Tuesday, October 2, 2012

As We Close This Conference

This entry is part of my general conference application series.

As We Close This Conference, by Thomas S. Monson
President, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Some believe that politics and religion don't mix. Apparently I'm not one that does. If I haven't scared you away, here are my concluding thoughts on this conference:

Are you better off than you were four years ago?

I hear this question thrown around in the current political contest and have a hard time answering. I think the reason is because I feel like a different person than I was four years ago. Let me explain:

Four years ago:
  • I had two children—half as many children as I do now (okay, exactly four years ago my third was two months old, but you know what I mean)
  • I was near the beginning of what seemed an insurmountable graduate school experience
  • I was a dirt-poor student (see previous)
  • I was madly in love with my wife

Four years later (now):
  • I have four [active] children
  • I've graduated and am at the beginning of what seems like an insurmountable mortgage
  • I live like I'm dirt-poor (is debt-poor a valid substitute)
  • I'm madly in love with my wife

Okay, some of the things are similar or the same—it's not fair that I'm fatter and balder than I was then, but my wife looks as radiant, if not more so, than she did then!—but I had another question come to mind as I reviewed President Monson's final talk days before the next general conference:

Am I better off than I was six months ago? (spiritually)

I write these general conference application series posts—and have a good time doing so—but am I improved at all?

I hope so.

These words of a living prophet reassure me that I am better:

I think you will agree with me that we have felt the Spirit of the Lord as our hearts have been touched and our testimonies strengthened. . .

How blessed we are, my brothers and sisters, to have the restored gospel of Jesus Christ in our lives and in our hearts. It provides answers to life’s greatest questions. It provides meaning and purpose and hope to our lives. . .

May your homes be filled with love and courtesy and with the Spirit of the Lord. Love your families.

These words, delivered in love, remind me of the things I've learned and been reminded of in my review of these general conference addresses. After doing so, I want to be even better and love my family even more!

Even though I recognize that I still have many areas where I need to improve, my study and review of these talks has given me hope and encouragement for the future. It turns out, President Monson predicted this would happen:

May you ponder the truths you have heard, and may they help you to become even better than you were when conference began two days ago.

As I like to do, here is a word cloud of the conference proceedings, which is a repeat of when I reviewed President Monson's opening address (link). The word that stands out to me now is power:

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