Monday, October 12, 2009

And so it begins....

I had been following a blog called the General Conference Book Club over at Diapers and Divinity, but I wanted to try to start my own for a few reasons.

1--While I enjoy the comments on the blog, I don't know those women. I want to hear the thoughts and testimony of sisters I know and love.

2--Mormon teaches us in Alma 31:5 that, "The preaching of the word had a great tendency to lead the people to do that which was just—yea, it had had more powerful effect upon the minds of the people than the sword, or anything else, which had happened unto them..." I wanted to share with women I love and young women I hope for the word, that we can all be edified together.

3--Pondering the word together and sharing our testimonies will help us build bonds of sisterhood. I need a LOT of sisters. :) I suspect you do too.

So let's get started!

Our first talk will be from Elder Neil L. Andersen, "Repent...That I May Heal You." Here's how it will work. Follow the link to the talk. Read it, study it, pray about it. Then, come back and share your thoughts or questions in the comments feed of this post.

I can't wait to hear what you sisters think. I'm so excited to share this with you!


  1. What a great idea! I think we could all use some sisterhood strength.

    I loved this talk! Too often we think of punishment when we think of repentance. I love how Elder Andersen explains that repentance is simply turning back to the Lord. As we re-align our lives with the Lord we are then able to receive the blessing He has for us.

  2. • "The invitation to repent is rarely a voice of chastisement but rather a loving appeal to turn around and to “re-turn” toward God."

    It’s interesting, because when you’re guilty and unrepentant, the invitation to repent feels like a chastisement. Our guilt/pride turns God’s words of love into words of condemnation. I appreciate too that Elder Andersen points out that all the Father does for us, including correct us, is because He loves us and wants to bless us.

    • "Among the tens of thousands listening to this conference, there are many degrees of personal worthiness and righteousness. Yet repentance is a blessing to all of us. We each need to feel the Savior’s arms of mercy through the forgiveness of our sins."

    This is an important point that I missed for a long time. It’s hard for me not to look around and judge myself based on my perception of other people.
    “I’m not as good a wife as Sister X, her house is always so clean.”
    “I wish I could be as smart as Sister Y.”
    “I’m not as good as Sister Z…she just doesn’t seem to struggle with the awful things I do.”
    When we compare ourselves to others, we do two things—we judge others, knowing almost nothing about their personal struggles; and we forget the Lord isn’t interested in Sister X, Y, or Z when He judges you. He’s just judging you. What have you done with your covenants? Have you reached your potential? He’s not going to hold you up against someone else and compare and contrast.
    Also, it’s important to remember repentance is for all sin, not just “big” sin. Repentance isn’t just what you have to do when you have to go see your bishop—it every day for everything.

    • "For most, repentance is more a journey than a one-time event. It is not easy. To change is difficult."

    One thing my therapist (Yes, I’ve seen a therapist. A lot. Be grateful.) taught me is, “Let it be a journey.” You need to try hard every day to overcome yourself and make progress, and you need to be diligent. But it’s ok if that doesn’t happen today. If the Lord expected you to be perfect today, we wouldn’t even need Atonement, would we?

    • "Sometimes in our repentance, in our daily efforts to become more Christlike, we find ourselves repeatedly struggling with the same difficulties. As if we were climbing a tree-covered mountain, at times we don’t see our progress until we get closer to the top and look back from the high ridges. Don’t be discouraged. If you are striving and working to repent, you are in the process of repenting."

    I really needed to hear this. I often get frustrated with myself—there’s so much I want to be that I just can’t measure up to. I feel sometimes like I’m not making any progress at all. I tell you this: the last time I told a friend that I didn’t feel like I was doing enough or progressing enough God sent me an unexpected pregnancy, a family disaster, and a challenging calling, all in 4 months. I really felt like I grew after that. My point is, given time and wisdom, we can see how we’ve changed, and it can give us the courage to keep working. I’m glad I had the opportunity to have to grow quickly or crash and burn, because now I know that the little progress I make most days adds up to a lot of good.

    • "Repentance always means that there is greater happiness ahead."
    Isn’t the beautiful? My favorite name for the plan of salvation is, “The great plan of happiness.” That, more than anything else, is what I’ve learned the Savior wants for us—happiness. I’m so glad I have a Redeemer who allows me to repent and find joy in my life.

    Thanks Sisters! I love you!

  3. A wonderful talk, and a wonderful opportunity to examine our own path to the Lord. I liked the reminder that the Lord never turns away from us. When we sin, we turn away from Him. And when we repent, we turn toward Him again. Very beautiful imagery.

    The quote that stands out the most to me is "The scriptures do not say that we will forget our forsaken sins in mortality. Rather, they declare that the Lord will forget.

    The forsaking of sins implies never returning. Forsaking requires time. To help us, the Lord at times allows the residue of our mistakes to rest in our memory. It is a vital part of our mortal learning."

    I sometimes wonder why it's so hard to put our sins and our feelings of remorse and shame from our minds This quote reminds us that this life is a learning experience for all of us, and remembering our feelings about the repenting process can help us firm up our resolve to truly forsake our sins.

    I'm grateful for this reminder of the beauty of the Gospel plan, and the love the Savior has for each one of us.

