It’s always good to look back after the General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to review what stood out and what was taught during the Conference. So today, let’s highlight a few of the themes that were discussed throughout the April 2021 General Conference. These are all things that were talked about more than once during the Conference, but there might be other things that stood out to you during General Conference that aren’t talked about here. Don’t forget to review those things too!
Know Christ Better
I think that knowing Christ better was a huge theme in the April 2021 General Conference. Several speakers talked about our need to get to know our Savior intimately. He knows us, He sacrificed for us, and He is always with us – but are we trying to know Him as well?
We can always do something to get to know Christ better. And making the effort to know Him will not only strengthen us but help us become more like Him. One thing I liked that Elder Teh suggested is that we should compare how much we know about Christ to how well we know Christ personally. It’s a distinction that can have a massive impact. Knowing all about Christ and His life doesn’t mean we know Him as a person, though knowing about Him can help. We should make sure that when we learn about Christ that we do it in a way that helps us know Him as well.
Some things we can do to get to know Christ better are:
- Study His character, life, mission, etc.
- Place reminders around us so we think of Him more
- Learn how He taught others and try to do the same
- Take more steps of faith
- Focus more carefully on Him during the Sacrament
- Use His Atonement
- Serve others around us
Our Church leaders are so optimistic. It’s so enjoyable to hear from them during General Conference because they have a lot of hope for the future. And they love reminding us of the fact that we can be hopeful and optimistic about the future as well. Even while addressing unrest or giving warnings, they still manage to instill optimism into their words and boost our hope and optimism in the process.
But when we aren’t in the middle of General Conference listening to what our leaders have to say, optimism can be harder to find. That being said, when we remember the teachings of our leaders and the promises of our God, optimism is much easier to maintain in our lifestyles. We must remember where to place our hope – in Christ. When we hope in Christ we can be optimistic because we know that, even though life isn’t going to magically get easier, there are great things coming in the future as well.
A lot of temples in the world are still closed, at least partially, due to the pandemic. So I found it interesting that there were several invitations given to us to make the temple a priority and to prepare now for temples to reopen in the future.
President Eyring reminded us that temples are places where we can easily receive revelation. Of course, we can receive revelation in other places as well, but temples give us the nearness to God and the stillness we need to be open to that revelation. Additionally, temples are a place of learning, so it makes sense that we would receive greater revelation inside their walls. Part of our preparation to return to the temple should include preparing ourselves to receive greater revelation.
This is important to remember, given one of President Nelson’s last invitations during General Conference. He told us that we should do all we can to support temple reopenings. That can include doing what we can to prevent the continued spread of the pandemic, doing more family history so we are ready to perform more ancestral ordinances, and preparing ourselves in every way we can to be ready to return when the temples do fully reopen.
Engage In God’s Work
President Nelson and other leaders frequently repeat the call to engage in God’s work, and this Conference definitely addressed that need. President Nelson discussed this in particular while he spoke about faith. Faith involves taking action, and often that action will require doing something to build God’s kingdom.
In Doctrine and Covenants 38, Christ tells us that “the kingdom is yours.” The thing is, when God tells us that something is ours, that usually means there’s a stewardship/responsibility involved, not just possession. For example, the parable of the talents reminds us that we should take what God gives us and do our best to build it up even more. We’ve been given the kingdom of God, so now we have stewardship over the kingdom. We need to fulfill our responsibility to build the kingdom and engage in God’s work, otherwise, that stewardship will be taken away from us.
I also like to compare this to the allegory of the olive tree. At the end of the allegory, laborers are called into the vineyard to labor for the last time. They are few, but they have an essential role to play. Those laborers are us. We are the ones called to labor in the vineyard for the last time. The work needs to be done and to finish the work, we need to engage fully in it.
Both Elder Bednar and Elder Holland talked about principles in the gospel. Elder Bednar, in particular, went into deep detail about the role of principles in the gospel and in our lives. Principles are “doctrinal supports” for us as we live our lives. They help us know what God would have us do with our agency.
The thing I found interesting is that when principles are well-understood, the need for a long list of highly specific rules disappears. People are willing to govern themselves well when they understand the principles that direct them. That understanding helps us to use our agency better than we would otherwise and makes us happier in the long run.
Elder Holland also told us that we need to understand the connection between principle and power. Obeying principles can give us greater power in our lives, but it can also give us greater connection to God’s power. This is honestly something I need to study more, but Elder Holland made it clear that this is an essential understanding to have.
Trust In God
Finally, we were once again reminded in this General Conference to trust in God. This also goes along with faith, as President Nelson discussed. Coming out of a year that threw a wrench into so many plans, that resulted in so much loss, and that fired up tensions more by the day, this is a message we truly need.
Life doesn’t go according to our plans. We don’t have the power to control exactly how life will go. Not everything is in our control. But when we know we can trust in God, we also know that everything will happen the way it needs to, whether we like it or not. Trusting God gives us the assurance that He is aware of all that is happening and that He has a plan in the works.
Let’s choose to turn to God and trust Him more over the next six months. He can bring about bewildering miracles and works. Our God is with us, and He has already conquered the enemy. He’s helping us do the same. What can you do over the next six months to trust God more? What other themes stood out to you during General Conference? Share your thoughts with us!