06 April 2010

Impressions from General Conference, April 2010

My impression of General Conference? It can be summed up in three scriptures from Doctrine and Covenants 45:
37 Ye look and behold the figtrees, and ye see them with your eyes, and ye say when they begin to shoot forth, and their leaves are yet tender, that summer is now nigh at hand;
38 Even so it shall be in that day when they shall see all these things, then shall they know that the hour is nigh.
39 And it shall come to pass that he that feareth me shall be looking forth for the great day of the Lord to come, even for the signs of the coming of the Son of Man.

Sadly, many people I have spoken to that listened to this most recent session of Conference have not understood the extremity of what we were just told.

We as a people and a Church were not being scolded by our leaders for no reason. We were being warned and instructed on how to prepare--in all immediacy--for the return of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Although Elder Cook so rightly reminded us that no one--not even the angels in heaven--know when the Savior will return, we can be certain that this event IS NOT far hence. From the warning voices of our leaders, and the signs of the times, we can see that the leaves on the fig tree are beginning to appear. We truly are in the season before His return to the earth, when the Messiah "shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven." (Acts 1: 11)

I can say this and there are many, even in the Church, who will not believe me. But I ask them: when the warning call that our Lord's day approaches quickly, when the clarion voice telling His people that they should prepare, when those messages finally come--from whom can we expect them? What will they sound like?

I testify that those warnings will come from His elected servants in the one true church of God, even the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. And I will be so bold as to say that these messages have already begun in recent sessions, and have grown in strength to become the great outpouring of revelation we received this past weekend. The contents of that Conference are available to all who will receive them here.

Listen carefully to each talk and I testify that you can hear for yourself the pieces that together form a single, unified, distinct warning--straight from the Lord Himself.

What does this change mean for the members of the Church? Many have attached themselves to the obvious, surface understanding that we must refocus our efforts as parents. These same well-meaning members, many of whom are my dearest friends, have viewed this as an invitation to reconsider the importance of the family; but they have not stopped to ask themselves why that invitation is so important.

The children that are coming to the earth in these days are special and choice spirit children of our Heavenly Father. They have been prepared for a special and sacred mission here upon the earth. For all we know, we could be raising and preparing the generation of Saints that will meet the Savior Jesus Christ at His coming, if not rearing the parents or grandparents of that choicest of all generations. Elder Donald Hallstrom pointed out a crucial timeline from the Book of Mormon that we already see here in our days--the impact of our immediate righteousness and unrighteousness on our posterity for 3 and 4 generations. This approximate timeline was given by no accident, as well as the plea for us to focus on our families as a means of sacred protection. If our families fall apart now, those generations will not be prepared for whatever their sacred responsibilities might be--and the consequences of that failure would be more devastating than we can possibly imagine.

A change I feel I must make for myself--having not yet been married nor had any children--is to become a voice of warning for my God and my Church in the days to come. How can people prepare to face an enemy, to avoid casualties in a battle they do not see coming? This choice may put me in a dangerous position in the years to come; sooner, perhaps, than even I realize at the rate our society continues to decay. Nevertheless, I know I have been prepared to take that stance. Though I may be young, I will not be ashamed of what I know in my heart to be true, and will continue to strive to be "an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity." (1 Timothy 4: 12)

I testify that even in these times of urgency, the glory of our Lord and Savior does not fade. We are not powerless here on the earth to the storms that rage, to nations and principalities, to wars and rumors of wars, and that adversary who ever seeks to destroy us. We have an Advocate, a Mediator, a Champion for our souls--even Jesus Christ. I testify that the Restoration that began in 1820 continues on in the lives of Saints everywhere; that truth and Priesthood, power and authority of Almighty God are once again on the earth. I echo the immortal words of Joseph Smith, the Prophet of that Restoration, when he asked, "Shall we not go on in so great a cause?" (Doctrine and Covenants 128: 22)

To my last breath, may my soul respond with a resounding "YES!" to that question, now and always, in the name of my Lord and Savior, my Deliverer and Redeemer, even Jesus Christ.
AMEN

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