Be Not Troubled

Elder Ronald A. Rasband spoke during the Saturday Morning Session of October 2018’s General Conference. You can find his talk HERE.

“Take heart, brothers and sisters. Yes, we live in perilous times, but as we stay on the covenant path, we need not fear.”

“Be Not Troubled” Elder Rasband Oct. 2018 General Conference

Troubled Times Indeed

There is so much to fear in the World today. Perils from both inside and out. The world is shifting and changing, in very scary ways. While I personally take the perils of the World seriously, as did Elisha during the siege by the King of Syria (2 Kings 6:14). But just as Elisha knew and taught that the Lord would protect his people, Elder Rasband also teaches that the Lord is with us, helping to dispel fear.

For me personally I felt the Spirit speaking to me as Elder Rasband enumerated the many fears we all can and do experience. For me at the top of the list is fear of failure, weather that is failing myself or my children. Also fear of rejection, fear of the unknown, fear that the Lord will not bless me in my time of need, and fear of change. As is often the case with me these fears, left unchecked easily compound and become outright terror. I’m sure many of you have, and maybe even right now, have felt this kind of terror. It is something I deal with regularly. But I must remember that,

“Since ancient times, fear has limited the perspective of God’s children”

“Be Not Troubled” Elder Rasband Oct. 2018 General Conference

I must remember that God is with me, and that by reaching out to him, the peace and comfort that I long for is available.

Fear Not

Doctrine and Covenants 6:36 reminds me that God has commanded me to “Look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not.”

And also in D&C 6:34 Elder Rasband reminds us we are told to “Fear not, little flock.” But as I looked up this particular scripture I find even greater comfort in the remaining part of the scripture.

“do good; let earth and hell combine against you, for if ye are built upon my rock, they cannot prevail.”

D&C 6:34

Oh how often it seems to me that not only things of this temporal world are attacking me but hell itself seems at times to want to drag me down. I so often feel that if I am following the Lord’s path that I won’t struggle, but as this scripture reminds me, without question I will be attacked, but when my faith is built upon His rock, His Gospel, even as I am assailed the adversary cannot win.

We may not see them but I believe that just as with Elisha we are surrounded by horses and chariots of fire. Just as the young man in 2 Kings stood with the Lord, Elder Rasband counsels us that as we follow the counsel of President Nelson, we too are standing with a Prophet of the Lord.

For me at this moment that means accepting the challenges he issued during the Women’s General Session that I discussed in my last post President Nelson’s Challenge For Women.

“Stand in holy places – be not troubled – and promises shall be fulfifilled.”

Peace can be found when we stand in holy places. This can be our home, the Temple, or Church. I would even say for myself that anytime I am trying to connect with the Spirit, Learn about Christ, or serve my fellow man, I am standing in a holy place.

As Elder Rasband taught fear does not exist in these holy places. But why? What is it about these places that make is possible for fear to be removed? Love. Both the Lord’s love of us, which all of these holy places are suffused with, but also our love for Him. This two directional love is what makes the termination of fear possible.

God never stops loving us. That is fact. For arguments sake I will even say that we do not stop loving him, but when we let our fear become greater than our love for him, that two way connection, our ability to feel the Spirit, and through the Spirit His love for us, becomes weak. Possibly, as Elder Rasband points out,

“When we are tentative in our commitments to the Lord, when we stray from His path leading to life eternal, when we question or doubt our significance in His divine design, when we allow fear to open the door to all its companions—discouragement, anger, frustration, disappointment—the Spirit leaves us, and we are without the Lord. If you know what that is like, you know it is not a good place to be. In contrast, when we stand in holy places, we can feel God’s love.” 

Much of my personal fear comes from my perception of the injustices from which I feel I suffer. Divorce due to an emotional abusive husband, the financial struggle of raising three young children on my own, the sense of loneliness that I experience because my immediate family lives 2000 miles away, even the injustices that I believe exist in our society and culture due to oppression, hatred, warmongering, corrupt leaders, and judgment of others rather than offering understanding, charity and compassion. But all of these things, though truly unjust will, will be made right.

“When Christ comes in all power and glory, evil, rebellion, and injustice will end”

“They that be with us…”

I must always remember that I am never alone. The Lord is with me. The Spirit is with me. Loved ones on both sides of the veil are with me and fighting for me. If I stay engaged in His work, setting aside the World and seeking Him in my daily life I will be surrounded by angels and chariots of fire. I will find peace surpassing all understanding, and I will not be troubled no matter the fears that try and confound me.

I must trust in the Lord’s promises. I must rely on personal revelation, prayer, and the Lord’s Gospel. Then no matter the fears that try and drag me down, I will not be troubled.

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President Nelson’s Challenge For Women

Saturday October 6, 2018 Women’s general session

Women Shape the Future

“I’m extending a prophetic plea to you, the women of the Church, to shape the future by helping to gather scattered Israel.”

