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President Russell M. Nelson spoke three times over the weekend during the 192nd Semiannual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Two of the talks were brief. The first was a resounding, definitive condemnation of any kind of abuse. The last was an announcement of 18 new temples at the conclusion of conference that included a message of his love for the church’s members.
In his Sunday morning talk, he focused on the rest offered by Jesus Christ. He defined rest in Christ as relief and peace from “the spiritually and emotionally exhausting plagues of the world, including arrogance, pride, anger, immorality, hatred, greed, jealousy and fear.”
He also told listeners they are divinely loved.
“I assure you that our Heavenly Father and his beloved son, Jesus Christ, love you,” he said. “They are intimately aware of your circumstances, your goodness, your needs and your prayers for help. Again and again, I pray for you to feel their love for you.”
President Nelson issued at least five invitations to church members during the conference.
He invited all to learn to overcome “this sin-saturated, self-centered and often exhausting world.”
To do so, he said:
“Let (God) know through your prayers and your actions that you are serious about overcoming the world:
- Ask him to enlighten your mind and send the help you need.
- Each day, record the thoughts that come to you as you pray; then follow through diligently.
- Spend more time in the temple and seek to understand how the temple teaches you to rise above this fallen world.
He encouraged all people to to take charge of their own testimonies, a charge he gave the church’s young adults in May. The steps he invited people to take to build a testimony were to:
- Work for it.
- Nurture it so that it will grow.
- Feed it truth.
- Don’t pollute it with false philosophies of unbelieving men and women.
- As you make the continual strengthening of your testimony of Jesus Christ your highest priority, watch for miracles to happen in your life.
Those two invitations can be found in full in his Sunday morning talk here.
Third and fourth invitations
President Nelson unequivocally condemned all kinds of abuse on Saturday morning.
Let me be perfectly clear: Any kind of abuse of women, children or anyone is an abomination to the Lord. He grieves and I grieve whenever anyone is harmed. He mourns, and we all mourn, for each person who has fallen victim to abuse of any kind. Those who perpetrate these hideous acts are not only accountable to the laws of man, but will also face the wrath of God.
Then he issued a pair of invitations. First, he directly encouraged people to study the church’s resources on abuse.
“For decades now, the church has taken extensive measures to protect — in particular — children from abuse. There are many aids on the church website. I invite you to study them,” he said. “These guidelines are in place to protect the innocent.”
And then he asked all to protect children.
“I urge each of us to be alert to anyone who might be in danger of being abused and to act promptly to protect them. The Savior will not tolerate abuse, and as his disciples, neither can we.”
Finally, President Nelson announced 18 new temples and a new plan for building multiple temples in metropolitan cities, where travel times can be a major challenge.
After the announcement, President Nelson issued his final invitation.
“May you focus on the temple in ways you never have before,” he said.
“Let us never lose sight of what the Lord is doing for us,” President Nelson added. “He is making his temples more accessible. He is accelerating the pace at which we are building temples. He is increasing our ability to help gather Israel.”
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The University of Utah had a football game at noon on Saturday, the first day of general conference. After the game, U. football coach Kyle Whittingham, a Latter-day Saint, told reporters they had somewhere to be. “Get to conference. You’re ditchin,’” he said.
Here’s a fun look at some tweets sent during general conference. This put a smile on my face.
What I’m reading
BYU, College Football and Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Steve Young (yes, he’s in all three of those halls of fame) recently spoke to business leaders about lessons he learned from Hall of Fame coach Bill Walsh, who won three Super Bowls. The big takeaway was that the key to an abundant life is to selflessly empower people around you, KSL reported.
“That creates a perpetual nature rather than a transactional nature,” Young said. “The answer to the most complex things in my life, the greatest challenges ... have found resolution through this kind of thinking.”
As a bibliophile, I saw at least a piece of myself in all of these depictions of people who have too many books.