I first went to Mr. Connecticut in July of last year. I was upset, crying, and cursing. I still cringe at the way that conversation went. I was really nervous but I felt like it needed to be done. I don’t even remember half of the things I said, but I remember what I said at the end:
“I don’t want anyone to lose their jobs, but I will defend myself.” Then I went on to say “I don’t know if it was the right thing coming to you about this or not. I always doubt myself.” He said with a smile, “we all do sometimes.”
There is only one thing that has changed from that conversation and that is, doubting myself. Confidence begets confidence. So if you’re waiting for my confidence to waiver, you’ll be waiting until your retirement.
I won’t state my position on this again, I’m staying.
Reflect on times where you have repeatedly forgiven someone as they continued to make mistakes. What was the experience like? How does that experience help you better appreciate how the Lord is always reaching out to us despite our many and repeated mistakes?
31 Cursed is he that putteth his trust in man, or maketh flesh his arm, or shall hearken unto the precepts of men, save their precepts shall be given by the power of the Holy Ghost. 32 Wo be unto the Gentiles, saith the Lord God of Hosts! For notwithstanding I shall lengthen out mine arm unto them from day to day, they will deny me; nevertheless, I will be merciful unto them, saith the Lord God, if they will repent and come unto me; for mine arm is lengthened out all the day long, saith the Lord God of Hosts.
2 Nephi 28:31-32
To all of you who think you are lost or without hope, or who think you have done too much that was too wrong for too long, to every one of you who worry that you are stranded somewhere on the wintry plains of life and have wrecked your handcart in the process, this conference calls out Jehovah’s unrelenting refrain, “[My] hand is stretched out still.” “I shall lengthen out mine arm unto them,” He said, “[and even if they] deny me; nevertheless, I will be merciful unto them, … if they will repent and come unto me; for mine arm is lengthened out all the day long, saith the Lord God of Hosts.” His mercy endureth forever, and His hand is stretched out still. His is the pure love of Christ, the charity that never faileth, that compassion which endures even when all other strength disappears.
Receiving only three years of formal education, the Prophet Joseph surely must have felt unequipped and inadequate at times. As President Nelson reminds us, how does knowing that God has plans for you and that you have been reserved for the exact time and place you are in–in spite of your inadequacies or maybe even because of them–inspire you to think or do things differently?
1 Verily, thus saith the Lord unto you, my servant Joseph Smith, I am well pleased with your offering and acknowledgments, which you have made; for unto this end have I raised you up, that I might show forth my wisdom through the weak things of the earth.
Some of us question whether Heavenly Father can use us to make important contributions. But remember, He has always used ordinary people to accomplish extraordinary things. “[We] are agents,” and “the power is in [us]” to “bring to pass much righteousness.” President Russell M. Nelson explained: “The Lord has more in mind for you than you have in mind for yourself! You have been reserved and preserved for this time and place. … The Lord needs you to change the world. As you accept and follow His will for you, you will find yourself accomplishing the impossible!”
How are you doing “hearkening“ unto the new things the Spirit has taught you recently? Are you fully “receiving“ that new knowledge so that you can eventually be provided additional insight?
26 Yea, wo be unto him that hearkeneth unto the precepts of men, and denieth the power of God, and the gift of the Holy Ghost! 27 Yea, wo be unto him that saith: We have received, and we need no more! 28 And in fine, wo unto all those who tremble, and are angry because of the truth of God! For behold, he that is built upon the rock receiveth it with gladness; and he that is built upon a sandy foundation trembleth lest he shall fall. 29 Wo be unto him that shall say: We have received the word of God, and we need no more of the word of God, for we have enough! 30 For behold, thus saith the Lord God: I will give unto the children of men line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little; and blessed are those who hearken unto my precepts, and lend an ear unto my counsel, for they shall learn wisdom; for unto him that receiveth I will give more; and from them that shall say, We have enough, from them shall be taken away even that which they have.
2 Nephi 28:26-30
The Holy Ghost teaches individuals in a very personal way. This makes it possible for us to intimately know truth for ourselves. Because of our different needs, circumstances, and progression, the Holy Ghost teaches what we must know and do so we may become what we must be. Please note that while the Holy Ghost teaches “the truth of all things,” He does not teach all truth all at once. The Spirit teaches truth “line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little.”
