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Saturday, March 28, 2015

#LDSConf - Why You Should Watch

Seriously, it's better than the superbowl.  It's better than the Emmy's, the Grammy's, Academy Awards, the Oscars, the YTMA's or anything else of that nature.  Yes, I'm talking about General Conference for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints; and yes, it really does deserve way more attention than any of those other things ever did.

I'm going to start this one on a serious note because of the importance of the subject matter.  I'll also do a follow up entry based on the content of this years General Conference.

It happens every six months and there is, quite honestly, no better time of the year to have hear the word of the Lord as close to straight from the source as you're guaranteed to get.  Why do you think the world is so overly saturated with distractions like SNL, The Kardashians, "beliebers", the Harper Lee controversy, one way trips to mars, the latest gadgets from Apple, 50 Shades of Crap and more? *edit* This was written in March of 2015, so different problems are more prevalent today, of course.

(er... excuse me, 50 Shades of Gray - I know, I know it's no mystery how I feel about that)

The devil has been working hard for thousands of years and has more practice than most people have any idea at using mankind's biggest weaknesses to distract us from those things that are most important.  You see, as Jack R. Christianson said, the devil "doesn't have to worry about most of the world.  Most of the world doesn't care about coming to Christ, so he doesn't worry about them; because he's not worried if they do terribly sinful things.  What he's worried about is that they just don't do good things.  See, either way it doesn't matter.  You can go to hell by sinning, but you can also make it there by just not doing any good.  He doesn't care if you go out and commit all the grievous sins.  What he cares about is that you don't come to know the Master; because if you come to know the Master, you'll want to repent and you'll want to apply the Atoning blood of Christ and when you apply the Atoning blood of the Master, then you can be cleansed and you can overcome anything and the adversary knows that."

So he applies all his time to lying to us and distracting us the best he can to keep us away from true happiness, or, in other words, coming to know Jesus Christ, the real power of His love, His atonement and become like Him by studying and listening to words of God's prophets.  He doesn't care whether or not we are miserable as long as we just aren't seeking true happiness through the Messiah, the living Son of the living God.

That's at least one reason you should watch, to make sure you don't let distracting desires of the natural man within you be exploited by the adversary.

What's another reason?  I remember one line of the cartoon movie "The Sword in the Stone" where Merlin tells arthur "[D]on't you get any foolish ideas that magic will solve all your problems.  Because it won't!  [Authur] But, sir, I don't have any problems.  [Merlin] Oh, bah, everybody's got problems.  The world is full of problems."  I don't care who you are.  If you say your life is problem free, you're deceiving yourself.  No matter how happy we are, there is always a problem to face, several times a day, no matter how big or small, obvious or subtle, whether or acknowledged or ignored.  It just depends on how you deal with it.  I love, therefore, the beautiful truth that the solution to literally EVERY. SINGLE. PROBLEM. that ever was, is, or will be, can be found in the words of our Savior, Jesus Christ, as spoken through the Holy Ghost to His servants, the prophets and to us to confirm their words.

No matter how dark or bright your life appears to you right now, there is something you need to hear from General Conference, some bit of help you need, something you need to be reminded of, something you need to repent of, something about which you are too complacent, something you're over-thinking too much, something you are not thinking enough about, something you need help overcoming, someone you need help forgiving, a habit you need help breaking, or forming, or something else you are lacking in your life or your heart.  There is ALWAYS something everyone - EVERYONE - needs to hear at General Conference.

If you need a reminder of just how awesome conference is.  Watch any of these:

by Jeffrey R. Holland

by Dallin H. Oaks

by David A. Bednar

by Gordon B. Hinckley

by Boyd K. Packer

by Ronald E. Poelman

by Jörg Klebingat

This site posted an article called "The Worst talks ever". I'm not writing to talk badly about anyone and I don't know who is responsible for this article, but it looks like the adversary got a hold on someone's heart enough here so that they felt a need to label any prophets words as "worst".  Prophets are one of God's key ways of emphasizing the truth in Jacob 4:13 "Behold, my brethren, he that prophesieth, let him prophesy to the understanding of men; for the Spirit speaketh the truth and lieth not. Wherefore, it speaketh of things as they really are, and of things as they really will be; wherefore, these things are manifested unto us plainly, for the salvation of our souls."  Thus, since we understand most easily when we are spoken to in ways we can relate to or understand, God speaks to us through the Holy Ghost and confirms the truth of the words spoken by prophets.

We are so stubborn and far to prideful for our own good most of the time.  From the mouth of Joseph Smith, who saw God and His Son in person, "There has been a great difficulty in getting anything into the heads of this generation. It has been like splitting hemlock nuts with a corn-dodger [a piece of corn bread] for a wedge, and a pumpkin for a beetle [a wooden mallet]. Even the Saints are slow to understand."  There is a reason God commands us to get a constant flow of the love of His Son in our lives, through study and application of the scriptures/words of prophets.  Our level of understanding is so far below His that that is what it takes for us to eventually become like Him.

The last reason, kind of a two in one, I will give to watch conference is summarized by what I read this morning in Alma 26, where Ammon spends an entire chapter glorying and rejoicing in God and the strength and ability we get from Him to be good, be happy, be healed, protected and changed.  There are many more reasons, of course, but I'll end with these.  In verses 15 and 16, Ammon says "15.  Yea, they were encircled about with everlasting darkness and destruction; but behold, he has brought them into his everlasting light, yea, into everlasting salvation; and they are encircled about with the matchless bounty of his love; yea, and we have been instruments in his hands of doing this great and marvelous work.  16.  Therefore, let us glory, yea, we will glory in the Lord; yea, we will rejoice, for our joy is full; yea, we will praise our God forever. Behold, who can glory too much in the Lord? Yea, who can say too much of his great power, and of his mercy, and of his long-suffering towards the children of men? Behold, I say unto you, I cannot say the smallest part which I feel."

One of the best ways to be reminded of how good we really have it, as illustrated in verse 15, is by presenting it in contrast to the opposite side of things.  It really is much easier to tell how white something is by placing it against dark colors, speaking both figuratively and literally;  and in verse 16 we are reminded of the completely independent, raw, all consuming and encompassing, rich love and power of God in and of itself.  We can never say or hear too much of the word of the Lord, within our ability to comprehend.

So to all who read this, I beg you, whether or not you are a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, whether or not you are even Christian, whether or not you are even religious or spiritual or whatever else you are, I BEG you, for the sake of all that is good, for the sake of all that is holy, watch general conference.  Watch all the sessions.  Watch them and take notes.  Watch with a question.  Watch with a prayer in your heart.  Watch to rejoice.  Watch to be healed, to be happy, to be ready, to be protected, to receive guidance, or whatever other reason you want to use.  Don't make excuses. Just watch and see how it benefits your life.

https://www.lds.org/general-conference/