General Conference Book Club Week 13: Elder Cook

As the new year approaches, my wheels have been turning. I feel a natural pull to “organize every needful thing,” and set responsible goals.  I’m not talking about exercise and diet and cleaning out my closets (though they admittedly maybe should be high on my list), but to see if the way I live my life matches up with the things I really believe are most important.

I chose for this week a talk by Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve because it helps remind me where my greatest responsibilities (a.k.a. “stewardships”) lie.  I’m hoping that as I study it this week, it will help me to focus on what matters most as I set my goals and try to create places for righteous patterns in my life.  The talk is called “Stewardship — A Sacred Trust.,” and was delivered during the Sunday Afternoon session of conference.

“We try to do what is right because we love and want to please our Father in Heaven, not because someone is forcing us to obey.”

“I would suggest that if we think about giving an accounting of our actions to the Savior, our rationalizations will be seen in their true light.”

“My hope is that each of us will review individually and as families the stewardships for which we have responsibility and accountability.”

You can read it here, or watch it here, or listen here.  It’s also on page 91 in the November 2009 Ensign.  (Go here if you’re new to the General Conference Book Club and would like to learn more about it.)
I’d love to hear your thoughts about how this instruction can help us shape our goals.

8 thoughts on “General Conference Book Club Week 13: Elder Cook

  1. I am so excited to share my thoughts with this talk. I taught this talk in November for Relief Society. Let me share with you some of my thoughts.

    D&C 104:11-17 (I know this is long, but this scripture is what I based my whole lesson on) It is WISDOM in me; therefore a COMMANDMENT I give unto you that ye shall ORGANIZE and APPOINT every man his STEWARDSHIP.
    12)That every man may give an ACCOUNT unto me of the STEWARDSHIP which is APPOINTED unto him.
    13)For it is expedient that I, the Lord should make every man ACCOUNTABLE, as a STEWARD over EARTHLY BLESSINGS, which I have made and prepared for my creatures.
    14) I, the Lord, stretched out the heavens, and built the earth, my very handiwork; and ALL THINGS therein are MINE.
    15) And it is my purpose to provide for my saints, for ALL THINGS are MINE.
    16)But it must needs be don in MINE OWN WAY; and behold this the way that I, the Lord, have decreed to provide for my saints, that the poor shall be exalted, that that the rich are made low.
    17)For the earth is full, and there is enough and to spare; yea, I prepared all things, and have given unto the children of men to be AGENTS UNTO THEMSELVES.

    The words I capitalized will affect each one of differently. These words are strong and direct to what and how Heavenly Father wants us to handle our stewardships. These individual words will guide as we strive to care for those things the Lord has given to us upon this earth.

    Earthly Blessing
    All things therein are mine
    Mine own way
    Agents unto themselves

    1. What are the earthly blessings we have been given to be stewards over?
    2. How does wisdom and order pertain to our stewardships? Read Mosiah 4:27.
    3. How does following Christ’s example assist us in our stewardship efforts?
    4. Take inventory of your stewardships. How are your relationships with your spouse and children? How will you account for your earthly blessings to the Savior?

    I want you each to think about these questions in which I asked the sisters of my ward. I want you think about King Benjamin’s advice “that all things are done in order” “he should be diligent” “he might win the prize” “all things must be done in order” As I studied this lesson it helped me to understand that the Lord has given me a sacred trust, a sacred responsibility to care for the things he has given to me, to care for. When I read the part about “earthly blessing” it made me stop to think “my stewardship is not just over people, it is over everything He has blessed me with, from the laundry to my children.” It is amazing to see that the Lord is helping us to become like Him through learning how to care for those things that He has blessed us with as long as we do it the Order He has designed it to be done in.

    I hope that this all makes sense. I know I am giving more of a lesson than my thoughts, but order and balance keep resurfacing for me and I needed to teach myself once again. Hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and will have a Happy New Year.

  2. Keeping it short and simple here–This talk reminds me that as we think about what is important in our lives, it is always people more than things that matter. Being inclined to follow promptings triggers the strengthening of souls, more often than not our own spirit receives the most as we listen and follow through.

  3. At Education Week this year one of the teachers suggested we write a 100 goals list. It should be things you would like to do or accomplish in the next 10 years of your life. Put’s a whole new slant on New Year’s goals doesn’t it. 🙂

    He said we should write whatever we are impressed to write under the influence of the Spirit after praying about it. He told of a man who was impressed to write ” restore a 57 Chevy.” The man was surprised at the thought because he didn’t even like cars but he wrote down the goal anyway. A few years into his 100 goals list he had the opportunity to buy a 57 Chevy and remembering his goal he bought the car. It turns out that restoring that car, with his teenage son’s help, was the pivotal thing in bringing the boy back into the Church and family.

