Today I attended a special Regional Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints held for members living throughout Davis County Utah, in Northern Utah. The conference was held for approximately 225,000 members of the church composed of 65 Stakes. Families gathered either in person at the Conference Center on Temple Square, or watched via satellite broadcast at participating Stake Centers.
I attended inside the Conference Center which was nearly filled to its 21,000 seat capacity with families of all ages and stages [as evidenced by the entertaining infant "cacophony"]. Regional Conferences are rare occasions for members of the church. They are an exciting event that include tailored messages from the general leadership of the church specifically for one area of the church, instead of for the entire general membership of the church. We were very blessed to have a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy, the General Relief Society president, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve apostles, and a member of the First Presidency of the church speak to us!
Although the messages were designed for Davis County members, they are inspiring and may be of interest to anyone who did not attend. So, here are a few excerpts of the words of wisdom shared today.
Elder Shayne M. Bowen , of the First Quorum of the Seventy talked about the importance of the temple in our lives and how we can each reach out to others in meaningful ways that can help bring the blessings of the temple into other’s lives. He shared a story of a family in his neighborhood that he and his wife befriended who had children of similar ages. Although they were baptized members of the church, they were not currently participating. The Bowen’s invited their new friends to come over for a Monday night dinner and Family Home Evening together. Their friends loved the experience, and reciprocated. Over time, a close bond was developed. Eventually their friends accepted an invitation to prepare themselves to attend the temple and be sealed for time and eternity together.
MoSop: Unfortunately, I arrived a bit late and missed most of Elder Bowen’s talk. I don’t have cool quotes to share here (sorry! If you have any, please post in the comments!).
Sister Linda K. Burton, Relief Society General President. Sister Burton was newly called just one month ago at our April General Conference. Today’s meeting is likely one of her first talks given in her new assignment. She spoke about building a “personal connection to heaven and our families through the temple”, and explained for those who cannot physically see a temple each day, we can still
“paint the temple in our minds“
and then, we should hold that image in our hearts.
She encouraged parents to instill a love of the temple in their children from an early age, and keep ourselves worthy at all times to enter the temple.
MoSop: I’m looking forward to getting to know Sister Burton better. She seems like a very classy lady.
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland , an apostle of the Lord, gave a masterful talk that I dearly loved. He spoke about “Conferences and Church meetings in general“, why it seems we attend so many of them, and what their true purpose is. Elder Holland taught that every member of the church has one great tool for teaching and learning, and it is WORDS.
“Faith Works By Words”
There is great power in words!
Elder Holland illustrated how God said “Let There Be Light!“, and a mighty event of creation took place.
The main reason why we have so many conferences and meetings in the church is to build our faith, because “faith cometh by hearing” the word. Hearing can motivate us to action, and improvement.
Elder Holland challenged us to ponder:
“What actual change have I made in my life as a result of ANYTHING I heard or was asked to do in the General Conference held just a few weeks ago?”
Elder Holland encouraged;
“use any sermon you’ve ever heard or any prompting you’ve ever received to recommit and move up a little bit. . . God will bless everyone who strives to do better“
Elder Holland cautioned:
“Those who will not hear the words are no better off than those who cannot hear the words”
As Jesus taught, we also must be “doers of the word” and not “hearers only”. By Hearing and Doing we become like the wise man who built his house on the rock.
“Rain storms come to everyone, and floods can wash over every family…but, strong homes, and strong lives, and strong families will stand if they are built on the rock”
Two more memorable quotes:
“If we fail to listen to a prophet, it will be at our peril!”
“Find a way to implement some element of the teachings given this day.”
MoSop: I was the recipient of a random act of kindness by Elder Holland and his lovely wife shortly after the conference – (perhaps a story for another day). Suffice to say, Elder Holland is a man who truly practices everything he preaches! I love him very much.
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, First counselor in the First Presidency concluded our conference session. He talked about how to have the Power of Heaven in our lives, and touched on many pertinent topics.
Last night all of the stakes involved in this Regional Conference held a special evening Stake Conference session. President Uchtdorf instructed:
”I hope that we never forget the importance of Stake Conference”.
He explained that often members attend their regular Sunday church meetings when they have a teaching assignment or other weekly calling, but then make other plans when an upcoming weekend is “only stake conference”.
Our Davis County region presently has 2,530 missionaries serving, which Pres. Uchtdorf praised, but added, “there are still many more who can serve”. He encouraged those considering missions not to delay. After giving a list of advice for those preparing to serve, he added:
“Become your first, and most important convert.”
President Uchtdorf reminded us that on each LDS chapel there is a sign that says “visitors welcome” .
He asked that message also needs to be written on “our hearts”, and not just “on stone”.
“Everyone needs a friend”
President Uchtdorf talked about the distractions of our busy lives that is a tool Satan uses to keep us from “setting righteous goals”.
- Members of all ages were invited to visit youth.lds.org
- A special emphasis was given to the subject of Bullying:
”…never be oblivious or turn a blind eye [to bullying]… be especially sensitive to the vulnerable of our society…[and ensure our actions] properly reflect the Savior’s second great commandment.”
- The addiction to pornography was addressed – and members were encouraged to visit combattingpornography.org
- Those struggling with same-gender attraction, who desire to live a life following God’s commandments, were encouraged to study the booklet God Loveth His Children
“God loveth all of his children. . . many faithful members must wait for the next life for answers to all of life’s difficult issues and challenges”
Finally, President Uchtdorf shared the following guidelines
3 Ways To Have The Power of Heaven In Our Lives
1. HAVE A CURRENT TEMPLE RECOMMEND
Temple blessings bring power. Many youth wear little rings with the letters CTR which stand for “Choose The Right“. President Uchtdorf added:
“Let us remember that CTR also stands for
Current Temple Recommend!”
MoSop: This was my favorite quote of the day! I predict a spike in sales of CTR rings within the Davis County area!
2. STUDY The WORD OF GOD DAILY
“Please, study daily“
MoSop: President Uchtdorf emphasized DAILY in this section of his talk at least 5 times. Did I mention he said DAILY? Yup. DAILY.
3. SPEAK with Your Heavenly Father DAILY
“Nothing can take the place of prayer.”
MoSop: Notice the emphasis on that word DAILY again? Yep. Me, too.
President Ucthdorf promised that we will be strengthened by doing these three things, and following the promptings of the holy spirit we will receive.
In conclusion, he asked us never to forget:
“God wants you to be happy!”
I am definitely happy today!
It’s been a very long week of singing and singing and singing, recording, gardening, working full-time, and hobbling around on my injured foot (another story for another day) . I’m completely exhausted physically and mentally. But, tonight I feel rejuvenated by experiencing a weekend of spiritual feasting during our special Regional Conference. The gospel of Jesus Christ is awesome! – MoSop