Monday, October 6, 2014

Mormon Monday: What is General Conference?

This last weekend was General Conference for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

When I was a kid, I loved conference weekend, perhaps not for the right reasons. During conference weekend, we would sculpt clay, draw, and paint while we listened to the prophet. Even if my listening wasn't the best sometimes, it still set a precedent of sitting still and listening to the prophet and the twelve apostles.

As I got older, I grew to really love conference. It was a time of spiritual illumination and peace. Now it seems far to short, and I wish it could go on all week.

For those of you who might be wondering what General Conference is, it is basically a large meeting with our entire church across the world where we listen to our leaders tell us what the Lord would have us know.

One talk in particular I wanted to share. Elder Bednar addressed his talk to those who are not members of our church. I wanted to post that online for anyone who is interested. He answers a lot of great questions and explains why members of our church are always so eager (or at least try to be eager) to share what we believe with others.

Here is the talk:

You'll have to follow it to the LDS site, or you can watch all of conference on youtube.

In the old days, after Christ was crucified, the apostles had to be constantly moving. When there wasn't an ordained leader of the church in an area, it seemed that often false doctrine would creep into the church. We often see Paul in his epistles trying to correct the misconceptions that Satan would orchestrate.

In our day and age, we are so blessed to have modern technology that makes it easy for us to hear the voices of the apostles and prophets. If the original Christian church had the same technology, it might not have become so corrupted. We believe that as the apostles were killed, many of Christ's teachings remained, but they became mixed with the philosophies of man.

This is why things like the Nicene Creed were created. Different leaders of different congregations no longer had a prophet on the earth, and so they began to argue and vote on which doctrine was God's doctrine. In our church, we believe that if it doesn't come directly by revelation from God, that it is man's doctrine.

We believe that during this time, after the apostles were killed, there was an apostasy, or a time where Christ's church was lost from the earth due to wickedness and corruption. This was followed by the dark ages.

When the dark ages concluded, the Lord opened the way for his church to be restored upon the earth again today.

We don't believe that our church is the only church with truth. Many truths survied and are perpetuated amongst the different religions. Buddhism, Islam, and other religions also have a lot of truth mixed into their teachings. There is good in all religions. However, we do believe that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the only church with ALL the truth, because we believe, and I know, that it is Christ's church restored in its original form to the earth. Christ is the head of our church, and he communicates to us through his prophets and apostles and he did previously.

God never changes, so why would he cease to communicate using prophets and apostles? He wouldn't, and he hasn't. If you haven't listened to General Conference, here is an opportunity to listen to the servants of the Lord. If you don't believe, but want to know if what I'm saying is true: listen and pray.

I can promise that the Lord does communicate to us in this day and age. He will answer your prayer, especially if you are willing to do what He asks when He answers. God will not just give you the truth and allow you to go on with your life. If this is truly His church, He wants you to be a part of it, so you can be a tool in His hands to bless those around you.

I know that this church is God's church. I have received a confirmation from the Spirit that this is true, and I know you can receive that confirmation as well.

The Lord wants us to be happy and at peace. However, the only way to peace is to follow the path that the Lord sets for us.  Each day, I am trying to find out what that is for me, and when I'm in the right place, I feel whole.

I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

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