns to love conference from a very early age.

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