I challenged myself to choose my three favorite quotes from each of the Saturday October 2012 General Conference addresses -- given by our living prophets. The thing I love about LDS General Conference quotes is the way in which they isolate, so well, specific doctrines and/or principles that are most meaningful to me personally, and help me to remember the overall counsel given -- in order to make my pondering most effective. So, without further ado, let's get to it...
From the Saturday morning session of General Conference -- My favorite quotes:
President Thomas S. Monson - Opening Remarks
"I am pleased to announce that effective immediately, all worthy and able young men who have graduated from high school or its equivalent, regardless of where they live, will have the option of being recommended for missionary service beginning at the age of 18, instead of age 19. I am not suggesting that all young men will—or should—serve at this earlier age.Rather, based on individual circumstances, as well as upon a determination by priesthood leaders, this option is now available.
As we have prayerfully pondered the age at which young men may begin their missionary service, we have also given consideration to the age at which a young woman might serve. Today I am pleased to announce that able, worthy young women who have the desire to serve may be recommended for missionary service beginning at age 19, instead of age 21.
We affirm that missionary work is a priesthood duty—and we encourage all young men who are worthy and who are physically able and mentally capable, to respond to the call to serve. Many young women also serve, but they are not under the same mandate to serve as are the young men. We assure the young sisters of the Church, however, that they make a valuable contribution as missionaries, and we welcome their service."
(Okay, that was kind of cheating. Oh well)
Elder Quentin L. Cook - Can Ye Feel So Now?
"Many who are in spiritual drought and lack commitment have not necessarily been involved in major sins or transgressions, but they have made unwise choices. Some are casual in their observance of sacred covenants. Others spend most of their time giving first-class devotion to lesser causes. Some allow intense cultural or political views to weaken their allegiance to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Some have immersed themselves in Internet materials that magnify, exaggerate, and in some cases, invent shortcomings of early Church leaders. They then draw incorrect conclusions that can affect testimony.
Any who have made these choices can repent and be spiritually renewed."
"While anything that lessens commitments is of consequence, two relevant challenges are both prevalent and significant. The first is unkindness, violence and domestic abuse. The second is sexual immorality and impure thoughts. These often precede and are at the root of the choice to be less committed."
"The need for civility in society has never been more important. The foundation of kindness and civility begins in our homes. It is not surprising that our public discourse has declined in equal measure with the breakdown of the family. The family is the foundation for love and for maintaining spirituality. The family promotes an atmosphere where religious observance can flourish. There is indeed beauty all around when there's love at home. "
Elder Russell M. Nelson - Ask the Missionaries! They Can Help You!
"The decision to serve a mission will shape the spiritual destiny of the missionary, his or her spouse, and their posterity for generations to come. A desire to serve is a natural outcome of one's conversion, worthiness, and preparation."
"Missionaries strive to follow Jesus Christ in both word and deed. They preach Jesus Christ and His atonement. They teach of the literal restoration of Christ's ancient Church through the Lord's first latter-day prophet, Joseph Smith."
"If you have concerns about your family, ask the missionaries! They can help! Strengthening marriages and families is of utmost importance to Latter-day Saints. Families can be together forever. Ask the missionaries to teach you how this is possible for your family."
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf - Of Regrets and Resolutions
"When we are young, it seems as though we will live forever. We think there is a limitless supply of sunrises waiting just beyond the horizon, and the future looks to us like an unbroken road that stretches endlessly before us. However, the older we get, the more we tend to look back and marvel at how short that road really is. We wonder how the years could have passed so quickly. And we begin to think about the choices we have made and the things we have done."
"In our day, it is easy to merely pretend to spend time with others. With the click of a mouse we can "connect" with thousands of "friends" without ever having to face a single one of them. Technology can be a wonderful thing, and it is particularly useful when we cannot be near our loved ones... I believe that we are not headed in the right direction, individually and as a society, when the most frequent way we connect with family or friends is by re-posting humorous pictures, forwarding trivial things, or linking them to sites on the Internet."
