Days of preparation

When the date of April 6 rolls around each year, we tend to think of the anniversary of the formal organization of the Church in a small home at Fayette, N.Y., in 1830. While we acknowledge this extremely important anniversary, some of us might not recognize its significance: We are 166 years into the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Further significance is manifest when we realize that the gospel was restored to prepare people for the Second Coming of the Savior.Preparation for that great event continues today. Part of this preparation includes such functions as general conference, one of the main purposes of which is to "refresh our faith, strengthen our testimonies, and learn the ways of the Lord from His duly appointed and authorized servants." (Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, p. 521.)

We gather in conference to worship the Lord and to feast upon the words of Christ. Our thoughts turn ever more to the Savior of the world, whose resurrection from the Garden Tomb we commemorate this year on the same weekend as general conference. We increase in faith and testimony as we heed the words of the servants we sustain as prophets, seers and revelators, and as general officers of the Church.

During this phase of our schooling we are presented a full course of eternal truths. Those who attend conference with receptive minds and open hearts realize that hardly any facet of life remains unaddressed. If we listen with the Spirit we find answers to all essential questions.

In these brief days of our schooling and in preparing the kingdom for the events of the Second Coming, we cannot afford to let go unheeded one point of doctrine or a single exhortation of gospel truth proclaimed in the proceedings of conference.

If any should have difficulty understanding or believing what they hear during these sessions, they can take comfort in the fact that the Brethren understand and know of what they speak. Servants of the Lord commissioned to teach His laws and reveal His will, they are directed in the messages they lay before the body of the Church in these conferences. We would be wise to heed their counsel. On the very day He organized His Church with Joseph Smith as His prophet, seer and revelator 166 years ago, on April 6, 1830, the Lord said:

"Wherefore, meaning the church, thou shalt give heed unto all his words and commandments which he shall give unto you as he receiveth them, walking in all holiness before me;

"For his word ye shall receive, as if from mine own mouth, in all patience and faith.

"For by doing these things the gates of hell shall not prevail against you; yea, and the Lord God will disperse the powers of darkness from before you, and cause the heavens to shake for your good and his name's glory." (D&C 21:4-6.)

More than a year and a half later, on Nov. 1, 1831, the Lord said:

"What I the Lord have spoken, I have spoken, and I excuse not myself; and though the heavens and the earth pass away, my word shall not pass away, but shall all be fulfilled, whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same." (D&C 1:38.)

"When the world has followed prophets, it has moved forward; when it has ignored them, the results have been stagnation, servitude, death," said President Spencer W. Kimball, then acting president of the Quorum of the Twelve, in the April 1970 general conference.

Before He ascended to His Father, the resurrected Jesus gave to His apostles the wonderful news that He was going to prepare a place for them. He promised: "And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also." (See John 14:1-3.)

Let this thought settle our minds: The Savior is preparing a place for us. As He ascended, angels promised that He would come to earth again. They said: "This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven." (Acts 1:11.) Our question should not be, "Will the Savior come again?" It ought to be, "Will we be ready when He does come?" Keeping His commandments as recorded in the holy scriptures, and heeding the counsel given through the mouths of His servants at general conference and in other meetings will help us to emphatically answer, "Yes!"

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