The Savior loves you and sees your divine potential, no matter what your current life circumstances may be. What can you do to “turn your slope toward heaven” as Elder Gilbert invites?
Brothers and sisters, in this Church, we believe in the divine potential of all of God’s children and in our ability to become something more in Christ. In the Lord’s timing, it is not where we start but where we are headed that matters most. To demonstrate this principle, I will draw on some basic math. Now, don’t panic at hearing the word math in general conference… It starts with the formula for a line. The intercept, for our purposes, is the beginning of our line. The intercept can have either a high or a low starting point. The slope of the line can then be positively or negatively inclined. We all have different intercepts in life—we start in different places with different life endowments. Some are born with high intercepts, full of opportunity. Others face beginning circumstances that are challenging and seem unfair. We then progress along a slope of personal progress. Our future will be determined far less by our starting point and much more by our slope. Jesus Christ sees divine potential no matter where we start. He saw it in the beggar, the sinner, and the infirm. He saw it in the fisherman, the tax collector, and even the zealot. No matter where we start, Christ considers what we do with what we are given. While the world focuses on our intercept, God focuses on our slope. In the Lord’s calculus, He will do everything He can to help us turn our slopes toward heaven.
Elder Clark G. Gilbert
23 For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.
Sometimes our current trials feel permanent and hopeless. As you read Elder Callister’s words along with today’s verse, how can placing your trust in God help you lift up your head and “cheerfully do all things that lie in [y]our power” to improve challenging circumstances?
17 Therefore, dearly beloved brethren, let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power; and then may we stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed.
Sometimes [the Lord] removes the affliction, sometimes He strengthens us to endure, and sometimes He gives us an eternal perspective to better understand their temporary nature. After Joseph Smith had languished in Liberty Jail for about two months, he finally cried out, “O God, where art thou?” Instead of providing instant relief, God responded, “My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment; and then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high.” Joseph now understood that this bitter experience was but a dot on the eternal spectrum. With this enhanced vision, he wrote the Saints from that same prison cell, “Dearly beloved brethren, let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power; and then may we stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God.” Because of the Savior’s Atonement, we can have an eternal perspective that gives meaning to our trials and hope for our relief.
So, we watched Rocky II today. This time Apollo Creed just couldn’t accept his win. He was getting flack from his fans and he wanted to prove that he was the undisputed champion.
Rocky didn’t want to fight. He accepted his loss and was ready to start a new life. Apollo Creed kept antagonizing him until he gave in and agreed to fight. This time Rocky knocked him out in the final round.
I think the sequel was better that the first, don’t you agree? 🤔
Think of those you know who have wandered away from the gospel. How did it happen? Was it one consequential choice, or was it many small ones over a period of time? What can you learn from their experience?
21 And others will he pacify, and lull them away into carnal security, that they will say: All is well in Zion; yea, Zion prospereth, all is well—and thus the devil cheateth their souls, and leadeth them away carefully down to hell. 22 And behold, others he flattereth away, and telleth them there is no hell; and he saith unto them: I am no devil, for there is none—and thus he whispereth in their ears, until he grasps them with his awful chains, from whence there is no deliverance. 23 Yea, they are grasped with death, and hell; and death, and hell, and the devil, and all that have been seized therewith must stand before the throne of God, and be judged according to their works, from whence they must go into the place prepared for them, even a lake of fire and brimstone, which is endless torment. 24 Therefore, wo be unto him that is at ease in Zion! 25 Wo be unto him that crieth: All is well!
2 Nephi 28:21-25
Although in our journey we will encounter forks and turnings in the road, we simply cannot afford the luxury of a detour from which we may never return. Lucifer, that clever pied piper, plays his lilting melody and attracts the unsuspecting away from the safety of their chosen pathway, away from the counsel of loving parents, away from the security of God’s teachings. He seeks not just the so-called refuse of humanity; he seeks all of us, including the very elect of God. King David listened, wavered, and then followed and fell. So did Cain in an earlier era and Judas Iscariot in a later one. Lucifer’s methods are cunning; his victims, numerous.
As Elder Christofferson teaches, “God loves us perfectly,” and as we obey the commandments, we increase our ability to feel His love. Take some time to ponder Elder Christofferson’s question: “How well do I love God?” How would you answer this question?
