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What April 2018 general conference meant to Church members

Many changes and invitations were issued in the April 2018 general conference of The Church of Jesus of Latter-day Saints. President Russell M. Nelson was sustained in a solemn assembly, ministering was announced and the Melchizedek Priesthood quorums were combined. Others leaders shared messages on a variety of topics.

We asked readers what had changed in their lives since participating in conference and accepting invitations presented there. Here are several of the responses.

Challenge to attend the temple brought peace to my home

President Russell M. Nelson promised in the general conference “greater harmony and love” in my home if I took time to attend the temple. And since five kids is rarely congruent with harmony, I decided to take him up on his April 2018 challenge. The next month, I left my kids with the babysitter and took off to serve in the Ogden Utah Temple.

Elizabeth Reid's selfie at the Ogden, Utah Temple.
Elizabeth Reid's selfie at the Ogden, Utah Temple. Photo: Elizabeth Reid

After serving a few hours, I left the peace-filled temple and turned my phone back on only to be catapulted back into the real world via texts and voicemails. Arriving home, I found conflict instead of peace. The house was a mess and a disagreement had broken out among my children. Unable to resolve the conflict themselves, they had taken their fight across the street to the Relief Society president for help.

After solving my kids’ disagreement and tidying up the house, I frustratingly wondered where my promised harmony was. It didn’t take long for peace to wash over me; instead of being irritated with my kids, I was instead filled with love — a personal miracle in itself.

I didn’t let that temple session be my last. As I’ve sacrificed other less important things in my life to make temple attendance a priority, I have been blessed with a personal peace that has seeped into the fabric of my family’s home, just like President Nelson promised.

— Elizabeth Reid, Hyrum

Feeling the effects of the 'rush of revelation'

As April 2018 conference ended, I felt much like Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles when referring to the numerous announcements from our newly sustained prophet, President Russell M. Nelson, when Elder Holland said, “I don’t know how many more rushes (of revelation) we can handle this weekend. … What a prophet!”

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve talks about LDS Church President Russell M. Nelson's announcement that ministering will replace home and visiting teaching programs during the Sunday afternoon session of the 188th Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on Sunday, April 1, 2018.
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve talks about LDS Church President Russell M. Nelson's announcement that ministering will replace home and visiting teaching programs during the Sunday afternoon session of the 188th Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on Sunday, April 1, 2018.

I have often pondered these “rushes” while endeavoring to upgrade my personal efforts and would like to share how two of our prophet’s admonitions have worked in concert to make that possible.

Our methods and structure of ministering were dramatically changed. The overall concept remained the same but the new approach required increased openness and fearless responsiveness to spiritual promptings. I could no longer be satisfied with monthly visits emphasizing a brief thought to assigned families. I now understood the Lord required a daily spiritual connection for a potentially open-ended number of souls. This daunting realization demanded something more — constant ministering-oriented personal revelation.

Fortunately the Lord provided that "something more" in President Nelson's counsel to study and ponder the Book of Mormon daily. Prayerfully applying this second admonition opened the door to desperately sought daily revelation allowing more effective guidance to those in need and how to purposely minister when I arrived.

It has enhanced my life with family, church and community in ways I could not have previously anticipated. Focusing on inspiration-driven ministering enhanced through daily Book of Mormon study has made this profound difference.

— Clark Burbidge, Woods Cross

Sustaining the prophet

The April 2018 general conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has had a profound impact on my life. Initially, I was excited that my children would be able to participate in a solemn assembly for the first time, where they would have the opportunity to sustain President Russell M. Nelson as prophet and president.

Members of the LDS Church rise to sustain President Russell M. Nelson as leader of the LDS Church during a solemn assembly, part of the Saturday morning session of the 188th Annual General Conference of the LDS Church at the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on March 31, 2018.
Members of the LDS Church rise to sustain President Russell M. Nelson as leader of the LDS Church during a solemn assembly, part of the Saturday morning session of the 188th Annual General Conference of the LDS Church at the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on March 31, 2018. Photo: Spenser Heaps, Deseret News

As we gathered in my parents' family room to watch the conference, the feeling in the room changed and even the small children stopped playing and turned their attention to the screen. We each stood in turn and raised our right arms to sustain President Nelson. I was overcome with a feeling of great love for this man and a reverence for his calling and responsibility as prophet, seer and revelator. I'd participated in solemn assemblies before but had never experienced such a conviction as I had at that moment that this man was indeed a prophet and had been called by God to lead the church.

Each general conference, there are talks that speak peace to my heart and others that drive a knife into it a little bit. Because I am not a perfect person, there is always something to work on, and general conference always points out one or two things to me.

The talk by Elder Larry J. Echo Hawk, a General Authority Seventy, "Even as Christ Forgives You, So Also Do Ye," was something I needed to hear. I am pretty good at forgiving others of big offenses, but when it comes to small, everyday annoyances, I often hold on to those things and let them fester until they explode. Elder Echo Hawk's talk spoke to me about the need to let those things go, especially when it comes to my family members, and of the peace that comes from forgiving others and myself. As I've tried to be better at doing this, I have noticed that I am more patient and I do feel more at peace with myself and others.

— Jennifer Lambert, Provo

Easter Sunday was a 'defining moment' in my life

I remember listening to hear what guidance President Russell M. Nelson might give in the Sunday morning session of the 2018 April general conference. It didn’t take long before he provided his first piece of prophetic counsel that morning. It was quickly followed by another and another — and another.

I was writing as fast as I could but couldn’t keep up. I managed to record several precious nuggets, but by the time he finished his talk I was left with two thoughts. First, I was going to make that Easter Sunday a "defining moment" in my life. Second, I was going to access the transcript of his talk as soon as it was available to identify everything he asked me to do.

The Lord conveyed more than a dozen messages through his prophet in that one talk alone. I created what I call a “PLTFR Journal” to help me remember much of the talk.

P: “'Pray’ in the name of Jesus Christ about your concerns, your fears, your weaknesses — yes, the very longings of your heart.”

L: “Listen!”

T: “Write the ‘thoughts’ that come to your mind.”

F: “Record your ‘feelings’ and follow through.”

R: “Repeat.”

“As you repeat this process day after day, month after month, year after year, you will ‘grow into the principle of revelation,’” said President Nelson.

I have begun to see this promise fulfilled in my life and am anxious to learn more at the 2018 October general conference.

— Kurt Manwaring, Taylorsville

Call from the prophet to minister

Knowing that changes were coming in the leadership of the church and that all members would participate in a solemn assembly in the April general conference, my personal intent in the last conference was to soak up the spirit and enjoy the blessings of the weekend. Little did I know that there would be a significant change in my perspective at the end of that historic gathering.

President Russell M. Nelson conducts the Sunday morning session of the 188th Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on Sunday, April 1, 2018.
President Russell M. Nelson conducts the Sunday morning session of the 188th Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on Sunday, April 1, 2018.

It was a wonderful blessing to sit in my home and sustain the presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I have admired these men, appreciated their connections with Heavenly Father and have applied much of the counsel they share at all times. But when President Russell M. Nelson counseled all members to change the way they look at helping and blessing others, I was intrigued. Yes, it seemed that we were moving from one stage of life to another, but it also felt like the purpose of the changes was more than administrative — there was an eternal focus being offered.

The way members of the church lift and help others has changed over the years, but this counsel seemed to be different. It was not a reminder to "count" how many people were visited, but rather a call to go out and find the lost and suffering who need guidance and support. And as I pondered the call from the living prophet, there was a different feel to the encouragement of the leaders. I’m not sure how to explain it but the result was a deeper desire to reach out and help others come to the Savior.

Since last conference, I have noticed that many are making different efforts than before. And some who felt they were only a number have expressed appreciation for the ministering that has been done. I wonder if this might be the beginning of something much bigger than any have expected.

— Mike Whitmer, West Valley City

A beautiful ripple effect of friendship

A new friend of mine, who was about to get baptized, texted me one Sunday morning and asked if we could talk. When we met, he became emotional. I thought he was no longer interested in baptism. Instead, he said he had made a lot of good changes in his life and was so grateful for all of his new friends. He told me his son living 1,300 miles away was going through a difficult trial and needed support. “Is there someone we can send to him, so he can have friends like I do?” he pleaded.

I felt surprised and humbled this father trusted me to help his son. I contacted the bishop where his son lived. The bishop asked the ward's elders quorum president to visit him. The elders quorum president and my friend’s son hit it off — they have much in common. In fact, the elders quorum president has recently been through the very same trial as my friend’s son.

This is a story in progress, but it is already a manifestation of President Russell M. Nelson’s inspired counsel in the April general conference to reach out in friendship and to minister — me to my friend; my friend to his son; and the elders quorum president to his new friend.

— Scott Brown, Phoenix

Serving in elders quorum

The April 2018 general conference was epic in its impact, landing like a huge meteor that shook my world in so many ways.

Since President Russell M. Nelson's invitation to "press on in the work of the Lord," I have spent many hours in temple service, sold our home of 33 years after living 60 years in the same community and journeyed into a new one that moved us closer, within 3 miles, of our Ogden Utah Temple.

As a former bishop and a high priest, I found myself back in the elders quorum teaching and sharing thoughts on what "ministering" is, can and should be, and am now called to serve as second counselor in the elders quorum presidency of our new ward, with a young elder serving as president. This will be my sixth time to serve in an elders quorum presidency, the first coming over 30 years ago, but I am looking forward to a whole new experience. The power of one body of Melchizedek Priesthood holders of diverse ages and experience can all come together in loving, cooperative service.

As my wife and I left the comfort of the routine and familiar, we left longtime friends and time-forged relationships to greet new neighbors, church leaders, new landscapes and vistas. We have been forced to downsize, re-evaluate our possessions and even our own identities at their core.

— Darrel R. Thompson, Ogden

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