My Favorite Gems

Last week’s General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was transformational for me. Beginning with President Russell M. Nelson’s admission that when he said last October, that April’s Conference would be unforgettable, he didn’t know that he would be speaking to an audience of ten people. Then to participate with my family on Sunday in the Hosanna shout, and ending with the announcement of a temple to be built in Shanghai, China.

The above picture particularly resonated with me, from Gary E. Stevenson’s talk on the Salt Lake Temple. I am working on a book right now and that picture instantly struck me how I feel, with so many thoughts to organize to produce a coherent whole. It’s the perfect metaphor–the foundational building blocks, the showing up everyday, the slow but steady progress–and how overwhelming it feels unless you have a vision, an idea, that keeps burning brightly ahead of you. I then realized that’s how we can feel about our lives at any given time–overwhelmed by what is before us but trying to cling to an important idea of what we want to do or become.

With any big dream ahead of us– getting our education, starting a marriage, a family, a business–there are so many choices, and so many different ways to succeed or fail. We can feel like the above picture now with the Covid 19 virus disrupting our plans, businesses/careers and personal finances.

Millions of faithful Latter-day Saints watched from home last weekend to feel inspired and to gather strength to continue on the covenant path and with our dreams of our future lives. There were so many rejuvenating thoughts for me, I thought I would share my favorites:

James R. Rasband:

“As President Boyd K. Packer once taught: “The thought that rescued Alma … is this: Restoring what you cannot restore, healing the wound you cannot heal, fixing that which you broke and you cannot fix is the very purpose of the atonement of Christ.”17 The joyous truth on which Alma’s mind “caught hold” was not just that he himself could be made clean but also that those whom he had harmed could be healed and made whole.”

Neil L. Anderson:

“There are times when spiritual feelings go down into our heart like fire, illuminating our soul. Joseph Smith explained that we sometimes receive “sudden strokes of ideas” and occasionally the pure flow of intelligence.”

“Embrace your sacred memories. Believe them. Write them down. Share them with your family. Trust that they come to you from your Heavenly Father and His Beloved Son.Let them bring patience to your doubts and understanding to your difficulties. I promise you that as you willingly acknowledge and carefully treasure the spiritually defining events in your life, more and more will come to you. Heavenly Father knows you and loves you!”

Dale G. Renlund:

“Reflecting on God’s goodness and mercy helps us become more spiritually receptive. In turn, increased spiritual sensitivity allows us to come to know the truth of all things by the power of the Holy Ghost.”

Gary E. Stevenson

“Ten years later, Brigham Young offered the following prophetic insight at general conference in October 1863: “I want to see [the Salt Lake] temple built in a manner that it will endure through the millennium. This is not the only temple we shall build; there will be hundreds of them built and dedicated to the Lord. This temple will be known as the first temple built in the mountains by the Latter Day Saints. … I want that temple … to stand as a proud monument of the faith, perseverance and industry of the saints of God in the mountains.”

Garret W. Gong:

“A second promise of Easter and our Lord’s Atonement is that, spiritually, “all things shall be restored to their proper order.” This spiritual restoration reflects our works and desires. Like bread upon the water, it restores “that which is good,” “righteous,” “just,” and “merciful.” No wonder the prophet Alma uses the word restore 22 times as he urges us to “deal justly, judge righteously, and do good continually.”

“And it shall come to pass that the righteous shall be gathered out from among all nations, and shall come to Zion, singing with songs of everlasting joy.” At this season of hosanna and hallelujah, sing hallelujah—for He shall reign forever and ever! Shout hosanna, to God and the Lamb!”

Jeffrey R. Holland:

“So, I ask, “If so many of our 1820 hopes could begin to be fulfilled with a flash of divine light to a mere boy kneeling in a patch of trees in upstate New York, why should we not hope that righteous desires and Christlike yearnings can still be marvelously, miraculously answered by the God of all hope?” We all need to believe that what we desire in righteousness can someday, someway, somehow yet be ours.”

“In this bicentennial year, when we look back to see all we have been given and rejoice in the realization of so many hopes fulfilled, I echo the sentiment of a beautiful young returned sister missionary who said to us in Johannesburg just a few months ago, “[We] did not come this far only to come this far.””

L. Whitney Clayton:

“First, from the Lord’s perspective, establishing the finest homes has everything to do with the personal qualities of the people who live there. These homes aren’t made fine in any important or lasting way by their furniture or by the net worth or social status of the people who own them. The finest characteristic of any home is the image of Christ reflected in the home’s residents. What matters is the interior design of the souls of the inhabitants, not the structure itself.”

“As we continue in faith, the Lord gradually changes us. We receive His image in our countenance and begin to reflect the love and beauty of His character. As we become more like Him, we will feel at home in His house, and He will feel at home in ours.”

“Fourth, the finest homes are refuges from the storms of life. The Lord has promised that those who keep the commandments of God “prosper in the land.” God’s prosperity is the power to press forward despite the problems of life.”

God will take our messes and building blocks and work with us to create something breathtaking. As we align ourselves with God and the Savior we will prosper and have peace, “the power to press forward despite the problems of life.”

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