So, lets get to those highlights... Being here in Salt Lake City this weekend, to attend General Conference, is allowing me to finally meet a handful of the wonderful members that I have gotten to know, online, in person. And really, it's been an absolute thrill! Pictured with me in the above photo, are Elyse Hawks and David Horan. These are two of the most amazing young people I know, who fearlessly and with delightful enthusiasm, share their Mormon beliefs, online!
As I met each person today, that I've known for quiet a while, online - it was reconfirmed to me just how powerful the Spirit can be, and is, in developing these types of friendships. On occasion I'll run into people who are very doubtful that you can actually form meaningful relationships online. I'm here to tell you that you can. We all felt it today, and it was powerful. There was nothing foreign about our meetings. Our hearts were one spiritually, before we ever met physically. Why am I telling you this? Because, you can develop meaningful online friendships with those not of our faith, and have wonderful experiences sharing the gospel -- particularly when the Spirit is a part of the development of that relationship.
I'd also like to share my favorite quotes from the Saturday afternoon session of General Conference...
Elder Bednar on the Spirit of Elijah:
"The Spirit of Elijah affects people inside and outside of the Church. However, as members of Christ's restored Church, we have the covenant responsibility to search out our ancestors and provide for them the saving ordinances of the gospel." David A. Bednar
Elder Christofferson - Divine Gift of Repentance:
"As in the days of Nehor and Korihor, we live in a time not long before the advent of Jesus Christ -- in our case the time of preparation for His Second Coming. And similarly, the message of repentance is often not welcomed. Some profess that if there is a God, He makes no real demands upon us. Others today maintain that a loving God forgives all sin based upon simple confession, or if there actually is a punishment for sin." D. Todd Christofferson
"Repentance exists as an option only because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ." D. Todd Christofferson
Elder Andersen - Children:
"It is a crowning privilege of a husband and wife who are able to bear children, to provide mortal bodies for these spirit children of God. We believe in families and we believe in children." Neil L. Andersen
"Many voices in the world today marginalize the importance of having children or suggest delaying or limiting children in the family." Neil L. Andersen
Quoting a Christian mother who said: "Motherhood is not a hobby, it is a calling. You do not collect children because you find them cuter than stamps. It is not something to do if you can squeeze the time in. It is what God gave you time for."
"The bearing of children is a sensitive subject that can be very painful for righteous women who do not have the opportunity to marry and have a family. To you noble women, our Heavenly Father knows your prayers and desires. How grateful we are for your remarkable influence, including reaching out with loving arms to children who need your faith and strength." Neil L. Andersen
Elder Perry - Share Who We Are:
"At all times of day across the entire world, the Church and its teachings are being discussed on the internet, on blogs and social networks by people who have never written for a newspaper or magazine. They are making videos and sharing them online. These are ordinary people -- both members of our faith and other faiths -- who are talking about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints." L. Tom Perry
"The growing visibility and reputation of the Church presents a remarkable opportunity to us as its members. We can help to "disabuse the public mind, " and correct misinformation when we are portrayed as something we are not. More importantly, though, we can share who we are." L. Tom Perry
"How we speak about the Church is as important as what we say. We should approach such conversations with Christ-like love. Our tone, whether speaking or writing, should be respectful and civil, regardless of the responses from others. We should be honest and open and try to be clear in what we say. We want to avoid becoming defensive or argue in any way." L. Tom Perry
"As you utilize the internet you may come across ongoing conversations about the Church. When directed by the Spirit, don't hesitate to add your voice to these conversations." L. Tom Perry
You can probably guess which of the afternoon talks really resonated with me, eh? I have a testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I know that the work we are doing to share it with others, is among the greatest of which we can be engaged. Using the internet to assist in this work is truly a modern miracle, and the possibilities are endless...
When Conference Materials Will Be Available
New Youth Site Announced to Help Teens Start Family History