  4. I love the imagery of the Lord's arms open and extended toward us. One time when I was very young, maybe 3 or 4, my mom chastised me (for what, I can't recall, maybe making a big mess in the living room or something) and I started to run away because she yelled at me. I only got a few steps away before I ran back to her. Where was I going to go? She was the one who could hold me and help me feel better. That's how I'd like to be with my relationship with the Lord. He does take the opportunity to chastise me sometimes, but it takes me a lot longer for me to run back to Him than it did for me to run back to my mother at such a young age. So, that's a new goal--to run to the right Person and quickly.

    The other thing that hit me while I was reading this was the idea that repentance is merely change for the better. Sometimes, especially while the sacrament is being passed, I think, "Okay, what have I done this week that I need to repent of?" Well, nothing huge comes to mind--I didn't do anything too grievous. I think I'm asking the wrong question, "How do I want to change this week?" I want to love my husband (and new baby) more purely. I want to WANT to read the scriptures everyday. I want to like making my family dinner. Etc. I think I just need to use the word "change" instead of "repent" and it will be much easier to think of things I need to pray for and fix about myself.

  5. I love that, Becky! I feel sometimes like I'm not doing anything wrong, just not doing enough right, you know? Thanks for helping me change the verbage in my head from "repent," which, to me, connotes wrong doing, to "change," which means growth. Awesome!

  6. I loved this talk! And as a sidenote, I think the is a fantastic idea Emily!! :) Anyways, I had so many things stick out to me in this talk. It left me feeling like I was going to be ok! I really loved the quote that said ...The Savior's encircling arms of mercy and love for the repentant, no matter how selfish the forsaken sin.. Sometimes I find myself thinking that Heavenly Father isn't going to forgive me,I've been to selfish! But it's just not true!! He's waiting there for you to repent and wants to wrap you up in a big bear hug and forgive you!

    I also liked, "to Change is difficult, it requires running into the wind, swimming upstream." This is so true! It's so hard to break bad habits. It feels like one step forward two steps back. That's when I need to focus more attention on the Atonement and what good can come out of my repentence if I endure!

    The last thing that stuck out was the quote about why we don't always forget our sins. Some things stick out like sore thumbs in my mind. Things I'v repented of but just can't forget. I always thought that once your were forgiven you'll forget it so in the back of my mind I've always wondered if I've actually been forgiven! I have! What relief that was to read! And sometimes I think I need those memories to remind why I'm really here and what road I need to be following!

    I really gained alot from this talk! I'm excited to see what's next! :)

  7. This was a talk that really left an impression on me the first time I heard it. As I reread and reviewed it, I found deeper insight and meaning to the power of the atonement. My overarching thought during this talk was how merciful and kind our Father in Heaven is to provide a Savior to atone for our matter what they are. I have often felt like the entire world is perfect except for me who has a lot of faults, but this talk helped me realize that we all, even prophets and apostles, have the need for repentance and the atonement. When Elder Andersen spoke about the Lord forgetting our sins but we may still remeber them.

    This was a timely and beautiful talk! I love how gently and kindly the repentance process is described and illistrated. It is a merciful gift that happens in the Lord's time.

  8. Emily, thank you for this. I think I got as much from the comments as I did from the actual talk itself. I'm not sure I know but 2 of these women and yet everything that was said struck so familiar to me. I had had the same experience/thoughts as they had while reading this.
    Like others I really enjoyed the qoute about turning around and returning to God. I would like to pair that with what Becky said. About change. I needed to read that, because, like Becky, I thought "well there's not anything BIG I need to repent of. I'm not really doing anything wrong." But heaven knows there are a lot of things I would like to change. Problem is, I tend to see those things I need to change as things I need to change on my own "buck up and just do it."
    But, if I am to pair that with the quote, it takes on a much more relevant meaning for this time in my life. I need to re-turn to the Lord and allow Him the opportunity to help me change. Allow myself the power that comes with His aid in my life. Even for the small things like being kinder, or serving more.
    I think sometimes when we believe we can do things/fix things/change things in our lives on our own we are in a way turning away from the arms that are extended to us to help us become that person we are striving to be.
    Lately the Lord has been teaching me that He cares deeply about even the little things in my life and that He is willing to help me with whatever those "little things" may be. This talk and these comments where yet another reminder to me to turn around. Turn back to the Lord.

  9. I always enjoy listening to what Elder Andersen has to say ;) I think the thing that stood out the most was his example of how President Monson wrapped him in his arms after calling him to the quorm of the twelve. It was a perfect visual for me of how much the Savior wants to wrap us in his arms and offer His love and comfort in the times we need it the most. I love the comments left here. I too have wondered what it is I need to REPENT of, and have never thought of the things that I need to just be changing or doing better. (As well as all the things I need to be repenting of!)
    I also thought this was interesting:
    "Once I was asked to meet an older couple returning to the Church. They had been taught the gospel by their parents. After their marriage, they left the Church. Now, 50 years later, they were returning. I remember the husband coming into the office pulling an oxygen tank. They expressed regret at not having remained faithful. I told them of our happiness because of their return, assuring them of the Lord’s welcoming arms to those who repent. The elderly man responded, “We know this, Brother Andersen. But our sadness is that our children and grandchildren do not have the blessings of the gospel. We are back, but we are back alone.”
    This story reminded me that my repentance, and change, and efforts to turn TO the Savior's arms and not away, not only bless my life, but will bless my children, and grandchildren, and so on. A lot of times we selfishly think we aren't hurting anyone but ourselves and don't realize the effects our sins or mistakes will have on those around us.

    Thanks for the invite Emily! I know I needed it!!!

  10. WOW, long comment! I will try to keep them a little shorter from now on :)


Enlighten us!