This blog is not intended for just women, and I am grateful for ALL who follow, but in choosing which talk to study first, I felt strongly prompted towards President Nelson’s talk during the Women’s Session on Saturday.

I say this because as I was watching over the two days of conference there were a number of talks that I felt the Spirit powerfully as I listened. With each of these talks I thought, “This is the one that I will start with”. Especially since it has been so long since I have written. I wanted to start with something that both spoke to me and would speak to those of you who read this. But even as I watched the sessions on Sunday, I kept being drawn back to thoughts of this talk. So this is were I choose to begin.

The first thing that inspires me, is the President’s tremendous love for the women of the Church. The awe he speaks with, when he speaks of the strength of women and Mothers, always fills me with the Spirit. And though I have heard him say it many times I never tire of when he speaks of why he choose to become a doctor. When asked why he choose to become a doctor, he always answers, “because I could not choose to become a Mother”(emphasis added).

It is always moving to me when I hear from a Prophet of the Lord something that not only I believe but have said time a time again in my own life. It becomes a conformation of both my understanding of the Lord’s purpose, but also the truthfulness of the Gospel. In this case the Prophets clear statement that ALL women, weather or not they are mother’s, either through birth or adoption, are in fact Mother’s . That this title is a divine calling given to all Women, one that is acted out both here and in the eternities.

I have always held firm to the idea that being a Mother is a calling, much like that of the Priesthood, that while it may include the bearing of children, is in fact independent of that experience. It is a state of being, an interaction with people, and the World around us.

Every women us a Mother by virtue of her eternal divine destiny.”

A message that I have heard the Prophet teach time and time again, throughout his time as a General Authority, is that Women are often able to just know not only who to help but how to help. That we do in fact have a God given gift to see clearly the Lord’s plan for those around us, and this gift flows back all the way to Mother Eve. Unlike many in the world, “Her wise and courageous choice” to eat of the fruit, was not because of weakness and inherent sinfulness, a distortion that I believe comes directly from Lucifer, but rather was a clear understanding of what needed to occur to carry out the Lord’s plan for his children.

A challenge: The gathering of Israel as we become more fully ourselves.

As President Nelson discussed Women’s role in the new home centered, Church supported model of Gospel Learning, that Women have a central role, and that the Lord clearly has prepared us all for this, beginning with The Church’s “Family a Proclamation to the World”.

This new way of teaching, in conjunction with new ministering efforts, will not be successful with out the full and necessary participation of the Sister’s of the Church.

“My dear sisters, we need you! We ‘need your strength, your conversion, your conviction, your ability to lead, your wisdom, and your voices,’” said President Nelson. “We simply cannot gather Israel without you.”

Make no mistake, the Gathering of Israel requires the efforts of all member’s of the Church. In his address, President Nelson stated that “We simply cannot gather Israel without you.”

That these new ways of teaching the Gospel and gathering His lost sheep are essential to preparation for the 2nd coming of Christ I think was made clear throughout conference. That Christ’s return is fast approaching and that these things are essential was mentioned at least 6 times during conference that I heard.

Both our role in the Gathering, and preparation for Christ’s return is why I believe the Four Invitations were extended at this time. I will try and give regular updates on how these are going for me separate from my regular blog posts. I would love to also hear you experiences in the comment section regarding both your plans and experiences.

1. Participation in a 10 day fast from social media and from any other media that bring negative and impure thoughts to your mind.

What a wonderful way to clear out minds of the whirlwind of negativity that exists in todays world. This is actually something that I have already done, and what a blessing it was. So much so that I made the choice to basically rid my life of FaceBook completely. I participate in Instagram, but only follow those that I find uplifting and creative. I also severely limit my news consumption to only 2 trusted outlets, so that I am in touch with events in the world but not overwhelmed by the deluge of hate and negativity that fills of so much of the world.

As I struggled with my own crisis of faith over the last few years, limiting negative media has become so central to my search to be more open to the promptings of the Spirit. While there are still many struggles that I face, I do not believe that I would have made the progress I have if I had continued to allow so much negativity to wash over me daily. I also found that I often used social media to numb myself from the daily struggles but that numbing also extended past the intended feelings, and also numbed my God consciousness.

2. Read the Book of Mormon between now and the end of the year.

Scripture reading is definitely something that I struggle with, but I’ve never been able to say no to a challenge. So I have picked up my scriptures and using this Book of Mormon Reading Chart Here I have begun to read/listen to the Book of Mormon. With three young children in my home sometimes listening to the audio while reading along is the only way that I can stay focused. But I am plugging along, and by the time this is published I should be well into 2nd Nephi.

The Prophet has asked us to, as we read, to mark every verse that either speaks about or references Christ. As we see these references we can be more purposeful in speaking and talking about Christ to both our families and friends.