"The more we devote ourselves to the pursuit of holiness and happiness, the less likely we will be on the path to regrets. The more we rely on the Savior's grace, the more we will feel during life's journey that we are on the track our Father in Heaven has intended for us. "
From the Saturday afternoon session of General Conference -- My favorite quotes:
Elder L. Tom Perry - Becoming Goodly Parents
"Through all the fast-paced change occurring around us, we earnestly pray and work to ensure that the values of the Gospel of Jesus Christ endure. At the top of the list of these values, and therefore, prime targets of the adversary, are the sanctity of marriage and the central importance of families. They provide the anchor and the safe harbor of a home where each child of a loving Heavenly Father can be influenced for good and acquire other eternal values. "
"Culture is defined as the way of life of a people. There is a unique gospel culture, a set of values and expectations and practices common to all members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This gospel culture or way of life comes from the Plan of Salvation, the commandments of God, and the teachings of the living prophets. It is given expression in the way we raise our families and live our individual lives. "
"The joining together of a man and a woman to be legally and lawfully wed not only is preparation for future generations to inherit the earth, but it also brings the greatest joy and satisfaction that can be found in this mortal experience. This is especially true when the powers of the priesthood proclaim marriage for time and all eternity. Children born to such marriages have a security that is found nowhere else."
Elder M. Russell Ballard - Be Anxiously Engaged
The Beehive has always been an important symbol in our Church history...The beehive symbol is found in both the interiors and exteriors of many of our temples... All of this symbolism attests to one fact: Great things are brought about and burdens lightened through the efforts of many hands "anxiously engaged in a good cause." Imagine what millions of Latter-day Saints could accomplish in the world if we functioned like a beehive in our focused, concentrated commitment to the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ."
"There is power in our love for God and for His children, and when that love is tangibly manifest in millions of acts of Christian kindness it will sweeten and nourish the world with the life-sustaining nectar of hope, faith and charity."
"When our hearts are no longer set upon the things of the world, we will no longer aspire to the honors of men or seek only to gratify our pride. Rather, we take on the Christ-like qualities that Jesus taught."
Elder Neil L. Andersen - Trial of Your Faith
"The gift of faith is a priceless spiritual endowment... Our faith is centered in God our Father, and Jesus Christ, our Savior and Redeemer. It is bolstered by our knowledge that the fullness of the gospel has been restored to the earth; that the Book of Mormon is the word of God; and that prophets and apostles today hold the keys of the priesthood. We treasure our faith, work to strengthen our faith, pray for increased faith, and do all within our power to protect and defend our faith. "
"How do you remain "steadfast and immovable" during a trial of faith? You immerse yourself in the very things that helped build your core of faith -- you exercise faith in Christ, you pray, you ponder the scriptures, you repent, you keep the commandments, and serve others. When faced with a trial of faith -- whatever you do, you don't step away from the Church! Distancing yourself from the Kingdom of God during a trial of faith is like leaving the safety of a secure storm cellar just as the tornado comes into view."
"Like the intense fire that transforms iron into steel, as we remain faithful during the fiery trial of our faith, we are spiritually refined and strengthened."
Elder Dallin H. Oaks - Protect the Children
"We are all under the Savior's command to love and care for each other, and especially for the weak and defenseless. Children are highly vulnerable. They have little or no power to protect or provide for themselves, and little influence on so much that is vital to their well-being. Children need others to speak for them, and they need decision makers who put their well-being ahead of selfish adult interests."
"Our Church leaders have taught that looking upon marriage "as a mere contract that may be entered into at pleasure… and severed at the first difficulty… is an evil meriting severe condemnation, " especially when children are made to suffer. And children are impacted by divorces."
"The family structure that produces the best outcomes for children, on average, are two biological parents who remain married."
As you can imagine, choosing only three quotes from each address was a challenge. However, I really enjoyed reviewing each talk and seeking to know what I needed to learn most, ponder upon and strive to apply. I'm sure that many of you were also moved by these same teachings of our prophets. Today I felt that we were taught very powerful doctrines -- and so pertinent to our current times. I end these sessions of General Conference with the sweet assurance that we are truly led by men called of God to lead us in these last days.
LDS Newsroom: Complete General Conference Coverage