The Family – The Fourth Pillar of Eternity

During Conference there were a lot of talks about marriage and family. While the talks briefly mentioned current events such as same-sex marriage, they mostly focused on something somewhat different. Elders Christofferson and Perry in particular had very similarly titled talks which focused on the doctrine or the why of family (“Why marriage, why family” and “Why Marriage and Family Matters” respectfully). President Packer likewise talked about “The Plan of Happiness” and in doing so focused heavily on the doctrine of the family.

Twenty years ago, the Family a Proclamation the World declared powerfully to the world our unique theology and doctrine of family. In the interceding years, that vision has only become more and more essential. Yet, we often focus on the details of the proclamation such as teachings about the roles of men and women and lose sight of what this inspired doctrine taught about the nature of significance of the Family in God’s plan.

What I believe we are witnessing today is a great clarification and sharpening of the doctrine of the family brought about by current events and the global effort to redefine marriage. These challenges have led our leaders to ponder and reflect on the true meaning of the family. These challenges have deeply enriched our understanding of the gospel as a familial matter. Much more so than twenty years ago, our leaders today teach not merely what families should be like, but why this is so essential.

Elder Bruce R. McConkie famously taught of the three pillars of eternity as being the creation, the fall, and the atonement. Today, instead of three pillars Elder Christofferson put forward four things essential for realizing God’s plan of happiness. The first three were the same as Elder McConkie’s pillars—creation, fall, and redemption, but the fourth of these pillars is the Family “the setting for physical birth and subsequent spiritual rebirth in God’s kingdom.” Elder Christofferson explained that this is essential, because in marriage we are able to create “in partnership with God, the physical bodies that are key to the test of mortality and essential to eternal glory with Him.” It is in marriage that we become co-creators with God and therefore enter the path towards exaltation.

President Packer also discussed this theme in his remarks. He emphasized that “The power of procreation is not an incidental part of the plan of happiness; it is the key to happiness.” It is through this power, that “we may come close to our Father in Heaven and experience a fullness of joy, even Godhood.” Being able to responsibly use our power of procreation responsible is the great test of mortality.
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April 2015 General Conference: Saturday afternoon session

Some notes from the Saturday afternoon session of General Conference. They are very incomplete, because as it always happens Mom, that’s me, was on duty most part of the time.

For a better summary follow the link to the Conference summary provided by the Church, HERE.

In this session the statistical reports and sustaining of Church officers were taken care of.

The General Young Men’s presidency was released and a new presidency was called. The new Presidency is:
Steven W. Owen, President
Douglas D. Holmes, 1st Councilor
Monte J. Brough, 2nd Councilor

There was also a change in the General Primary Presidency. Sister Jean Stevens was released in anticipation for going to serve with her husband as a mission president. Sister Cheryl Esplin was also released. Sister Esplin was then called to be the new first councilor, and Sister Mary L. Durham is the new second councilor. Continue reading

Commandments not a few, and revelations in their time

One doubt that I frequently encounter among those who have lost faith that this Church is being led by Christ through continuing revelation Is that we have not received a canonized revelation in several decades and that the Prophets after Joseph Smith have on the whole received very few revelations. I came across a very interesting quote in a talk given by Bruce R. McConkie to the Sperry Symposium which sheds some light on why this is so. The quote is lengthy, but I am going to quote it in full and then I will address some of the insights it provides. Continue reading

My Personal Themes from General Conference

McConkie follow the prophetWe’re 10 days out from General Conference. I am still thinking about it and letting the lessons I learned from it percolate in my head. I hope you had your own personal theme develop for you as you listened to the speakers.

I was impressed by speaker after speaker with three themes.

First, FOLLOW THE PROPHET! Yes, I realize that’s in all caps, because yes, I am screaming that at the world. We just need to follow the prophet to find the answers to our questions, the solutions to our problems and for maximum happiness in this life. Sister McConkie taught in her talk “We heed prophetic word even when it may seem unreasonable, inconvenient, and uncomfortable. According to the world’s standards, following the prophet may be unpopular, politically incorrect, or socially unacceptable. But following the prophet is always right.” Did we get that? Following the prophet is always right, despite what is popular out there in the world.

