Guest post: notes from President Monson April 2014 General Conference

This is a guest post by Jamie Huston.

My notes on president Monson’s addresses at the April General Conference, 2014. Obviously subjective, and subject to ongoing revision and improvement, but this helps me to pragmatically know how to “follow the prophet.”

IMPERATIVES
Priesthood Session: “Be Strong and of a Good Courage”
1. “…put ourselves in places and participate in activities where our thoughts are influenced for good and where the Spirit of the Lord will be comfortable.”
2. (Quoting) “If you ever find yourself where you shouldn’t ought to be, get out!”
3. “…do… the right thing even though we may be afraid, defend… our beliefs at the risk of being ridiculed, and maintain… those beliefs even when threatened with a loss of friends or of social status.”
4. (Quoting) “Just be the same person you are in the dark that you are in the light.”
Sunday Morning: “Love—the Essence of the Gospel”
1. “…love our fellow travelers on this mortal journey.”
2. “…love God, the Father of us all.”
3. “…keep this truth [We are all spirit children of our Heavenly Father and, as such, are brothers and sisters] in mind, loving all of God’s children will become easier.”
4. “…recognize someone’s need and then…respond.”
5. (Quoting Pres. Kimball) “…remember that those mortals we meet in parking lots, offices, elevators, and elsewhere are that portion of mankind God has given us to love and to serve.”
6. “…we must treat each other with kindness and respect.”
7. “…strive always to be considerate and to be sensitive to the thoughts and feelings and circumstances of those around us. Let us not demean or belittle. Rather, let us be compassionate and encouraging. We must be careful that we do not destroy another person’s confidence through careless words or actions.”
Sunday Afternoon: “Until We Meet Again”
1. “…take the time to read the conference messages when they become available on LDS.org within the next few days and when they are printed in coming issues of the Ensign and Liahona magazines, for they are deserving of our careful review and study.”
2. “…join with me in expressing our sincere gratitude to those brethren and sisters who were released during this conference.”
3. “…welcome them and want them to know that we look forward to serving with them in the cause of the Master.” [re: “brethren who have been called to new positions of responsibility”]

INVITATIONS
Priesthood Session: “Be Strong and of a Good Courage”
1. “Let us—all of us—have the courage to defy the consensus, the courage to stand for principle.”
2. “…may we declare, with the Apostle Paul, ‘I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ.’”
3. “…may we follow Paul’s counsel: ‘Be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.’”
4. “May each one leave here tonight with the determination and the courage to say, with Job of old, ‘While my breath is in me, … I will not remove mine integrity from me.’”
Sunday Morning: “Love—the Essence of the Gospel”
1. “Let us remember, however, the counsel found in the Doctrine and Covenants—namely, that when it is necessary for us to reprove another, we afterward show forth an increase of love.”
2. “May we begin now, this very day, to express love to all of God’s children, whether they be our family members, our friends, mere acquaintances, or total strangers. As we arise each morning, let us determine to respond with love and kindness to whatever might come our way.”
Sunday Afternoon: “Until We Meet Again”
1. “…may we resolve to do a little better than we have done in the past.”
2. “May we be kind and loving to those who do not share our beliefs and our standards.”
3. “May our homes be filled with love and courtesy and with the Spirit of the Lord.”
4. “May we constantly nourish our testimonies of the gospel, that they will be a protection for us against the buffetings of the adversary.”
5. “May the Spirit we have felt during these past two days be and abide with us as we go about those things which occupy us each day, and may we ever be found doing the work of the Lord.”
6. “May we realize how close to us He is willing to come, how far He is willing to go to help us, and how much He loves us.”

RHETORICAL QUESTIONS
Priesthood Session: “Be Strong and of a Good Courage”
1. “Inasmuch as the trend in society today is rapidly moving away from the values and principles the Lord has given us, we will almost certainly be called upon to defend that which we believe. Will we have the courage to do so?”
2. “None of us would wish to wear such a label [hypocrites], and yet are we reluctant to declare our faith in some circumstances?”
3. “…are you the same person wherever you are and whatever you are doing—the person our Heavenly Father wants you to be and the person you know you should be?”
4. “Who can help but be inspired by the lives of the 2,000 stripling sons of Helaman, who taught and demonstrated the need for courage to follow the teachings of parents, to be chaste and pure?”
Sunday Morning: “Love—the Essence of the Gospel”
1. “Lamented President Gordon B. Hinckley: ‘Why is it that the [ones] we love [most] become so frequently the targets of our harsh words? Why is it that [we] sometimes speak as if with daggers that cut to the quick?’”

