Thoughts from General Conference, October 2009

We had great seats!
Out of all of the sessions of General Conference I've ever attended, this most recent session meant more to me than any other, and not even by virtue of the fact that it's the avenue of the most current revelation on the earth.

As of late, it has taken greater dedication on my part to have the Holy Ghost with me in the same magnitude and consistency that I have previously enjoyed. Although considering some of that growth came through great pain and suffering, I'm not sure if "enjoy" is the best word to use there.

I've had to exert more and more effort for the same results. I wondered for many months if it was because I was doing something wrong. I feared I might have been offending the Spirit without realizing I was doing so. But after hearing so many talks from this most recent session about the presence of the spirit, the purification of our hearts, and the sanctifying power of love coupled with more exact obedience to the commandments, it seems to me that what I'm feeling is not an accident.

I think it's fair to say that based on the instructions that we've been given, we're supposed to be drawing closer to the Spirit and to each other in love--becoming a more Zion-like people.

We've been taught that Zion is not just a place that we can expect to establish in the last days, in preparation for the coming of the Savior. Zion is also a state of being one in mind and heart as a people, looking towards and continually dwelling in the pure love of Christ. Now, I may not be the greatest gospel scholar in the world, but considering we just received more counsel than I've ever heard in one setting about purification, love, charity, and dwelling continually in the Spirit, I really must wonder what, exactly, the leaders of the Church were instructing us to do.

Can I just say, I loved the ONE guy not wearing a suit coat?

We may not have been told this session to return to Missouri, which is where we've been taught through modern revelation the physical place of Zion will be. But it sounded to me like we're all supposed to be much more Zion-like in character than we currently are as individuals, as a nation, and as a Church. And building Zion in our hearts is going to be much more difficult than building a new city, or even building a new temple. We would know--our people and our Church have been building both of those for over a hundred years now. Five more temples were just added to the lengthy list of those being renovated, planned, or constructed. But as we've seen in our failure to live under the United Order, being Zion in heart and mind is the most difficult undertaking that mortal men can attempt.

Think about it. Imagine trying to be loving, charitable, virtuous, united in the common cause of Christ at all times, to dwell in the Spirit at all times, to love and obey God at all times. Try doing it for a week and see how much of a headache it is. Better yet, try doing it for a month and see how much Satan doesn't like you and tries to thwart you at every turn. The temptation never ceases--not in waking life, and not in sleep--and increases in severity as you endure it well. Satan will do all he can to destroy you.

I know this as sure as I'm standing here because he and his minions have attacked me on too many occasions for me to count. But at the same time, the peace that has been offered me through the Holy Ghost has been sweeter, full of more knowledge and more guidance, and has blessed me with an ever-increasing ability to endure such tribulation. God does not quiver and shake as Satan surely does with each passing moment.

But how is any of this new? We've been hearing this for years. I've only been around for the past 4 of them and I know I've hear it plenty of times. But what I'd like to do is sound a clarion call of warning that the stakes have just been raised, and the task ahead of us has never been greater, but neither have the blessings.

If we will do as we've just been instructed in this past session of General Conference, we will see mighty changes in our world, in our Church, and in our ability to share the gospel.

If we desire Zion, if we would see its walls raised, its temple built, our families protected and our hearts knit together in the binding power of our task, we had best say our prayers and go to work--for surely this is the cause in which we are engaged, more so now than ever before!

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