3. Establish a pattern of regular temple attendance.

Even if a person cannot attend the Temple, we can still come closer to the temple. If distance is an issue, preparing family names for temple work, watching and reading about the temple are all ways to draw closer to the power and peace of the temple.

If the you do not have a current temple recommend, you can do what is required to work towards getting one, weather for the first time, or to return.

“Seek to know more, to understand more, to feel more about temples than you ever have before.”

4. Participate fully in Relief Society.

Obviously this includes going to Relief Society on Sunday, but also activities organized by the Relief Society are important for learning and socializing. It is also suggested that we can study the Relief Society purpose statement, using is as a spring board to possibly even to create a personal purpose statement.

Also we can study the Relief Society deceleration. Possibly even forming informal study groups of women so that we can get to know each other creating a greater support network.

“We simply cannot gather Israel without you.”

We are all so important

Each one of us has a purpose in the Lord’s work. So often by improving our relationship with our Savior we increase our capacity to show the pure love of Christ. Once again we are in a quickening. We are more capable, both as individuals and a Church, so more is being asked of us, and alone it would not be possible, but together we can achieve so much,

Forming relationships, loving one another, learning of our Savior and helping bring our families and those around us closer to Christ. All that is being asked of us is to show greater love, greater charity.

“The supreme standard for (love) is that of our Savior…Generally, women are, and always have been, closer to that standard.”

We are only being asked to do that which the Lord knows we are capable of.

Commencing This Week

I’m Back!

It has been a long three years. Time and time again my thoughts have been drawn back to this blog, wanting to write again, wanting to study and share with you the powerful messages that I hear during each conference. For so many reasons it hasn’t been possible for me to do so until now, but I am grateful that I can now, and even more grateful for those of you that are returning readers, as well as for any new readers that find this blog.

While I have been toying around with restarting this blog for a while, especially as I approached this conference, certain things have just been different making it both more possible, and more necessary, for me to do so now. I’m sure I will discuss some of those things as I write about various talks, because as always this is a record of my personal insights as I study modern revelation. As such it lends itself to reflection on how the messages speak to me personally.

The thing that prompted me to resolve to write, however was a statement by President Nelson in his closing remarks on Sunday.

“I urge you to study these messages. Commencing this week”

And so I shall, hopefully with you joining along.

The Plan

As I did before, I plan to look at one talk each week for the next 6 months, until Conference rolls around again. How I pick the talks is totally arbitrary, as the spirit inspires me or I see different talks that related to my current experiences. If there is a talk that you would like me to focus on one week, pleas feel free to send me suggestions at Olson.fibercrazy@gmail.com If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to email me as well.

I will publish each week on Friday, but please feel free to subscribe, so that you will receive notifications of any postings that I publish.

I am beginning this week with Presidents Nelson’s talk at the General Women’s Session on Saturday night. You can find the link here so that you can view it a head of time.

The Journey Ahead

I look forward to this new season of study, as well a the joy it brings me to know that there are those of you that will join me on this path. I look forward to sharing this with you.

CHOOSING……..to Believe (Saturday Morning Session General Conference April 2015)

from the talk Choose to Believe

by Elder L. Whitney Clayton Of the Presidency of the Seventy

I have been studying the most recent conferences talks. I have been writing about a number of the ones that Inspire me ( all of them! haha). But I haven’t been posting, and of course the natural question you are thinking is, “Well if you have been studying and writing, why haven’t you been posting?”

You would be right to ask such a thing. And I wish there was a good answer. And I don’t mean good as in a good excuse, but rather a happy answer, one that was uplifting and testimony strengthening, like I have always wanted this blog to be.

But the answer sadly, isn’t those things, at least not yet. I know that my Father in Heaven always uses our struggles and tragedies to bring us closer to him and, to strengthen us. I know he will use my families current situation to do that for us.

Some of you who have read my first posts here know, my husband tried to commit suicide almost two and a half year ago. He survived and continues to struggle  towards wholeness and peace. No one ever said it would be an easy struggle, and it hasn’t in any way been easy! lol But his complete psychological breakdown and subsequent suicide attempt was only the beginning. Actually it wasn’t the beginning I just wasn’t aware that a “beginning” had happened several months before.

As Elder Clayton stated in his talk from the Saturday Morning Session:

“But all of us will, at some time or another,have to traverse our own spiritual wilderness and undertake our own rugged emotional journeys. In those moments, however dark or seemingly hopeless they may be, if we search for it, there will always be a spiritual light that beckons to us, giving us the hope of rescue and relief.”

A Rugged Emotional Journey

Oh how I understand those dark moments. How I feel the pain of my own “spiritual wilderness”. I have struggled in the darkness before, I have searched for the light, hoping and believing it was there, and eventually finding it. There where times where the darkness was unbelievably thick. But nothing like this. Never like this.