DOCTRINAL AND PROPHETIC STATEMENTS
Saturday Morning: “Welcome to Conference”
1. “We are a temple-building and a temple-attending people.”
Priesthood Session: “Be Strong and of a Good Courage”
1. “In order for us to make the correct decisions, courage is needed—the courage to say no when we should, the courage to say yes when that is appropriate, the courage to do the right thing because it is right.”
2. “The call for courage comes constantly to each of us. Every day of our lives courage is needed—not just for the momentous events but more often as we make decisions or respond to circumstances around us.”
3. “…this inner courage also includes doing the right thing even though we may be afraid, defending our beliefs at the risk of being ridiculed, and maintaining those beliefs even when threatened with a loss of friends or of social status. He who stands steadfastly for that which is right must risk becoming at times disapproved and unpopular.”
4. “Not all acts of courage bring such spectacular or immediate results, and yet all of them do bring peace of mind and a knowledge that right and truth have been defended.”
5. “It is impossible to stand upright when one plants his roots in the shifting sands of popular opinion and approval.”
6. “Catastrophic conflicts come and go, but the war waged for the souls of men continues without abatement. Like a clarion call comes the word of the Lord to you, to me, and to priesthood holders everywhere: ‘Wherefore, now let every man learn his duty, and to act in the office in which he is appointed, in all diligence.’ Then we will be, as the Apostle Peter declared, even ‘a royal priesthood,’ united in purpose and endowed with power from on high.”
Sunday Morning: “Love—the Essence of the Gospel”
1. “We are all spirit children of our Heavenly Father and, as such, are brothers and sisters.”
2. “…love is the very essence of the gospel”
3. “Beyond comprehension, my brothers and sisters, is the love of God for us. Because of this love, He sent His Son, who loved us enough to give His life for us, that we might have eternal life.”
4. “There are many attributes which are manifestations of love, such as kindness, patience, selflessness, understanding, and forgiveness. In all our associations, these and other such attributes will help make evident the love in our hearts.”
5. “Brothers and sisters, some of our greatest opportunities to demonstrate our love will be within the walls of our own homes. Love should be the very heart of family life, and yet sometimes it is not. There can be too much impatience, too much arguing, too many fights, too many tears.”
6. “Forgiveness should go hand in hand with love. In our families, as well as with our friends, there can be hurt feelings and disagreements. Again, it doesn’t really matter how small the issue was. It cannot and should not be left to canker, to fester, and ultimately to destroy. Blame keeps wounds open. Only forgiveness heals.”
7. “Love is expressed in many recognizable ways: a smile, a wave, a kind comment, a compliment. Other expressions may be more subtle, such as showing interest in another’s activities, teaching a principle with kindness and patience, visiting one who is ill or homebound. These words and actions and many others can communicate love.”
8. “Because of this love, He sent His Son, who loved us enough to give His life for us, that we might have eternal life. As we come to understand this incomparable gift, our hearts will be filled with love for our Eternal Father, for our Savior, and for all mankind.”
Sunday Afternoon: “Until We Meet Again”
1. “…our Heavenly Father is mindful of us. He will guide and bless us as we put our faith and trust in Him and will see us through whatever difficulties come our way.”

EXAMPLES
Saturday Morning: “Welcome to Conference”
1. Youth who performed in the rain at Gilbert Arizona Temple dedication
Priesthood Session: “Be Strong and of a Good Courage”
1. Non-Mormon Navy seaman who prayed each night despite widespread mocking
2. [Negative example] Aaronic priesthood holder who bore testimony, then broke Word of Wisdom
3. Jabari Parker sharing his father’s advice on consistent integrity
4. Prophets who stood by beliefs despite hostile opposition: Daniel, Abinadi, 2000 stripling warriors, Moroni, Joseph Smith
Sunday Morning: “Love—the Essence of the Gospel”
1. “Jesus Christ is our Exemplar. His life was a legacy of love. The sick He healed; the downtrodden He lifted; the sinner He saved. At the end the angry mob took His life. And yet there rings from Golgotha’s hill the words: ‘Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do’—a crowning expression in mortality of compassion and love.”
2. Bernice Rock teaching sewing skills to Arlene Biesecker, and later sharing the Book of Mormon with her.
3. Airline passengers who patiently and enthusiastically supported a sick boy whose medical needs took them out of their way.
4. [Cautionary tale] Woman who regretted not letting a neighbor she’d disagreed with take a shortcut through her property
Sunday Afternoon: “Until We Meet Again”
1. “The Savior brought to this earth a message of love and goodwill to all men and women. May we ever follow His example.”

BLESSINGS
Saturday Morning: “Welcome to Conference”
1. “May we—all of us, here and elsewhere—be filled with the Spirit of the Lord and be uplifted and inspired as we listen and learn.”
Sunday Afternoon: “Until We Meet Again”
1. “May heaven’s blessings be with each of us.”
2. “My brothers and sisters, may God bless you.”
3. “May His promised peace be with you now and always.”

TESTIMONY
Sunday Afternoon: “Until We Meet Again”
1. “I bear testimony that this work is true, that our Savior lives, and that He guides and directs His Church here upon the earth. I leave with you my witness and my testimony that God our Eternal Father lives and loves us. He is indeed our Father, and He is personal and real.”

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About Geoff B.

Geoff B has had three main careers. Some of them have overlapped. After attending Stanford University (class of 1985), he worked in journalism for several years until about 1992, when he took up his second career in telecommunications sales. In 1995, he took up his favorite and third career as father. Soon thereafter, Heavenly Father hit him over the head with a two-by-four (wielded by the Holy Ghost) and he woke up from a long sleep. Since then, he's been learning a lot about the Gospel. He still has a lot to learn. Geoff's held several Church callings: young men's president, high priest group leader, member of the bishopric, stake director of public affairs, media specialist for church public affairs, high councilman. He tries his best in his callings but usually falls short. Geoff has five children and lives in Colorado.

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