Monday, 8 April 2013

Good Enough For Now

General Conference April 2013!

Google is pretty clever most of the time

Kids, you'll come to know that I LOVE general conference. I think I first started to acknowledge this passion when I left home for university in Birmingham, and the second weekend away was general conference. Off I trotted on my own to the rebroadcast of the Relief Society session. I even remember who I sat next to on the front row of the left batch of pews in the Harborne Chapel. I don't think I would have gone to it had I not been raised to value these sessions of conference that we have every 6 months. I wouldn't always make a point of going to the live broadcasting of the Saturday morning sessions of conference at 5pm at the chapel if not for my family. And while I have valued conference all my life because of my parents' influence, I didn't recognise the love I had for general conference until I was responsible for my own attendance. So kids, I'll drag you along to conference and like someone in my ward once said, "you can choose to come to church because you want to, or because you have to. The choice is yours!" It wasn't until I was 18 that I fully embraced general conference so I'll give you a few years to get there ;)

An example of how my family taught me the importance of general conference is the countless years that my school's annual disco would be scheduled on the same evening as the Saturday morning session of conference. I would be SO annoyed that without fail it would be the same night. "All my friends are going!" "I NEVER get to go!" Still my mum held fast and didn't relent. How glad I am that she didn't budge. I think I got to go to one disco as it didn't clash and to be honest, it was rubbish!

Also, the Siu Family have a tradition of getting Chinese takeaway after going to the chapel for the Saturday Am session. It's simple, but it's our tradition :)

SO #ldsconf is over! A hashtag you say? Why yes I am an avid twitterer, ESPECIALLY during conference! It enhances my experience and this year I think we all felt validated when we saw the #ldsconf hashtag on the screen at the same time as the "183rd Annual Conference" title coming up. We're on the map!

#LDSCONF - Approval!

It's so much fun to see what other members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are saying about the talks, music and prayers. Some people are extremely witty and even more are able to quote some of the best bits from our general authorities, sometimes adding in their own experiences and feelings. It is truly wonderful. This year some of our apostles were trending worldwide. I'm convinced that if time zones permitted all members of the church to watch the sessions live, we'd have #ldsconf trending worldwide too. This time last year I was in Hong Kong visiting family, and I wasn't able to watch conference live :( The members there have all of the sessions broadcast the following week and so they miss out on all the twitter fun unless they stay up late to watch. Here in the UK it is easier as sessions are live at 5-7pm and 9-11pm, and I do the "marathon" of watching all four sessions live. I reckon if I was a man I would stay up at 1am to watch the Priesthood session live!

Some of the #ldsconf tweeting that goes down...

Here are some of my favourite quotations from conference and some of the questions I thought of to ponder over the coming weeks (see my twitter @stephsiu for a multitude more!):

Saturday Morning session

First "lady prayer" at General conference ever

President Boyd K. Packer
"We're meant to age".
"You will do no greater eternal work than within the walls of your own home." - I especially love this quote because I am a big believer that we are responsible for our families, and something in my patriarchal blessing tells me about the eternal work I will do for my own family. This is a privilege and responsibility I need to take extremely seriously and this is what President Packer has inspired me to do.

We look forward to President Packer's 98th poem!

Bishop Dean M. Davies
"Wake up and give thanks." - I am guilty of forgetting to pray in the mornings. Heavenly Father and all of the things I have received should be among my first thoughts of the day.

Sister Elaine S. Dalton was released as the
General Young Women President

Sister Elaine S. Dalton
Basically everything she said and:
"She kept her covenants and, because she did, she called down the power of heaven to bless our home and to send miracles." - This is a promise to us, that if we keep our covenants we have the amazing ability to call upon the powers of heaven.
She also wondered about how different the world could be if women were regarded and treated as daughters of God (DOGs, my favourite acronym :P) and how if there were less pornography, abuse and immorality then there might be less broken marriages, broken lives and broken hearts. RETURN TO VIRTUE.
The General Young Women Presidency were released this weekend.

Elder Craig C. Cardon
"...'in process of time' we overcome the world through the enabling power of the Atonement." I just love the sound of being able to overcome the world.
" His mercy, He allows improvement over time rather than demanding immediate perfection"

Elder M. Russell Ballard
Used the example of a tomato plant that had become weak and wilted from neglect. Do we feel that our faith or testimony is less than it should be? We can bring in life again, like the tomato plant was rescued with nurturing and love by the little girl. turn more fully to the Saviour.
"Not only is the priesthood the power by which the heavens and earth were created, but it is the power the Savior used in His mortal ministry to perform miracles, to bless and heal the sick, to bring the dead to life, and as the Father's Only Begotten Son to endure the unbearable pain of Gethsemane and Calvary — thus fulfilling the laws of justice with mercy and providing an Infinite Atonement — and overcoming physical death through the resurrection - The Priesthood is powerful and sacred.

Tomato plant symbolism

President Henry B. Eyring
Jesus' words to his disciples are just as applicable to us today.
Do we have loved ones wandering off the path? Depend on the Lord. Draw closer to them as you serve in faith.
He said that we are in covenant to lift up those in need.

