The quotes that follow are some of my favorites from the first two sessions of the 179th Semiannual General Conference of the Church held in October 2009.
“The inspiring influence of the Holy Spirit can be overcome or masked by strong emotions, such as anger, hate, passion, fear, or pride. When such influences are present, it is like trying to savor the delicate flavor of a grape while eating a jalapeño pepper. Both flavors are present, but one completely overpowers the other. In like manner, strong emotions overcome the delicate promptings of the Holy Spirit.”
“I remember as a young boy feeling carefree as I walked to the church for a Primary meeting. When I arrived, I was surprised to see all of the parents there for a special program. Then it hit me. I had a part in this program, and I had forgotten to memorize my lines. When my turn came to say my part, I stood in front of my chair, but not one word came from my mouth. I could remember nothing. So I just stood there and then finally sat down and stared at the floor. After that experience, I made a firm resolve never to speak in any Church meeting again. And I held to that resolve for some time. Then one Sunday, Sister Lydia Stillman, a Primary leader, knelt down at my side and asked me to give a short talk the following week. I said, ‘I don’t give talks.’ She responded, ‘I know, but you can give this one because I’ll help you.’ I continued to resist, but she expressed so much confidence in me that her invitation was hard to refuse. I gave the talk.”
“Sometimes in a sacrament meeting talk or testimony, we hear a statement like this: ‘I know I do not tell my spouse often enough how much I love her. Today I want her, my children, and all of you to know that I love her.’ Such an expression of love may be appropriate. But when I hear a statement like this, I squirm and silently exclaim that the spouse and children should not be hearing this apparently rare and private communication in public at church! Hopefully the children hear love expressed and see love demonstrated between their parents in the regular routine of daily living. If, however, the public statement of love at church is a bit surprising to the spouse or the children, then indeed there is a need to be more diligent and concerned at home.”
“For what we love determines what we seek. What we seek determines what we think and do. What we think and do determines who we are—and who we will become.”
“Tempered glass, like tempered steel, undergoes a well-controlled heating process which increases strength. Thus, when tempered glass is under stress, it will not easily break into jagged shards that can injure. Likewise, a temperate soul—one who is humble and full of love—is also a person of increased spiritual strength. With increased spiritual strength, we are able to develop self-mastery and to live with moderation. We learn to control, or temper, our anger, vanity, and pride. With increased spiritual strength, we can protect ourselves from the dangerous excesses and destructive addictions of today’s world.”
“Once I was asked to meet an older couple returning to the Church. They had been taught the gospel by their parents. After their marriage, they left the Church. Now, 50 years later, they were returning. I remember the husband coming into the office pulling an oxygen tank. They expressed regret at not having remained faithful. I told them of our happiness because of their return, assuring them of the Lord’s welcoming arms to those who repent. The elderly man responded, ‘We know this, Brother Andersen. But our sadness is that our children and grandchildren do not have the blessings of the gospel. We are back, but we are back alone.’ They were not back alone. Repentance not only changes us, but it also blesses our families and those we love. With our righteous repentance, in the timetable of the Lord, the lengthened-out arms of the Savior will not only encircle us but will also extend into the lives of our children and posterity. Repentance always means that there is greater happiness ahead.”