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Saturday’s sessions of General Conference were rich in content and counsel not only for the community of Saints, but for the entire world.  Never in the history of the world has there been better opportunities for anyone to be able to disseminate words and counsel of living Prophets, Seers and Revelators.  The Internet, cable and satellite have transformed how these conference sessions are available to the world.  

Again, The Church’s website will have a live stream here.    If you want to experience some of the newest technology, try the LDS Newsroom’s Twitter feed, which you can follow here:  twitter.com/LDSNewsroom.  The twitter search term for conference is #ldsconf, as well as #LDS and #Mormon.  Plug those exact search terms into Google, and you’ll fine a plethroa of information about General Conference.  Or, perform the same search directly on Twitter, and you will be amazed at what you will find in terms of General Conference discussion.  The Newsroom also has an article on the conference.  In the Bloggernacle, I’m certain there will be several blogs commenting on and following General Conference.  I will link them as I find them.  BCC, in addition to its live blog coverage also has a Twitter feed, which you can follow here: http://twitter.com/ByCommonConsent.  Millennial Star also has a Twitter feed here:  http://twitter.com/Millennialstar.  

BCC’s conference thread is here.  

9:00 a.m. Choir–Tabernacle Choir Praise to the Lord

9:01 a.m.   Conducting President Thomas S. Monson, Prophet, Seer, Revelator

Greets all participating via Intenet, TV, Radio, Twitter?  :-) and the like.  (Next time he’ll mention Twitter–I’m sure). 

9:02 a.m. Choir Sweet Hour of Prayer

9:06a.m.  Invocation Darrell H. Garn

9:08 a.m. Choir You Can Make The Pathway Bright

9:12 a.m.  Dieter F. Urchtdorf, Second Counselor First Presidency

Today Palm Sunday.  Nearly 2000 years Christ entered Jerusalem final week of life.  Rode in on a donkey, who was greeted by multitude, palm leaves and garments.  Blessed be the name who comes in the name of the Lord.  Turning point, thought disciples?  Jews to recognize Christ?  No–Christ understood his fame temporary only.  Soon He would take upon sins of world.  Fitting this week, we turn our thoughts to Jesus Christ.  Some saw him as a great political King; but, he gave much more.  He have us Atonement.  

God has plan of redemption and happiness.  Gospel is way of discipleship, even in times of peril, sorrow and uncertainty.  Many concerned about livelyhood.  Many experience misfortune and sadness.  World not bashful in offering new answers.  People run from one new idea to the next.  People attend seminars, but books and look for something new.  But the ideas all fail.  

Not that world options don’t contain truth,  some do.  But they all fall short.  After excitement abides, hollowness remains.  In contrast, Christ’s Gosepel has answers to all problems.  Gospel not a secret, not hidden, not a theory or proposition from man–but comes from God.  God has given us ultimate formula for success.  Gospel lets hope and faith blossom inside us.  Greater  our desires to follow Him.  Causes ouf faith to grow and illuminate our hearts.  We recognize our sins and desire to be cleanses.  Yearn for freedom from guilt.

Faith and repentance lead to purifying waters of baptism.  Take Christ’s name upon ourselves.  More filled with Spirit of God more we extend ourselves to others.  Mericiful acts of kindness.  First steps along true way of life.  This is way of Christ’s followers.  But, not a quick fix or overnight cure.   Don’t acquire Eternal Life in a sprint.  We have to apply and re apply over and over.   Don’t expect corn on the cob the day you plant the seed.  Gospel grows into fruit bearing tree after patiencce and long suffering.  

Seed will spread and sprount, early, but it takes time on the pathway of discipleship.  Soon blessings will follow.  We cannot neglect the tree, though.  Knowing seed is good, not enough.  Must nourish the seed.  Then can we feast later on the fruit. Discipleship is a journey.  We need refining lessons of journey to craft our character and purify our hearts.  Demonstraate to ourselves our faith and willingness to accept God’s will rather than ours.  Not enough to surround ourselves with sybools of religion.  Discipleship not a spectator sport.  

Spectator discipleship for some is prefreed way of worshiping.  Ours not a second hand religion.  Can’t obtain blessings observing good others do.  

First step begins where we stand.  Don’t have to pre qualify to take first step.  Don’t need to be rich, educated, well mannered or perfect.  We just need to begin walking path of discipleship today.

Let’s pray and desires of heart.  Have faith, seek and we will find, knock it will be opened to us.  Become active participant in ward and branch.  Now is time to adjust our lives to have and use a Temple reccomend, read scriptures and speak in earnest prayer.  Now is time to embrace Christ’s gospel.  

Some who have made mistakes think they cannot partake in Gospel.  They do not understand Gospel.  It helps us learn from our mistakes.  We all make mistakes and fall short.  Gospel has power to make us whole.  God sees us in terms of forever.  Takes us from men of earth to men of eternity.

