This year, as I took notes during the 2016 October General Conference for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I made a point to write down everything we were asked to do so that we may be better followers Jesus Christ, better builders of His Kingdom, and a happier people.
At first, I wasn’t sure what to call this sacred “to-do” list. The following possibilities came to mind:
- Loving implorings?
- Happiness prerequisites?
Then, during the closing prayer of the Saturday morning session, it was the “invitations” that were given thanks for. It was the “invitations” which we collectively prayed that we’d continue to receive, take to heart, and apply. “Invitation” was the perfect word! Christ is continually offering us guidance, direction and loving invitations for our happiness!
The following “invitations for happiness” were given by God, through His chosen leaders, to us. May we hear, heed and accept them.
Jean B Bingham
- Be generous in our thoughts and words.
- Withhold unrighteous judgment.
- Bring the light of the gospel into our own environment.
- Look for the good and forget the mistakes and stumblings of others.
- Embrace improvement in everyone.
Carole M Stephens
- Have a bedrock understanding of the doctrine of Christ.
- Lay your burdens at the feet of the Savior.
- Communicate openly.
- Maintain your spiritual health.
- Daily drink from Living Water.
- Rely on the endowment of power made available to each of us through ordinances and covenants.
- Rely on the Atonement of Christ.
- Have a bedrock understanding of the doctrine of Christ.
- Acknowledge the centrality of God our Eternal Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, to our faith and salvation.
- Study and apply the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
- Understand the need for the restoration of the doctrine, organization, and keys of authority in these latter days.
- Study and understand temple ordinances and covenants.
- Magnify our callings with faith.
- Be bold and straightforward when teaching youth true doctrine.
President Dieter F Uchtdorf
- Listen differently. Some things are discerned only with the Spirit.
- Trust in God’s wisdom AND His love!
- Walk by whatever faith we have – seeking always to be increased.
- Knock – and it shall be opened unto you.
- Keep seeking!
- Keep knocking!
- Live in faith! (And the Lord will increase you 1,000 times.)
President Dieter F Uchtdorf
- Appreciate ALL that we have!
- Contemplate and share the great plan of happiness!
- Seek, study and ponder the truths of the restored gospel.
- Let the solemnities of eternity rest upon our minds.
- Consider the question, “What shall we give in return for the flood of light and truth God has poured out upon us?
- Live by the truth we have received!
- Take courage and trust in the guidance of the Spirit!
- Share with our fellowman God’s plan of happiness!
Robert D Hales
- Parents – be loving teachers and missionaries to your children.
- Support each other on our mortal journey.
- Teach one another the doctrine of the Kingdom.
- Take advantage of teaching moments within our families – now – as they happen.
- Youth – don’t be afraid. Have faith to testify of what you know to be true!
- Hold family scriptures study, prayer and council meetings.
- Have family home evening.
- Have fun together.
- Bear testimony together.
- Don’t lose patience. Don’t give up.
- Parents of prodigal children – patiently wait. Pray for guidance.
- Caregivers – let the Savior be your caregiver. Lean on His ample arm.
- Turn more toward forgiveness, kindness and love.
- Keep His commandments.
Carol F McConkie
- Pray with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, and then act on the promptings we receive.
- Ask! Seek! Knock!
- Pray TO the Father, in the NAME of Jesus Christ, by the POWER of the Holy Ghost.
- Do not take His name in vain by using rote and repetitious words.
- Silence our desires and submit them to the will of God.
- Pray always, with full hearts, drawn out unto God continually for our welfare and the welfare of those around us, in gratitude, hope, and a love of God and of all men.
Craig C Christensen
- Read the Book of Mormon as if we were Joseph Smith, discovering its truths for the first time.
- If we are struggling in our testimony of Joseph Smith – consider the fruits of him being called as a prophet of God:
- baptism, priesthood, sacrament, blessings, temple ordinances and covenants, we have a window (doorway) to the eternities.
- Witnesses and testimonies that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world, down to, and including our current prophet and apostles.
- Fearlessly declare our witness of Joseph Smith – prophet of the Lord.
Juan A Uceda
- Pray with our hearts, not just our lips!
- When we pray – PRAY – don’t just “say” a prayer.
- Prepare ourselves for prayer.
- Pray on. Always.
- Pray as Jesus did.
J Devn Cornish
- Stop comparing ourselves to others.
- Compare how we were in the past, to how we are today.
- Ask God what He thinks of us.
- Keep repenting. Do not rationalize or rebel.
- REALLY try!
- Ask for Heavenly help and then act on the promptings we receive!
Neil L Andersen
- Complete the gaps in the grand puzzle (build and strengthen the Kingdom of God).
- Allow guilt to awaken us to changes we need to make. But stop feeling guilty about insufficiencies in sharing the gospel.
