General Conference Book Club Week 17: Elder Cook

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Thank you to all of you who rejoined GCBC in full force last week.  It made me happy to know people were still participating.  (I really didn’t mean to guilt people into commenting, but I thought no one was still reading along with the Conference talks.  I’m over it now.  Thanks.)

This week we will study the talk by Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.  The talk is called “Our Father’s Plan– Big Enough for All His Children,” (click here to read it), and was part of the Saturday afternoon session of Spring General Conference.  This tagline seemed to be a good transition from last week’s talk by Elder Eyring:

Even though our journey may be fraught with tribulation, the destination is truly glorious.

And perhaps because I just returned from Nauvoo, that line makes me think of the hymn, “Come, come ye Saints.”  I don’t know if you’ve already seen this video based on a previous message from Elder Dallin H. Oaks, but it highlights the sweet balance of trial, courage, testimony, and blessings:

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5 thoughts on “General Conference Book Club Week 17: Elder Cook

  1. I had a lot of thoughts while I was reading this. The first one was when I read about stumbling blocks. We had some friends from Iowa come out to visit us a few weeks ago, and one of them is agnostic. After spending three days at our house, he admitted that he knew nothing about Mormons before visiting us except for that they lived in Utah. We informed him that actually, more LDS people live outside of the US than inside. Then he noted how we have a picture of Jesus in every room in our house. I had never even paid attention to that fact before, but it opened the door to a great conversation with him. I had previously thought of it as a stumbling block because I didn’t want to “shove Mormonism down his throat.” But clearly he was, if not interested, at least desirable to discuss things. A great eye-opening experience.

    My favorite quote in this talk is this: “It is equally important that we be loving and kind to members of our own faith, regardless of their level of commitment or activity. The Savior has made it clear that we are not to judge each other.” Amen! My dad has always been inactive in my parents’ married life, and the presumably well-intended things I have heard from other people’s mouths are just astoundingly ridiculous. My father is a great man, in many, many ways. I have learned a lot about not judging others, whether they attend church or not.

  2. Just last Sunday we were telling the kids one of the things they can do right now for missionary work is to be a good example of our faith. Then I read “we are viewed favorably when we live the teachings of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.” Exactly what I was telling my children.

    We have had several wonderful, strongly Christian neighbors in our travels and could always have candid, mutually respectful conversations about our beliefs. It has always struck me that they always believe that a loving God doesn’t condemn most of mankind to hell and that their own doctrine is not complete in explaining how non-Christians can be eventually saved. I thought it was interesting Elder Cook mentioned that as one of the stumbling blocks.

    I also liked the quote already mentioned about being loving and kind regardless of commitment and activity level. “The Savior made it clear that we are not to judge each other. This is especially true of members of our own family.” I have been worrying about a family member’s devotion level. They are active and have a strong testimony, but I wondered about their commitment level. This quote was a wake up call that it is not my place to judge their commitment. I’m glad I was still in the worrying phase and not the telling them about it phase!

  3. I too love the same quote as Erin, “It is equally important that we be loving and kind to members of our own faith, regardless of their level of commitment or activity. The Savior has made it clear that we are not to judge each other.” I might add people becoming members of our own faith. We had a family over for dinner last night who are investigating the church. The father has tatoo’s up and down his arms, and they kind of made my children a little nervous. The man explained to my son that he had made some bad choices when he was young and the tatoos were part of those choices. He loves coming to our church and has found the members very loving and kind. He had tried other religions where people said things about his tatoos. Tonight at dinner we were talking about the tatoo man, my second son said, “I hope the tatoos are the sticker ones.” I told him they weren’t, but that this man was repenting and changing. He felt the spirit and wants to be baptized. I asked the boys if God would remember his mistakes or remember that he changed. They knew the answer–God would remember that he repented and changed even if the mistakes were glaring at us on his arms. What if people had said terrible things to him about his arms, rather than helping him to change, they would have become a stumbling block. Thankful for my husband’s goodness in having them for dinner, it was a wonderful teaching tool for my boys, and a great lesson for me to remember look into people’s hearts and not there outward appearances!

  4. I also liked the quote: “The Savior has made it clear that we are not to judge each other. This is especially true of members of our own families. Our obligation is to love and teach and never give up.” I especially like the “love and teach and never give up” part. Especially with my children, I forget sometimes that my job is not to decide if they are trying their best or have made the best choices, but to love and teach them despite their shortcomings (but mostly, despite mine.) I think sometimes I need to focus more on the loving, teaching, and never giving up than on the mistakes I think I may have made in teaching them something, or their “commitment” to a principle I have tried to teach.
    (Okay, I’m not sure any of that makes sense, but I know what i mean, which I guess the most important thing.) 🙂

  5. First of all, I really like his summary of some of the LDS doctrines that are both difficult for others to believe and very easy to believe. Modern revelation is so NOT universal among most religions, and to me, that is what makes it all the more miraculous. The best analogy I can think of is that some unsung medical doctor in an obscure place claims to (and does) have the cure to some widely-believed-to-be-incurable disease. But the world at large is so convinced that all the scholars and powers that be have exhausted all avenues of relief, and the cure is “impossible.” Would his finding be miraculous and unexpected? Yes. And though unconventional and far from fame and spotlight, should it be embraced? Absolutely. Modern revelation is a religious principle that, IF true (and it is), opens a world of immeasurable good and progress to wandering, questioning souls. It is a blessing, and one that God wants us to have, despite our skepticism of its unremarkable sources.

    Also, I share the sentiment of Elder Cook that God has a place of glory for many, if not all, of his children. I am more liberal on this point than even many diehard LDS scholars, but I believe that His greatest treasure is His family, and He made a plan that allows (not dictates) that they be His forever. Even His children who choose to ignore Him in this life, will come face to face with Him and inherit blessings of His love, greatly enhanced by the grace and mercy accessible through His Son.

    Alright, enough of my wordy doctrinal stuff. I love The Queen’s comment about seeing her children more the way God does and less by her own measuring stick. It’s a good reminder to me. That whole concept of laying off judgment, even– no especially– among family and church members is such a well-needed rebuke for me. My expectations are probably far too high for other people, especially when I’m not capable of knowing who they really are and what they’re really capable of. I need to leave the judging to the Savior, and embrace my role to love. Period. The love should not be tempered by my gauge of their “worthiness.” Remember that, self. Heaven help you if God decides to use such a strict standard when he measures you.

    I’ve loved all your comments. Thanks.

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