Start where you are and come to restored Gospel of Christ.  He will bless your lives and endow you with knowledge and joy beyond comprehensive.  Never too late.  

Gospel in fullness taught in Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  Jesus Christ lives.  He is Savior and redeemer of world.  He will be at our sides.  He is our hope and salvation, the way. 

9:30 a.m. Neil L. Anderson, Quorum of the Twelve Apostles  

Knees weak.  Feels humbled.  But knows through Holy Ghost, Jesus is the Christ the beloved Son of God.  Asks forgivnees and patience. Prays he will be molded and correctec by Lord.  

I know who I am–I am a nobody.  If we ever forget, Lord will remind us, and it won’t be pleasant.  Testimony blossomed as young missionary in France.  Has seen power of God at work all over world.  Lord blessed him in ways never able to repay.  Married angel on earth, precious daughter of God.  Nothing without her.  Has been trying to become what she thought he was.  Served as mission president in France.  Children have sacraficed in his behalf–greatful to them.  Grateful for parents, mother attendance today.

Loves brethren of the 70.  Bonds for eternity.  For 16 years FP and Q12 his example.  Never observed personal positioning, or seeking for gain.  Has seen their love and witness of Christ.  Seek first to build up Kingdom of God.  Has seen their prophetic voices.  Has seen them in sacred moments, too much so to recount over pulpit.  They are Lord’s anointed.  Prays his spirit will be like Elder Wirthlin, whose passing brought him to the Q12.

Our days are long anticipated in history of world.  Revelations tell of great gathering.  House of Lord established in tops of mountains–stone cut without hands–Church not be many in number, but would be in every land and nation.    Blessed to bring Gospel to our families.  

Restoration is light and standard to world and ourselves.  Our responsiblity not trivial.  Not by chance we are who we are.  Keeping of covenants will be badge of honor throughout all eternities.  Has seen Lord’s hand all across the world.  Far more pioneers living today, but are same in many ways.  Faith and repentance stepped into Baptism.  Gift of Holy Ghost holding steady toward Eternal Live.

Must remember who we are what we have in our hands.  Many people of wonderful faith and beliefs, so we are not alone.  God loves all his children.  Others have faith in Christ, in every land.  Much we can learn from good people all around us.  Yet, don’t shrink what is unique to Church.  Only here is Priesthood restored, where Book of Mormon stands with Bible, only here Prophets from God, holding keys of binding authority.  We are not superior or arrogant.  We should be on our knees pleading what we should be.  

This is Christ’s Church, and nothing shall over throw it.  We proclaim Christ as Savior and reedemer.  All we are or ever will be we owe to him.  He stands a the door and knocks.  He is the resurrection and the life.  Christ lives.  He is Resurrected.  

9:43 a.m. Steven E. Snow Presidency Quorum of the Seventy

It is time for us to all get on with our lives.  Most don’t welcome dramatic change, but it is essemtial to life’s experiences.  Our lives change as we progress into adult hood and old age.  School, misssion, marriage, employment and retirement, milestones of change.  Too often we are too comfortable to move toward change.  

1.  Follow prophets. 

2.  Keep Eternal Perspective.  Change and challenges part of God’s plan.  Mortality time for testing.  Must be opposition in all things.  

3.  Have Faith.

4.  Be of Good Cheer. 

Some changes seem beyond our control.  Economic downturn.  Listen to prophets, keep eternal perspective, have faith, and be of good cheer is how we deal with these types of changes.  

9:54 a.m. Choir Congregation Reedemer of Israel

9: 57 a.m. Barbara Thompson, 2nd Counselor Relief Society Presidency

Whatever happens in life, Christ has power to save.  His work to bring to pass Eternal Life and Immortality of Man.  Sister Beck taught:

1.  Increase faith 

Need to pray every day, even always.  Testimony will grow this way.  Go to Temple to make and keep sacred covenants.  Each must follow to increase our faith.  

2.  Strengthen family and homes

Responsiblity of each of us to to this.  Hold on to Iron Rod.  Scriptures, home evening and family prayer will strengthen families.  

3.  Serve Lord and his Children.

Are we not all beggars?  Vital that we all serve each other in anything we need.  When we need help from others, they will help and we will all benefit.  They will fulfill covenants and we all are served.  

10:06 a.m. Elder Jeffrey R.  Holland Quorum of the Tweleve Apostles 

(The most powerful sermon on Christ’s Atonement I have ever heard delivered by any of His special witnesses).

Thanks to remarkable women of this Church.  Easter message for all, but directed to those who are alone, or feel abandonded, including those not married, without family, parents, children.  Lonliest journey ever made was Christ’s task of shouldering alone the burden of our salvation.  He trod the winepress alone.  There was none with him. 

Great public moment when Christ arrived Palm Sunday; but, soon it would not be popular to walk with Christ.  Pilate and other rulers in the land declared Christ guilty, though we was in fact innocent.  Eccelastical and political rejection of Christ transformed into the popular rejection of the people as well.  