- Pray often for and respond to opportunities to stand as a witness of God.
- Be open about our faith in Christ.
- Speak of His life, teachings, and Atonement.
- Share the great plan of happiness as found in the Book of Mormon.
- (As we SHARE the gospel with others….our grade is always an A+, regardless of the recipient’s response!)
- Youth and young adults – be witnesses of God!
- Use technology and social media!
- “Call upon the Lord, that his kingdom may go forth upon the earth, that the inhabitants thereof may receive it, and be prepared for the days to come, in the which the Son of Man shall come down in heaven, clothed in the brightness of his glory, to meet the kingdom of God which is set up on the earth.” (D&C 65:5)
Quentin L Cook
- Do not allow stumbling blocks to distract us from God’s truth.
- See sin in its true light.
- Do not look beyond the mark.
- Avoid religious fanaticism.
- Avoid taking positions contrary to church leaders.
- Be valiant in the testimony of Jesus!
- Focus on the power of Jesus Christ and His Atonement.
- Allow God’s light to guide us.
Gary E Stevenson
- Study and pray about the truthfulness of The Book of Mormon.
- Replace some screen time (particularly social media, internet, gaming or TV) with reading the Book of Mormon.
- Enjoy your study of it!
- Find time and a quiet place to read it.
- “And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.” (Moroni 10:4)
D Todd Christofferson
- Receive God’s grace and be perfected by it.
- Abide in the love of God.
- Submit to His will.
- Accept His correction.
- Love and serve one another
- Learn to abide the law of the Celestial Kingdom.
- Yield to the enticings of the Holy Spirit and put off the natural man.
- Trust in our Divine Teacher.
- “Will ye not now return unto me, and repent of your sins, and be converted, that I may heal you?…blessed are those who come unto me.” (3 Nephi 9:13-14)
- Keep His commandments! Keep His commandments! Keep His Commandments!
- Feel, and fully abide in, His love.
W Mark Bassett
- Follow the example of Nephi in understanding the mysteries of God.
- Sincere desire
- Trust in the prophet
- Exercise faith, diligence and obedience
- Trust the Lord enough to follow His commandments, even when we do not completely understand the reasons for them.
- (Some things can be learned only by faith.)
- “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.” (Proverbs 3:5)
- Acknowledge that His wisdom is superior to our own.
- Hope for things which are not seen which are true.
- Forbear and wait patiently upon the Lord, knowing we have all things as a testimony that these things are true.
- Allow Him to guide our spiritual development and learning, according to His will and pleasure, rather than our own.
- Be ambitious for Christ!
- Be motivated, focused and dedicated to His work.
- Serve faithfully and diligently in our wards and branches without complaint and with joyful hearts.
- Keep the commandments.
- “Counsel with the Lord in all thy doings, and he will direct thee for good.” (Alma 37:37)
Elder Dallin H Oaks
- Share the truths of the gospel with all God’s children.
- The help of every member is needed to share the gospel with every nation, kindred, tongue and people. Every member should:
- Pray for desire to help with the work of salvation.
- Keep the commandments ourselves.
- Pray for inspiration on what we can do in our circumstances to share the gospel with others.
- Commitment is required!
- Act on the inspiration we receive.
- Member and families – pray for the Lord to help us find people prepared to hear the message of the Restoration.
- Trust in the Lord….Pray personally and in your family for missionary opportunities.
- Remember people learn when they are ready to learn, not when we are ready to teach them.
- As we speak to others, remember that an invitation to learn more about Jesus Christ and his gospel is preferable to learning more about our church!
- When we seek to introduce people to the gospel, do it in ways that are authentic in loving concern for the individual.
- Our efforts to share the gospel should not be limited to our circle of friends and associates.
- Ward bishoprics – plan a special sacrament meeting to which members are encouraged to bring others not of our faith.
- Reach out to others.
- Young members – use your expertise with social media and reach out to share the gospel!
Jeffrey R Holland
- Lift your vision of home teaching.
- Be God’s emissaries to His children!
- Love, care for, and pray for them!
- Be vigilant in tending to the flock of God in ways consistent with your circumstances.
LeGrand R Curtis Jr
- Discover the power of the Book of Mormon.
- Read it!
- Ponder its teachings!
- Ask Heavenly Father if it is true.
Dieter F Uchtdorf
- Consider the questions:
- What can I learn from Alma?
- Ask for help when we need it.
- How am I like Amulek?
- Open our hearts to the Savior.
- Contemplate the goodness and grace of God.
- Hear and accept Christ’s invitation: “Come, follow me.”
- What can I learn from Alma?
Henry B Eyring
- Strengthen our younger brothers to rise up in the priesthood.
- Help them develop strength and confidence!
- Go home and study carefully the oath and covenant of the priesthood.
- Rise to our call to lift others to prepare them for their glorious service.
