Sunday, October 7, 2012

Elder David Bednar Relates Testimony And Conversion During The Sunday Afternoon Session Of The 182nd Semiannual General Conference

Special Note: All posts on the October 2012 Semiannual General Conference can be simultaneously displayed HERE, with the most recent post appearing first.

Audio and video archives of conference talks now being made available HERE; written transcripts to follow later this week.

The Sunday Afternoon Session of the 182nd Semiannual General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints featured a continuing stream of General Authorities sharing their inspiration, wisdom, and experience with the public. Perhaps of greatest interest was Russell T. Osguthorpe's talk about the the new learning resources for youth, grouped under the heading "Come, Follow Me", to become available in 2013; it has been highly lauded in some corners. Elder David Bednar also delivered a useful address discussing the relationship between testimony and conversion.

Here are brief summaries of each talk:

-- Robert D. Hales, Quorum of the Twelve: "Being a More Christian Christian". Elder Hales called upon Latter-day Saints to effectively debunk accusations of not being Christian by acting more Christian. As Christians today, Church members have the opportunity to go straightway, and act immediately and decisively to follow Jesus Christ. The call to be a Christian can seem demanding, even overwhelming, but the Savior has promised to make us equal to His work. Elder Hales assured people that as Latter-day Saints follow the Savior, they will be blessed with gifts, talents and the strength to do His will. This may mean sharing the gospel with neighbors, rescuing those who are spiritually lost, serving a full-time mission, working in the temple, raising a child with special needs, loving the prodigal, serving an ailing companion, enduring misunderstandings or suffering affliction.

-- Richard G. Scott, Quorum of the Twelve: "The Joy of Redeeming the Dead" Elder Scott issued a renewed call for members to take an interest in performing ordinances for their dead ancestors in our temples. He noted that this work is a spiritual work, a monumental effort of cooperation on both sides of the veil where help is given in both directions. Elder Scott specifically suggested to young LDS members that if they want a sure way to eliminate the influence of the adversary in their life, to immerse themselves in searching for their ancestors, prepare their names for the sacred vicarious ordinances available in the temple, and then go to the temple to stand as proxy for them to receive the ordinances of baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost.

-- Russell T. Osguthorpe, Sunday School General President: "One Step Closer to the Savior". The primary purpose of Brother Osguthorpe's appearance was to discuss the new learning resources for youth, grouped under the heading "Come, Follow Me", to become available in 2013. Those resources, he explained, have one central goal: to help youth become converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Conversion in this context is not a one-time event, but a continual process of knowing, doing, and becoming. Likewise, teaching for conversion requires key doctrine, invitations to action and promised blessings. Brother Osguthorpe also touted the teaching resource manual "Teaching, No Greater Call" as a valuable resource for all who teach and want to utilize the correct pattern of gospel learning.

-- Marcus B. Nash, First Quorum of the Seventy: "By Faith All Things are Fulfilled". Elder Nash spoke about faith, the first principle of the Gospel. It is through faith that individuals are able to securely attach to the rock of the Redeemer and safely climb the gospel path, overcoming every challenge of mortality and returning to the majestic presence of Heavenly Father. Although Satan tries to use such things as doubt, fear or sin to tempt individuals to let go of faith and lose the protection it offers, it is through exercising faith and an examination of the challenges that individuals are able to recognize and heed not the adversary's temptations.

-- Daniel L. Johnson, First Quorum of the Seventy: "Becoming a True Disciple". Elder Johnson related a story which illustrated the difficulty in becoming a true disciple of Jesus Christ. Discipleship is all about doing and becoming; ultimately, it is by total submission to His will that helps us become as our Savior is. Becoming like Him and being one with Him is the ultimate goal and objective, and essentially the very definition of true discipleship.

-- Don L. Clarke, First Quorum of the Seventy: "Blessings of the Sacrament". A very useful talk to remind us of the importance and significance of the Sacramental emblems. When the Savior instituted the sacrament, He promised that the souls of those who partake of the sacrament shall never hunger or thirst, but shall be filled. The sacramental prayer also promises those who live up to their covenants will always have the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost. Elder Clarke also suggested five principles for getting the most out of sacrament meeting.

-- David E. Bednar, Quorum of the Twelve: "Converted Unto the Lord". Elder Bednar discussed the relationship between receiving a testimony of Christ and becoming converted to His gospel. A testimony is personal knowledge of spiritual truth obtained by revelation; it is a gift from God and available to all of His children. However, conversion is an enlarging, a deepening, and a broadening of the undergirding base of testimony. It is the result of revelation from God, accompanied by individual repentance, obedience and diligence. Any honest seeker of truth can become converted by experiencing the mighty change of heart and being spiritually born of God. The key characteristics associated with conversion are experiencing a mighty change of heart, having a disposition to do good continually, going forward in the path of duty, walking circumspectly before God, keeping the commandments and serving with unwearied diligence.

-- President Thomas S. Monson: "God Be With You Til We Meet Again". The full text of his remarks is published. Most noteworthy: "The office of the President of the Church is a demanding one. How grateful I am for my two faithful counselors who serve by my side and who are always willing and exceptionally able to assist in the work which comes to the First Presidency. I express my gratitude as well for the noble men who comprise the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. They work tirelessly in the cause of the Master, with the members of the Quorums of the Seventy providing inspired assistance to them".

LDS personal blogs discussing the Sunday Afternoon Session:

-- Feast Upon The Word: Another well-crafted summation by Kirk Caudle.
-- By Common Consent: Lots of chatty stuff, little of substance.
-- Feminist Mormon Housewives: Some good comments expanding on Osguthorpe's talk and effectively explaining the new online learning resource system for teachers to use with students. New Beginnings has a good post about the new curriculum.

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