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How to apply general conference counsel in your life

One Sunday I was struggling with a large personal problem. In Relief Society, the teacher used a conference address from one of the apostles along with the lesson. The counsel was an answer to my prayer. The application of this talk in my life enabled my Heavenly Father to assist me in resolving this problem in my life.

My main approach is to humbly follow the counsel of righteous men and women who are in authority and all the prophets. I strive to do the following:- Make a list of one-word priorities based on the counsel of Church leaders. For me, these words entail daily practices that I have tried to make a stable and consistent part of my life. For example: scriptures, prayer, journals, temple, service, family, marriage, etc.

- Find practical ways to make reading the conference talks easy. I keep the talks in a notebook that I use daily that has other important documents that I study, such as my patriarchal blessing, the Proclamation on the Family, certain Relief Society lessons and visiting teaching lessons. I study certain themes or subjects that emphasize areas in my life that need improvement. I keep stories from conference talks that support certain areas of study and improvement.

As editor of our stake newsletter, I frequently do articles similar to the types found in the "Mormon Forum." In a related forum to this one, stake members suggested:

- Mark the scriptures used in the talks in your own scriptures.

- Make a list of the talks of the recent conference and hang it in a prominent place as your six-month goal list.

- Read one talk weekly.

- Use talks in family home evening. - Susan Maxwell, Provo, Utah

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What we did:

Makes a list

I often pray before general conference that the messages will answer my questions or provide me with the uplift I need. I then try to discover those messages that the Lord is sending me. I make a list of the counsel I find or inspiring thoughts that speak directly to me. I keep the list in my scriptures so it is handy. I keep it there for six months until the next general conference comes, and then I make a new list.

Sometimes there are whole talks that really speak to me. I keep these talks in a small notebook where they are easy to access. I know the counsel we receive from general conference is the Lord's word to us today, and I feel it is important to try to implement that counsel in our lives. This method works for me. - Wendy Skidmore, Los Alamos, N.M.

Takes notes

In the past few general conferences, I have found ways to apply Church leaders' teachings in my life. One of the first things that I learned is to take notes. I write things that impress me and how they can apply in my life. If I write something down I have a better chance of remembering it.

I pray for help to apply the things I learn. When I ask for guidance from Heavenly Father, He will give it to me.

I discuss general conference with friends and family members. They have ways and ideas of how to apply the teachings.

My advice to others is that although some counsel may be hard to apply to your life, remember that the speakers are experienced and know what the best is for the Saints. - Elder Jason J. Udy, California San Diego Mission

Be reverent

- Be reverent. You are listening to the words of a latter-day prophet. Bow your heads and close your eyes during prayers.

- Bring your journal. Listen carefully and write down everything that touches your heart.

- Take the words to heart. - Cheryl Robinson, Mission Viejo, Calif.

Prioritize what is learned

I have found that it helps to plan and prepare to listen to the messages given at general conference with prayer. One of the things that helps me apply the messages given is to make a note of the things I feel I am to do to improve my life and not just write down the things that are said. In this way the Holy Ghost can help me learn the things I need to do to benefit my family, fulfill Church assignments better, improve at work, etc.

The next step is to prioritize the things learned through the Spirit and work on those areas. It is then a good idea to read and reread the messages when they are printed as promptings of improvement come then that also are of great benefit. - Doug Crook, Klamath Falls, Ore.

Set goals

We prepare to go to conference by praying before we attend, so we're in tune to what the General Authorities and other speakers have to say to us. We take notes on those topics that seem to stand out in our lives and that apply to us as individuals and to our family.

Afterward, we discuss conference, such as during family home evening and during meal times. We have one daughter left at home who is a senior in high school, and we enjoy talking about conference. There is always something from a speaker that applies to our individual circumstances. During these family discussions, we set goals and discuss how we can apply the principles we learned so we can improve individually and as a family. We commit to one another as family members. Later, as a family, we strive to follow-up and make an accounting to each other. Family gatherings are a great forum to discuss these kinds of things.

In addition, we express gratitude to our Heavenly Father for the commitment the General Authorities have to the Church and to us as individuals. - Michael Kosla, Redford, Mich.

Be in tune

During general conference, Church leaders are speaking in a general way to millions of people. Therefore, for an individual to hear and apply the teachings of these leaders in his/her personal life, he/she must be in tune to the Spirit.

Therefore, it would also be true that we would have to be in tune when it comes to applying the counsel in our lives. To receive the Spirit in applying the counsel, one must do the following:

- Be humble.

- Be teachable.

- Pray for a desire to change and to incorporate truths into your behavior.

- Be accountable. Write down goals where you will be see them frequently, and report to someone else.

- Serve others. Service is a catalyst for change. Going through the motions of service conditions your spirit and your heart for change. Anything you do that patterns your life after the Savior conditions your soul to become more like Him. - Wendy Archibald, Sandy, Utah

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How to checklist:

1 Seek the Spirit; pray to recognize personal promptings.

2 Be humble, teachable; have desire to change your life.

3 Take notes of messages that impress you; review them.

4 Be accountable; make goals, report to someone you trust.

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WRITE TO US:

Oct. 18 "How to find balance as primary care-giver of a sick or elderly loved one."

Oct. 25 "How to fortify your homes against evil."

Nov. 1 "How to avoid a mid-life crisis."

Nov. 8 "How to help your marriage grow while you're in college."

Nov. 15 "How to encourage children and young people to be physically active."

Nov. 22 "How to diminish sibling rivalry."

- Also interested in letters on these topics: "How to get out of a rut in your career," "How to develop a healthy dating relationship," "How to help yourself or loved one overcome an abusive nature."

Had any good experiences or practical success in any of the above subjects? Share them with our readers in about 100-150 words. Write the "How-to" editor, Church News, P.O. Box 1257, Salt Lake City, Utah 84110, send fax to (801) 237-2524 or use internet E-mail: forum@desnews.com. Please include a name and phone number. Contributions may be edited or excerpted and will not be returned. Due to limited space, some contributions may not be used; those used should not be regarded as official Church doctrine or policy. Material must be received at least 12 days before publication date.