This post is part of the General Conference Odyssey.
If there was a theme to the closing session of the April 1974 General Conference, this was it: get to work. I can’t think of a better way to summarize a series of talks that really focused on just going out to do the hard things that we’re supposed to do: paying tithing, going on missions, and bearing testimonies. Towards the end of this session, (then) Elder Spencer W. Kimball shared an anonymous quote that went along with that theme:
Someone said, “Many people are willing to plod along for 16 to 20 years, from grade one to a Ph.D., to learn medicine or engineering or psychology or mathematics or sociology or biology—to study, research, attend classes, pay tuitions, accept help from teachers and professors—and yet to learn about God, the maker of all, the author of it all, in a few intermittent prayers and some very limited hours of research, they feel they can find the truths about God.”
It was a good reminder for me to check my priorities, especially on this week. We’ve been doing the General Conference Odyssey for almost a year now, and one of the most consistent and consistently surprising things I’ve learned is how much I can like or dislike a session almost entirely based on my attitude when I read it.
This past Sunday I taught two lessons (Gospel Doctrine and also Elder’s Quorum) and—with all the lesson prep—I didn’t get to my General Conference talks until later than I wanted to. I has zero desire to be reading the talks. I knew—as I was going through them—that I wasn’t getting very much out of them. I did it anyway.
The best case scenario: you do the right thing, for the right reasons, with the right spirit. Next-best case scenario: you just do the right thing any old way you can. I prefer that to quitting. I’m glad I frog-marched myself through those talks so that I could keep going. But I’m even more glad when I can approach the talks with some time, some real attention, and be open to learning.
- The Promise of Eternity by Daniel Ortner
- Testimonies Sometimes Have Bandages by Jan Tolman
- To develop Gods by Marilyn Nielson