President Thomas S Monson
- Faithfully observe the word of wisdom!
President Thomas S Monson
- Obey God’s laws!
Russell M Nelson
- To claim joy and be happy under every circumstance, we must:
- Focus on the plan of salvation and Christ’s gospel. HE is source of joy!
- Look unto Jesus – the author and finisher of our faith – in every thought.
- Give thanks for Him in our prayers.
- Keep covenants with Him and Heavenly Father.
- Plea for His joy to be given to us.
- Focus on joy – including joys to come. (This is how Christ endured the agony of the Atonement.)
- Learn to suffer – with joy. (Let it be swallowed up in the joy of Christ.)
- Avoid things that can interrupt our joy. (Anything that opposes Christ or His doctrine.)
- Nurture our spouse and children.
- Forgive and ask forgiveness.
- Live celestial laws.
- Keep our covenants.
Peter F Meurs
- Improve our participation in the ordinance of sacrament.
- Prepare in advance.
- Express gratitude.
- Repent of our shortcomings.
- Look forward to the opportunity to remember His sacrifice and renew our covenants.
- Arrive early.
- Well before the meeting.
- Ponder during prelude music.
- Prayerfully meditate on the upcoming ordinance.
- Sing and learn from the words of the sacrament hymn.
- Let the words become part of our covenant commitment.
- Spiritually participate in the sacrament prayers.
- Consider the commitments and blessings included in the prayers.
- Ponder and remember Him as the sacrament emblems are passed.
- Remember He took upon Himself our infirmities.
- Ask ourselves –
- What will I do this week to better prepare, so I can contribute to the reverence of the meeting and this ordinance?
- What doctrine was taught during the sacrament hymn?
- What did I hear and feel during the sacrament prayers?
- What did I think about as the sacrament was passed?
- Repent sincerely so we may be spiritually renewed.
Linda S Reeves
- Confession, godly sorrow and faith in Christ are essential elements of repentance.
- Repent daily.
- Consider what sins we need to repent of.
- What is holding us back?
- In what ways do we need to improve?
M Russell Ballard
- Cherish, protect and nurture our family relationships.
- Focus on what we believe and know.
- Never stop reading, pondering and applying the Atonement of Jesus Christ!
- Don’t assume that because something is unexplainable by us – that it is unexplainable.
- Stop and think carefully before giving up on the Church. Think about:
- What have you felt here? Why did you feel that way?
- What were times when the Holy Ghost has borne witness of truth to you?
- Where will you go to learn more about the plan for our eternal happiness and peace?
- Where will you go to find living prophets and apostles called by God?
- Where will you go find people who live by a prescribed set of values that you share?
- Where will you go to experience the joy that comes through the saving ordinances and covenants of the temple?
- Sometimes we can learn, study and know. but sometimes we must believe, trust and hope.
- Invite God’s children to find and stay on the gospel path.
- Encourage, accept, understand and love those who are struggling with their faith.
- Do not neglect our bothers and sisters who are on different places on the path.
- Minister and embrace those who have questions and are faltering in their faith.
- Pause if you are considering turning away, and think carefully before you leave the old ship Zion.
- Remember the Savior is on board and is able to rebuke the storm!
- Do not fear.
- Have unwavering faith in Christ.
Dean M Davies
- Yearn for, seek out and strive to experience worship.
- On the Sabbath, offer our praises and worship God.
- Approach, acknowledge and accept God as King.
- Respect Him.
- Revere Him.
- Submit to Him.
- Lift our hearts in prayer.
- Cherish His word.
- Commit to follow Him with loyalty.
- Determine to walk the path of discipleship.
- Acknowledge and receive Him with reverence.
- Approach Him with feelings of wonder, awe, marvel and gratitude.
- Comprehend spiritual vistas through the Spirit.
- Commit to walk in the footsteps of Christ.
- Let our hearts be drawn out in praise to God morning noon and night.
- Open our hearts to healing power of Atonement of Christ.
- Be thankful unto Him, and bless His name!
Lynn G Robbins
- Judge righteously.
- Common judges –
- Avoid impulses to condemn.
- Lovingly teach.
- Remember sacrifice is an important part of repentance.
- Parents –
- Be patient until you can conquer with love.
- Lovingly teach.
- Reprove when moved upon by the Holy Ghost (not when moved upon by anger).
- Use kindness, as the Savior did.
- Remember the child’s true identity!
- “Never let a problem to be solved become more important than a person to be loved.”(Pres. Monson)
President Henry B Eyring
- To worship, we should give thanks and love on the Sabbath.
- “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength.” (Mark 12:30)
- Count our blessings!
- Be grateful we are in sacrament meeting at all, gathered with others, in His name!