In acknowledging that God loves us perfectly, we each might ask, “How well do I love God? Can He rely on my love as I rely on His?” Would it not be a worthy aspiration to live so that God can love us not just in spite of our failings but also because of what we are becoming? Oh, that He could say of you and me as He said of Hyrum Smith, for example, “I, the Lord, love him because of the integrity of his heart.” Let us remember John’s kind admonition: “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.” Indeed, His commandments are not grievous—just the opposite. They mark the path of healing, happiness, peace, and joy. Our Father and our Redeemer have blessed us with commandments, and in obeying Their commandments, we feel Their perfect love more fully and more profoundly.
Elder D. Todd Christofferson
10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.
As Joseph and his brethren suffered in prison, the Lord did not remove their pains and struggles. How does remembering the purpose of life help you meet your refining challenges? How does knowing that Christ descended below all things help you ascend through your trials?
7 And if thou shouldst be cast into the pit, or into the hands of murderers, and the sentence of death passed upon thee; if thou be cast into the deep; if the billowing surge conspire against thee; if fierce winds become thine enemy; if the heavens gather blackness, and all the elements combine to hedge up the way; and above all, if the very jaws of hell shall gape open the mouth wide after thee, know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good. 8 The Son of Man hath descended below them all. Art thou greater than he? 9 Therefore, hold on thy way, and the priesthood shall remain with thee; for their bounds are set, they cannot pass. Thy days are known, and thy years shall not be numbered less; therefore, fear not what man can do, for God shall be with you forever and ever.
You might reasonably wonder why a loving and all-powerful God allows our mortal test to be so hard. It is because He knows that we must grow in spiritual cleanliness and stature to be able to live in His presence in families forever. To make that possible, Heavenly Father gave us a Savior and the power to choose for ourselves by faith to keep His commandments and to repent and so come unto Him. The Father’s plan of happiness has at its center our becoming ever more like His Beloved Son, Jesus Christ. In all things, the Savior’s example is our best guide. He was not exempt from the need to prove Himself. He endured for all of Heavenly Father’s children, paying the price for all our sins. He felt the suffering of all who have and will come into mortality. When you wonder how much pain you can endure well, remember Him. He suffered what you suffer so that He would know how to lift you up. He may not remove the burden, but He will give you strength, comfort, and hope. He knows the way. He drank the bitter cup. He endured the suffering of all.
We went to see the new Dune movie in IMAX today, and it was awesome! Such a great cast and so well done. My husband and son are huge fans so we’ve seen the David Lynch version and the directors cut, The Children of Dune miniseries and others. This new one did not disappoint.
When we got home, we were surprised by the sweetest act of kindness. My administering sister in my ward always drops off little treats on my doorstep with a little card with words of encouragement. Today she did something a little different and I was thrilled. It was so sweet.
Even if my coworkers and management are still against me, I still have friends who love and care for me.
Doctrine and Covenants 121: 9-11
9 Thy friends do stand by thee, and they shall hail thee again with warm hearts and friendly hands. 10 Thou art not yet as Job; thy friends do not contend against thee, neither charge thee with transgression, as they did Job. 11 And they who do charge thee with transgression, their hope shall be blasted, and their prospects shall melt away as the hoar frost melteth before the burning rays of the rising sun.
7 Wherefore, confound your enemies; call upon them to meet you both in public and in private; and inasmuch as ye are faithful their shame shall be made manifest. 8 Wherefore, let them bring forth their strong reasons against the Lord. 9 Verily, thus saith the Lord unto you—there is no weapon that is formed against you shall prosper; 10 And if any man lift his voice against you he shall be confounded in mine own due time. 11 Wherefore, keep my commandments; they are true and faithful. Even so. Amen.
In what ways have you been “stirred up unto repentance“? When someone goes through a “stirring“ experience, what could cause that person to turn to anger instead of repentance?
19 For the kingdom of the devil must shake, and they which belong to it must needs be stirred up unto repentance, or the devil will grasp them with his everlasting chains, and they be stirred up to anger, and perish; 20 For behold, at that day shall he rage in the hearts of the children of men, and stir them up to anger against that which is good.