Elder Lynn G. Robbins of the 70s also addressed following the prophet instead of following popular trends as well. He asked us, “Which way do you face?”, and challenged us to not invert the first and second great commandments. Again we were reminded, “The scornful often accuse prophets of not living in the 21st century or of being bigoted. They attempt to persuade or even pressure the Church into lowering God’s standards to the level of their own inappropriate behavior, which in the words of Elder Neal A. Maxwell, will ‘develop self-contentment instead of seeking self-improvement’ and repentance. Lowering the Lord’s standards to the level of a society’s inappropriate behavior is—apostasy.” That was the money quote for me, lowering the Lord’s standards to the level of society is apostasy. Makes you think about the things we’re interested in and advocating for. I hope we all asked ourselves if “our issues” match up with what the prophets are teaching us, and if they don’t, instead of rationalizing them away, we’re willing to change our thoughts to match the council of the prophets and the standards and doctrines of the Church.

Eyring revelation from GodMy second theme of General Conference was the importance of receiving our own witness of the teachings of the prophets. Elder Eyring’s talk specifically addressed this and the principle of “confirming revelation.” He said, “Human judgment and logical thinking will not be enough to get answers to the questions that matter most in life. We need revelation from God.” Did we hear that? We cannot rely on our own judgments, the opinions of friends, junk we see on facebook, or the latest and greatest train of thought. We must receive our own “confirming revelation” like Nephi of old.

I am heart broken to see so many friends, who are also members of the Church, cherry picking the words of the prophets to fit their agendas, rejecting the doctrines of the church, specifically those regarding chastity, morality and marriage, for worldly standards and practices. The thing is, the world is always in a constant state of flux, and revels in emotionally charged rhetoric that will surely short change us on our salvation. I’ve also been told numerous times by these same friends that they had “personal revelation” and/or a “witness of the spirit” that things like The Family Proclamation and the Church’s stand and support of traditional marriage are not true. I’ll just be bold here and state that these witnesses cannot be true. It might have been a witness, but a witness that is not inline with the doctrines of the Church and the words of the modern, living prophets is not from the Lord. The Holy Spirit is not going to give any of us a confirmation or a witness of something that goes against what the Lord has taught. The Holy Ghost will always witness the truthfulness of the Gospel and the truthfulness of the words of the prophets.
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April 2014 (184th) General Conference — Saturday morning session summary

It’s General Conference time again, and we’re going to be posting summaries and our thoughs here on The Millennial Star blog. Thanks for stopping by!

I’ll preface my summary by saying that I tried to get as much down as I could, but is as usually the case with young children in the room, everyone needed everything, all at the same time.

President Uchtdorf conducted the session.

Prelude hymn: How Firm A Foundation

Opening hymn: Press Forward Saints

Elder Carl B. Cook offered the opening prayer.

The Mormon Tabernacle choir sang, Lead Kindly Light … all of the music was beautiful. I love the choir!

President Monson spoke first. He told us we were gathered as a great family of saints. He then spoke about his experience dedicating the Gilbert, Arizona temple in March. Here is where I will put in a little personal note. The Gilbert Temple is just down the street from where I grew up. Many family members and the children of my friends were able to participate in the cultural celebration, Live True to the Faith. Hearing their experiences, along with Pres. Monson’s experiences was very sweet for me. It truly was a blessing, even with all of the rain, and cold to watch the program and know that it did in fact make lasting memories for the people and the home I love so dearly.

Pres. Monson continued …

In May the Ft. Lauderdale temple will be dedicated, and will be the 143rd temple of the church. When all of the temples which are currently under construction and those that have been announced have been built, there will be 170 temples world wide. It was mentioned later on in another talk that right now, 85% of the members of the church live within 200 miles of a temple. Temples truly dot the earth!

We will continue to build temples and to look for places where there is a need for temples. We are a temple building and a temple attending people. May we be filled with the spirit, uplifted and inspired as we listen and learn.

Elder Holland

I’m calling his talk “Defending the Faith”. We will be called to defend our faith and will be attacked personally. We have to have courage and courtesy on our part as we endure these attacks. He shared a story of some sister missionaries who were attacked by a man weidling mashed potatoes. I appreacited this story, as a returned missionary myself. In one of my areas, we had a neighbor who would wait every day to throw her garbage on us. I actually am thankful to her. She taught me how to love my enemeies as a missionary! Continue reading