Two weekends. Twelve hours. Thirty-seven speakers. Six sessions.
It’s safe to say that the184th Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was a whirlwind. The addresses from Church leaders will be used for Sunday lessons, personal study and family home evening discussions for at least the next six months. So when it comes to living today the lessons we learned, the task can be difficult and easily abandoned.
There is much we can do to follow the counsel of living prophets, but not everything has to take a lot of time. Here are a few action items from General Conference you can live today.
1. Family scripture study and prayer
Monday is a night traditionally set aside for family home evening, but if all you can squeeze in to your schedule is family prayer and scripture study, that’s an excellent place to start.
“These are the practices that help take away stress, give direction to our lives, and add protection to our homes,” said Sister Linda S. Reeves, second counselor in the Relief Society General Presidency, during her address in the Saturday morning session.
2. Obtain a copy of “Preach My Gospel”
Making a purchase is simple and only takes a little time, so Elder M. Russell Ballard’s counsel is one of the quickest and easiest to apply. He invited all Church members to obtain a copy of “Preach My Gospel,” study it, then write to missionaries they know about what they are learning.
“Can you imagine the impact if family and friends included things they are learning from their personal study of ‘Preach My Gospel’ in their letters and emails to their full-time missionaries?” Elder Ballard said. “Can you picture the blessings that will come to families when they know and understand better what their sons and daughters will be studying and teaching on their missions? Can you even begin to fathom the extraordinary outpouring of atoning grace that will be ours, individually and collectively, according to the Savior’s promise, to all who bear testimony in the process of inviting souls to come unto Him and then follow up on those invitations?”
3. Make an ordinance plan
Bishop Gary E. Stevenson related a recent teaching by Elder David A. Bednar to help families prepare their children for important ordinances. He suggested families write the names of each member of the family, followed by the next ordinance that family member will receive. Then families can focus on how to best prepare their children to receive those ordinances.
“This simple exercise assisted Lisa and me in fulfilling our role to help each member of our family along the covenant path with an action plan for each of them,” Bishop Stevenson said. “Perhaps this is an idea for you which will lead to family discussions, family home evening lessons, preparation and even invitations for essential ordinances in your family.”
4. Express love
President Thomas S. Monson taught that love is the essence of the gospel. Church members can follow his teaching by expressing love to their families.
“May we begin now, this very day, to express love to all of God’s children, whether they be our family members, our friends, mere acquaintances, or total strangers,” President Monson said. “As we arise each morning, let us determine to respond with love and kindness to whatever might come our way.”
5. Call the Church by its full name
Elder M. Russell Ballard expressed concern that many Church members are referring to the Church by nicknames. While he said referring to members of the Church as “Mormons” is acceptable (as long as it’s coupled with the full name of the Church), the name of the Church itself should remain as it was received in revelation.
“With these words, the Lord makes clear that this is not only a formal title, but the name by which His Church is to be called,” Elder Ballard said. “Given His clear declaration, we should not refer to the Church by any other name, such as ‘Mormon Church’ or ‘LDS Church.'”
6. Go to the temple
Though he didn’t announce any new temples, President Monson restated the Church’s commitment to family history and temple work.
“Although we are currently concentrating our efforts on completing the previously announced temples and will not be announcing any new temples in the immediate future, we will continue the process of determining needs and finding locations for temples yet to come,” President Monson said. “Announcements will be made in future general conferences. We are a temple-building and a temple-attending people.”
7. Participate in family history research
Temple and family history work are connected. If getting to the temple is difficult, Church members can participate in the same work by contributing to family history research efforts. Elder Quentin L. Cook gave some ideas for how to best do so, including uploading family stories and photos to FamilySearch.org’s FamilyTree.
“We finally have the doctrine, the temples and the technology for families to accomplish this glorious work of salvation,” Elder Cook said in his Saturday afternoon address “Roots and Branches.”