In my blog post “Though We May Feel Like a Broken Vessel”, Elder Holland quotes Psalms 31,

9 Have mercy upon me, O Lord, for I am in trouble: mine eye is consumed with grief, yea, my soul and my belly.

10 For my life is spent with grief, and my years with sighing: my strength faileth because of mine iniquity, and my bones are consumed.

11 I was a reproach among all mine enemies, but especially among my neighbors, and a fear to mine acquaintance: they that did see me without fled from me.

12 I am forgotten as a dead man out of mind: I am like a brokenvessel.

13 For I have heard the slander of many: fear was on every side

As if him being in the hospital wasn’t enough, knowing that his mind had lied to him so much, that death and leaving us his family was preferable to continuing on, it was about to get a lot worse.

While he was still lying in the hospital, alive but still in full psychosis, not knowing whether there was any Brain Damage or not, he told his Mother that he has done it because he has broken my heart and he didn’t know. It made no sense. We had been struggling, but nothing truly terrible. He hadn’t hurt me know like that so I wrote it off as part of the attempt and brain disfunction. That was until she showed up at the hospital. His friend, a person you had three young children, and was trying to make a life for herself. Someone who J helped because that is who he is. She showed up and he couldn’t have visitors so we sat down to talk.

What the conversation came down to was as we where chatting, telling her everything that had been going on, how he was doing, and that I would get here in to see him A.S.A.P. Normal conversation, but something kept nagging at my gut. I knew something was wrong. Then it hit me. I don’t know how I knew , I certainly hadn’t suspected ANYTHING, but I knew, so I looked at her straight on (which is Not something I normally do, and she, who had been looking at me square the whole time could not look at me), and I asked her how long she had been sleeping with my husband?

She couldn’t give me an answer because she couldn’t look me in the eye. She acknowledged the truth of my statement and my world fell apart. Don’t get me wrong, I have been far from a saint in my life and have fallen far from the mark of the Gospel sometimes tragically in my life. I didn’t judge either of them I was hurt and angry. I was angry at myself that I couldn’t see, I had no idea of what was going on behind my back.

I told her to forget we ever existed. As he became more aware, I let him know that I knew, and we started to rebuild.

There may be times when we have been hurt, when we are tired, and when our lives seem dark and cold. There may be times when we cannot see any light on the horizon, and we may feel like giving up. If we are willing to believe, if we desire to believe, if we choose to believe, then the Savior’s teachings and example will show us the pathway forward.

I wish I could say the hurt ended there, that like a lifetime movie, it was a struggle  but we triumphed. It’s never so simple. Isn’t that why we make fun of those cheesy, to easy solution movies? We all know that it doesn’t work that way. That nothing is that simple. We had a couple of hard but good months. Honesty and hope were present again, but just as quickly anger and hurt crept in again. The light was often hard to see. The Dr.’s where not acknowledging the severity of his emotional situation. That all that had happened was not because of a poor relationship choice, but rather a long term struggle with an undiagnosed/incorrectly diagnosed chronic mental health condition, that was masked by institutionalization, a difficult growing up period, lack of stability and whatever other excuses people wanted to use, but that I had know since shortly after meeting him.

Times When We Cannot See Any Light On The Horizon

They continued to over and miss medicate him, to he was more on edge than before all of this began. Overworked county mental health workers, indifferent Dr.’s,, terrible side effects and a host of other problems eventually lead to him leaving the home again, returning to her, and he becoming pregnant. She had their daughter in Feb. of 2014. And 66 days later that beautiful little girl died. We still have no answers. Everything is inconclusive. The autopsy gave not solice, not that ANY answer could have mitigated the loss of this precious girl. By that point we had begun once again to try and work things out, try and figure out where we had gone wrong and get back on track.

There was no light to be seen anywhere for any of us. Our son was in pain because of the loss of his sister. My husband inconsolable, grief stricken not even close to describe the horror of those first weeks and months. Stumbling through our dark night, anger replaced with abject sorrow replaced with anger and each other, God, the Universe, inanimate objects simply because they stayed in one spot while being abused.

The decision to believe is the most important choice we ever make. It shapes all our other decisions.

Over a year later there is still more times of no light than light. My husband is not a member, and so often his anger is directed towards my choice because there is nothing else for him to be angry at that day. My choice to believe in the light even when unseen has in fact shaped almost all of my decisions as he and many others have questioned most if not all of my choices over the last two years. That belief stretches to cover, personal revelation, trips to the temple, priesthood blessings, marathon prayer sessions, and countless other experiences where fro brief moments the light has shinned through so brightly I was nearly blinded after long stretches of darkness. We ALL have continued to fight, continued to believe in our own ways member or not. And continued to walk towards that light hidden behind the next obstacle. While I have not made all the rigth descisons and those choices have been, at times, shot through with anger and self centeredness, my heart has always been directed towards the Savior and the Light of His atonement . I answer to no one expect Him.

