October 2021 General Conference Saturday Afternoon thoughts

Something about a live choir just adds such a nice dimension to #generalconference

SO cool to get a chance to sustain our leaders.  What a privilege!

Those who knew me early in my career know that I focused so much on the acronym “BTL”, which stood for “Bind the Lord” almost like “make the Lord bless you” by being obedient.  Over the years as I have grown to really understand that doctrine better, I have dropped the BTL and focus now more on “Binding Yourselves to the Lord” by making and keeping sacred covenants. The Book of Mormon is a tool designed to facilitate the gathering of Israel on both sides of the veil and it enables us to make and keep those sacred covenants.  I love how Elder Bednar focused on helping strengthen that bond through covenant.  Rather than “making God bless me”, I “yoke” myself to him and trust in his promises.

To my earlier students who I inundated with “BTL”, sorry about that!  I’m doing much better now. :)

Ciro Schmeil (wins for best name so far…).  I loved the statement from President Nelson to him - "Elder Schmeil, you have been called for what you can become."  What a great statement!  It’s not a competition.  We’re here to help each other act in becoming better followers of Jesus Christ.

"When you know and understand how completely you are loved as a child of God, it changes everything.”.  Sister Susan Porter’s husband Bruce D. Porter, who was also a General Authority, passed away after a long illness just 5 years ago.  To me, that gives her message of “God’s love is not found in the circumstances of our lives, but in His presence in our lives.” a little more authenticity.

And speaking of authenticity, Elder Erich W. Kopishcke was very open and frank about mental illness. “Sometimes I wonder if the desolating sickness covering the land isn't mental illness.”  I loved his talk and it is very important to educate ourselves to learn about mental illness.  His most powerful phrase to those who struggle - “Hold fast to your covenants, even if you do not feel close to God's love at this time."

I love focusing on words in the scriptures.  I have studied the word “things” before (but not all 2354…😂) so it was cool to hear Elder Rasband focus on that word.  I love the 7 “things” of the soul that he focused on.  Love the Father and the Son, Love your neighbor, Love yourself, Keep the commandments, Always be temple worthy, Be joyful and cheerfully, and Follow God's living prophet.  I look forward to studying and finding my own 8,9, and 10.

“The account of Naaman reminds us of the risk of picking and choosing the parts of prophetic counsel that fit our thinking, expectation, or today’s norms. Our prophet continually points us to our own River Jordans to be healed.”

Christoffel Golden’s were very much “golden” (ok, that was lame - I know!). But it’s true!  “We live in a modern world filled with great knowledge and much prowess. Nonetheless, these things too often camouflage the unsteady foundation upon which they're built.”  We have a prophet of God and we’re here to prepare ourselves and our families for the Second Coming.

Moises Villanueva shared about losing 3 close family members during the pandemic….and yet, you can feel the power of his faith.  I think I’ve heard President Nelson’s quote how “joy has little to do with our circumstances and everything to do with out focus” several times - just in this session!

I’ve always loved the quote “the Gospel of Jesus Christ is simply beautiful, and beautifully simple."  Oftentimes, we as members tend to complicate it for some reason.  Learn to follow promptings, love, share, invite, and work towards the temple.  Elder Stevenson made it sound so simple - and I’m grateful he did!