|Elder Bruce A. Carlson|
How Involvement in Ward Councils has Strengthened My Auxiliary:
Service should always be a part of our auxiliaries. D&C 4:1 "O ye that embark in the service of God, see that ye serve him with all your heart, might, mind and strength..." There are always opportunities to serve. Look for them! Sometimes your service will be well received and sometimes it won't. D&C 84:88 "And whoso receiveth you, there I will be also, for I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up."
Bring others to Christ--God's work and glory is to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man. (Moses 1:39) This needs to be our #1 focus. (from Elder Gene R. Cook)
Pres. Broussard ~ "For my soul delighteth in plainness; for after this manner doth the Lord God work among the children of men. For the Lord God giveth light unto the understanding; for he speaketh unto men according to their language, unto their understanding." (2 Nephi 31:3) We need to be in tune with the Spirit.
There's no shortage of negative opinions but the Lord has given us all the tools we need to overcome challenges. Pres. Uchtdorf, in the last General Conf. Priesthood session, talked about a stake that set ambitious goals but later realized that they didn't focus on the individual. "Many of the things you can count, don't count. The things you can't count do count."
2 Nephi 31:13 tells us to follow the Son with full purpose of heart and witness to the Father that we are willing to take upon us the name of Christ then we will receive the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost.
Elder Carlson said that he knows that the Lord really loves the South because of the magnolias, blueberries the size of your thumb, and hydrangeas. Then he told us about a member of the church who was traveling cross-country and found a "golden phone" (to heaven) in every church lobby. But the cost of a call was $10,000! Then the man arrived in Louisiana and went to the Church where he found the same phone, but the calls were only $.10. There was a man in the lobby who happened to be the custodian, so the traveler asked him why calls were only 10 cents here. The reply was, "Mister, you're in Dixie. It's a local call!"
The Saturday meeting emphasized Ward Councils. Elder Carlson said we're all involved in councils. Sometimes it's a family council but the same principles apply.
1-Focus on something beside yourself (or just the council). Focus on people and their problems.
2-It has to be based on love to be effective. If you don't love those in the council, you'll be frustrated. If you have a problem with a member of the council you'll tend to discount what they say or think it's useless information. We must love and trust each other.
3-The manner of things is important, ie, how we do things is as important as what we do. It has to be done the Lord's way, not just to get it over or check it off a list. (Home Teaching & Visiting Teaching fall into this category quite often.)
Elder Carlson's current assignments are in the Middle East, North Africa Area, North America Central Area, and Idaho Area Prior to that he did not live in the Salt Lake area. When he received his call it was extended by Pres. Eyring and he'd been serving for 6-8 months without ever meeting Pres. Monson. One day he was coming down the elevator in the church office building when the elevator stopped on the 1st floor and Pres. Monson stepped in. As he did he began whistling The Air Force Song, "Off we go into the wild..." Elder Carlson knew right then that Pres. Monson definitely knew who he was. (When Elder C. retired he was a General in the Air Force.)
For the last 15 minutes Elder C. answered questions from the audience.
At this point I'm thinking that I'm never going to finish this post, so notes are going to be a lot shorter. I'm sure no one cares about them but me.
Just before the Sunday session began, Pres. Riggs asked that, unless we're expecting a call from Kolob, would we please turn off our phones:)
A YW who'd just graduated gave a beautiful talk on following what the Prophet has asked us to do. She told the story of Naaman, the leper, and Elisha to illustrate that when the Prophet asks us to do something and we respond, we will see miracles in our lives. There's always a blessing when we're obedient. (D&C 130:20-21)
Pres. Marks was received as the Stake Presidency 1st Counselor as he's moving to Provo where he accepted an offer to teach at BYU. His talk was on dropping the dead weight we carry around. We need to re-examine our lives and repent. He related an experience he had while backpacking several years ago. One of the boys dropped to the back of the line, sat down and said he just couldn't go any further because his pack was too heavy. Pres. Marks traded packs with the young man then they continued. Shortly, Pres. Marks sat down because of the weight and decided to see what was in the pack--3 cast iron pans! They ditched them and finished the hike.
What cast iron pans are we carrying around. Pres. M suggested and elaborated on 3 that we need to beware of. 1-An unbalanced focus on involvement in activities that have no eternal consequences. 2-The dead weight of debt. 3-caring what the world thinks of us as we hold on to the iron rod.
New Counselor, President Bascom, quoted Pres. Monson "Do your duty, that is best. Leave unto the Lord the rest." He used the story of Samuel in the temple when the Lord called him. We need to be aware of the Lord's voice and what he wants us to hear. (I'm sorry we won't be here to hear more from Pres. B.)
Pres. Riggs reviewed the stake challenge including emergency preparedness, then talked about being square with the Lord. He used Pres. Hinckley's words from as an example for what we can do. "I, for one, have made a stronger resolution within myself to be a better person than I have been in the past. I hope that I will be a little kinder to any I meet who may be in distress. I hope that I will be a little more helpful to those who are in need. I hope that I will be a little more worthy of your confidence. I hope that I will be a better husband, a better father and grandfather. I hope that I will be a better neighbor and friend. I hope that I will be a better Latter-day Saint, with an increased understanding of the wonderful aspects of this glorious gospel."
There's room for improvement in every one's lives. The Lord wants us to be happy. He gave us His Plan of Happiness. It includes 9 ingredients for a happy family. We should work harder as parents, beware of too much criticism and fault-finding and children being left alone to seek their own entertainment.
We must work on our responsibilities as parents. Everything in life counts on it. Take stock of yourselves, pray then follow the Spirit. Consequences of your leadership will be eternal.
This morning Elder C. focused on children and families (my favorite subject!) He said that children are what make us smile and bring us the most joy. Then he talked about King Benjamin and how the Nephites came to hear his final address and pitched their tents around the temple with their doors toward the temple. The came with their families--not just parents and children, but parents, sons & daughters and their sons & daughters. Later in Mosiah we're told that "the rising generation" who had been quite young and hadn't covenanted to remain faithful, became Nehors.
It's easy to lose children today. It used to be that you had to go out and deliberately look for trouble, but today trouble will find them. We must take action to protect them every day. In Alma 53 there's a recipe for success and it helps us to know that we can be successful in an incredibly evil environment. The stripling warriors gave themselves a name (Nephites) and made a covenant. They did all that they were asked to do with perfection. They had integrity!