As an active member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), the first weekend of October is always reserved for listening and watching the world-wide broadcast of a conference the LDS Church sponsors every six months.
All are invited to listen and ponder the words of these church leaders from Salt Lake City and the speeches (we call talks) are posted almost immediately on lds.org to listen to and ponder again. I can never remember all of the messages given so when I can I take notes, as many other LDS Church members do. People from all walks of life (even non-members) listen in and find comfort in their messages and its focus is on every member of the family. These wise words are shared on Facebook, Mormon Messages, Pinterest and Twitter. It really is amazing.
We also discuss these messages amongst ourselves for days afterward. We discuss which talk we liked the best and why. My favorite talk from this conference (although there were many wonderful messages) is from Jörg Klebingat who has been called in to the First Quorum of the Seventy (there are eight quorums total) in April of 2014. When you are called into one of these quorums, you are like a traveling minister of the priesthood and are assigned a position somewhere around the world to help administer and minister to members.
Jörg Klebingat was born in Zweibrücken, West Germany in 1967 and joined the Church as a teenager in 1985. His talk was called Approaching the Throne of God with Confidence and I liked it because he has a no-nonsense approach to doing what’s right, which in turn will help grow spiritual confidence. He gave six practical ways to keep spiritually strong and squelch discouraging voices of the adversary.
- “Take responsibility for your own spiritual well-being Stop blaming others or your circumstances; stop justifying and stop making excuses for why you are not fully striving to be obedient.”
- “Take responsibility for your own physical well-being. Decide today to begin a regular, long-term exercise program suited to your abilities, combined with a healthier diet.”
- “Embrace voluntary, whole-hearted obedience as part of your life. Make the Church and the restored gospel your whole life, not just part of your outward or social life.
- “Become really, really good at repenting thoroughly and quickly. Establish an attitude of ongoing, happy, joyful repentance.
- “Become really, really good at forgiving. Forgive everyone, everything all the time. Don’t hold grudges, don’t be easily offended, forgive and forget quickly. Spiritual confidence increases when you know that the Lord knows that you bear no ill feelings toward another soul.”
- “Accept trials, setbacks and surprises as part of your mortal experience. When trials come, the adversary will tell you that you did something wrong, that this is a punishment, that Heavenly Father doesn’t love you. Ignore that!”
These six suggestions weren’t given with an ulterior motive. They weren’t told as an insult or out of pride. They were given in a straight-forward manner to help all who listen to be better people and find meaning in their life. This kind of devotion can restore peaceful assurance and spiritual confidence. Something we all need a bit more of.
Elder Klebingat says: “Spiritual confidence increases when you voluntarily and joyfully repent of sins both small and great in real time by applying the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Spiritual confidence increases when you are truly striving, for the right reasons, to live a consecrated life, in spite of your imperfections.”
Listening to the words of our leaders brings great peace and comfort to many. General Conference heard every six months is just enough time to listen and read all the words spoken and be ready for the next one. In the meantime, I have a lot of pondering to do.
Valerie Steimle has been writing as a family advocate for over 25 years. As a convert to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, she promotes Christian living in her writings and is the mother of nine children and grandmother to twelve. Mrs. Steimle authored six books and is a contributing writer to several online websites. To her, time is the most precious commodity we have and knows we should spend it wisely. To read more of Valerie's work, visit her at her website, The Blessings of Family Life.