In his opening remarks for the October 2021 General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, President Russell M. Nelson stated that “this conference would be a time of revelation and reflection for all who seek those blessings”. In this post, I’m going to explore ways to make General Conference a time of revelation and reflection.
For me, General Conference was exactly what President Nelson prayed for. On the revelation front, I was inspired to start this blog and discuss the things I have learned from the talks given. Reviewing the talks has caused me to reflect on my life and where I can improve. But it also has left me with a question.
Other times of revelation and reflection
What other times can be a period of revelation and reflection? As I have pondered this, I came up with the following list:
- Family Home Evening – As I spend time with my family, what would the Lord have me learn? How can I be a better husband and father? Is there something one of my children or my spouse needs?
- Family Scripture Study – When reading scriptures, what lessons in these verses can I emphasize that will help my family? What lessons do I need to put into my life?
- Sacrament Meeting – Do I view the talks in Sacrament Meeting as a chance to seek revelation? Are there items from the talks that can help me reflect on my life and become better?
- “Secular” Learning – This includes my interests such as Math, Physics, Chemistry, Computer Science, Woodworking, etcetera. In what ways can these areas help me to be better as a husband, father, neighbor, and friend? Is there anything in these areas that strengthens my testimony of God, Jesus Christ and the Plan of Salvation?
Knowledge of our Savior
President Nelson also stated that “There has never been a time in the history of the world when knowledge of our Savior is more personally vital and relevant to every human soul.” Why is said knowledge vital and relevant to me at this time? As I have thought about this, I realized what this knowledge gives me. It sets a direction for my life, to strive to be like Jesus and live my life according to His teachings. This knowledge brings feelings of peace and helps me to remain unafraid, even when life takes an unexpected twist.
For example, in November of 2020, after almost 20 years at one company, I suddenly found myself let go and had to find new employment. Even though the news was a shock, I felt at peace. The reason I felt at peace was that I knew that trying to live the teachings of Jesus would bless me. It didn’t happen overnight, but I eventually found a new job that has been a blessing to my family and has allowed me to continue to provide for my family.
Other areas where a knowledge of my Savior has blessed me is in my interactions with my fellowmen, raising children, and strengthening my marriage.
What to listen for in conference
President Nelson invited us to listen for three things during the conference, pure truth, the pure doctrine of Christ, and pure revelation.
What does pure mean? The dictionary definition of pure is “free from anything of a different, inferior, or contaminating kind; free from extraneous matter” (Dictionary.com). In spiritual terms, there is an equivalence between pure and eternal. Pure truth can be equated to eternal truth or God’s truth.
The word pure is found 147 times in the scriptures. Probably the most well-known verse is found in James 1:27 which states:
Pure areligion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To bvisit the cfatherless and dwidows in their eaffliction, and to keep himself funspotted from gthe hworld.James 1:27 King James Version of the Bible
What is “pure truth”? As stated above, it can be equated to eternal truth or God’s truth. Eternal truth is also absolute truth, which President Nelson testifies is real.
How does one find “pure truth”? We learn in the scriptures that truth is revealed by the power of the Holy Ghost (see Moroni 10:5). By listening for and understanding the Holy Ghost we can receive pure truth.
When I was seven years old, the missionaries knocked on our door. My mom was looking for God’s true church and was inspired to let them in. We were introduced to the Gospel of Jesus Christ by these young men. However, there was something more to it than just the words they shared. There was a feeling associated with their words. I didn’t know it at the time, but it was the Holy Ghost letting me know that what those young men were sharing was pure truth. I was baptized at age eight and given the gift of the Holy Ghost. Since then He has been a companion to help me understand pure truth.
The Pure Doctrine of Christ
What is the doctrine of Christ? My understanding is that the doctrine of Christ encompasses all the covenants and ordinances required to be exalted. Exalted means raised up to live and dwell with God. As we make and keep the covenants and participate in the ordinances, we must live as Christ did. This means we keep the two great commandments:
- Love the Lord thy God with all they heart, might, mind, and strength and
- Love thy neighbor as thyself
Living the doctrine of Christ is not easy sometimes. Several years ago, in a general conference of the church a recommendation was made to not view rated R movies. This was not a commandment, at least not to my knowledge, but the recommendation came from a prophet of God. Cheryl and I pondered on the recommendation and decided that we would not watch rated R movies from that time forward. This is something we feel allows us to live as Christ did. I tell this story to emphasize that each of us needs to decide on our behaviors in areas where we have not received a direct commandment. We counsel with the Lord and determine for ourselves how we can best live like Christ, keep our covenants, and live the two great commandments.
In 2 Nephi 32:3 we read “Angels speak by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore they speak the words of Christ.” The grand majority of the time pure revelation comes to us via the Holy Ghost. It is His role to testify of Christ, to “manifest the truth of [things] unto you”, and by His power we “may know the truth of all things” (Moroni 10:4-5). If we seek for the ministering of the Holy Ghost, we can receive answers to our questions.
My freshman year in college was a turning point for me. I came to Brigham Young University not sure where my life was headed spiritually. I lived in W hall in Deseret Towers on the second floor with a lot of other young men my age. I watched as each of them bore their testimonies, prepared to serve missions and lived the gospel. I saw how happy they were. It was a happiness I didn’t feel and I wondered how I could get that feeling. I wanted that feeling.
I was also enrolled in a Book of Mormon class that was taught by someone who had recently converted to the church. He was an amazing instructor who also exuded his love of the Book of Mormon while teaching. I saw a similar happiness in him and again longed to have that same feeling.
Right around my birthday, which was towards the end of the semester, I decided that if I wanted to have the happiness I saw around me, I needed to know if the things I had been taught and once accepted were true. I had time alone in my room one night and got on my knees to pray. As I prayed I felt a tingle come over my whole body, a sensation I vividly remember to this day. It was a feeling of peace and love that I recognized came from the Holy Ghost. He answered my prayer and let me know that the things I was being taught and had been taught came from God and that the path laid out by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the path that leads back to God. I have never forgotten this feeling and if I ever doubt, I think back on that night and remember that I received a witness from God about what was true and right.
Applying This Message
So how does one apply the things that President Nelson shared in these opening remarks? For me, there are two ways to do this.
First, pay attention to the talks that affected you most. Those feelings are the Holy Ghost’s way of letting you know that there is something there for you to learn, improve, or share.
The second way was an activity I did during conference. A few days before general conference the Church News published 15 invitations from April 2021 conference. This was a good review of the things that we were invited to do after April’s conference. I created a worksheet that I kept with me during conference where I could write down 15 invitations that stuck out to me during October’s conference. I then proceeded to write them down as conference went on. Later, I typed them up and have hung them in our kitchen. They stand as a reminder of the invites I personally felt I needed to accept.
In conclusion, President Nelson’s opening remarks to the October 2021 General Conference set the stage for every talk given thereafter. For me, it truly was a time of “revelation and reflection”. I listened for pure truth, the pure doctrine of Christ, and pure revelation. I hope that you also were able to have revelation and reflect on your life. I look forward to sharing more of my insights into the other talks given in conference and I hope you will share your insights with me.
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