I Have Fallen Short of the Glory of God

I have not been perfectly spiritual and strong the entire time. In fact quite the opposite. I have yelled an screamed at him and God, work became harder and harder to do. More payday loans and poor financial choices where made. All of those being on me because I was the only one working and I have always been responsible for the money and accounting. Now I don’t want you to panic either I wasn’t going and buying new cars, or going on insane shopping sprees. It was spending $30 on pizza one night because my body and spirit hung to heavy to feed my family after a day of hurt and pain that was to great for my weak soul to overcome. It was not being able to go to a three hour meeting that would have given us the funds to pay the balance on a significant, but not going because I had spend gas money several days before finding out about the meeting on J’s favorite kind of Little Debbie’s snacks because they made him feel good, or giving him a little extra cash go he could purchase the “right” container for his daughter’s cremains. I regret non of those decisions. The where right and correct at the time. But as my depression grew, as things became more and more overwhelming for me personally, feeling that i had failed all of those that I love most, we finally reached the point where I could not pay the rent, and my management company being unwilling to accept anything short of full payment opted for eviction proceeding rather than allow us to make payments. We moved out, putting all of our things in storage, having lost our vehicle several months before, we where invited to move in with a friend, though that situation was going to be tenuous at best and could end at anytime.

Shortly after moving out of her home, I was informed that my work contract was being terminated, and so for a couple of months, since I am self employed and don’t pay into unemployment insurance, we lived of of the money received from income tax, that we had planned to use for deposits. I was able to find a new contract relatively quickly but it take s a few weeks to build up a regular income, and in the end the new job was a blessing because I am making considerably more than I was even before MY break down, but we also had to move out of our friends and into a motel which costs over $300 a week.

I’ll tell you the light is getting stronger. I see it more often. Making more money being able to afford a nicer place than we had previously had, paying off debt and working actively on our relationship. The last hill to climb is securing the money for a deposit on a new place. My parents who are also struggling, reached out to a crowdfunding site and set a campaign (please check it out if you would like) that just opened a couple of days ago. I don’t know if this is the solution we are looking for or not. But I hope, I hope and I choose. One more hurdle and I think I may finally be able to walk into the full light after so long. While I don’t expect my husband to feel it as fully as I, because of the magnitude of his loss, and ongoing struggles. But I hope that he feels it’s comfort and peace when it comes even if he can’t see yet.

I choose to believe that the scales will yet fall from his eyes, and that he will have peace again someday.

 Sometimes progress in spiritual things can seem slow or intermittent. Sometimes we may feel that we have lost ground, that we have made mistakes, or that our best efforts to find the Savior are not working…In those moments when the light of your faith has dimmed, let your hope for the Savior’s love and grace, found in His gospel and His Church, overcome your doubt…. Our actions are the evidence of our belief and become the substance of our faith. We are choosing to believe when we pray and when we read the scriptures. We are choosing to believe when we fast,when we keep the Sabbath day holy, and when we worship in the temple. We are choosing to believe when we are baptized and when we partake of the sacrament. We are choosing to believe when we repent and seek divine forgiveness and healing love. 

Love is what leads us as a family. Love is what we are striving to find and give each day. And I choose to believe that they love of the savior is what will win on that great and glorious day when my family finally burst into the light after a long night of darkness.

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Do you really need a Conference Notebook?

LDS Conference Center

Do I really need a “Conference Notebook”?

Your asking yourself “is it really that important that I have a specific notebook for conference?” The Short answer?

YES!

Then you think  “Maybe  I’ll grab a few sheets of paper and write what I need to. Won’t that be enough.” Again the short answer?

NO!

My suggestions and the reasons why are based on my personal experience with this process, which means there is and should be tons of personalization, and variation. The guidelines I have for what make a good note book are specific but simple and so can encompass many different styles. So we will look at what a good note book should be, What it shouldn’t be, with some ideas for individualization sprinkled thoughout. Now, please don’t think that I am telling you that you have to go out and buy some super fancying bound book, with gold leaf on the front that sits in some honored space on the mantel.Not at all. This book is supposed to be practical. You are supposed to use it, not just during conference but the entire time between conference.

