This is a General Conference Odyssey post.
Faith seemed to be the theme for this particular session of conference (Sunday morning, Oct. 1978). Faith should be the theme in all our lives. I’ve listed each talk below with the random thoughts of faith that came to me as I read through them.
During the final battles, which killed off the entire Nephite nation, Mormon laments the loss of his people:
“O ye fair ones, how could ye have departed from the ways of the Lord! O ye fair ones, how could ye have rejected that Jesus, who stood with open arms to receive you!” (Mormon 6:17).
And then Moroni’s final words, not to his people who are already gone to face their judgment, but to us, he says:
“… I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and … he will manifest the truth of it unto you” (Moroni 10:4).
In the final verse of the Book of Mormon, he says that he will meet us on judgment day. Elder Petersen says Moroni will be there to defend his words. “This he will do, together with his book, for out of the books we shall be judged, and the Book of Mormon is one of those books.”
I have learned for myself that all answers can be found in the Book of Mormon. Either there is an example of our situation, or the spirit overrides our earthly devastation with an eternal view. Whichever way the Book of Mormon touches us—and it will—it offers the answers we need in order to stand pure, clean, yet still imperfect and in great need of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, before the judgment bar of God. This is where my faith has taken me.
This favorite storyteller shares stories of the faith that comes from our youth. With the odds our youth face, they still manage to be bright lights of faith and courage. Indeed, God has saved His mighty warriors for the final battle against Satan.
Elder Monson shares a sweet story. While signing missionary calls one day, President Kimball ran across the call of his own grandson. After signing his name as President of the Church, he added a little note that read, “I’m proud of you, Love, Grandpa.”
He shared a story about a man who fell into alcoholism and despair until some kind friends began investing countless hours to nurture him back into the fold. After years of repentance, he was finally able to break the bonds of Satan. His repentant path 1) took him to the scriptures where he was nourished by the word of God; 2) gave him the strength to fix his eyes upon the prophet, and 3) rekindled a desire to exercise his faith in Jesus Christ.
This reminds me of a man I knew who had made some bad choices in life. One day he made a decision to come back to the church and receive his temple endowment. Looking at him you might have thought it would be easier to just forget it, but we were privileged to be a part of that happy day. Shortly after, he learned he had cancer and would likely not recover. His words expressed his joy that he had shown the Lord his faith first, before what might appear to some as deathbed repentance. Though far from perfect, he was truly changed and purified by his faith.
This was a fascinating twist on a general topic. Elder Ashton asked us if we allowed people to change for the better. It’s an interesting question. Sometimes we make improper assumptions about people. How many times do we offer a friend, who is dieting, a slice of chocolate cake? Who are we to condemn anyone, for past mistakes, making it even more difficult for them to see themselves differently? When we do this, we jeopardize their faith as well as our own.
The world is trying to convince us there is no God. I understand that when Amazon’s Alexa first came out if you asked who Jesus Christ was it answered that He was a myth. In school, our children are being indoctrinated to believe that THEY must be the saviors of the world because there is no god to save us. The world promotes this idea of hopelessness. President Tanner laments:
“There may be some who feel so burdened with guilt over transgressions of the past that they have lost hope, and there may be some who feel the time is too far spent for them to change the course of their lives.”
At this point, people give up and think all is lost, but it isn’t true! Both Pres. Tanner and I testify:
“That God lives; that we are his spirit children; that Jesus Christ is his Only Begotten Son in the flesh, and is the Savior of us all; … and that through the Atonement of Christ ALL mankind can enjoy eternal life by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel.”
Our best is good enough for the Lord. He has faith in us, so we must have faith in Him.
The observer becomes a worshiper Marilyn Nielson