Friday, December 27, 2013

Elder Bednar Calgary South Stake Conference December 2013

On December 14 and 15 was our stake conference. We were privileged this time to have Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and Elder Nathaniel R. Payne Of the Seventy. We were very fortunate to have my parents come and watch the kids so we both could go to each session.
The adult session was very spiritual.  They had about 6 converts at different stages of life, one was a new member, one a member for 20 years, one a member for 4 years, etc.  one of the converts was my friend Angie's husband Robin. As Robin put it he was never really religious or interested in religion.  Angie had been less active for years. Through Angie's mothers spiritual intuition she invited Angie to volunteer with her at the Calgary Temple open house. After volunteering Angie knew she had to take Robin there. So for date night they did. Robin said he could feel something there. Something he hadn't felt before. Angie had told me before that after going through a sealing room and learning about forever families Robin had asked her if she could take the boys there to be sealed to her. She told him not without him.  Robin soon decided to take the missionary discussions and read the Book of Mormon.  He said he knew without a doubt that it was true and he had to join.  He talked about life being like a puzzle and the people in our lives puzzle pieces. He said his wife was a missionary another puzzle piece. His mother-in-law always answering his questions a missionary, another puzzle piece. Robin's testimony of the Gospel was so touching. I'm not sure there was a dry eye in the congregation.  After he sat down I looked across the chapel and saw a woman turn and mouth to the person next to her, "Wow!"
These are the notes taken point form by Ryan from Elder Bednar's address that night.

  • "Hastening the work" is not synonymous with missionary work.
  • The Gospel is not a collection of discrete topics; it is one work.
  • The Lord is hastening the work, not us.
  • It is not burdensome; it is a lot of fun.
  • The "Mormon Moment" Mitt Romney (a worthy High Priest) a spotlight on the church is not over.  It will culminate in the Mormon Millennium.  The Church is not going back into obscurity.
  • There is no longer any middle ground between us and the world.
  • Any Primary child could answer the most prickly reporter's question.
  • Bednar then related an experience of an interview he had with a reporter, and how he used principles from Primary to answer the questions.
  • Just as you would take algebra before calculus, you must be prepared through the necessary spiritual preparation and prerequisites before entering the temple.
  • Book of Mormon changing hearts and Elijah's turning hearts are the same, not segmented.  They are all about priesthood ordinances and covenants.
  • You should be somehow involved in taking names of your own family to the temple.  You don't have to have a calling to do that.
  • If young people/men are worthy and prepared to be in the temple for youth baptisms and remain that way, they will go on a mission.
  • Young people are afraid to be alone and can feel connected to their ancestors.
  • The greatest problem with boy missionaries is that they have a hard time talking to people.  Listen to the youth and help them learn to interact.  
  • Have the youth get connected with the spirit of Elijah (as part of a story about a kid who did indexing).
  • "Hastening the work" is bringing home to us that it is one work (with many facets), but one work, not segments of work.
  • President Hinckley said that this is the greatest season in the history of the Church.  His only regret was that he wouldn't be there to see it, but that David A. Bednar's generation would [see the Church flourish].  President Hinckley said it wasn't better in the days of Joseph, or of Brigham. It is better today.
  • Teach your children to be able to talk and communicate with people.
  • As the world becomes more sad and gloomy, members of the church will radiate and have joy.
We were so excited for the Sunday session.  To take the kids there and hear a prophet and see a prophet. We got there just over an hour early to try and get a seat in the chapel again but almost half the chapel and the overflow were reserved seating and the other half was already full which led us to have to sit in the gym. It was a bummer but at least we were there. It made me sad to find out how many people were getting babysitters for Sunday or just not coming so they wouldn't have to deal with kids or the celebrity status that an apostle has - which really is quite ridiculous how people act around an apostle treating them so royally.
Again, these are the notes Ryan took of Elder Bednar's talk:

  • Priesthood is the authority to act in the name of God.  It is not male.  An analogy is the husband holding the umbrella for both he and his wife.
  • Priesthood keys are the right and responsibility to direct the work of God.
  • Levels of keys in the Church; Apostolic, Stake Presidents, Bishops.
  • There is a binding power when those with priesthood keys speak.
  • Bednar promises as a servant of the Lord that we follow President Craig (Stake President) our lives will be blessed.
  • There is a Christmas story in the Book of Mormon that lets us know that Joseph Smith could not have written it.
  • Lehi's Dream - the tree is a representation of Christ.  The fruit on the tree are the blessings of the Atonement.
  • Alma 32 - the seed (word of God) grows into a tree.
  • Bednar held in his hands the manuscript copies of the Book of Mormon translation transcribed by Emma and Oliver Cowdery.  It is continuous text and beyond the power to fake, even with a lot of time and a team of editors.
  • Alma 32: 22-23 - the word/tree of Christ springing up in you.
  • When the Savior declares his is the light and life, or life and light, the sequence is purposeful.
  • Bruce R. McConkie noted that those shepherds who the Christmas angels appeared to were watching sheep who would be sacrificed in the temple.
Elder Bednar was just finishing up his talk when Josh had to go to the bathroom.  So I quickly took him and Abby. I waited in the hall with Abby and when Josh was finally done the congregation was just finishing the closing hymn. I figured instead of being distracting and climbing over people to get back to our seats we would just wait till it was over in the hall.  When it was over Elder Bednar came out the door.  He went over to a small group of toddlers and shook their hands.  Then he came to me and the kids. I was holding Abby and Josh was standing in front of me. He knelt down shook Josh's hand and then held it and talked to him and wished him a merry Christmas. He then stood up and shook my hand touched Abby's arm and leaned in to me with a look on his face like, do you want to say something to me? And I did want to talk to him.  Earlier in the week Deidre told me how much Trevor is still struggling with Taylor's death, rightfully so. She said Trevor's dad suggested that Trevor get rid of pictures of Taylor and things that remind him of Taylor so he won't hurt so bad. I personally think that's a terrible suggestion, but Trevor didn't. He wants to do that now even though Deidre doesn't. It's so hard to hear and see them in so much pain.  I started immediately praying even harder then I had been for them. My prayers haven't stopped for them. I was asking The Lord how I could help them. When Elder Bednar leaned in and gave me the look I knew he was the answer to my prayers. I knew he had a plane to catch so I offered to walk with him as we talked. As we walked I told him it was my nephew that died on his mission in Pocatello.  I told him while I was there with my family I witnessed a miracle the Thursday that the first presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles prayed for our family. The miracle was Trevor.  It wasn't until that day that little miracles started happening. The compassion and charity of the manager at Ruby Tuesdays, the memorial, etc. those things all helped Trevor. We all saw it. He was a different man by the end of the night. I know that miracle was because of them praying. I told Elder Bednar that we needed another miracle and I knew they could help. Elder Bednar, with the most loving eyes and hand grasping mine told me he would surely ask.  
I then left with the kids to find Ryan. We told him Josh shook his hand and he grasped Abby's arm.  Ryan was so excited and I think a little jealous that he didn't have the opportunity. I waited until we were in the car to share the rest where I could let my tears flow freely. God does answer prayers. I'm so grateful for that knowledge. 

1 comment:

  1. You've made me cry reading that story Amanda. What an amazing experience you had. You are a wonderful example to me - I hope you know that.