2 Nephi 28:19-20
We can also allow for redemptive turbulence, individually and generally. Hearts set so much upon the things of the world may have to be broken. Preoccupied minds far from Him may be jolted by a “heads up”.
Ponder how you have felt the Savior’s compassion for you personally. In what ways can you “intentionally strive to incorporate a compassionate attitude into [your] way of life” as Elder Soares invites?
The compassionate attitude of Jesus is rooted in charity, namely, in His pure and perfect love, which is the essence of His atoning sacrifice. Compassion is a fundamental characteristic of those who strive for sanctification, and this divine quality intertwines with other Christian traits such as mourning with those who mourn and having empathy, mercy, and kindness. The expression of compassion for others is, in fact, the essence of the gospel of Jesus Christ and a marked evidence of our spiritual and emotional closeness to the Savior. Furthermore, it shows the level of influence He has on our way of life and demonstrates the magnitude of our spirits. It is meaningful to observe that Jesus’s compassionate acts were not occasional or mandated manifestations based on a list of tasks to be completed but everyday expressions of the reality of His pure love for God and His children and His abiding desire to help them… My dear friends, as we intentionally strive to incorporate a compassionate attitude into our way of life, as exemplified by the Savior, we will become more sensitive to people’s needs. With that increased sensitivity, feelings of genuine interest and love will permeate our every action. The Lord will recognize our efforts, and we will surely be blessed with opportunities to be instruments in His hands in softening hearts and in bringing relief to those whose “hands … hang down.”
Elder Ulisses Soares
5 Wherefore, be faithful; stand in the office which I have appointed unto you; succor the weak, lift up the hands which hang down, and strengthen the feeble knees.
In these verses, the Lord teaches us several things we can do (e.g., think virtuous thoughts) so that we can have the Spirit with us and stand before God with confidence. Becoming the master of our thoughts is possibly one of the most difficult struggles and heroic quests of a lifetime. What has helped you to have virtuous thoughts? What has not helped?
45 Let thy bowels also be full of charity towards all men, and to the household of faith, and let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly; then shall thy confidence wax strong in the presence of God; and the doctrine of the priesthood shall distil upon thy soul as the dews from heaven. 46 The Holy Ghost shall be thy constant companion, and thy scepter an unchanging scepter of righteousness and truth; and thy dominion shall be an everlasting dominion, and without compulsory means it shall flow unto thee forever and ever.
During a particularly difficult time when Joseph Smith and his fellow prisoners in Liberty Jail did not have freedom in anything except for their thoughts, the Lord provided helpful counsel and a promise to them that are extended to all of us. [see D&C 121:45-6]. The word lust refers to an intense longing and improper desire for something. It encompasses any dark thoughts or evil desires that cause an individual to focus on selfish practices or worldly possessions rather than doing good, being kind, keeping the commandments of God, and so forth… I testify that as we rely upon the rock of salvation, the Savior of our souls, and follow Moroni’s counsel, our ability to control our thoughts will increase significantly. I can assure you that our spiritual maturity will grow at an increasing pace, changing our heart, making us more like Jesus Christ. Additionally, the influence of the Holy Ghost will be more intense and continuous in our life. Then the enemy’s temptations, little by little, will lose their power over us, resulting in a happier and more pure and consecrated life.
So, check this out, most of the key players directly involved in my investigation either quit, got fired, or transferred. The only ones still there are the females (as if they were any less culpable than the males).
So here’s the line up:
My “spokesman” who quit, but is listed on the schedule for Tuesday.
My boss who got fired
Mr. ‘S’, who quit.
Mr. Connecticut who transferred right after I told my spokesman that I was going to ethics.
So, with all these threats gone, I’ll let my guard down or quit, right? If that doesn’t work, they’ll offer my boss’s position to someone else, thinking that I’d be mad that they didn’t offer it to me. Hardly. It would be a cold day in hell before I’d ever take that job.
My prediction is: none of them quit, transferred, or got fired. Yep, that’s what I said. They were just so sure they could defeat me that they took the risk.
If there was even the tiniest inkling of a chance that I’d leave, it’s gone for sure now. I want to see how this plays out. What will they do if I don’t quit?
Hold onto your seats boys and girls. I’ll keep you updated.
Yes, these people are all adults and this is being played out on the world’s stage, let’s see if they redeem themselves.