- Be grateful we have the opportunity to take the sacrament each week, that those prayers are honored by a loving Father, that the feeling of forgiveness comes, and for the appreciation of the Savior which we feel as we partake.
- Be grateful for the Holy Ghost, who has been promised will always be with us as we are faithful.
- Remember the covenant we made at the waters of baptism.
- Participate in class or quorums with full purpose of heart, to build faith and love.
- Cheerfully fulfill our callings.
- Offer private and family prayers of thanks.
- Pray to know what God would have us do to serve Him and others.
- Pray for the Holy Ghost to direct you to someone in need.
Elder David A Bednar
- Come to know the Lord, not just know about Him.
- Exercise Faith in Him.
- Have confidence in His power.
- Act in faith. Be doers of the word, not hearers only.
- Study and feast upon the His word.
- Pray to the Father in His name.
- Follow Him.
- Deny ourselves of all ungodliness, take up our cross and follow Him.
- Press forward on the straight and narrow path.
- Serve Him.
- Labor in His Kingdom.
- Go where He wants us to go.
- Say what He wants us to say.
- Become what He wants us to become.
- Acknowledge our total dependence on Him.
- Offer all of our heart, might, mind and strength as we serve.
- Believe Him and His assurances (specifically and personally).
- Believe what we know!
- Experience the transforming, healing, strengthening power of His Atonement.
- Give away all our sins.
- Trust that His blessings are applicable, personally, to us.
- Surrender our will to His.
- Accept as true His power and promises.
Brian K Ashton
- Apply the doctrine of Christ more fully in our lives.
- Have faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement.
- Stop worrying about what others think of us, and think more of what Christ thinks of us.
- Repent of our sins, continually.
- Be baptized and partake of the sacrament.
- Receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
- Endure to the end in following the example of Christ.
- Make a conscious effort each week to prepare for the sacrament, think of what we can improve on, and bring it to the sacrament altar.
Carl B Cook
- Serve God by serving others.
- Do not exclude ourselves from serving.
- Accept and fulfill our callings.
- Ask…how can I help? Where will the Lord have me serve?
- Serve in your calling. Serve a mission. Serve your mother. Just…serve!
Ronald A Rasband
- Renew our resolve to be a committed disciple of Jesus Christ.
- “Remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall.” (Helaman 5:12)
- Recall when we felt the Spirit and when our testimonies were strong.
- Strengthen ourselves spiritually and then strengthen those around us.
- Study the scriptures.
- Attend church meetings, especially sacrament meeting, and thoughtfully partake of the sacrament.
- “Take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons’ sons” (Deuteronomy 4:9)
- Never forget, question or ignore sacred spiritual experiences.
- Faithfully live the gospel of Jesus Christ and abide by its teachings.
- Keep our covenants regardless of other’s actions. Remain faithful and steadfast even if storms of doubt invade our lives through the actions of others.
- Avoid counterfeit offerings of so-called truth.
- Record your feelings of love, joy, peace, etc…
- In the midst of life’s greatest storms, do not forget your divine heritage. Do not forget!
Evan A Schmutz
- Keep the commandments in every condition and in every circumstance.
- If we are sorrowful, call on the Lord for supplication!
- Take courage!
- Have faith!
- Believe in the promises of God!
- Endure well purposeful suffering. Allow them to teach us through faith in Christ.
- Link our suffering to an assurance of purpose and our eternal reward.
K Brett Nattress
- Make sure our children know that we know the gospel of Christ is true!
- Preach of Christ! Testify of Christ!
- Pray with our children every day!
- Read the scriptures with them every day!
- Teach them to serve others.
- Devote our hearts and hands to helping all of Heavenly Father’s children to know Him and feel His love.
Dale G Renlund
- Choose to REALLY repent!
- Confess our sins.
- Change our behavior.
- Turn our heart and will to God.
- Renounce our sins.
- Have faith in the Lord, Jesus Christ – that he can change us, forgive us, and help us avoid more mistakes.
- Avoid insincere repentance.
- Do not blame others.
- Do not minimize our mistakes.
- Do not think that our sins do not matter because God loves us no matter what we do.
- Do not separate God from His commandments.
- Come forth and harden our hearts no longer.
- Feel more joy in our lives!
I am immensely grateful for the invitations for happiness we have received this conference! I know if I put them to practice I will become a better, and happier, person. As our beloved prophet so eloquently put it in this very conference…
His plan is the
“perfect plan for peace and happiness in this life,
and the life to come!”
God be thanked for His prophet, apostles and leaders,who are inspired for our benefit,
so that we may be better disciples of Christ, better builders of the Kingdom,
and, simply, more
(To view, read or listen to the entire conference, go to: www.lds.org/generalconference or click here.)
- Mastering Doctrine….it’s not just for seminary students!
- “Sending Their Message”- An Inside Glimpse of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir!