On this page last week, in anticipation of another great general conference of the Church, encouragement was given to listen by the Spirit to the counsel of those who have been called to lead The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Then as the conference began President Gordon B. Hinckley in his opening remarks gave similar counsel, saying: "I invite you to listen, listen if you will by the power of the Spirit, to the speakers who will address you. . . . If you will do so, I do not hesitate to promise that you will be uplifted, your resolution to do what is right will be stronger, you will find solutions to your problems and your needs, and you will be led to thank the Lord for what you have heard."That which we heard in this general conference truly did uplift us and inspire us. But did the messages go beyond our ears only? Did they sink deeply into our souls to bring about the resolve to be " . . . doers of the word, and not hearers only . . ."? (See James 1:22.) Of this the Apostle James has wisely said: "For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass:
"For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.
"But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed." (James 1:23-25.)
In many ways general conference is like a spiritual buffet. In times of celebration we often gather to partake of good food as well as friendship and fellowship. We enjoy the bounties of the earth, and our bodies are refreshed and satisfied with physical nourishment. Who has not enjoyed a large table spread with attractive appetizers, delicious dishes of meats, poultry, and fishes, satisfying salads, beautiful breads, and delectable desserts? We savor such occasions. But soon the hunger so tastefully satisfied returns and our bodies crave food again and again and again.
As the leaders of the Church spread before us the spiritual feast of this special conference we found in abundance more than ample nourishment for our souls. We were filled to overflowing as our hearts burned within us testifying of the truthfulness of the messages.
Now as we digest the nourishment so wonderfully served to us we must use the strength derived therefrom in magnifying our duties to our families, to those in our wards and stakes whom we are called to serve, to our non-members friends and neighbors, to those who are downtrodden and hurting, and to those whom we might have offended.
And when we have spent our spiritual strength in such good works, and our souls hunger again we can return to the buffet of the conference through the printed words, as well as the audio and visual recordings. And the second trip through the line will be every bit as satisfying and rewarding as the first.
That we should continually "hear and do" is amply taught in scripture. Jacob, teaching the people of Nephi, said: "Wherefore, do not spend money for that which is of no worth, nor your labor for that which cannot satisfy. Hearken diligently unto me, and remember the words which I have spoken; and come unto the Holy One of Israel, and feast upon that which perisheth not, neither can be corrupted, and let your soul delight in fatness." (2 Ne. 9:51.)
Such spiritual fatness presents no health hazards but instead provides strength to serve, power to love, and joy to share.
It is by our consumption of spiritual food that we know how to be doers of good deeds. The Prophet Nephi said: "Angels speak by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore, they speak the words of Christ. Wherefore, I said unto you, feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do." (2 Ne. 32:3.) The servants of God, by the power of the Holy Ghost, have fed us spiritually. They have given us the words of Christ, whose Church this is. Now it is up to us to internalize this spiritual nourishment and go about doing what we should do.
Thanks be to all who made this the great conference it was. May their efforts now live and grow within each one of us until we meet again.