What a blessing the gospel is in the lives of the members of this glorious church and to those of the world. If for nothing else, people should appreciate the church for all the wonderful service, emergency care and supplies, and beautification it provides. I have NEVER understood those that choose to tear down anothers beliefs. What is the point? Isn't that the joy of living in a "free" nation? That we have freedom of religion. I know some will say, "Well a member of your church tried to force me to..." WRONG! No one forces us to do anything we don't want to. Yes, outside pressure can persuade us to make a choice we might regret, but it was nonetheless a choice. If people would stop tearing down, and work to build each other up, what a peaceful place our city, state, and county would become. I realize that people seek to tear down the church because they are afraid of it, or they might lose members to the LDS Church. So by making the members hate us, they don't have to worry about their members converting. If that is the case, I feel sad for those leaders that use manipulation and fear to "keep" their membership. I also guess it is natural to fear the unknown. But why not just ask a member what we believe.
I loved the talk by Robert D. Hales about not leaving the high ground and falling in to the traps of those who seek to destroy us. Don't let others bait us to argument. Argument has NEVER convinced anyone to change. Argument is full of Satan's power. No good can ever come of it. As was said, when we are responding to our accusers, simply love them.
Sister Elaine S. Dalton's thought:"I Can Do Hard Things" was great. I felt like I needed a banner of that in my 6th grade classroom and also in my home study. But it seemed even better when it was changed to "In The Strength of the Lord, I Can Do All Things". I also loved the comment about how our youth are willing to text never-endingly, but not take time to read and gain a testimony of the Book of Mormon. "Return to Virtue"- Another great quote. Especially with so many of Satan's tools of evil available with the click of a mouse.
"I feel my Savior's love, the love he freely gives me". What a wondrous thought. As the choir sang that song, I was overcome with such a Strong feeling of gratitude for the love my Savior gives me. There is nothing I could do that would stop my Savior from loving me. I wonder how often we think of that. No matter what we have done, we CAN return to our Father in Heaven if we are willing to reach out and change our lives. This is possible with the help of our Brother, Jesus Christ. What a awesome thought, All CAN return.
Elder M. Russell Ballard focus on Joesph Smith and missionary work was refreshing. I always find it amazing to think about all that was done in the early days of the church to get us where we are today. How the Lord blessed the early saints. I also found it interesting to hear the statistics of the early missionaries and saints as they worked to gather in Zion. It is astounding to watch the way the Lord as opened the doors of nations so that His work could move forth. To see that membership has grown from 5.9 million in 1995 to over 12 million today shows the amazing power and truthfulness of the gospel.
When president Monson said that all too soon the laundry piles and toys scattered everywhere will be gone and we will miss them. I have felt this way a lot lately. I love my babies so much, but find it harder and harder to be patient with them. It is a goal of my wife and I to work harder. For we have come to realize exactly what President Monson said. All too soon our children will be grown and gone. With an 8 year old already, I can see it rushing upon us more and more quickly. I want to end this post with this thought from President Monson: "Never let a problem be solved be more important that a friend to be loved".
Keep the Faith...