Sunday, April 1, 2007

Paradox enjoyed General Conference

"A general conference of the Church is a declaration to all the world that Jesus is the Christ, that He and His Father, the God and Father of us all, appeared to the boy prophet Joseph Smith in fulfillment of that ancient promise that the resurrected Jesus of Nazareth would again restore His Church on earth and again 'come in like manner as [those Judean Saints had] seen him [ascend] into heaven' (Acts 1:11). This conference and every other conference like it is a declaration that He condescended to come to earth in poverty and humility, to face sorrow and rejection, disappointment and death in order that we might be saved from those very fates as our eternity unfolds, that 'with his stripes we are healed' (Isaiah 53:5). This conference proclaims to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people the loving Messianic promise that 'his mercy endureth for ever' (see Psalm 136:1)." Jeffrey R. Holland

My gratitude for the General Authorities, the First Presidency, and the Spirit by which they speak is indescribable. General Conference has been a wonderful opportunity to cultivate my testimony; an opportunity to realize that my Heavenly Father knows my thoughts, my feelings, my fears, my hopes, my struggles. He knows me, and wishes for me to overcome my latter-day trials to be with Him again.

Being a writer, I thoroughly enjoyed the talk by Elder Holland on Words. He raised many issues that have weighed heavily on my mind as I contemplated how to progress in my literary career. How much artistic liberty am I willing to take? Am I willing to exchange the darker hues of human nature in my portraits of the psyche for the sake of maintaining my own standards? For these reasons and more, I've avoided too many endeavors in fiction prose. (As if I had the time anyway. LOL) I've realized from past experience that the best way to avoid a problem is to decide ahead of time what's to be done about it. Elder Holland's talk made me consider the power of words, and the good (and harm) that could be accomplished by using them improperly. I resolved the issue for now by deciding that my goal in my work will be to build faith where it might not have otherwise existed. If I can't do that, then I really don't have anything worthwhile to say. As a writer, I think this is an essential realization that will set me apart from the thousands of others with whom I will be competing.
Many of the other talks held a special relevance to me as well. James E. Faust's talk about forgiveness gave me a better understanding of how and why to forgive my father. Elder Bednar's Parable of the Pickle was well-developed and amusing, especially because pickles were their own food group for my sister and I when we were younger. Sister Matsumori's talk about 1st generation members touched me deeply, helping to alleviate my fears about being competent enough to share the gospel with my children. And Elder Scott's comments on prayer, and the Lord's response to them, left me feeling more confident in my understanding of promptings from the Holy Ghost. What amazes me is that despite the fact that conference is intended for the Church's 12,000,000 members, the concerns that lay quietly in my heart always seem to be addressed for me, and I leave the session with a better idea of what I need to do for myself and others. How some of the priests in my branch slept through it, I have no idea. LOL.
I've yet to listen to the Sunday afternoon session. I didn't attend it, through no fault of my own. Instead, I had a quiet afternoon with my boyfriend and his family. We are fast approaching Easter break , so I'll hopefully be able to watch the talks then. They may be the last thing on my mind, however, because I've committed to performing in the choir on Saturday and Sunday, and my family will no doubt intend to travel as they usually do...
That's the problem I have that never seems to be fully resolved, even after General Conference; how do I chose between Church and my family? Am I doing the right thing by making that decision? What is the right thing to do?
(Un)fortunately, I'm the only one that can make that decision.
Sustain'd