I love General Conference. It's a breath of fresh air. It has brought the Spirit into my heart. I feel uplifted and strengthened, that I have the ability to choose the right and do it, and that I am not lost but loved.
I loved L. Tom Perry's talk. It helped me think about teaching the children, and reminded me of my role in their lives. I've been really distracted lately and I feel the family has suffered. I need to be *here* - truly present - otherwise the home falls apart. I've had serious thoughts about me working lately. It's been truly a blessing because of the money it brings in - SO helpful with Emily being in college and my running addiction. =P On the other hand, the house has really suffered. I'm looking forward to being home over the summer and hopefully give the house a good going through.
I loved Bruce A. Carlson's talk on obedience to God's Laws bringing blessings, and David A. Bednar's talk on doing the things you need to do (read the BoM with your children, bear testimony, give them opportunities to act) so that you're able to see the early warning signals that let you know they're going off the track. Wish we'd heard that one about two years ago.
The one that really caught my attention though was Jeffrey R. Holland's talk. He's on fire, isn't he? Do you remember his talk last conference on the Book of Mormon? How can one forget, eh? That was amazing. The talk this afternoon was just as amazing. I love it that he's so dang blunt. (paraphrasing...)"if you have bad thoughts sneak into your head you don't open the doors wide, sit them down, give them tea and biscuits. You shouldn't be serving tea anyway." Hahahahahhaaa! =D
Anyway, his was my favourite talk of the day, so here are my notes from it. I hope the Spirit testifies to all those who read it of its truthfulness. I love conference. I'm soooo looking forward to tomorrow. =)
It greiveth me that I must use so much boldness of speech before many whose feelings are tender and chaste and delicate. But bold we need to be.
Why is there so much moral decay around us and why are so many individuals and families including in the church falling victim to it, being scarred by it? Most days we all find ourselves assaulted by immoral messages. Music and entertainment delves further into foul and immoral words and activity.
Chat rooms can pull in anyone; also cellphones, videogames, ipods.
Lust is the basis of all this behaviour. It is an unsavory word. It is known as the most deadly of the seven deadly sins. Why is it such a deadly sin? In addition to the spirit destroying impact it has on our souls, it also defiles the highest and holiest relationship God gives us in humanity; the love a man and woman have for each other and the desire to bring children into that family. True love endures. Lust changes as quickly as clicking on another pornographic page. Lust is characterized by shame and stealth and is almost pathologically clandestine; the later and darker the hour the better, with a double bolted door. Love comes with open hands and open hearts. Lust comes only with an open appetite.
Prostituting the true meaning of love with another person is so very destructive. It destroys faith in those we love and shakes the pillars of trust. It takes a long time to rebuild that trust.
What to do:
1. Separate yourself from people, materials and circumstances that can harm you. The pull of proximity can be fatal. Like Joseph and Potiphar's wife - just RUN. Do not leave a forwarding address when leaving the scene of temptation. Seek help if you need it. Talk to your bishop. Ask for a priesthood blessing. Pray without ceasing. Ask for angels to help you. Put filters on computers and locks on affections - self control is the best defense.
If an improper relationship is developing, sever it. It may not at first be technically evil, but it may dull our spirituality and lead to something evil. The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step - so watch your step.
Immoral thoughts can sneak into our minds - but we don't need to welcome them. Replace lewd thoughts with hopeful images and joyful memories. Picture those who love you and who would be shattered if you let them down. Make sure your thoughts are welcome in your heart by invitation only. "Let will be your reason".
Cultivate and be where the Spirit of the Lord is. Make sure that includes your own home, dictating the kind of art, music, and literature allowed in there. Go to the Temple as often as you can. Going to the Temple gives you the help of the Lord and angels to guide you. Remember the symbols in there.
Most in trouble end up crying "What was I thinking?" whatever they were thinking, they weren't thinking of Christ. Yet during the sacrament meeting we promise to take upon us the Lord's name and to always remember him. So let's always remember him and His sacrifice for us. With his stripes we are healed. If we remember that every time we transgress we not only hurt those we love, we also hurt our Saviour who so dearly loves us.
But if we do sin, however serious that sin may be, we can be rescued by that same majestic figure. We can only be saved by Him. When our souls are harrowed up with true pain, may we all echo Alma "Oh Jesus, thou Son of God, have mercy on me."
Brothers and sisters I love you. President Monson and the brethren love you. Far more importantly your father in heaven loves you. I've tried to speak today of true love, respect for it, the proper portrayl of it, the sanctity of it between a married man and woman and the families that love ultimately creates. I've tried to speak of the redeeming manifestation of that love which comes to us through the grace of Christ himself.
Satan will do anything he can to counterfeit, profane and desecrate true love whenever and wherever he finds it. he will destroy us if he can. When we face temptations, we must declare as Nephi did, "I will give place no more for the enemy of my soul." We can reject the evil one if we want it dearly and deeply enough. that enemy can and will be rebuked by the redeeming power of the lord Jesus Christ. I promise you that the light of his everlasting gospel can and will again shine brightly where you feared life had gone hopelessly and helplessly dark.
May the joy of our fidelity be ours as we keep our love and our marriages our society and our souls as pure as they were meant to be. In the name of Jesus Christ amen.