For me my conference notebook sits right along side my scriptures, in many ways scripture itself, it doesn’t lay out the plans of God for men, and the revelations received by Prophets for all people, it shows me God’s plans for Me, it is a record of my personal revelations from Him. It is personal scripture. President Benson said in a BYU address in 1980,

“God’s revelations to Adam did not instruct Noah how to build the ark. Noah needed his own revelation. Therefore, the most important prophet, so far as you and I are concerned, is the one living in our day and age to whom the Lord is currently revealing His will for us. Therefore, the most important reading we can do is …any words of the prophet contained each month in our Church magazines. Our marching orders for each six months are found in the general conference addresses, which are printed in the Ensign magazine.” Ezra Taft Benson (emphasis added)

What Your Notebook Should Be

  1. It should be solid. This isn’t something that you will use for one conference and then put away, it’s not even something brought out every conference then tucked away for six months. This book is meant to be used. Opened up repeatedly, added to drawn from. It can be a bound blank journal, a study three ring binder with lose leaf paper in it, even a composition book, or a spiral bound note book. I would not suggest the kind were the pages are perforated, they fall out to easily
  2. It should be have lots of pages. Something with only 20 pages just will not do, probably not for even the first 6 months. Unless you have writing the size of a Tom Thumb your going to need some space. Again this isn’t one time and put it down. I personally get lined paper, and while taking notes either double space it, or however much space a talk took up, leave at least that much blank space before taking notes on the next talk. We are supposed to study the talks. You will see new things upon reading them or watching them again that you will want to take not of. Because I do this blog as well, I usually leave 2x the amount, so if a talk takes half a page I will leave the rest of that page and one full blank page open before starting the next talks notes.
  3. It should speak to YOU. Do you want something pretty, or something practical? Do you like Denium or Satin?  Plain is fine as long as that is something YOU like. For me a blank page does it regardless of the wrapping (hey I’m a writer, what do you expect 🙂 ) If you have ever had a nice set of scripture covers, think along those lines. What did you want to get, go for a book with the same kind of feeling. This is one of the great parts of a three ring binder.It is forever expandable. As it fills up remove pages from the front placing those in something permanent while still adding more pages at the back. And because of the blank nature of the outside, you can make it be whatever you want it to be. Pictures, stickers, permanent marker quotes, an ever growing piece  of art that .shows you journey of growth in the gospel.
  4. It should be flexible. If you start off with one kind of book and you find it isn’t working for you, try something else. Experiment with things throughout the six months, there are any number of opportunities to create “notebooks” so that you can find what works for you. A Sacrament notebook, a Relief Society/Priesthood book. A personal study note book. Even practical books like home decoration, or budget books.  I have kept/keep books recording personal prayer what I am asking for and what my answers are, priesthood blessing book, detailing what was said and my impressions, Some books are 1/4 sheet spiral note pads, others are three inch solid board ring binders. Each one may be different but they will all have common points that work for you.
  5. It should be portable What if you are traveling during conference, or you get to actually go see a session live. You might go to another family’s house for a session, or be in the hospital for some reason. Something with a hard back (composition book, binder) so that your lap can be your table, and not so big that you can’t easily carry it if not put it in your bag or backpack.

What It Shouldn’t Be

  1. It shouldn’t be neat. Neat is different than tidy. Organized so that it makes sense to you sure, but I promise you if you are using it to it’s full extent there will be writing in the margins, you may even end up taping pages into the book just to have more space (another advantage of the three ring binder style). I sometimes end up drawing things if I can’t find the words to express what I am thinking. I make mind maps (ideas written in bubbles connected by lines to similar ideas or themes in a overall descending pattern similar to an outline. Great for visual no linear learners check out this here, here and here for a couple of free apps and tutorials,). Try different techniques for different talks, experiment. If you are a person who needs order and you love neat organized outlines with Roman Numerals and the whole deal, you may want to try some of the new quick entry outlining apps for tablets or phone, it’s something I have wanted to experiment with, but don’t want to take the chance of missing something while messing with unfamiliar tech. But if you do try it let me know how it works for you. I don’t imagine many propehts of the past first drafts where all that composed. I encourage you to take the real gems you find and put them into a book or your journal to preserve. This is a working book treat it as such.
  2. It shouldn’t be what others think it should be, meaning this is yours. A lot of people take notes during conference, but how many continue to use those note through out the year? Our goal is for this to be something you use, so just because they do it this or that way, or have this great idea (including me) if you won’t use it what is the point? Find what works for you.
  3. It shouldn’t be static. It will grow and change, it won’t look the same two years from now as it does today. And it shouldn’t. you are growing and changing in your path of Disciple ship, so will the record of that path, have fund with it, but most of all use it. Personal study Church classes, Sacrament meeting talks. You will have the most amazing talk resource on this planet, because it is yours it make sense to you, and you will find stories and deep personal meaning here  unlike any other mass market “quotes
    book or Conference talks commentary.

Okay This Is Great, But Why?

at this point I am going to veer off from what has been largely opinion (though well founded I might add haha jk/njk) and go to the opinion that matters most….Prophets…..during Conference talks……

“(a) neighbor asked, ‘You say you have prophets and apostles? And twice a year in a worldwide conference they reveal the word of God?’

‘Absolutely,’ the member replied with confidence.

The neighbor thought about that for a moment. He seemed genuinely interested and then asked, ‘What did they say in the last general conference?’

