General Conference October 2018, Saturday Morning Session – “Deep and Lasting Conversion to Heavenly Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” – Elder Quentin L. Cook, Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
2 hour church!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Sunday Meeting Schedule
Wow, what a bombshell announcement! I think that was the biggest takeaway we all had from Elder Cook’s talk, wasn’t it? It was for me, anyway. At least until a few days had passed and I had time to really think about the implications of that change!
Over the years, I’ve heard older members of my ward talk about how Primary used to be held midweek. Priesthood and Relief Society meetings were also held on weekdays, I think. I’m too young to remember any of that, though. I don’t remember a time we didn’t have a 3 hour meeting on Sundays so this is all very exciting for me.
In the talk immediately preceding Elder Cook’s, President Nelson reminded us that the primary responsibility for teaching our children the doctrine of the Lord’s gospel rests with us, their parents! The third hour of church didn’t go away, it got moved into our homes!
I really enjoyed reading what Steve Reed had to say about this and I’ve been pondering what he and others have said about this change ever since it was announced. For one thing, I can’t think of another organization that would turn so much responsibility and influence over to the members just like that!
Someone, I can’t recall who and I so wish I could remember so I could link back to it (oh well it’ll come to me and I’ll fix this post later), anyway, they said something about this change further separating the wheat from the tares. I mean, yeah! If you, like me, instantly thought “2 hour church! Woot!” and then began thinking of all the things you could do with an extra hour on Sunday???? Well, I hope that doesn’t mean that I’m one of the tares after all?
In all seriousness, though, instead of an extra hour of “free time,” this schedule change has a purpose.
Home-Centered, Church Supported Gospel Learning
I know some of us, me included, have been wondering if the schedule change to focus on a home-centered program of gospel learning (plus other changes) are preparing the members of the church for a time when church attendance may be limited for some reason. I am very interested to find out.
Elder Cook goes on to say:
World conditions increasingly require deepening individual conversion to and strengthening faith in Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and His Atonement. The Lord has prepared us, line upon line, for the perilous times that we now face. In recent years, the Lord has guided us to address related core concerns, including:
Honoring the Sabbath day and the sacred ordinance of the sacrament has again been emphasized for the last three years.
Under the bishop’s direction, strengthened elders quorums and Relief Societies are focused on the purpose and divinely appointed responsibilities of the Church and helping members make and keep sacred covenants.
Ministering in a higher and holier way is being joyfully adopted.
Beginning with the end in mind, temple covenants and family history service are becoming a purposeful part of the covenant path.
I made several attempts to paraphrase what he said here, but he said it so well it was easier to just quote the whole passage!
I have a tag in my Gospel Library app called “True Conversion” that includes highlights from this talk by Elder Cook, a portion of the introduction to the 2019 Come Follow Me, verses from the Bible, some Ensign articles, and this verse from the Book of Mormon:
7 And behold, ye do know of yourselves, for ye have witnessed it, that as many of them as are brought to the knowledge of the truth, and to know of the wicked and abominable traditions of their fathers, and are led to believe the holy scriptures, yea, the prophecies of the holy prophets, which are written, which leadeth them to faith on the Lord, and unto repentance, which faith and repentance bringeth a change of heart unto them– (Helaman 15:7)
It’s that change of heart in the individual that all of this is aiming towards!
In a talk during the April 1973 General Conference David B. Haight said that even some of the “very elect will be… deceived.” He then asked if the “very elect” could include “our sons and daughters”–in 1973, he was speaking to my parents’ generation (not that I was born yet, that came a few years later). He could say the very same thing now and it would be just as timely!
The flow seems to be something like this:
- The only way for us to avoid deception by the adversary is by knowing the truth of the gospel.
- The truth of the gospel is the responsibility of the parents to teach the children (with support from the Church).
- We must know the truth of the gospel for ourselves, too.
- But all of this can only be accomplished with the influence of the Holy Ghost.
By bringing more of our gospel and scripture studies home, our homes should start to feel more like a chapel, maybe even a temple, “a place of joy and happiness.”
This home-centered program will really give us the opportunity to set our home apart from the world. I know I keep telling my kids that we will increasingly feel (and maybe even look) different from the world and our homes should reflect that, too!
Deep and Lasting Conversion
The most important goal and ultimate blessing of deep and lasting conversion is worthily receiving the covenants and ordinances of the covenant pathway.
I’ll never forget how happy I felt when I was able to worthily go to the temple to receive my own endowments and then to be sealed to my husband and children. That blessing was a long time coming (don’t forget the years of riotous living that I engaged in!) and maybe some folks thought that day would never come. But it did! But not before I experienced that change of heart and true conversion with the influence of the Holy Ghost.
That’s something I noticed about many of the changes that are happening in the church. Ministering? Requires us to pray about the individuals we’ve been assigned to minister to and follow the promptings we receive from the Holy Ghost. Bringing more gospel/scripture study into our homes? Will invite the Holy Ghost into our homes and hearts as we “enthusiastically embrace the adjustments and seek the guidance of the Holy Ghost. We will become closer to our Heavenly Father and our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.”