Friday, October 2, 2015

Prepping for Conference

I wish I had spent the whole month of September prepping for General Conference, but instead I spent it depressed. Instead I had a week to get ready. (By the way, the supplement I'm taking for depression this time around. Mind blowing. I don't have a postive thought in my little head, unless I take it 3 times a day. As long as I do, I'm as happy as a clam. I can't believe its so effective.)

I made a list of four things to get ready.
  1. Print out General Conference packets for my kids (here and here) and other coloring pages.
  2. Get treats for conference bingo
  3. Listen to some of the talks
  4. Clean all four bathrooms in my house.
I figured there is no better way to prepare for conference then cleaning your house while listening to conference talks, because no one wants to spend the entire weekend in a dirty house. How could I fully feel the spirit if I only had dirty toilets?

Yesterday while cleaning I was listening to Elder Holland, and President Utchdorf

Here are some of my favorite quotes from their talks.

Holland: In our increasingly secular society, it is as uncommon as it is unfashionable to speak of Adam and Eve or the Garden of Eden or of a “fortunate fall” into mortality. [...]
I do not know the details of what happened on this planet before that, but I do know these two were created under the divine hand of God, that for a time they lived alone in a paradisiacal setting where there was neither human death nor future family, and that through a sequence of choices they transgressed a commandment of God which required that they leave their garden setting but which allowed them to have children before facing physical death...

Utchdorf: I marvel to think that the Son of God would condescend to save us, as imperfect, impure, mistake-prone, and ungrateful as we often are. I have tried to understand the Savior’s Atonement with my finite mind, and the only explanation I can come up with is this: God loves us deeply, perfectly, and everlastingly. I cannot even begin to estimate “the breadth, and length, and depth, and height … [of] the love of Christ.” [...]
Trying to understand God’s gift of grace with all our heart and mind gives us all the more reasons to love and obey our Heavenly Father with meekness and gratitude. As we walk the path of discipleship, it refines us, it improves us, it helps us to become more like Him, and it leads us back to His presence. [...]
Many people feel discouraged because they constantly fall short. They know firsthand that “the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” They raise their voices with Nephi in proclaiming, “My soul grieveth because of mine iniquities."

I loved that they both admitted that we don't know everything. Elder Holland's talk especially reminded me of Nephi, in chapter 11:17. "And I said unto him: I know that he loveth his children; nevertheless, I do not know the meaning of all things." Don't we all feel that way?

As a post script, I'll also add, I found yet another blessing in depression in section two of President Utchdorf's talk. 
You literally are "completely and hopelessly lost" in spite of sin. When stricken with mental illness you never "replay the greatest hits of [your] own righteousness" All that ever happens is "confess[ing] our faults, plead for God’s mercy" From his talk, here is section two.

Who Can Qualify?
In the Bible we read of Christ’s visit to the home of Simon the Pharisee.
Outwardly, Simon seemed to be a good and upright man. He regularly checked off his to-do list of religious obligations: he kept the law, paid his tithing, observed the Sabbath, prayed daily, and went to the synagogue.
But while Jesus was with Simon, a woman approached, washed the Savior’s feet with her tears, and anointed His feet with fine oil.
Simon was not pleased with this display of worship, for he knew that this woman was a sinner. Simon thought that if Jesus didn’t know this, He must not be a prophet or He would not have let the woman touch him.
Perceiving his thoughts, Jesus turned to Simon and asked a question. “There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: … one owed five hundred pence, … the other fifty.
“And when they [both] had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most?”
Simon answered that it was the one who was forgiven the most.
Then Jesus taught a profound lesson: “Seest thou this woman? … Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little.”
Which of these two people are we most like?
Are we like Simon? Are we confident and comfortable in our good deeds, trusting in our own righteousness? Are we perhaps a little impatient with those who are not living up to our standards? Are we on autopilot, going through the motions, attending our meetings, yawning through Gospel Doctrine class, and perhaps checking our cell phones during sacrament service?
Or are we like this woman, who thought she was completely and hopelessly lost because of sin?
Do we love much?
Do we understand our indebtedness to Heavenly Father and plead with all our souls for the grace of God?
When we kneel to pray, is it to replay the greatest hits of our own righteousness, or is it to confess our faults, plead for God’s mercy, and shed tears of gratitude for the amazing plan of redemption?
Salvation cannot be bought with the currency of obedience; it is purchased by the blood of the Son of God. Thinking that we can trade our good works for salvation is like buying a plane ticket and then supposing we own the airline. Or thinking that after paying rent for our home, we now hold title to the entire planet earth.

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