Happy Easter! And welcome to the General Conference Book Club– Week 1. It seemed fitting today to start off our study of all of the General Conference talks with Elder Jeffrey R. Holland’s poignant sermon about the Atonement of Jesus Christ and His unique power to help anyone who ever feels alone. The goal is to read one General Conference talk a week and discuss it together as an on-line “book club.” A new talk will be posted each Sunday.
I realized that it’s not necessary for me to write up any post about my thoughts on the talk of the week. All of us (including me) can just come to the Sunday post (this one) at anytime during the week and share thoughts, findings, favorite quotes, applications, even questions from this talk. Personally, I think it would be a good idea to subscribe to comments from the post so that we can read each other’s insights and have a “real book club” conversation. (There are two ways to do this: 1. Below this post click on “Comments RSS” below the “Actions” list to subscribe to an RSS feed for comments, or 2. click the little box under the “Submit Comment” button so that comments are emailed to you.)
My own plan for this week, and for every week of book club, is to let the talk guide my personal scripture study throughout the week. First I’ll read the talk all the way through, then look up and read all the scripture references he quoted, and then break the talk down into segments to study them carefully and try to find other related scriptures that help me understand it better. Feel free to share any ideas of how you plan to study or apply the talks we read. (You’re allowed to do this however you want. You can have a goal to simply read the talk before the week is over, and that’s good, too.)
Here’s a little button you can put on your own blog if you’d like to. Feel free to invite friends (the real kind and bloggy kind as well) to participate. The more the merrier. You can link it directly to the GCBC page (http://diapersanddivinity.com/gcbc/) since it has all the instructions for the Book Club challenge, plus I’ll put a link there each week to keep track of the talks we have covered.
And try to comment when you’ve read each article, even something as simple as “I did it.” Then we have a certain motivation/accountability to each other to meet our goal of reading all the talks from the previous General Conference. The objective is to read the words of the living prophets and learn from them. Our book club community is for sharing and encouraging, but please don’t feel pressure that you have to come around and make profound insights or write eloquent summaries. Just show up and be counted!
Here’s a recent video that the Church posted on YouTube as a summary of the main points of Elder Holland’s talk. It’s beautiful and will get you in the mood to read it: