Monday, April 5, 2010

On Learning, Doing, and Being Good

A Hopeless Dawn, by Frank Bramley, 1888

I always love watching the semi-annual general conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but I especially enjoy having it fall on Easter day, as it did this year. President Monson opened his talk yesterday by showing the lovely and heart-wrenching painting depicted above. It tells the story of a young woman whose night-long vigil for her mariner husband renders no result. The sea has claimed him.

President Monson's comment on Bramley's magnificent work of art was sobering: "Death comes to all, our universal heritage," but the remainder of his message served to remind us why no dawn is ever hopeless, nor need be. When Job asked, "If a man die, shall He live again?" (Job 14:4), the resounding answer he took from the Lord was yes. "I know that my redeemer liveth," he testified to Bildad, "and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God" (Job 19:25).

"The darkness of death can always be dispelled by the light of revealed truth," observed President Monson, and after telling the beautiful story of a family who sent two young sons on a mission, one on this side of the veil and one on the other, he closed with this beautiful scripture from Revelation: "And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away" (Revelations 21:4).

My other favorite talks were by Donald L. Hallstrom and James B. Martino on adversity, Gregory A. Schwitzer on judgment, and Bradley D. Foster on motherhood. Elder Holland did a wonderful job discussing a difficult subject (pornography), Sister Beck was her usual motivational self on the subject of womanhood, President Uchtdorf inspired by reminding us that we need to be the Lord's hands, Bednar enlightened us about spiritual warning signals, and President Eyring implored us to help God bring our children home. Some truly beautiful personal and borrowed stories were told, and I would highly recommend that any and everyone who enjoys inspiration visit the conference page and listen at length to one of the talks I've mentioned or any of the others. I highly recommend the Mormon Tabernacle Choir selections, too. Their music was especially beautiful throughout.

I look forward with great anticipation to each conference because at least one talk always feels as if it were aimed directly at me. This time, as you can see, there were several. (Self improvement, here I come!) President Monson certainly got it right a year or so ago when he counseled us to "learn what we should learn, do what we should do, and be what we should be." I'd like to get it right as well, as I endeavor to follow that counsel.


PS. Can I interrupt this rather spiritually-toned post for a moment to brag about my daughter-in-law? Heather was one of ten winners in a photography contest on I hope you'll take a minute to check out her photo. We are all really proud of her! (Heather's photo is the tenth one.)

PPS. Heather's website and blog are here.


Jill said...

I couldn't figure out which picture your daughter in law took at that sight. There are some really good ones there!

Heather Anderson said...

It was a really great conference and brought the true spirit of Easter in our home. I really liked the talk by Manson and the photo brought tears to my eyes... thanks for sharing your thoughts on the conference it was uplifting to read!

Sue said...

Thanks for the feedback, Jill. I've now added the fact that Heather's photo is the tenth one to my post.


Braden said...

I loved those same talks. It was a great conference. I feel so blessed.

*MARY* said...

Thank you so much for your great posts. I showed my children your "Beautiful Savior" post on Easter morning, and they loved it.

karen said...

Great conference all around. Didn't you love the music between sessions? There was a piece called "Highland Cathedral" accompanied by bagpipes that was amazing. A beautiful Easter Sunday!

Carolyn said...

Pres Monson was my favorite too. I have vowed to watch everything again. Thank you so much for your sweet comments. They have really kept me going the past few months.

KC Mom said...

I loved conference too. How is it that every talk was written just for me? Isn't it amazing how we all feel that way?
That picture is stunning!

Darlene said...

Since we didn't expect to be home for Conference this April, we taped all sessions so that we could watch it when we returned. I am so glad we did, because even though we watched it live (I had aching dental problems so couldn't go) I am excited to be able to watch it again. It was an exceptional Conference.

It was also interesting to see Heather's picture that won in the top ten. I have to admit though, that I liked it lots better than some of the others, although I thought they were all interesting. Heather just has something a little special. Maybe I'm too much of a realist to appreciate the way some of them were cropped. I know it is supposed to be artistic, but I prefer some of the others, especially Heather's.

Jess said...

I loved the one by elder Schwitzer too- it was a kick in the pants for me to be kinder and less judgmental- even when I think someone is overly deserving of said judgment. And way to go Heather!

Amy said...

Its funny, when I was younger I dreaded Conference. It seemed so boring to me. But now, I crave it and anticipate it like a child anticipates Christmas. And though I don't get as much out of it (little kids) as I had previously, I still love it. And all this technology just makes me happy, because I know I can listen to it at my leisure.

Momza said...'s not just the words I crave, but their very presence. To feel their power and knowledge is inspiring and uplifting.
I found myself saying, as each speaker presented at the podium,"Oh, I love him/her."
every time.

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