Sunday, October 3, 2010
Come, Listen to a Prophet's Voice
The chance to listen to living Prophets, Seers and Revelators for 2-3 sessions per day, two days this week, is a unique opportunity afforded to members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Like the Prophets of the Old and Testaments, as well as those in our additional testament The Book of Mormon, today's Prophets speak with God, so that they can let us know His will on Earth and in His kingdom. It's also a chance for us to associate with other members of the faith, whether it be in person, on satellite television or on social networking sites such as Twitter, where #ldsconf was the No. 3 hashtag during a busy Saturday morning that included college football and Ryder Cup golf.
One thing church leaders did Saturday was announce five new temples. Temples are sacred buildings, more than simple meetinghouses; they are places where faithful members of the church go to perform sacred ordinances for themselves as well as on behalf of their deceased ancestors. The new temples announced will be built in Indianapolis; Hartford, Conn.; Tijuana, Mexico; Lisbon, Portugal; and Urdaneta, Phillipines.
General Conference also generally carries a few themes, or particular items of faith or doctrine given in talks by various church leaders that members should apply in life. Through Saturday's three sessions, there was a strong theme of obedience and following the Prophet. It's a basic doctrine, one discussed by church members from age 8 to 88, but it's also one of the most complex. LDS church members aren't taught to be mindless robots. On the contrary, we are taught to question and seek answers to life's great questions, including those regarding doctrines we may desire to understand further. Constant study of the scriptures is encouraged, and continually focusing on the Lord's Plan of Salvation is recommended.
Following the Prophet has also been under much debate recently, with certain statements by the First Presidency of the church being dubbed "difficult" and "hard" for many members of the church. But it is something that the Lord would always have us do. President Wilford Woodruff once said, "The Lord would not let me nor any other Prophet lead the church astray. It is not in the program. It is not in the mind of God. If I were to attempt that, the Lord would remove me from my place. And so He will any other man who attempts to lead astray from the oracles of God, or from their duty." Later in the same discourse, though, President Woodruff added that if the Prophet ever did begin to lead the church astray, we would be blessed by following his counsel, assumingly while the Lord "removed him."
This post is a short one, merely attempting to explain a bit about General Conference and why it is so important to members of the church. It's a pleasure to listen to the Prophets and Apostles, from anywhere in the world, every six months, and learn of God's plan for each of us.
And if you desire to learn more, click here. Or watch Sunday's conference sessions here.
NEW MEDIA OF THE WEEK:
Here's a taste of one of the talks delivered during one of Saturday's sessions. The man is Elder Claudio R.M. Costa, a member of the church's Quorum of the Seventy, who was called as a witness of Jesus Christ to all the world. Watch it. Learn from it. Ponder it. Otherwise, General Conference is just another October weekend.
For an archive of each General Conference talk, see here.