I’ve had a couple of revelatory dreams, which I might tell you at a later date but let me tell you about two dreams featuring a member of management who moved to Connecticut, and maybe you can tell me whether they’re revelatory or not.
The first one, he was sitting cross legged in front of me and our knees were touching. His lip was bleeding as if he’d just gotten punched in the face. He was talking to me like he was happy to see me and excited that we were conversing that way.
The second one was where he was desperately trying to fix something for me.
When he transferred, I figured these were just dreams, but I kept getting the nagging feeling like maybe it was his intention of coming back after the investigation was over. Then Mr. “S” quit and I had that same feeling.
Maybe they thought I’d drop it after the investigation was over and I’d quit, especially if they were no longer with the company or elsewhere. Then the thought occurred to me that maybe that’s why the new guard is still pursuing it, because the old guard has every intention of taking their rightful place.
So I’ve figured out their plan. They want me to get angry, but the interesting thing about my situation is that everything they try to throw at me is thwarted by simply living the gospel of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. My guidance from our Heavenly Father this week has been to take care of my friends and coworkers. I found it especially important to repair old friendships and let people know individually that I appreciate them and forgive them. I didn’t fully realize the importance of these actions until I sat down to do my yearly ‘Violence in the workplace’ training. They’re trying to be able to report that I’m a threat, but I will never be mad because I know what’s motivating their behavior. I might’ve acted the same way of I were in their position.
I’m here to assure you that God knows you and loves you. He protects you in ways you might never be able to fully appreciate.
What, if any, worldly philosophies have distracted you or your family in the past from focusing on the true teachings of the gospel of Jesus Christ?
5 And they deny the power of God, the Holy One of Israel; and they say unto the people: Hearken unto us, and hear ye our precept; for behold there is no God today, for the Lord and the Redeemer hath done his work, and he hath given his power unto men; 6 Behold, hearken ye unto my precept; if they shall say there is a miracle wrought by the hand of the Lord, believe it not; for this day he is not a God of miracles; he hath done his work. 7 Yea, and there shall be many which shall say: Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die; and it shall be well with us. 8 And there shall also be many which shall say: Eat, drink, and be merry; nevertheless, fear God—he will justify in committing a little sin; yea, lie a little, take the advantage of one because of his words, dig a pit for thy neighbor; there is no harm in this; and do all these things, for tomorrow we die; and if it so be that we are guilty, God will beat us with a few stripes, and at last we shall be saved in the kingdom of God. 9 Yea, and there shall be many which shall teach after this manner, false and vain and foolish doctrines, and shall be puffed up in their hearts, and shall seek deep to hide their counsels from the Lord; and their works shall be in the dark.
2 Nephi 28:5-9
On the surface such philosophies seem appealing because they give us license to indulge any appetite or desire without concern for consequences… When prophets come crying repentance, it “throws cold water on the party.” But in reality the prophetic call should be received with joy. Without repentance, there is no real progress or improvement in life. Pretending there is no sin does not lessen its burden and pain. Suffering for sin does not by itself change anything for the better. Only repentance leads to the sunlit uplands of a better life. And, of course, only through repentance do we gain access to the atoning grace of Jesus Christ and salvation. Repentance is a divine gift, and there should be a smile on our faces when we speak of it. It points us to freedom, confidence, and peace. Rather than interrupting the celebration, the gift of repentance is the cause for true celebration.
Sister Cordon teaches us that our purpose in this life is to “come unto Christ” and to bring others to Him as well. Think of all the individuals that God places in your path on a daily basis. What thoughts or ideas come to mind as you prayerfully consider how you can help those around you “come unto Christ?”
We all occasionally get distracted from why we are here and divert our energies somewhere else. One of Satan’s most powerful weapons is to distract us with good and better causes which, in times of need, may blind and bind us away from the best cause—the very work that called us into this world. Our eternal purpose is to come unto Christ and actively join Him in His great work. It is as simple as doing what President Nelson taught: “Anytime we do anything that helps anyone … make and keep their covenants with God, we are helping to gather Israel.” And when we do His work together with Him, we come to know and love Him more. … As we come to Him, we see others through His eyes. Come unto Christ. Come now, but don’t come alone!
Sister Bonnie H. Cordon
13 And how great is his joy in the soul that repenteth! 15 And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father!