For any of my readers unfamiliar with the Mormon faith, we believe in a living prophet and twelve apostles. Every 6 months, the membership of the church worldwide participates in General Conference, usually watching on TV by satellite as these prophets, seers and revelators teach us about the doctrine of Christ. It’s kind of a modern-day Sermon on the Mount. Anyway, it’s one of my favorite times of the year; a time of spiritual refueling and a re-commitment to things that I know are true and right.
I like to think that I’ve matured spiritually a little bit over the years. I personally believe that one of the signs of spiritual maturity is to listen to talks and lessons and seek for ways to apply the principles to my own life instead of thinking things like, “I hope so-and-so is paying attention to this,” or “The such-and-such family should really hear this talk.” I’ve finally determined that passing off a teaching to another is a wasted opportunity to better myself. Having said that, I can totally understand Matt’s excitement to run home from the Priesthood session of Conference on Saturday night and say to me, “You’ll never guess what President Uctdorf said. You’re going to die!” I raised an eyebrow while he flipped through his notes. “He said Don’t spend hours and hours creating a blog and neglecting your children.“
So I have decided to leave the church.
This leads me to the concept of conference-induced guilt. And like the title of my post says, it’s a good thing. What I feel is not a Boy-you’re-making-a-lot-of-mistakes-and-you-are-a-failure feeling, but rather a humbling You-are-trying-but-you-can-do-better feeling. And it’s good for me. It motivates me, reminds me, encourages me. It re-converts me.
So here is a list of things that I learned from General Conference this weekend. Some are things that were specifically said. Many are thoughts that came into my mind and heart as I listened.
- I’m thankful that there are living prophets on the earth.
- My children have been driving me crazy this past week, but I love them. I need to make them a priority. And besides teaching them, I need to pray for them and ask God to bless them to grow up righteous and obedient.
- I need to laugh more instead of getting bugged.
- The temple is important. As the world gets crazier, the need for the peace of the temple will grow and grow. Maybe I can eliminate something from my budget so that I can pay a regular babysitter and put temple attendance as a regular item on my calendar.
- I don’t even know what real adversity is. My life, though sometimes emotionally challenging is a piece of cake compared to some of the great challenges other people have faced. Instead of complaining about my bad days, I should be grateful for my abundant blessings and ease.
- I need to be more worried about what God thinks than what anyone else thinks.
- The depth of Jesus Christ’s Atonement is awesome. I am reminded that my small, occasional feelings of loneliness can be swallowed up and comforted by a loving, completely understanding Savior. (Elder Holland’s was my very favorite talk.)
- Satan is working hard to destroy things that are important. When I get in a grumpy funk, I’m not the best companion in the world. I need to be careful that I don’t let that kind of temptation/distraction be a detriment to my marriage. I’m sure Satan would love to see it fail.
- I can give a little more to my calling at church. My Sundays should be spent in service to others. Ask myself, “How can I bless people today?” Perhaps I need to visit more of the children to show love to them. I need to teach reverence and respect to the Primary children, starting with my own example.
- When someone is lost or stranded spiritually, we should reach out to them and not judge.
I’m sure that when I re-read the talks in the Ensign magazine, many other things will stand out to me and I will again desire to do better. Is anyone interested in having an online Ensign Book Club? We could schedule one talk a week to study from the most recent conference, and then have an in-post discussion about our favorite parts and insights– lessons we learn, things to work on, etc. I’m not sure about all the details, but I would love to have a forum where we could study something together and report to each other about our insight. Just a thought.
How was Conference for you?