by Kari Diane Pike
Every six months, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints holds a general conference during which "the First Presidency, members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and other General Authorities and General Officers of the Church...deliver messages of inspiration and guidance..." (https://www.lds.org/church/events/october-2017-general-conference?lang=eng).
I look forward to hearing these messages because I know from experience I will be enlightened and be given answers to questions and solutions to challenges I face. The 187th Annual General Conference was no exception. In fact, I can't think of a conference I have enjoyed more. At the end of each talk I kept thinking, "Wow. That is my favorite talk." Every single time. I laughed. I cried. I felt the sweet whispering of the Spirit witness the truth of the messages shared. And I rejoiced. I rejoiced to hear that our brothers and sisters in far away places will get a temple close enough for them to get there safely. My heart sang with the choirs, the songs I can longer sing with my own voice, but that I can feel in my heart.
The week leading up to General Conference, I challenged my early morning seminary students to pray about any questions they have and ask Heavenly Father that they might find answers as they listened to the talks given. I promised them that if they did this with sincere intent, they would be given answers. A little part of my mind chided me for making such a promise, but I knew it was true. I also knew that I had my own questions that concerned how to reach each of those incredible young men and young women.
One student proposed a question during class that I felt I hadn't answered to her satisfaction. The subject was off topic and caught me unprepared. I prayed that I would find an answer during one of the conference sessions. I wasn't disappointed. In fact, Elder Choi answered the question directly. I couldn't wait for seminary on Monday so that I could discuss the topic with my students.
Sunday evening after General Conference we chatted online with our children and grandchildren. I loved listening to everyone share the thoughts that inspired them most. The only child we couldn't talk to was our youngest son, currently a young volunteer in Moscow, Russia. Here's a little bit of what I wrote to him:
I was particularly touched by Elder Rasband's admonition to listen to the Spirit and act on impressions the first time they come. When we second guess ourselves, we question the Spirit and may lose opportunities to be an instrument in the Lord's hands (not Elder R's exact words...but what I got out of it). Anyway...I set a goal to listen and act the first time. Oh boy. I have so far to go!
Well, Thursday, a friend's name to my mind while I was preparing my seminary lesson for Friday. For a moment, I thought, Yes, I will send her a text as soon as I finish this lesson. I don't want to get distracted from this important thing. I want to magnify my calling. Instantly, I had a strong impression that the Spirit had brought her to my mind and I should text her that very minute.Over the past several days other family members and friends have shared experiences with me how their testimonies of Jesus Christ have grown as they've exercised their faith and put into practice the messages and admonitions they heard during General Conference. So much evidence of the Lord's promise:
So I did. "Thinking of you and your family. How did the dr. appt. go yesterday?" hugs~ and this is how she responded just a minute later: " The hard stuff is today. Thank you. This text was an answer to prayer. I asked the Lord to allow friends to show forth love to me today and this is my third contact, perfectly timed. Thank you."
Another experience shared...[One friend's] nonmember daughter-in-law watched conference with her Sunday afternoon. The dil's been slowly taking the discussions. She sobbed during Elder Costa's talk. She said it felt like he was speaking directly to her. So she must have told the missionaries this, then they shared it with someone and now...Elder Costa and his wife visited their home!
What I the Lord have spoken, I have spoken, and I excuse not myself; and though the heavens and the earth pass away, my aword shall not pass away, but shall all be bfulfilled, whether by mine own cvoice or by the dvoice of my eservants, it is the fsame. (Doctrine and Covenants 1:38)Tomorrow is Good Friday - a remembrance of the day that Jesus Christ suffered and bled and died and gave everything He had so that we can return to live with our Heavenly Father again someday. Not only did He save us from the bands of death, but He redeemed us. He made it possible for us to become more - more like the eternal beings Heavenly Father created us to be - more like Him!
I know that Jesus Christ is the Son of the Living God. I know that He is my Savior. I know that He restored the fullness of His gospel to the earth in these latter days through the prophet Joseph Smith. I know that we have a living prophet (Thomas S. Monson) and Apostles on the earth today and that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is organized just as Christ's church was organized in His day. I know that The Bible (the word of God given to His ancient prophets and apostles), and The Book of Mormon - Another Testament of Jesus Christ (given to His prophets in the ancient Americas) are the word of God.
I know that I am a daughter of a Heavenly Father who loves me and I do love Him. And I love all of you - even though we may have never met in person. I know that you are magnificent because you, too, are of divine heritage. God loves you. He is there for you. And it's never too late to reach up to Him.