(find the talk here)
Twice a year, on the first weekend in April and then again the first weekend of October, the prophets of God speak to us in a worldwide General Conference. The president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints speaks, as do his counselors, and all the members of the quorum of the twelve apostles.
I love General Conference. I look forward every six months to the time when I get to soak in the words of the prophets. Rarely do they say anything new – it’s all been said before by the prophets since Adam. But there is always a new way to apply it to my life, or a new way to talk about it that strikes me in a certain way. And always I am left with a renewed sense of desire to follow the prophet, keep the commandments, and believe in Christ.
I make it a goal to read and re-read and listen and re-listen to the General Conference talks each year. So far I’ve listened to all of General Conference twice. You can download MP3’s of the General Conference addresses here.
I put the MP3’s on my iPhone and listen to them on long car rides, when I go for a run, or any other time I have more than 15 minutes of relative silence (the long car rides are anything but silent with two small children...).
Reading and listening to the most recent General Conference talks is as important (to me) as reading the canonized scripture (the Standard Works – the Bible, Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price). The words of the living prophets are more applicable to us than the words of dead prophets. The testimony of dead prophets is equally as significant as the testimonies of our living prophets, for all prophets testify of Christ and of his divine mission. But as far as what we should be doing right now – those words are found in the General Conference talks.
So I think for the next little while, I will focus my morning scripture study on the General Conference talks. We didn’t receive the General Conference issue of the Ensign due to our move and our subscription being on hold, but I will probably end up buying one at the Church distribution center, and I can always read them online, as well.
I read the Book of Mormon at night before bed – as many verses as I feel able to stay awake, or digest effectively. In the morning is when I do some more in depth scripture study. So for my morning scripture study for the next several weeks, I will be studying the talks from General Conference. I haven’t read any of them yet (except President Monson’s opening address, which I linked to at the top of this post – and titled this post after).
President Monson’s opening remarks were exciting, as always – he announced five new temples in Lisbon, Portugal; Indianapolis, Indiana; Urdaneta, Philippines; Hartford, Connecticut; and Tijuana, Mexico.
He also spoke about preparing for missionary service. What especially stuck out to me was that he encouraged young men not only to prepare spiritually, but also to “maintain [their] health and strength.” It makes sense, as young men with health problems are generally not able to serve as full time missionaries. We should be maintaining our health and strength whether or not we are preparing to serve a full time mission, because we are always preparing to serve the Lord in some capacity. Even those with physical disabilities and other limitations can maintain what physical strength they have, and possibly even increase their health and strength. Too often we become discouraged because we have some “health problem” and we think that is the end – we have a health problem and will never be fully functioning/healthy like “normal” people. I know lots of “normal” people and all of them have to do something unique to keep themselves “normal” and healthy. My mother in law has a gluten intolerance, but she runs half marathons, marathons, and relay races. And makes good time, at that. She teaches pump classes and aerobics glasses at a gym, and is the epitome of health and strength – even though she suffers from a gluten intolerance (which has actually led to other allergies and intolerances as well – there are more things she can’t eat than that she can).
The Lord needs us to serve. If we struggle with our health, our emotional or mental capacity, or with our physical strength, we can overcome it. I know that we can. Our Father in Heaven provided a Savior for us to overcome all of our infirmities – not just our sins. If we will do our part and maintain our health and strength, the Lord will make up for our gluten intolerances, for our iron deficiencies, for our ADD, for our physical infirmities, for whatever ails us – if we do our part and try our best, we will find ourselves able to “run and not be weary” and “walk and not faint.” (D&C 89:20)
Have you found yourself able to overcome physical, mental, or emotional infirmities through maintaining your health and strength and relying on the Savior’s atonement? What do you do to maintain your health and strength so that you will be able to serve the Lord when the calls come?