Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Preparing for General Conference

This is a chance for Heavenly Father to speak to us and teach us. The messages given will become personalized for us. If we ponder and ask ourselves questions, then the Spirit will speak to us and answer our questions. Then we need to act upon the things which He instruct us. In a talk given by Pres. Gordon B Hinckley in a conference talk he gave in October 2000 he said this Following the benediction we shall depart this great hall, turn off the lights, and lock the doors. You who are listening across the world will switch off your television set or the radio or shut down the Internet. As we do so, I would hope that we will remember that when all is over, "Still stands thine ancient sacrifice, An humble and a contrite heart" (Hymns, no. 80).

I hope that we shall ponder with subdued feelings the talks to which we have listened. I hope that we will quietly reflect on the wonderful things we have heard. I hope that we will feel a little more contrite and humble.

All of us have been edified. The test will come in the application of the teachings given. If, hereafter, we are a little more kind, if we are a little more neighborly, if we have drawn nearer to the Savior, with a more firm resolution to follow His teachings and His example, then this conference will have been a wonderful success. If, on the other hand, there is no improvement in our lives, then those who have spoken will have in large measure failed.

Those changes may not be measurable in a day or a week or a month. Resolutions are quickly made and quickly forgotten. But, in a year from now, if we are doing better than we have done in the past, then the efforts of these days will not have been in vain.

We will not remember all that has been said, but there will arise from all of this a spiritual uplift. It may be indefinable, but it will be real. As the Lord said to Nicodemus, "The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit" (John 3:8).

So it will be with the experience we have enjoyed. And perhaps, out of all we have heard, there may be a phrase or a paragraph that will stand out and possess our attention. If this occurs, I hope we will write it down and reflect on it until we savor the depth of its meaning and have made it a part of our own lives.

In our family home evenings I hope we will discuss with our children these things and let them taste the sweetness of the truths we have enjoyed. And when the Ensign magazine comes out in November, with all of the conference messages, please don't just throw it aside with the comment that you have heard it all, but read and ponder the various messages. You will find many things that you missed when you listened to the speakers.

I have only one regret concerning the conference. That is that so few of the Brethren and sisters have opportunity to speak. It is simply a matter of the constraints of time.

Tomorrow morning we will be back at our jobs, back to our studies, back to whatever constitutes the busy regimen of our lives. But we can have the memories of this great occasion to sustain us.

We can draw nearer to the Lord in our prayers. These can become conversations of thanksgiving. I can never fully understand how the Great God of the Universe, the Almighty, invites us as His children to speak with Him individually. How precious an opportunity is this. How wonderful that it actually happens. I testify that our prayers, offered in humility and sincerity, are heard and answered. It is a miraculous thing, but it is real.

Let us lower our voices in our homes. Let love abound and find expression in our actions. May we walk the quiet ways of the Lord, and may prosperity crown our labors.

Another thing we also need prepare for General Conference is to recognize the voice of the spirit. This takes practice and there are 2 ways that we can do this. The first is in Doctrine and Covenants 8:2 ' Yea, behold, I will tell you in your mind and in your heart, by the Holy Ghost, which shall come upon you and which shall dwell in your heart' the second way is through a family member or friend. We also need to prepare to listen to the spirit. In Preach My Gospel it says thatThe Spirit is always available to guide and direct you. However, the Spirit speaks
quietly, through your feelings as well as your mind. One great challenge for you and
those you work with is to recognize the quiet, subtle promptings of the Holy Ghost.
President Boyd K. Packer taught: “The voice of the Spirit is described in the scripture
as being neither ‘loud’ nor ‘harsh.’ It is ‘not a voice of thunder, neither . . . voice of a great
tumultuous noise.’ But rather, ‘a still voice of perfect mildness, as if it had been a whisper,’
and it can ‘pierce even to the very soul’ and ‘cause [the heart] to burn.’ (3 Ne. 11:3; Hel.
5:30; D&C 85:6–7.) Remember, Elijah found the voice of the Lord was not in the wind, nor
in the earthquake, nor in the fire, but was a ‘still small voice.’ (1 Kgs. 19:12.)
“The Spirit does not get our attention by shouting or shaking us with a heavy hand.
Rather it whispers. It caresses so gently that if we are preoccupied we may not feel it at
all. (No wonder that the Word of Wisdom was revealed to us, for how could the drunkard
or the addict feel such a voice?)
“Occasionally it will press just firmly enough for us to pay heed. But most of the time, if
we do not heed the gentle feeling, the Spirit will withdraw and wait until we come seeking
and listening and say in our manner and expression, like Samuel of ancient times, ‘Speak
[Lord], for thy servant heareth.’ (1 Sam. 3:10.)” (“The Candle of the Lord,” Ensign, Jan.
1983, 53).
If we are living worthy and endeavoring to do the right thing then we will be able to recognize the Holy Ghost. Most of our lives have been guided by the Holy Ghost. When we listen then we can recognize the Spirit more. We also need to learn to act on the promptings of the Spirit. We need to have faith to be able to recognize and act on those inspirations we are given. knowing what the big picture is in our lives- the same is for preparation. In preparing we are living eternal laws so we can be eternal people. How do we prepare for conference? Read previous conference talks to help gain perspective on what the Lord is trying to tell us. We also need to pray, the whole purpose of preparing is becoming closer to the Spirit. God will reveal himself to those who seek him out.

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