Priesthood is always my favorite session. I don't know if it is because I get dressed up and have to physically get up and sit down and pay attention, or if it really is just extra super awesome. Here are a few of the things I remember from tonight.
Elder Nelson began by talking about missionary work. The missionaries were part of the choir, and he had them and any other missionary stand. Elder Nelson then said that we need more missionaries, more worth missionaries. He mentioned President Monson's remarks earlier of how missionaries should be preparing themselves. Paul wrote to Timothy and said, Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.
We should all be examples of the believers. We can have the image of God engraven upon our countenance. We need to reach out to those that we don't know. Every week reach out and meet one more person that don't already know. We need to be ready and prepared for questions. Our response to these questions should be warm and cheerful, but relevant. We may be the one to open the spiritual door for someone to come to God. We need to invite people to church, many do not know that they are welcome to our church buildings. Share the Book of Mormon as another witness of Jesus Christ. The Book of Mormon is the tool to gather the lost tribes and prepare for the last days and second coming.
Elder Nelson told a story of when he shared his copy of the Book of Mormon to a friend. The friend brought it back a week later and said, thanks a lot! Elder Nelson said, thanks a lot? That is a totally unacceptable response! You didn't read it did you? I want you to take it back and actually read it and then bring it back. Tearfully he later returned it after he had truly read it and prayed about it and felt it's power.
There are many new ways to share the gospel such as mormon.org, blogs, and social media. We can and should use these as well. There was a man named Zach who saw a TV add, went to mormon.org was intrigued, found where the nearest church was, attended that week, was invited to dinner that night, met with the missionaries and was baptized within 2 weeks. Serve with all your heart, might, mind and strength. We are preparing the earth for the second coming.
Elder K. (couldn't read his or the next guys names from where I was sitting) He talked about the healing and peace that comes from the Savior. He began with a story of when he was a child, living by the desert. His parents had told him to always wear shoes because of the dangers that could come from the desert. They were camping one day and he decided that flip flops would be OK, they are basically shoes. As he was walking he felt something sharp pierce his foot. He looked down and saw a scorpion.
Ye yelled for help and his parents came and they took him to the hospital 2 hours away. He thought he was going to die, but everything was fine. He learned an important lesson from this. Flip flops do not provide the same protection as a pair of shoes, and he paid the price for it.
Disregarding what we know to be right always brings consequences. Don't be rebellious or lazy. (I liked that he included lazy, I don't think most people are always trying to be rebellious or sin) When we chose the wrong path we justify our rebellious, or laziness. We cannot say that it is OK to stray from the iron rod, that everyone else is doing it, that we are the exception and immune. Exact obedience is needed or you will get stung.
Like the Anti-Nephi-Lehi's we must lay down our weapons of rebellion, you know what yours are, then He can heal you. If you try to cover your sins you are left to kick against the pricks. He quoted Elder Faust, "When obedience becomes our goal, it is no longer an irritation; instead of a stumbling block, it becomes a building block."
He finished with a story about soldiers that were driving through a mine field. One of the vehicles did not stay exactly in the tire marks of the vehicle in front of him and hit a mine and the driver was killed. We to cannot move to the left or the right of the path. There are no exceptions, but if we have strayed we can return. No one can find peace in a minefield, but as we follow God's path we will find peace and healing. Have you any afflicted in any manor? Bring them hither and I will heal him. Come unto God and you WILL find peace.
Second Elder that I couldn't read his name: He told a story of a family that was trying to have scripture reading. The dad was trying to make sure that it happened but his girl was not cooperating. He began to lose his patience and he proclaimed that in his house they were going to read the scriptures because it was what they were supposed to do. His little girl ran away and slammed her bedroom door. There went the spirit they were trying to have from reading the scriptures.
The father realized his mistake and went into his room and prayed. As he was praying he felt that he should go and say he was sorry. He continued to pray and was inspired again. So he went and knocked on her door, she didn't respond. So he opened her door and saw that she was crying. He told her he was sorry, she then pulled out her scriptures and flipped them to where it talks about how the natural man is an enemy to God and unless he must put off the natural man and become as a child. This father knew that scripture was meant for him. But his daughter replied in conclusion that she was sorry. She had read this scripture and likened it to herself. The two of them embraced and the spirit of unity returned to their home.
The home is the only place that can compare to the temple. As fathers we must not have contention in our homes, or amen to the priesthood. We must use persuasion, long-suffering, kindness... We must forgive one another our trespasses and yield to the will of the Lord. He teaches us to be meek, not easily provoked, humble, modest, submissive, patient, not to murmur and full of love. As we do these things our homes will be the place we want them to be.
Elder Uchtdorf: He talked about how in 1989 President Benson's talk, Beware of Pride, was a topic that had weighed heavily on President Benson's mind. It to is weighing heavily on his soul as well. When he told his wife that pride was going to be his topic she said, "It is so good that you talk about things you know so much about." No one has avoided the sin of pride.
He said it is OK to have pride in some things. To have pride in your children, your country, your work. You are allowed to rejoice in righteousness. God introduced his Son saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Alma and the other missionaries gloried in the goodness of god and the work they were able to accomplish. Elder Uchtdorf is proud of this church and all that we accomplish for good everyday.
