I had the great opportunity to watch General Conference here this past weekend and boy did I enjoy it! This conference truly touched me and gave me the spiritual "umph" we all need to get through another 6 months until the next conference. I had many prayers answered through the voice of the prophets, and truly I have received what I know I needed to get through this rough spot we are having out here. Work here is hard, my companionship is not the best, and you easily get discouraged when you see so many opportunities go, but Conference has given me what I prayed for. How amazing is it that we live in a day where the Voice of the Lord is professed to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people, two times a year! We are a blessed people. Don't take these talks lightly, for they are latter-day scripture, no different than the Bible, and the teachings of the Lord's Prophets in the Holy Land thousands of years ago. I know this to be true.
I also had the opportunity to conduct three baptismal interviews this past weekend. It was a great experience, and truly the Holy Ghost is something special. I was told that if you prepare for the interview and have the Spirit with you, you will "just know". (Regarding if they are ready or not). I will testify that that is true. All in all, a great experience.
So from conference, I found that the main point was Families. Of course that is my opinion, and all of you maybe had difference takes, but that it what I received and learned through the Holy Ghost. I would like to start by just copy and pasting my favorites and what I found to be of most importance to this email, and I will also put my comments on it as well.
Elder Richard G. Scott: " Parents, help safeguard your children by arming them morning and night with the power of family prayer. Children are bombarded every day with the evils of lust, greed, pride, and a host of other sinful behaviors. Protect your children from daily worldly influences by fortifying them with the powerful blessings that result from family prayer. Family prayer should be a nonnegotiable priority in your daily life."
Now tie this in to the quote below from Elder Callister.
Elder Callister: "No doubt most of our youth have their evening prayers, but perhaps many of them struggle with the habit of personal morning prayer. As parents, as their prime gospel teachers, we can correct this. Which parent in Book of Mormon times would have let their sons march out to the front of battle without a breastplate and shield and sword to protect them against the potentially mortal blows of the enemy? But how many of us let our children march out the front door each morning to the most dangerous of all battlefields, to face Satan and his myriad of temptations, without their spiritual breastplate and shield and sword that come from the protective power of prayer? The Lord said, “Pray always, … that you may conquer Satan” (D&c 10:5). As parents, we can help instill within our children the habit and power of morning prayer."
Wow! Does does that not hit home? Family, please learn from this. This is the most vital information for our family, and something I know we can improve on. We would never let Luke, Olivia, and Jake not be strapped into the car seat right? (just an analogy). Likewise, that same comfort of safety is found in morning individual and family prayers.
Family Scripture Study:
Elder Richard G. Scott:
"We talk to God through prayer. He most often communicates back to us through His written word. To know what the voice of the Divine sounds and feels like, read His words, study the scriptures, and ponder them.~Make them an integral part of everyday life. If you want your children to recognize, understand, and act on the promptings of the Spirit, you must study the scriptures with them."
"Don’t yield to Satan’s lie that you don’t have time to study the scriptures. Choose to take time to study them. Feasting on the word of God each day is more important than sleep, school, work, television shows, video games, or social media. You may need to reorganize your priorities to provide time for the study of the word of God. If so, do it!"
"I add my voice with this promise: as you dedicate time every day, personally and with your family, to the study of God’s word, peace will prevail in your life. That peace won’t come from the outside world. It will come from within your home, from within your family, from within your own heart. It will be a gift of the Spirit. It will radiate out from you to influence others in the world around you. You will be doing something very significant to add to the cumulative peace in the world."
Again, the "peace" that will come from our homes will allow our inward light to shine outward as examples and will most importantly fortify the walls of our homes and those within from the evils and perils of the world. Nothing is more important as Elder Scott said. This is true. Raise the rising Harris' in righteousness, and "let virtue garnish (our) thoughts unceasingly; then shall (our) confidence wax strong in the presence of God; and the doctrine of the priesthood shall distil upon (our) soul(s) as the dews from heaven." (D&C 121:45) "DO IT!" -Elder Scott
Family Home Evening:
Elder Richard G. Scott: "Be cautious not to make your family home evening just an afterthought of a busy day. Decide that on Monday night your family will be together at home for the evening. Do not let employment demands, sports, extracurricular activities, homework, or anything else become more important than that time you spend together at home with your family.~Sister Linda~S. Reeves boldly declared: “I must testify of the blessings of daily scripture study and prayer and weekly family home evening. These are the very practices that help take away stress, give direction to our lives, and add protection to our homes.”
I talked about this a few weeks ago from a conference that Elder Rasband held for us. Now, we need to "(Reprove) betimes with
sharpness, when moved upon by the Holy Ghost; and then showing forth afterwards an increase of love (or gratitude) toward him (whom has reproved you).." (D&C 121:43)
Elder Richard G. Scott: "We all know there is no more peaceful place on this earth than in the temples of God. If you don’t have a temple recommend, qualify to get one. When you have a recommend, use it often. Schedule a regular time to be in the temple. Don’t let anyone or anything prevent you from being there."
I echo Elder Scott, please do not let anything stop you from going to the temple. Nothing is more important. As we are all endowed with the temple covenant, we truly cannot afford to stop receiving the blessings that come to ourselves but more importantly to our families from not regularly attending our local temple….Boise or Las Vegas, St. George, or Oakland, (and whatever temple Jeff and his family attend), we truly have no excuse. Please make it there. I miss the temple so much, and I cannot wait to get back on December 12th, 2015.
Mother and Fathers:
Elder L. Tom Perry: "As the world continues to watch us, let us be certain that our example will sustain and support the plan the Lord has designed for His children here in mortality. The greatest teaching of all must be done by righteous example. Our homes must be holy places in order to stand against the pressures of the world. Remember that the greatest of all the blessings of the Lord come through and are given to righteous families. We must carefully continue to evaluate our performance as parents. The most powerful teaching a child will ever receive will come from concerned and righteous fathers and mothers. Let us first look at the role of the mother.
Mothers: Listen to this quote from President Gordon B. Hinckley:
“Women who make a house a home make a far greater contribution to society than those who command large armies or stand at the head of impressive corporations. Who can put a price tag on the influence a mother has on her children, a grandmother on her posterity, or aunts and sisters on their extended family?"
Fathers: "Fathers are personally involved in leading family prayers, daily scripture reading, and weekly family home evenings. Fathers build family traditions by being involved in helping plan vacation trips and outings that will involve all of the family members. Memories of these special times together will never be forgotten by their children. Fathers hold one-on-one visits with their children and teach them gospel principles. Fathers teach sons and daughters the value of work and help them establish worthy goals in their own lives. Fathers set an example of faithful gospel service."
"Please remember, brethren, your sacred calling as a father in Israel—your most important calling in time and eternity—a calling from which you are never released."
I love you all so much. Mom and Dad, Matt and Carly, Ryan and Angela, of course all my little ones, Jill and Steve, Kathy and Don, Jeff and Rosean (their kids included), and Grandma Harris. I think about you all more than you would think. You are all what truly matters to me, and I love you all so much. If there is something to fix, do it now. May we all stay on Old Ship Zion, so we, as a family, can safely make it Home.
Love you all,