All week, I have seen friends on Facebook post quotes from Elder Scott’s Conference talk. Elder Scott has been one of my favorite Apostles since he came and spoke while I was in the MTC and gave an incredible discourse on receiving revelation. Still, this talk hadn’t stood out to me too strongly when I first listened to it. On re-read and watch however, it’s depth and spiritual power really impressed me. Elder Scott has a degree of depth in some of his comments that at times seems unmatched
Elder Scott begins by talking about how with our world moving at an even more frantic pace it is ever more important to have a place of refuge where we can go to recharge both physically and spiritually. I have personally found this to be so true as I am in the midst of frentic studying for Law School exams. Coming home and spending time with my fiance and unwinding is so necessary. Human beings are not meant to work without ceasing. We need time to unplug and be at rest.
Many voices from the world in which we live tell us we should live at a frantic pace. There is always more to do and more to accomplish. Yet deep inside each of us is a need to have a place of refuge where peace and serenity prevail, a place where we can reset, regroup, and reenergize to prepare for future pressures.”
I’ve noticed that this is a common theme of Elder Scott’s as he often speaks about finding those places and opportunities needed in order to receive personal revelation. There are of course many places to get this needed spiritual boost, and Elder Scott has in recent years given extensive talks about the Temple and scripture study for those very reasons. However, Elder Scott emphasizes that the ideal place for this is in the home.
I love that Elder Scott emphasizes that any home, no matter how atypical the arrangement, can be a place of peace if that home is centered on Jesus Christ.
Regardless of your circumstances, you can center your home and your life on the Lord Jesus Christ, for He is the source of true peace in this life.”
Elder Scott suggests that the way to have a Christ-centered home is to first and foremost “Be certain that every decision you make, whether temporal or spiritual, is conditioned on what the Savior would have you do.” As I am about to begin my own family, this is a really important consideration for me. When making decisions, especially large ones, it is so important for Christ to be at the center of it all. Elder Scott emphasizes that the basic building blocks of a Christ-centered home come from regularly learning about him and from him through prayer, family home evening and scripture study.
I’m sure you can identify the fundamental principles that center your home on the Savior. The prophetic counsel to have daily personal and family prayer, daily personal and family scripture study, and weekly family home evening are the essential, weight-bearing beams in the construction of a Christ-centered home. Without these regular practices it will be difficult to find the desired and much-needed peace and refuge from the world.
I think these little details can be the hardest of all to actually do consistently, which is why I appreciate that Elder Scott emphasizes that we should not rationalize away our failure to do these things, because upon little things truly rests large consequences. Elder Scott also emphasized the importance of steady and consistent observance “More importantly, simple, consistent, good habits lead to a life full of bountiful blessings.” I hope that as I start my family it can likewise be built upon the rock of Jesus Christ and bolstered by these regular practices.
Elder Scott next emphasized the divine potential that each of us – especially those born in this generation- have. He emphasized some interesting doctrine about the pre-earth life that does not get expressed all that often
In the premortal life you proved to be valiant, obedient, and pure. There you worked hard to develop talents and capacities to prepare yourselves to face mortality with courage, dignity, honor, and success. Not long ago you came to mortality with all of those magnificent capacities and endless possibilities.
It’s interesting to think that our strengths, and also our weaknesses were already with us in the pre-earth life. This life is a wonderful individualized test for each one of us. Each of us are where we need to be in order to develop our talents and overcome our weaknesses. Yet, as Elder Scott emphasized, Satan is trying to exploit our weaknesses and make us fall short of our divine potential. Satan is miserable and wants to make as many of us miserable as possible. He seeks to confuse and distract us from the things that truly count.
Elder Scott makes clear that technology can be a wonderful tool for good or an instrument from evil.
You live in a world where technological advances occur at an astounding pace. It is difficult for many of my generation to keep up with the possibilities. Depending on how technology is used, these advances can be a blessing or a deterrent. Technology, when understood and used for righteous purposes, need not be a threat but rather an enhancement to spiritual communication.
I experience this phenomenon as I blog about Mormonism. There are so many wonderful and uplifting writers that bear testimony with conviction. Likewise, unfortunately, there are so many blogs that are overcome with cynicism and doubt. Reading those blogs, especially those written by disaffected members, saps and drains the spirit. Even though I know better, I still find myself reading those kinds of blogs out of curiosity, but reading this talk has made me more aware of the importance of distancing myself from that kind of filth. Intellectual curiosity is a virtue, but Satan can also exploit that and turn it into a liability. Being on the Lord’s side in all things truly is the key.
I loved that Elder Scott emphasized that viability of scriptures on Smart Phones and Tables as a way to receive revelation. However, he also emphasized that these things do us no good if we do not use them. With digital scriptures I have found it sometimes harder to sit, ponder and reflect because I am quickly drawn to something else ( playing a game, checking my e-mail etc…) I also loved Elder Scott’s suggestion that we turn to our scriptures as often as we text
Who could have imagined not very many years ago that the full standard works and years of general conference messages would fit into your pocket? Just having them in your pocket will not protect you, but studying, pondering, and listening to them during quiet moments of each day will enhance communication through the Spirit.
Be wise in how you embrace technology. Mark important scriptures on your device and refer back to them frequently. If you young people would review a verse of scripture as often as some of you send text messages, you could soon have hundreds of passages of scripture memorized.
This also reminded me of the wonderful suggestion of Elder Ardern of the 70 a few years ago: “ Let us be as quick to kneel as we are to text.” I know that I am guilty of being far quicker to text than to read, ponder and pray and so this is a challenge that seems tailored for my needs.
