Tuesday, April 9, 2013

General Conference--Awesome as Ever!

photo credit: lds.org
What a fabulous weekend!!  I love General Conference!!!!  I have been watching 10 hours of General Conference (for us women, if you include the General Young Women's Meeting in April and the General Relief Society Meeting in October) for the last 25 years.  It is never a disappointment.  In fact, they are the weekends I live for.  You may believe watching that many speakers would be tiresome, but for me, it uplifts and heals my soul.  It gives me information and direction for the coming six months and this conference was no different.

We have always wanted to make Conference Weekend something special at our house so our children would look forward to it.  In the beginning, we just bought everyone a new coloring book and new crayons or markers, so they would have something quiet to do for the time allotted.  As our traditions grew, we added having pizza in between Saturday's sessions.  Then we began inviting the missionaries over to have pizza with us.  Saturday evening we usually have something light for dinner and make cookies.  For Sunday, we have sandwiches and chips in between sessions.  They broadcast some amazing videos and other information in between the sessions.  For a while I could hardly pull myself away, but I did want the little ones to go outside and run around in the sunshine for a bit.

Even though we have these fabulous traditions (they are fabulous to me), the best part about General Conference is the spiritual uplift I receive.  Probably for the last 15 years, I have been bringing questions to conference---ANY questions, and any number of them.  One year I wanted to know what to do with our old, dead suburban.  Was I suppose to fix it ($3,000 of repair which we did not have)?  Was I suppose to get a new car (we couldn't afford a car payment)?  And if we weren't going to repair it, how was I to dispose of it?  Now do you think ANY of the brethren or sisters who spoke directly addressed this question for me?  Nope, not one.  But as I listened, I heard the Spirit whisper to me.  I knew we needed to get rid of the suburban.  It would not be worth our money to fix it and we did not have it.  I went forward in faith.  Just so you know the end of the story, we borrowed a friend's van for several weeks.  Then one of the people I love in my ward, came to us and offered to sell us their van because they were leaving on a mission and their children couldn't use it.  We explained our finances and told them we would love to, but didn't know how we could afford it.  They didn't care.  They made arrangements we could manage, and brought over the van and title.  I wept, and wept.  The Lord knows our needs and He will take care of us.

Another time, I had a question about something I read in the scriptures, a particular passage and phrase.  I had looked it up, cross-referenced it, and read everything I could find about it.  Nothing.  I prayed to know what it meant.  I took the question to conference.  During the conference, Elder Oaks quoted the scripture I had in question, and then said, "This means....."  I about fell off my chair.  A direct question, a direct answer!  I had not had that happen before or since.  But I know the Lord knew my question, heard my prayer, and inspired an apostle to explain the meaning.

Sometimes my questions are about temporal things, sometimes they are about spiritual things.  Always they are unique to me, because they are my questions.  I have taught the children to come to conference with questions, to sit, literally, at the feet of the Apostles and to drink from the Spirit that presides at that meeting, to receive answers, inspiration, healing and direction.  When you have that direct of a link to the Spirit of the Lord, why would you be or do anything else?  I cannot.  I need that information and healing, that direction.  I spiritually need it.

I have noticed something else.  The earlier I began preparing my questions, the earlier I receive the answers.  I try to have my questions ready the week before General Conference, so I have them when I listen to the General YW meeting or the General RS meeting.  This year was no different.  I started receiving answers, in one case, even before I knew there was a question.  Little bits and pieces of information started trickling in.  I held onto them.  Realized I had a question.  Asked the question, and almost immediately received answers.  Then during conference, I received reasons, sacred reasons for some very serious and hear-rending questions for me.

And I will add one more example.  When I was sealed in the temple, we were waiting in a sealing room before the ceremony began.  I had a question about the endowment.  I asked Drew.  He didn't know the answer and told me that it wasn't important.  But I really, really wanted to know.  As we were waiting, our sealer (the man performing the ceremony) approached us.  He said he had felt impressed to explain something to us.  He then went on to answer my question, verbatim, without me ever asking him.  The Lord knew my question.  From the time I have been asking questions, He has been answering them.  He will do the same for you.

Now, I know there are a few principles that need to be in place.
  • I do my very best to do the things I know the Lord has asked of me.  Obedience is a key in receiving personal revelation.  I am not perfect and I make mistakes, but I always try to do what I know He wants me to. 
  • I have been baptized in His church, through the proper authority.  Part of this ordinance, gives me the gift of the Holy Ghost, or the promise from my Father in Heaven, that if I am obedient, I have the right to the companionship of this member of the Godhead.  It is his responsibility to reveal truth.  You do not need to be baptized to receive revelation, but it certainly helps because there is a difference between the gift of the Holy Ghost given at baptism and the Light of Christ given to all men (that is a different post, to be written later).
  • I do not ask very many 'why' questions.  I do not think they are very helpful.  I do wonder why sometimes, but more often than not, I try to phrase my questions more into things I need to do.  What am I to learn from this circumstance?  How do I manage this situation?  I guess I should rephrase that a little.  Why in terms of 'why do we do things in the church this way,' or 'why is this doctrine in place or important'---those are good 'why' questions.  But 'why is this happening to me' or 'why do I have to go through this'---those are not good 'why' questions.  Although I think the answers to these questions are important, I am usually not ready for the answers when I am asking those questions.  I find that as I go on in life, the answers to those questions come or I can later see what I learned from that experience or situation.  But in the moment of the learning, those questions impede my progress and do not aid in my spiritual journey.
So there it is in a blog post.  Make sure the next time you come to General Conference with your questions, you bring a pencil and paper to write down the answers.  What experiences do you have with receiving answers from the Lord?

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