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Spiritual feast

A nother great general conference has gone into the pages of history. Its inspirational messages and fervent testimonies have been joined with those of past conferences as a body of truth affirming the divinity of this, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The repetitive pattern of general conferences in the spring and fall has caused some few to feel that conference weekend is just "time off" from other duties. "Been there and done that" motivates some to feel if you've been to one conference you've been to them all.Such is not the case, nor ever will be. Repetition is the mother of learning, and the continued emphasis on the unchanging truths of the gospel will never grow old. There are also new ears to hear and new hearts to be touched by the spiritual messages given. Those who are long in the Church and seasoned by their service have learned to tune their spiritual antennas to the messages and find renewed hope and courage to press forward and endure to the end.

The pattern has been set for two general conferences each year and two other conferences per year in each stake of Zion where the Brethren and other Church leaders counsel and testify before the people.

In his closing remarks at the Sunday afternoon session, President Gordon B. Hinckley affirmed the need for general conferences: "We need them to remind us of our responsibilities and obligations. We need them to bring us together in fellowship and unity of purpose. We must never forget that spirituality must ever be the dominant feature of the Church."

Such spiritual strength comes by hearing the word and then doing it, no matter how many times it is repeated or in how many different ways it is phrased.

In many ways general conferences are spiritual feasts to be savored as a delicious meal. When we eat food we soon hunger and want more. When we partake of spiritual nourishment we also need more to stay spiritually strong. The testimonies of those whom the Lord has called to lead His Church give us that spiritual strength to press forward.

Such was the admonition of Nephi of old who said near the close of his ministry: "Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life." (2 Ne. 31:20.)

There came from this conference a renewed emphasis on temples and their sacred ordinances for both the living and the dead. President Hinckley has spearheaded the greatest temple building program ever in history. His announcement that smaller temples, economically operated, in remote places was cheering news to so many who wait for the sacred blessings of the temple but who live far away from them.

There also was a clear call to welcome those who are coming into the Church in ever-increasing numbers and enfold them in the arms of pure love and fellowship so their hearts will burn with the joy of belonging.

In the April 1946 general conference, President David O. McKay quoted a poem by Edwin Markham that suggests an idea of how we may reach out to converts and tie them more closely to us:

The builder who first bridged Niagara's gorge

Before he swung his cable, shore to shore,

Sent out across the gulf his venturing kite

Bearing a slender cord for unseen hands

To grasp upon the further cliff and draw

A greater cord, and then a greater yet.

`Till at last across the chasm swung

The cable - then the mighty bridge in air!

So may we send our little timid thought

Across the void, out to God's reaching hands -

Send our love and faith to thread the deep -

Thought after thought until the little cord

As greatened to a chain no chance can break,

And we are anchored to the infinite.

May the messages of this great conference inspire us to send our cords of love and care to all, especially to those who are new among us and who need our strength to build their own.

If one scripture could best summarize this conference it might be these words of King Benjamin given in a conference of his people: ". . . And now if you believe all these things, see that ye do them." (Mosiah 4:10.)