Elder Scott next emphasizes what he declares as an absolute law for getting the power of God into our lives. When an Apostle declares that something is an absolute law, that is a good sign that his advice is really truly important:
I have learned a truth that has been repeated so frequently in my life that I have come to know it as an absolute law. It defines the way obedience and service relate to the power of God. When we obey the commandments of the Lord and serve His children unselfishly, the natural consequence is power from God—power to do more than we can do by ourselves. Our insights, our talents, our abilities are expanded because we receive strength and power from the Lord. His power is a fundamental component to establishing a home filled with peace.
As Elder Scott suggests, the way to have the Lord’s presence more fully in our lives is to go out and serve. I saw this on my mission in a myriad of ways. One transfer late in my mission, my companion and I were having a bit of difficulty getting along. In our first couple of days, things were a bit rough. We then set a goal to fast and pray for unity and to go out and serve as hard as we could. After a couple of weeks, we developed a really great friendship and companionship. We saw so many miracles unfold as we worked to serve others, serve each other and serve the Lord. I know that this is an inspired principle that works exactly as Elder Scott suggests. When we lose ourselves in service, we are endowed with power from on high and able to do so much more than we ever could on our own.
As I learned on my mission, when we have that power miracles happen. Elder Scott emphasizes that people will be drawn to what they see and feel when we are living a Christ-like life of love and services I often wondered when I first joined the Church why so much time is spent talking about the home and family rather than an emphasis on social justice or helping the poor and needy. Only since my mission have I really understood what is meant by the saying ” No success can compensate for failure in the home” As Elder Scott makes clear, one of the most meaningful things we can do to bless the lives of others is build a christ-centered home. Indeed,. He suggests that examples of Christ-centered homes will ultimately be one force that will change the world for the better:
“One of the greatest blessings we can offer to the world is the power of a Christ-centered home where the gospel is taught, covenants are kept, and love abounds.”
Elder Scott tells a story about how spending time in a Mission President’s home helped a young elder who had grown up without a family learn about the importance of family. This story actually reminded me a lot of my own mother. Even though she was not a member of the church, she was always reaching out to others and doing good. She was quick to help those in need. During middle school, I had a really good friend who had a really hard family situation. My mother treated him almost like her son at times. She helped his family out in many ways both temporally and just by showing them that she cared. My home embodied the principle taught by Elder Scott:
Do all you can to have just such a home. Reach out to those living in adverse circumstances. Be a true friend. This kind of enduring friendship is like asphalt that fills the potholes of life and makes the journey smoother and more pleasant. It should not be a resource used to gain personal advantage but a treasure to be appreciated and shared. Welcome into your home others who need to be strengthened by such an experience.
I am truly grateful that I grew up in such a home where love abounded. I am eager to be able to build my own home where that love can be coupled with the teachings of the Savior.
I love that Elder Scott continues beyond this point to offer a few words of advice and counsel to those whose family situation is far from ideal.
I offer some final thoughts for those who love a family member who is not making good choices. That can challenge our patience and endurance. We need to trust in the Lord and in His timing that a positive response to our prayers and rescue efforts can occur. We do all that we can to serve, to bless, and to submissively acknowledge God’s will in all things. We exercise faith and remember that there are some things that must be left to the Lord. He invites us to set our burdens down at His feet. With faith we can know that this straying loved one is not abandoned but is in the watch care of a loving Savior.
Recognize the good in others, not their stains. At times a stain needs appropriate attention to be cleansed, but always build on his or her virtues.
When you feel that there is only a thin thread of hope, it is really not a thread but a massive connecting link, like a life preserver to strengthen and lift you. It will provide comfort so you can cease to fear. Strive to live worthily and place your trust in the Lord.
I love the emphasis here on patiently serving others even when they are falling short of where they want to be. The emphasis on recognizing the good in others is so fundamental. It is easy to see the bad in others and to criticize but a lot more rewarding and meaningful to see the good. With my non-member family, this is a principle that I am trying to live. It is also key to never lose hope because God will eventually answer our faithful prayers ( in this life or the next) and those we care about will be blessed by our perseverance and diligence. Our faith hope and charity truly is that life preserver that will help those we care about stay afloat among the increasing spiritual and temporal dangers of our day.
Finally, lest we become discouraged because of all the things we are expected to do and fall short of, Elder Scott ends with a wonderful promise from the Lord
We need not worry if we can’t simultaneously do all of the things that the Lord has counseled us to do. He has spoken of a time and a season for all things. In response to our sincere prayers for guidance, He will direct us in what should be emphasized at each phase of our life. We can learn, grow, and become like Him one consistent step at a time.
We all fall are imperfect in our strivings to love, serve and build a Christ-centered home. We are all balancing far more than we can ever do perfectly. Yet, the Lord’s promise is that as we try we will receive great power from Christ and that. I was today released from my calling as a Ward Mission leader and as I reflect on my service I knew that even though I had not fulfilled my calling as perfectly or diligently as I would have liked ( being engaged and in law school has that effect) that the Lord was pleased with my service. He loves each of us and wants us to be happy and at peace. With Elder Scott I join in bearing my testimony that God is pleased with us as we strive to do good and as we try to build a firm foundations upon the Gospel of Jesus Christ
I bear testimony that living an obedient life, firmly rooted in the gospel of Jesus Christ, provides the greatest assurance for peace and refuge in our homes. There will still be plenty of challenges or heartaches, but even in the midst of turmoil, we can enjoy inner peace and profound happiness. I testify that the Atonement of Jesus Christ is the source of that abundant peace, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.