Here are a few quotes (as close to word for word as I can get), ideas, and reflections on what touched my heart during General Conference this weekend:
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf: "Accept that darkness exists, but do not dwell there."
Coming from a perspective of depression and feeling that I'm often surrounded by darkness, it's a good reminder to me to accept the fact that it's real, but not to focus on it. I need to focus my attention on God's light instead.
Elder L. Tom Perry: "None of us should underestimate how driven Satan is to succeed."
While it's good to check our own commitment and determination to do what is right, it's also smart to keep in mind the fact that we've got a very real, very powerful adversary who wants nothing more than to lead us away from God and make us miserable.
President Thomas S. Monson: His story about his childhood friend, Danny, and their attempt to clear a field of weeds by lighting it on fire. I couldn't help but think of my older brother and his attempt to light some small fires in weeds near our home in California. It made the story all the more real to me, but I didn't lose sight of the lesson contained in it: there is value in obedience!
President Monson: "The great test of this life is obedience."
We face many tests in this life, but as the scriptures say "... Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams." (1 Samuel 15:22)
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland: "...trying to stuff a turkey through it's beak."
I couldn't help it. I laughed pretty hard at the mental image on this one. I loved all of the light-hearted moments of conference. It felt good to laugh and to know that living the gospel isn't supposed to be a heavy burden- it's meant to bring us joy!
L. Whitney Clayton: On watching and learning to have a great marriage.
Here's my summary of his five principles for a strong marriage:
1) Both spouses believe marriage is priceless.
2) Faith. They go to church, do scripture study, say prayers, pay tithes. It's a mutual quest to be obedient.
3) Repentance. Humility is the essence of repentance. Put your spouse before your self.
4) Respect. They treat each other as equals, make decisions unanimously with equal votes. It's based on cooperation, not negotiation.
5) Love. Cleave to one another. Love with complete devotion.
I'm grateful for the lessons that are shared to help those of us who maybe didn't have the best role models of a happy marriage. It's also reassuring to know that my daughter can learn these principles before she even says "I do" and it will give her and her future husband a much better foundation to build on.
Erich W. Kopischke: "The feeling of being accepted by those we love is a basic human need."
Having struggled with self esteem issues and the desire for acceptance my entire life, this talk really resonated with me. I appreciated the reminder to focus on gaining God's acceptance because His is the only acceptance that will really fill the void.
All in all, this weekend's conference was just what I needed (again.) It's given me inspiration, hope, and the strength to get up tomorrow morning and keep trying. I'm extremely grateful for a loving Heavenly Father who has placed righeous men (and women) of wisdom and inspiration in positions to counsel us and give us guidance. I'm also thankful that each of these brothers and sisters accepted the assignment to speak to us and put so much thought and prayer into their messages. I don't know how anyone could listen to some of these talks and not believe. If you didn't get a chance to watch or listen to General Conference, you can go here to view it over the web.