So what is the difference? Pride is sinful because it breeds hatred. It is a sin of comparison. It starts at look at how wonderful I am and ends with therefor I am better than you. This goes against the two great commandments of loving God and loving our neighbor. It is a sin of setting ourselves up, setting ourselves on our own ramiumtum (however you spell that). Pride is a deadly cancer, a gateway sin. Every other sin is a manifestation of pride.
He talked about sports, and how they can sometimes turn wonderful people into hateful ones. He asked, how can we hate each other and try to find any flaw in our opponent and magnify it then associate it with everyone associated with that team? We should hold ourselves to a higher standard in life. We all wear the same jersey, we are on God's team. We want all to return to Him.
One day Elder Uchtdorf was driving with, I think Elder Faust, to a Stake Conference and Elder Faust told him that a lot of church members will say wonderful things about him and church leaders. Be greateful for that, but do not inhale it. We must not be focused on our public image.
The Lord chooses the weak things of the world to confound the might. We are given the priesthood to work and serve. We like the Savior need to give the glory to God. We can become great tools through God, and with him all things are possible, but they are because of Him.
Pride is a switch that turns off priesthood power, humility turns it on. Charity is the answer to overcome Pride. Humility is not convincing ourselves that we are meaningless, or to withhold our talents and abilities. It is not thinking less of ourselves, but thinking less ABOUT ourselves. There are so many people in need that we could be thinking about instead. Don't forget about your family.
Elder Uchtdorf had a favorite pen he used as a pilot. It had 4 colors that you could click and choose from. The pen never complained and said you should use black instead of blue, it didn't complain if it had to work after 10:00, or would only work on important documents. It performed every task asked of it, and was always ready to serve no matter how important. We should be like this pen and serve wherever we are called. Blessed are those that humble themselves and do not have to be compelled to be humble.
Elder Eyring: My hand was getting really tired by this point... He talked about the power of the priesthood. He shared a story about some people who had been found by the missionaries in the early days of the church. As they were crossing the plains this man and women were talking to each other about what a miracle it had been that in Switzerland (I think) of all people the missionaries had found them, and how miraculous it was that they believed it.
These missionaries had the power of the priesthood, whose power to serve was magnified by the Holy Ghost to find those who were prepared. We as priesthood holders need to have the Holy Ghost. Never miss an opportunity to partake of the Sacrament. To take upon you the Name of Jesus Christ and to always remember Him, that you may have His spirit to be with you.
Read, Study, and Ponder the scriptures. You can gain some from reading the scriptures, as you study you can find patterns, but only as you ponder will you invite revelation into your minds. Then we lost the feed for about a minute... He then talked about how a deacon was asked to go and visit another deacon he did not know. He said that we need to respond with faith and to go forward. The spirit will calm our fears and we will have the words we need provided to us. We will feel God's approval no matter the outcome. The person we visit will remember that we cared enough to come, even if they don't immediately change.
He talked about a man who as a kid had this experience and many years later he still remembered the name of the deacon that came to visit. It only took up part of the boys day to make this visit, but it meant something for years to this man.
Elder Eyring hated going to hospitals when has younger. He never knew what to do or say to those there. Then one time when his own father was in the hospital Elder Kimball came to visit. Elder Eyring was excited to finally see a great example of what to do. Elder Kimball asked his father if he had had a blessing, he had so Elder Kimball leaned back in his chair and just sat and smiled for a while. He didn't say much of anything, then after 5 minutes he said, I will leave you to rest and left.
Later his dad said that of all the visits that lifted his spirits the most. He didn't say much, but his companion was the spirit of the Lord. May we each have that same companionship and fulfill our priesthood responsibilities.
President Monson: The 3 R's of Choice: Right of Choice, Responsibility of Choices, and the Results of choices. Next to the gift of life the gift of how to live that life is the best gift. Satan tried to take that gift from us. If he had, none of us would have been any wiser or stronger. We knew it would be difficult, Jesus offered to sacrifice himself for all so that we could have the choice. We will always have the right to choose.
We cannot be neutral, there is no middle ground. Each of us has the tools to make correct choices. We cannot afford a detour from which we may never return. Don't be indecisive. He talked about Alice in Wonderland when she was trying to decide which path to take. The Cheshire-Cat said, "It depends where you want to go, If you don't know, it doesn't matter which path you take." We do know and it does matter which path we take!
Decisions determine destiny. Do not deviate from the path that leads to eternal life. All choices have consequences. If we make a bad choice we have nobody to blame but ourselves. Salvation is an individual operation. There is a way to correct bad choices, it is repentance. Our Savior died to provide us that gift. Our sins can be as white as snow and He will remember them no more. The sooner you make your way back the sooner you will receive peace and joy.
A basketball player decided not to play on Sundays. His team ended up making it to the Championship game which was to be played on Sunday. He prayed to ask if just this once it would be OK, but before he finished he knew he already had the answer. He didn't play even with all the pressure from all sides. He said that this decision was the most important of his life. Even though he had a extenuating circumstance that he stuck to what he knew was true.
It was the most important because now late in his life he has realized that he has had a lot of extenuating circumstances and that if he had made an exception once it would have been easy to keep making that decision. It is easier to keep the commandments 100% of the time than to keep them 98% of the time.
I know that was really long, but there you go! I hope you enjoy conference as much as I have!