“True Disciples of the Savior” by Terrence M. Vinson

General Conference, October 2019 – Saturday Morning Session – “True Disciples of the Savior” by Elder Terrence M. Vinson, Of the Presidency of the Seventy

Ye have sown much, and bring in little; ye eat, but ye have not enough; ye drink, but ye are not filled with drink; ye clothe you, but there is none warm; and he that earneth wages earneth wages to put it into a bag with holes.

Thus saith the Lord of hosts; Consider your ways.

Haggai 1:6-7

These verses emphasize the futility of prioritizing the things of no eternal consequence above the things of the Lord. I especially love the image of putting coins into a bag with holes in it, what a futile activity!

We need to be committed about living the gospel.

We won’t be continually enveloped in blessings or have constant success, but we will have joy when we are giving our all. The Lord values our sacrifices and efforts more than our successes!

“There is no treasure, nor any hobby, nor any status, nor any social media, nor any video games, nor any sport, nor any association with a celebrity, nor anything on earth that is more precious than eternal life.” (Vinson, 2019)

I glory in plainness; I glory in truth; I glory in my Jesus, for he hath redeemed my soul from hell.

2 Nephi 33:6

“The Message, the Meaning, & the Multitude” by Jeffrey R. Holland

General Conference, October 2019 – Saturday Morning Session – “The Message, the Meaning, and the Multitude” by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

Elder Holland began his talk by sharing a story from the New Testament

“It came to pass, that as [Jesus] was come nigh unto Jericho, a certain blind man sat by the wayside begging:

“… Hearing [a] multitude pass by, he asked what it meant.

“… They told him, that Jesus of Nazareth passeth by.

“And he cried, saying, Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me.”

Matthew 20:30-34 and Mark 10:46-52

Though the crowd tried to silence him, the blind man continued to call out to Jesus, who heard him and healed his sight.

The blind man was surrounded by spiritually sensitive people who identified Christ as the “reason for the commotion.”

General conference will mean little or nothing to us unless we are able to find Christ at the center of it. Past the hustle and bustle of it all, we must find the true meaning of it all, the beating heart of the eternal gospel.

We are to seek, above all else, the meaning of Jesus in the temple.

For behold, I say unto you there be many things to come; and behold, there is one thing which is of more importance than they all–for behold, the time is not far distant that the Redeemer liveth and cometh among his people.

Alma 7:7

Christ is at the center of our lives and our service. This is the true meaning.

“Answers to Prayer” by Brook P. Hales

General Conference, April 2019 – Saturday Morning Session – “Answers to Prayer” by Elder Brook P. Hales, of the Seventy

I was listening to this talk on my Gospel Library app the other night and it reminded me of something I had read earlier in the day, “8 Divine Accounts of Prophets and Apostles Seeing the Savior” and something about the nature of prayer clicked for me.

When we pray, the Lord is bound or obligated to do something in response to our prayer. He’s not required to say yes to everything we ask for, obviously, but He can’t just ignore our prayers, either. I don’t mean that He doesn’t ignore our prayers, but that He can’t ignore them. Can’t. Cannot. Ignoring prayers would go against His very nature! He must do something.

I think most times, the something that the Lord does in response to our prayers is to simply answer them. Sometimes He says “Yes” and sometimes He says “No.” Other times, He says “Not yet.” “Not yet” can also sound like “Not exactly like you’re asking or envisioning” or “I have a better idea” or “The timing isn’t quite right” or “This situation depends on the agency of someone else, so it may turn out different than you expect.”

The Father is aware of us, knows our needs, and will help us perfectly. Sometimes that help is given in the very moment or at least soon after we ask for divine help. Sometimes our most earnest and worthy desires are not answered in the way we hope, but we find that God has greater blessings in store. And sometimes our righteous desires are not granted in this life.

Elder Brook P. Hales

Other times something happens in response to our prayers. Recently my stake held a special fast for rain and relief from the wildfires we had this summer. I heard from a couple of people that the day after the fast, there was hail in one of the affected areas and rainbows in other areas.

Right now, my family is waiting for the “Go ahead” from Heavely Father to make the next move. Literally! We’re moving! Our house is listed for sale, we’re job searching in other states, and we’re just waiting for all the pieces to come together so we can hit the road.

I confess that I’m excited (and impatient) to move on to the next chapter in our lives, but this is one of those situations that depends on the agency of someone else, like the future buyer of our home and our future employer(s). Heavenly Father, of course, knows the end from the beginning and He’s got everything planned out perfectly so I need not fear. It’s up to me to mold myself to His will and not push my own agenda, though.

If you’re interested in following along on our adventures in moving, I have another blog dedicated to that. I’d love to see you over there!

“Careful versus Casual” by Becky Craven

General Conference, April 2019 – Saturday Morning Session – “Careful versus Casual” by Sister Becky Craven, Second Counselor in the Young Women General Presidency

True happiness is found in living the gospel of Jesus Christ.