Saturday Afternoon session

Elder Richard G. Scott
He assured us that even though Satan will exploit our weaknesses, if we stay on the Lord's side, there's a 100% win rate.
"Become friends with your children's friends." So glad that my parents do this. They're always friendly and chatty to people that visit our home. Kids, I'm going to be BESTIES with your friends ;) Not in an embarrassing way I promise :P

Elder Quentin L. Cook
Loved his quotation of Doctrine & Covenants 121.
"Peace is not found in the pursuit of pleasure, entertainment or leisure."
The Saviour's peace helps to bind up broken hearts and infuse our souls with calm and happiness.

Elder Stanley G. Ellis
"Which ward needs a good family?"
"It's not where you raise your family but how."

Elder Ellis

Elder John B. Dickson
The African people have very little of that which matters least but much of that which matters most.

Elder David A. Bednar
As soon as we heard "Law of Chastity" we battened down the hatchets and knew it was going to be a great talk and a point of reference.
Heavenly Father desires us to be together in the light. Lucifer wants us to be alone in the dark. - I know where I want to be.
Love increases through righteous restraint but decreases through IMPULSIVE INDULGENCE.
Living the law of chastity invites some of the greatest blessings men and women can receive in mortality.
"Guilt is to our spirits what pain is to our body."

Cool view of the pulpit, so many screens!

Elder Russell M. Nelson
"Catch the wave!" After this and Ask the Missionaries I'm convinced elder Nelson would have made a great marketing man if not for his highly successful heart surgeon career.

Elder Nelson has such a way with words

Sunday morning session

President Uchtdorf
The painting of light and darkness in his office is a metaphor for life.
Profound anger threatened to consume Jane however she learned to acknowledge darkness but at the same time not dwell there. She devoted her life to helping others.
We must leave the past behind and step into our bright future :)

1) Start where you are

2) Turn your heart toward the Lord
3) Walk in the light

With Christ, darkness cannot succeed.
The West African saints sang with energy and spirit :)

Love President Uchtdorf's hand gestures ;)

Elder Neil L. Andersen
Wilford Woodruff found people in England ready to hear the gospel. I've been to Benbow's farm!
We have missionaries in 189/224 nations and territories of the world.
Now is the time to paint a missionary badge on our hearts.
Let's make sharing the gospel online more a part of our daily routine.
Missionary work? Missionary FUN!

Sister Rosemary M. Wixom
"Disconnect from technology and reconnect with each other." Earth Hour? :P

Elder L. Whitney Clayton
"Forgo personal entertainment in order to help with household duties."
Read with your children. Be side by side with your spouse in this most important work within your own home.
Marriage - respectful, loyal, transparent.

Elder L. Tom Perry
"Obedience to law is liberty."
"sin will always be sin." - Moral absolutes.

President Thomas S. Monson
Obedience is the hallmark of prophets. It has provided strength and knowledge to them throughout the ages.
Obedience is the great test in this life. - Our generation has a greater capacity to be obedient, but it's still hard.

Sunday Afternoon session

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland
"Belief is a precious word and an even more precious act."
The 14 year old boy admitted to Elder Holland that he could not yet say he knew the church was true, but that he believed it was. Elder Holland thanked him for his honesty and hugged him till his eyes bulged out!
This whole talk was incredible. I tweeted that though I have not had any doubts about the church in a long time, this talk gave me a renewed zest to strengthen my testimony. [Zest: Noun 1) Great enthusiasm and energy. 2) A quality of excitement and piquancy]

The apostle a lot of people had been waiting to hear!

Elder Dallin H. Oaks
Jesus' teachings were not meant to be theoretical, but were meant to be acted upon.
He talked a lot about the christian acts of our church. I loved how user friendly his language was.
We can inherit all that the father has - mind-blowing.

Elder Christoffel Golden Jr.
How can we become better acquainted with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ?
We will be startled when we go beyond the veil and realise just how well we know our Father in Heaven and how familiar his face is to us. [Quoting President Ezra Taft Benson: "Nothing will surprise us more than when we get to heaven and see the Father and realize how well we know Him and how familiar His face is to us."

Elder Enrique R. Falabella
"Love letters, phone calls and love poems sound like museum material."
He sees his wife read the Book of Mormon and feels of her testimony when she does so.
"Never withhold a good thought about another person."
It is not enough to know the scriptures, we must live them! - How can I better LIVE the scriptures?

Elder Erich W. Kopischke
How do we know if our hearts are broken?
A broken heart is soft and open, receptive.
We know out own motives. We must not rationalise. Feel godly sorrow and repent.
Observing covenants includes silent service to others.
"Seek the Lord's acceptance."

Elder Bruce D. Porter
Find sanctuary in the stakes of Zion.
"Radiate good cheer!"
"Oh what a beautiful morning! Oh what a beautiful day. I got a beautiful feeling everything's goin' ma way!"

Elder D. Todd Christofferson
"Seek to participate in and further his redemptive work."
He paraphrased Jean Valjean's story with the Bishop of Digne from Les Miserables!

President Thomas S. Monson
Put your trust in the Lord. He will help us in our difficulties no matter what.
"I invoke upon you homes filled with peace, harmony, courtesy and love."
"Promised peace."
Our dear prophet thanked us for the prayers on his and the other general authorities' behalf.

Our Prophet. Caring, gentle and humorous as usual :)

If you're still reading this, I'm flattered! This blog is supposedly for my future kids to see what I got up to as a YSA. It is my dearest wish that they embrace general conference as I do [I hope twitter is still around]. Going to have to work as hard as my parents have done with me and my brothers! Bring it.
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