At this point the good member of the Church went from feeling excited about sharing the gospel to feeling embarrassed. Try as he might, he couldn’t think of the details of a single talk.

His friend found this troubling and said, ‘You mean to tell me that God speaks to man in our day and you can’t remember what He said?'”President Uchtodorf

“Satan wants us to be slow to remember what we have received and heard. He wants us to minimize and even forget the quiet witnesses of the Spirit that have told us who we really are.” Susan L. Warner April 1996

“In conferences we can receive the word of the Lord meant just for us. One member testified:  ‘As I listened to your address, I was astounded. … Your talk was personal revelation directly from the Lord to my family. I have never experienced such a strong manifestation of the Spirit in my life as those minutes when the Holy Ghost spoke directly to me’…..When I take notes at conference, I do not always write down exactly what the speaker is saying; I note the personalized direction the Spirit is giving me.’ Elder Hales  Oct 2013

“We watch, hear, read, study, and share the words of prophets to be forewarned and protected.” Elder Hales  Oct 2013  (emphasis added)

“Decide now to make general conference a priority in your life. Decide to listen carefully and follow the teachings that are given. Listen to or read the talks more than once to better understand and follow the counsel. By doing these things, the gates of hell will not prevail against you, the powers of darkness will be dispersed from before you, and the heavens will shake for your good.” Paul V. Johnson Of the First Quorum of the Seventy October 2005

I think that pretty much says it all. In Jesus Christs Name Amen.

Tomorrow: How to Help Our Kids Prepare for Conference

It’s Time To Start Getting Ready For Conference!

General Women's Session

It’s time for General Conference!

Are you excited? I know I am. The 185th Annual General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is about to begin. Saturday at 6 pm MST the first session of Conference, the General Womens will begin. All women ages 8 and up are invited.

Oh, how we need general conference! Through conferences our faith is fortified and our testimonies deepened. Elder Hales

Conference is an exciting time for most of us. Most of the people that I associate with look forward to the messages and the feeling of spirit, as we listen to living prophets. But for, us as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, we are so aware that there are modern day prophets, that Christs Church has been restored, that listening to a Prophet while not common place, is…….normal. We are used to it. I see it when a relatively new convert watches Conference for the first time. It’s like watching a child “discover” things, like their toes, or when the take their first steps, it is so miraculous to them. It is truly new and wondrous. I see that wonder in the new convert. We get to listen to a Prophet of God speak!

Not to point a finger, but would you have such a casual attitude towards the next 2 weeks if you where told That Moses or Alma the Younger was going to be speaking? What would you do differently if somehow you could travel back in time and be present when King Benjamin spoke? Or even if Joseph Smith where to be the closing speaker next week? Would you live this week the same? I want to find/keep/maintain that same wonder. Messengers of God will be standing before us, delivering messages that GOD wants you to hear. I believe that a key to maintaining the sense of awe that can be connected to conference is preparation.

We all have questions, we all need answers. We all have struggles that we need strength to get through and we all have pain that needs to be healed. Is it possible to truly get the answers to the questions that we need to know if we have not pondered the questions themselves? Maybe the questions that we are asking aren’t the right ones to begin with and so even if we receive the answers they will do little to truly help us.

As you prepare for general conference, I invite you to ponder questions you need to have answered. There are messages in each General Conference given as a gift and a blessing from Heaven specifically for our personal life situations. Dieter F Uchtdorf

Why Prepare?

We all have questions, we all need answers. We all have struggles that we need strength to get through and we all have pain that needs to be healed. Is it possible to truly get the answers to the questions that we need to know if we have not pondered the questions themselves? Maybe the questions that we are asking aren’t the right ones to begin with and so even if we receive the answers they will do little to truly help us.

I think of it like a garden. If you do nothing to prepare the soil or seeds, will you get a harvest. Sure you’ll get something. Just like if in getting ready for conference you wake up, rub you eyes, and then in your jammies plop in front of BYU tv just as the choir begins to sing, you will get something. But is that all you want to get, just something? What happens to your garden if you till the soil, add fertilizer, water it and pull any weeds out before you plant? What you get in return will be a hundred fold. Conference is the same.

How to Prepare?

We prepare for missions. We prepare for lessons. We prepare to attend the Temple. Preparation can be both temporal and physical, and is often a combination of the two. In getting ready for a mission, a person prepares though scripture study, prayer, working to gain a testimony, but if this was all that was done our missionary would be badly prepared. Clothes must be bought, paperwork filled out, money saved, and visas, shots and health checkups must all be check off. Without physical preparation the spiritual preparation can only do so much.

Most things are simple, and easy, part of what we do everyday, like pray. But in preparing for Conference (or anything else for that matter) it how we do what we are doing not just the act itself. We can pray for:

  • The spirit to help us know which questions we should be asking
  • That you home and family feel the spirit in the days leading up to conference so that there is a peaceful atmosphere that day.
  • Pray that you hear, and more importantly feel the messages that are delivered those days.