Judas difficult to understand.  How could one of His witnesses turn on him and betray Him for 30 pieces of silver?  Never has so little money purchased so much infamy.  We are not to judge Judas–but, Christ said, it would have been better had he not been born.  But, all of the apostles of that time had their own difficulties.  Peter, James, and John slept while Christ prayed in the Garden.  

Peter the goes on to deny the Christ three times.  We don’t know all what was going on here, including any protective counsel Christ may have given them.  All the disciples left, and Christ faced the Atonement alone without comfort and companionship.

Christ’s final moments may not have fully anticipated emotionally and spiritually–the concluding descent into dispair of Divine withdrawl.  He cried, My God why hast Thou forsaken me?  He had not comprehended this–His Father’s withdrawl.  But, the Father may never have been closer to His Son than in these moments.  The Father briefly withdrew from Christ His Spirit, which was required for a moment.  

He had to know how we would feel as we commit the most horrendous of sins.  He had to know what it was like to die physically and spiritually.  Leaving Christ to feel alone.  (very, very powerful spirit with Elder Holland in this talk).

Divine compassion is never absent.  God never flees us.  Against all odds, with none to help or uphold him, Jesus of Nazareth, restored physical life where death held sway.  With faith in God he could and did say Father into Thy hands I commend My Spirit.

Because Christ walked the path alone–we don’t have to do so.  This is the message of this Easter Season.  We will never be left alone or unaided even if we feel as though we are.  

We should never try to re-enact these scenes ourselves.  Christ walked the path once.  As we approach the holy week, may we declare ourselves more fully Christ’s disciples.  Not only in word, but in deed, courage and faith, including when path is lonely, when the Cross is difficult to bear.  This Easter week and always may we stand by Christ at all times, in all things, in all places even until death.  That is how He stood by death, when it was unto death, when He stood alone.  (Powerful Atonement address–must watch and listen again when available on Church’s website).

10:25 a.m. Choir This is My Beloved Son

10:29 a.m.   President Thomas S. Monson, Prophet, Seer, Revelator 

Loves us.  Continuing signs world circumstances not all we would wish.  Financial outlook grim.  Moral footings of society slip.  Those who attempt to shore those footings are ridiculed and picketed.  If we only dwell on that which is wrong, we could become depressed.  God has given us spirit of power and love.  We all have tragedy and misfortune.  We know there are times we will suffer.  Adam fell men might be, and we are that we might have joy.

1.  Great grandparents lived in Scotland.  Familes were coalminers.  They were at peace with world.  Listened to missionaries.  Were converted to Christ’s Gospel.  Knew they may answer call to Zion.  1848 sold poessesions to cross ocean with five small children.  All possessions in tiny trunk.  Traveled 8 weeks across the ocean.   Little child died, and left his body in the deep ocean.  But, with their faith they held on.  Comforted by God’s word.  Be of good cheer, Christ has overcome the world. 

Small interruption in my blogging–visitors, briefly at home

He who follows Christ will not walk in darkness but have the light of Christ.  We do not walk alone.  

March 1946, President Benson, assigned post war tour of Europe to meet with Saints and assessing their needs.  Heard experience of Church member.  Had lived idyllic life.  Young husband was killed.  Left her alone to care for four children.  Occupying forces determined she and family to go to Germany.  Had to walk entire trip.  She took strong faith in God and Gospel, as revealed through Joseph Smith.  

Lived from forrests along the way.  Days into weeks, to months, temperatures dropped below freezing.  Smallest child in her arms.  Oldest 7 years old pulling small wagon with all their belongings.  Ragged burlap on their feet.  Thin jackets covered thin clothing, providing only protection.  

One morning, unthinkable happened.  Her three year old daughter had died.  Overwhelmed with grief, but she knew she must travel on with her other kids.  Used tablespoon to dig a grave in frozen ground.  Death would be her companion again.  Seven year old son died.  Table spoon used again to dig his grave.  Next five year old son died, using spoon again.  Had only there tiny baby daughter left.  

As she reached the end of her journey, the baby died in her arms.  Now the spoon gone, so she dug the grave with her hands four hours.  She had lost her husband, children, and all earthly goods.  In this moment of sorrow thought heart would break.  Thought of killing herself, but the spirit whispered to get on her knees and pray, which eventually she did.

All she had left was her Faith.  She had great gratitude for Christ’s Atonement, because he broke chains of death, allowing her to see her children and husband again.  When she reached her destination in Germany, she was in advanced stages of starvation.  Yet, she knew God lived and Christ died and resurrected.  Bore testimony of this and that she would be reunited again with husband and children.

Our promised blessings are beyond measure.  Knowledge of Gospel will comfort and sustain us and bring joy to our hearts.  Nothing in this world that can defeat us.  

Fear not be of good cheer.  The future is as bright as our faith.   

10:53 a.m. Choir

Powerful, powerful session of conference.

10:57 a.m. Benediction