    He also said we should take weeks or months to compile the list. I have 67 items on my list so far. Some of them seem like “pie in the sky” goals, but he said that the Lord would bring people into our lives or arrange circumstances that would open the way to achieve our goals.

    He said that three of his goals when he first did this were to get a doctorate, become an Institute Director and speak at Education Week all three of which were “pie in the sky” goals when he made them. But, as he said, people were brought to him to help and circumstances opened up opportunities that he could not have forseen and he has achieved all three goals.

    It’s funny because I made myself a promise that when I attended Education Week this year I would NOT come home with lots of ideas and projects for myself and my family to do. I had tried and failed at that so many times that I was bound and determined not to do it again. My plan was to choose only one or two things for MYSELF to do and try to accomplish them this year.

    Turns out that the two ideas I brought home from Ed. Week were to get up at 5:00 a.m. every day and to write out my 100 goals list. Both are progressing very nicely so far. I have found that I am accomplishing several of the goals on my list almost without effort. The Lord really is working with me on this.

    Now goals have become something I look forward to and not the “grit your teeth and push it through to completion (only to fail in the end).” It’s the best Education Week I have ever attended because of that one class. Randal Wright was the teacher and he has written a book titled Achieveing Your Life’s Mission.

    Sorry this comment was so long. Next time I ‘ll write an abbreviated version.

  4. I am new, but love the club idea. Anyways, I reread this talk and wanted to comment on it. I think for me, it is easier to address the later of the two areas that Elder Cook addressed, the stewardship of the poor and needy.It is harder for me to serve my family. Maybe it is because I know what each of my family members are capable of doing, and not so much strangers or others outside of my family. I think that this is an area of improvement that I will defenitely be focusing on more so without the murmurring. Good Choice. I needed it.

  5. The quote that stood out to me the most was in the first half of the talk, about the stewardship we have of our family. He said, “Remember that having religious observance in the home is as important as providing food, clothing, and shelter.” While I know I am doing all right in this area, I KNOW I can do better. I have also noticed that I need to pay attention to things my children may be questioning or not understanding so I can address them, whether in FHE or right at the moment. (For example, Ethan was concerned about fasting and the fact that I was eating on a fast Sunday. I explained that I was pregnant so I couldn’t fast, but he still didn’t understand. We had a great lesson that Monday in FHE about the importance of fasting and paying fast offering, and I believe he understands it now.)

    See, now that wasn’t so hard to read the talk and leave a comment! I will definitely do it next week. And if I stop procrastinating, I can do it even more often.

  6. Just checking in. I listened to this talk the other night… I don’t have much more to add, but I just wanted to let you know that you’re very much appreciated for continuing this!!

  7. This comment isn’t about this talk in particular, but I just wanted to say how much participating in this “book club” has blessed my life these past few months, in ways I did not expect. I’ve always made a goal to read the Conference talks over in between Conferences – and always failed. This time I’m sticking with it though, and the blessings have been wonderful!

    For example, I spoke in Sacrament meeting last Sunday on this very talk by Elder Cook. I was able to bring in references and quotations from other talks that tied in very nicely because I had read and studied them. I was able to help my husband write his talk (on Pres. Uchtdorf’s talk) because I had studied it too. Then I went to Relief Society where quotes from another Conference talk you had posted were discussed. I was thrilled to actually know what they were talking about and be able to contribute (especially since I generally only catch half the lesson thanks to my 4-month-old!) I have found that discussions with my visiting teaching sisters are much more enlightening as I am able to tie in ideas from recent Conference talks. And in my everyday life of child raising and household work, I find that the words of the prophets come to mind often, providing comfort when I feel down, and answers to specific parenting problems. It has been truly amazing!

    I just wanted to express how grateful I am that you host this club. Studying these talks has brought the Spirit into my life more, and has strengthened my testimony that Heavenly Father does know me personally and speaks to me through his prophets. It’s been a wonderful journey so far. Thank you!!

  8. Wow – what a powerful talk. Especially when I think about the people of Haiti. Until now, I haven’t donated…we’re having hard time, but I’m realizing that I can give, and I should and I will.

    I needed to read that providing “religious observance in the home is as important and food, clothing and shelter.” I take my kids to church and we pray before meals but I know that I am not doing all I can to “immerse” my “children in the gospel of Jesus Christ.” I have so much room for improvement. Weeks go by with out doing FHE. Days pass with out family prayer.

    There is so much to think about here.

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