There is a careful way and a casual way to do everything, including keeping our covenants with the Lord. When we find ourselves rationalizing our behavior, we are being casual in our efforts to keep our covenants and we are, in effect, saying that certain counsel from the prophets doesn’t apply to us.

“[T]here is not a right way to do the wrong thing!”

I love that quote so much! It was one of my biggest takeaways from conference this year and I have found myself pondering it over and over again in the days since conference ended.

There is not a right way to do the wrong thing…

  • Because the wrong thing is never right. (Colossians 3:25)
  • Because the wrong thing can never be right no matter the mental gymnastics used to rationalize or justify it. (Proverbs 17:15)
  • Because evil can never be good. (Isaiah 5:20)
  • Because wickedness never was happiness (Alma 41:10).
  • Because the wrong direction will never lead to the right destination. (1 Nephi 8)

The wrong thing is never right.

But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons. (Colossians 3:25)

It doesn’t matter who you are or your position in society (or the church!), the Lord will not reward you if you do wrong.

The wrong thing can never be right  no matter the mental gymnastics used to rationalize or justify it.

He that justifieth the wicked, and he that condemneth the just, even they both are abomination to the Lord. (Proverbs 17:15)

This verse could be interpreted a couple of ways. “He that justifieth the wicked [in other people]” or “He that justifieth the wicked [in himself].” Either type of person would be an abomination to the Lord, in addition to those who condemn the just.

Evil can never be good.

Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! (Isaiah 5:20)

I know it’s not a new thing, I know some people have always called evil “good,” celebrated it, glorified it even; turned things upside down and called darkness “light” and light “darkness.” Somewhere, the adversary is always trying to make evil sound new, trendy, and open-minded and good sound old, dated, and close-minded.

Because wickedness never was happiness.

Do not suppose, because it has been spoken concerning restoration, that ye shall be restored from sin to happiness. Behold, I say unto you, wickedness never was happiness. (Alma 41:10)

The darkness that comes to the soul when we are in the midst of sin can blind us to our present unhappiness and we think we are having “fun.” But it isn’t the same as the joy and peace that comes with living according to the gospel principles, not even close.

Because the wrong direction will never lead to the right destination.

In her talk, Sister Craven said that in the vision of the tree of life, the river of water (which represents the filth of the world) passed near the tree of life but did not, like the iron rod (which represents the word of God) lead directly to it. (1 Nephi 8)


Lehi’s Dream, by Jerry Thompson (62620); GAB 69; Primary manual 4-12

“How Can I Understand?” by Ulisses S. Soares

General Conference, April 2019 – Saturday Morning Session – “How Can I Understand” by Elder Ulisses S. Soares, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

And [the eunuch] said, How can I [understand], except some man should guide me?

The eunuch had been studying the book of Isaiah when the Apostle Peter asked him if he understood what he was reading. This was the eunuch’s response. I think that could be the response of many of us when we study the scriptures, especially Isaiah!

We are to learn and teach others what we have learned.

Elder Soares said “Our purpose as we seek to learn and to teach the gospel of Jesus Christ must be to increase faith in God and in His divine plan of happiness and in Jesus Christ and His atoning sacrifice and to achieve lasting conversion.” There is actually a lot packed into just these few words, so I’ll break it out:

  1. Increase faith in God.
  2. Increase faith in God’s plan of happiness.
  3. Increase faith in Jesus Christ.
  4. Increase faith in Jesus Christ’s atoning sacrifice.
  5. Achieve lasting conversion.

Doing these things will transform us into a new creature. This concept of becoming a new creature through the gospel of Jesus Christ isn’t new, it’s been spoken of in the scriptures (2 Corinthians 5:17 and Mosiah 27:26) and in recent General Conference talks (David A. Bednar 2007 and Dallin H. Oaks 2000) and in not-so recent General Conference talks (Robert E. Sackley 1988, Rex D. Pinegar 1978).

Elder Soares said “The commandment to learn the gospel and teach it to one another is not new; it has been constantly repeated from the beginning of human history.” Prophets have warned throughout the scriptures and right on into our current day that we are to learn and teach each other.

Only when we have learned the truth will we be able to “discern it at all times.” (Soares, 2019) The best teacher is a good example, of course. But what happens when we have been doing all the things we’re supposed to, but our loved ones have distanced themselves from the Lord? Elder Soares reminds us that they are not lost, the Lord knows where they are and He loves them!

I love the thought that, because the Lord always knows where we are, no one is “lost.” What a beautiful reminder of the Lord’s love for all His children.

Elder Soares reminds us, too, not to judge or reject others, but to love them and be their friend and look for the good in them. He counsels us to preserve our relationships with them and continue praying for them. We can’t know what is in others’ hearts, only the Lord can know that, but we can love them and be there for them and trust that the Lord, in His infinite wisdom and love, will always keep them in His sight.