Other ways to prepare are to:

  • Write down personal struggles you are having, questions you would like answered, uncertainties, decisions you have coming up, or really anything that you are dealing with. So that during as answers come through talks and impressions you can pay extra attention and write more notes.
  • Get a special “Conference Notebook” that you write notes, thoughts and impressions in. *
  • Have a list of the names of members of the First Presidency, the 12 Apostles, and include the various Auxiliaries, and Quorums (names not needed since they won’t all speak) so that you can use that to enhance your notes*
  • Print activity pages for younger children that help them learn the names of the speakers, and involve them in listening so that they are not as disruptive, and actually become interested in what is happening. *
  • Clean your house in the days before conference so you have one less worry that day.
  • Find some easy to cook crock pot meals or prepare snacks before hand so that someone getting hungry in the middle of a session, or a complicated meal doesn’t disrupt anyone’s ability to watch the full session.

Review promised  blessings of Conference (here, here and here)

  • indicates things that I will be writing about or providing links and print outs for over the next week and a half.

You could probably think of dozens of other ways to prepare, and the spirit will give inspiration as to what is important for you. As is often the case as we try to come closer to Heavenly Father and gain a greater understanding of the Savior, we find that it is easier than we thought, and that there are many more ways that we can do it. If you would like to share any of your ideas please do so in the comments.

For today I would like to suggest that you begin praying about, and pondering questions that you have that you need or would like answers to. Begin to write them down. And keep them together, a spiral bound notebook, three ring binder, or anything that will keep paper together will work.

Decide now to make general conference a priority in your life. Decide to listen carefully and follow the teachings that are given. Elder Paul V. Johnson

Tomorrow: What is a Conference Notebook and how to use it.

#WomensMeeting or #LDSConf.

Loving Others and Living With Differences

When Differences Occur

If you love someone of course you are going to be kind even when your angry, or at least that is what I think most of us try and do. We all make mistakes and the hope of the Gospel is that through the power of the atonement we are forgiven, and so we forgive others. But what about when your husband did it on purpose and and your really mad? We all know that anger and wrath are never justified, especially in the home because of the eternal nature of the family. Plus the last thing I would want is him to bring up “that” moment for eternity. jk…..but not really. It can be hard in a relationship to be loving even when your partner, friend, or family member has wronged you, but you try to maintain that eternal perspective. Especially when you know that there is a huge difference between loving someone, and being loving.

Continue reading Loving Others and Living With Differences

Our Marching Orders for “Kustom Karin”

Hey everyone, It is so awesome to see you all peeking in when you get a chance and checking out the new stuff. There is even more new things happening in the very near future. I am actually going to be changing the name of the blog to, “Our Marching Orders: from this conference to the next” It refers to a talk at BYU, given by Ezra Taft Benson, in February of 1980 when he was still an apostle. The speech is called “Fourteen Fundamentals in Following the Prophet” and you can find it here.  He stated that:

“The living prophet has the power of TNT. By that I mean “Today’s News Today.” God’s revelations to Adam did not instruct Noah how to build the ark. Noah needed his own revelation. Therefore, the most important prophet, so far as you and I are concerned, is the one living in our day and age to whom the Lord is currently revealing His will for us. Therefore, the most important reading we can do is any of the words of the prophet contained each week in the Church Section of the Deseret News and any words of the prophet contained each month in our Church magazines. Our marching orders for each six months are found in the general conference addresses, which are printed in the Ensign magazine.”(emphasis added)

To make that as easy as possible, so that the web address matches the name of the blog (http://ourmarchingorders.wordpress.com)  and  because of time constraints in my life, it is actually going to be a “new” blog. Eventually this blog will become  my business site Kustom Karin. I have been creating a new career in the tech filed as a web developer, because my name is the website, it works well for that.

The new site is so exciting because I am being able to build it from the ground up with all of the information I have learned over the last couple of years about setting up a site, and running a blog. It is already looking exactly like I wanted it to when I started this a couple of years ago. There are a lot of new feature pages, new organizational tools so that anyone visiting the sight can find exactly what they need and want, and  I must say it is coming along nicely. I am hoping to have everything completed by the week of March 23 in time for Conference.

This site is in the process of getting an upgrade so that it can become a professional portfolio.

Continue reading Our Marching Orders for “Kustom Karin”

Loving Others and Living with Differences : Dallin H. Oaks

“As followers of Christ we should live peacefully with others who do not share our values or accept the teachings upon which they are based.” Dallin H. Oaks Quorum of the 12 Apostles

This is the one I will be talking about for the next couple of days. While I will try to stay away from the touchy subjects I hit on with my last post, this talk definitively hits on some of the points that are an issue with me, and more importantly the things that I need to do better.