• Quote of the Day

    “Surely the reason Christ said, ‘Father, forgive them,’ was because even in that terrible hour He knew that this was the message He had come through all eternity to deliver.”
    —Elder Jeffrey R. Holland

Conference Photo Gallery

The Ensign has posted a photo gallery containing additional images from general conference. If nothing else, this shows the diversity of the Saints who gather to hear the words of modern apostles and prophets. The black-and-white style is kind of artsy but quite effective. Personally, I like the pictures of the kids.

The Healing Power of Hymns

In know that many people (particularly those who feel the need to express themselves in the bloggernacle) put down the Church’s hymns. Heck, I’ve got my own “Worst of the LDS Hymns” list stored safely in the folds of my gray matter somewhere, I suppose. But regardless of our personal musical tastes, it is undeniable that the hymns can have a powerful effect on people who are seeking comfort and healing in their lives. This fact is brought out in an article in this month’s Ensign. “The Healing Power of Hymns” is a collection of stories from Church members whose lives have been touched in some way by particular hymns.

I think we all could tell similar stories if we thought about it for a while. For instance, I once knew someone who told me that the hymn “I Know That My Redeemer Lives” will always hold a special place in his heart because it was one of the first hymns he remembers singing and enjoying when his family was investigating the Church when he was a child. He recognizes that this hymn is probably not as musically excellent as other compositions such as Handel’s aria of the same name from the Messiah, but that doesn’t matter as much to him, because this was the hymn that first helped him gain a testimony of the Savior.

The hymn “More Holiness Give Me” expresses one of my heart’s desires, and though I don’t think it is one of the greatest compositions of all time, I always enjoy singing it because it reminds me of my “strivings within.” Does anyone else have a story to share?

Mission or Admission?

In many countries, young men have a difficult time deciding whether to go on a mission because going away for two years could jeopardize their educational opportunities. Many colleges do not allow deferments of any kind, and the longer you wait after completing your basic schooling, the less likely you are to be admitted to college. This month’s New Era contains a story of a young man in England who was more than qualified to enter Cambridge University but put a mission first. It is titled “Mission or Admission.”

If you can guess the rest of the story, that’s perhaps because we are, after all, talking about the New Era here. But this story also represents the kind of trust we should place in the Lord, and the outcome shouldn’t entirely surprise us. (Of course, not everyone who makes this kind of decision is blessed in the same way, but the blessings do come.) Check out this story and see if there isn’t something each of us can learn from it.

Conference Experiences

general conferenceThe Ensign and New Era have done something interesting on their Web pages, posting a collection of comments they received about general conference. These appear to be raw, unedited expressions of testimony, gratitude, and faith. I personally find them quite a welcome change from much of what you read in the bloggernacle (not that it’s all bad, just a bit too analytical, self-important, or rhetoric-heavy for my tastes sometimes). The effort to create a kind of (correlated) interactivity on the Web is laudable if slightly clunky (owing to the unattractive lds.org Web design, but that’s another issue). Read a few of the comments by adults and youth, and see what you think:

Conference Experiences (Ensign)

Conference Experiences (New Era)

By Divine Design

This month’s Ensign and Liahona contain an article that uses images from Asian culture in order to highlight important teachings found in “The Family: A Proclamation to the World.” “By Divine Design”includes several examples of Asian art, which are a refreshing change of pace from what you usually see in the Church magazines.  

 

Liahona-By Divine DesignThis artwork is featured on the cover of this month’s Liahona and probably would have been on the cover of the Ensign as well if that magazine hadn’t included the article about the new First Presidency (though the cover photo of them at their press conference is also quite good). Check out this article, particularly the pictures, which you can view in context in the PDF version.   

Elder D. Todd Christofferson

Elder D. Todd Christofferson was sustained as the newest member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles this morning. I find him to be very sharp, spiritual, and insightful—for a lawyer. Here is a list of articles of his that have appeared in the Church magazines.

“Becoming a Witness of Christ,” Ensign, Mar. 2008, 58

“Let Us Be Men,” Ensign, Nov. 2006, 46

“A Sense of the Sacred,” New Era, June 2006, 28

“Friend to Friend: Seeking Him in Prayer,” Friend, Feb. 2006, 8

“Allegiance to God,” Ensign, Jan. 2005, 8

“When Thou Art Converted,” Ensign, May 2004, 11

“That They May Be One in Us,” Ensign, Nov. 2002, 71

“Justification and Sanctification,” Ensign, June 2001, 18

“The Redemption of the Dead and the Testimony of Jesus,” Ensign, Nov. 2000, 9

“The Priesthood Quorum,” Ensign, Nov. 1998, 40

“Friend to Friend,” Friend, Mar. 1995, 6

“I Know in Whom I Have Trusted,” Ensign, May 1993, 83

Finding Answers from Conference

As we listen to (and later, read) the addresses from general conference, we will doubtless be looking for something we can apply to ourselves in some way. As an added encouragement, this month’s Ensign contains an article with stories from various people who tell of “Finding Answers from Conference.” Whether these experiences were sought or unsought, specific answers or general feelings, they reflect what we can all gain by paying attention to the conference messages delivered by the Lord’s servants.

Elder Quentin L. Cook—A Willing Heart and Mind

In this month’s Ensign there is a profile of Elder Quentin L. Cook. First of all, I have always found it interesting that the Ensign’s biographical sketches of newly called members of the Quorum of the Twelve are always authored by other members of that quorum. In this case, the choice of Elder Jeffrey R. Holland was a no-brainer, since he and Elder Cook served together in the British Mission. Elder Holland writes:
 
“We were profoundly affected by our mission president, Elder Marion D. Hanks, then of the First Council of the Seventy. To all of his missionaries, he emphasized discipleship and determination. He taught us to love the Savior, to cherish the Book of Mormon, to be true to the Church and the gospel for the rest of our lives. Now, more than 45 years later, it is a rare occasion to have two former missionary companions serving together in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.”
 
This article contains several facts and stories that give a good idea of the kind of person Elder Cook is: humble, dedicated, intelligent, competent, and tender-hearted. To this I’ll simply add my personal insight into the man. I’ve had occasion to meet him a number of times, and he has always been kind and gracious. When we first spoke, I told him that we were connected through a common ancestor as well as through his acquaintance with an aunt of mine, whom he went to school with. Since then, every time we’ve met he’s asked me how my aunt is doing, and he’s genuinely interested. My aunt has always lived alone and has sometimes felt overlooked, so it means a lot to me to be able to tell her that Elder Cook asked about her.
 
Read the rest of the article to learn more about this newest special witness of the Savior.