Maricopa Stake Conference Notes 3 & 4 December 2011

Bishop David H. Burton was the presiding general authority at our stake conference this weekend. He was on assignment from President Boyd K. Packer.

Saturday Priesthood Leadership Session

President Lewis, our stake president, reviewed of “The Family: a Proclamation to the World” on the topic of a father’s responsibilities. “By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families.”

  • Provide for the necessities of life.
  • Provide protection > How do we provide this protection?

This last point brought some open conversation from the congregation. President Tyler Wright (our Elders’ Quorum president) offered a sober experience of how he had to offer physical protection to his family just the night before with the use of a gun. Then he also talked about preparing his daughter spiritually for baptism. Bishop Weyrauch (Maricopa 4th Ward) also mentioned the spiritual protection that we need to provide our families in the face of today’s media influences and all the other messages that are abounding. His remarks were pointed out by Bishop Burton later on, which caused me to give pause and deeper consideration to the thought.

Doctrine and Covenants 109: 22 – We go forth from the temple armed with power.

Doctrine and Covenants 107:27-30 – Unity/Unanimity, vs 30 is the key in explaining how this is to be achieved. It is almost identical to the powers described in Section 121:41 & 42.  The greatest blessing are given as we achieve unanimity.

2 Nephi 32:3 was also referenced. A reminder to feast upon the words of Christ.

President Lewis also offered a few remarks about family scripture study, stating that Saturday and Sunday scripture studies were the best because there was no rush or demand to leave the house as on other days.

This got me thinking about how I use Sundays for family time. Could I attend to all other meetings on days other than Sunday?

Remarks from Bishop David H. Burton:

He endorsed “the gracious of our stake president”.

President Howard W. Hunter’s only talk to the priesthood as president of the Church focused on two points:

  • We who have the privilege of holding the holy Melchizedek priesthood, hold sacred expectations.
  • Perfect moral fidelity within our own homes. There is the expectation that we will not flirt with temptation.
  • Lead out in righteousness in our homes. Many are failing to do this in their homes.

Invitation from Bishop Burton: As time permits in quorum meetings, help quorum members understand this challenge.

Shift to Addressing Youth/ Young Men and Young Women – More than 50% of the youth of the Church now reside in single parent homes. The church as an institution needs to be more proactive. Bishops hold sacred Aaronic priesthood keys to bless the young people.

Differences between Bishop and the Presiding High Priest (which is also the Bishop’s assignment by delegation from the stake president).

  • Bishop’s keys cannot be delegated.
  • Most of the presiding high priest’s duties can be delegated.

Bishop Burton concluded with a Q & A session where some fun statical facts and question were thrown around. As Bishop Burton was speaking without hard numbers, I’ll refrain from making note. Despite general global economic hardship, the Church which just held it annual council on the disposition of the tithes, is in sound financial shape for the upcoming year– an amazing blessing as Bishop Burton noted it.

Post thoughts:

  • It is curious to note that the bulk of our work in the priesthood is focused on creating righteous fathers and husbands in our homes.
  • Preparation. A scout is prepared. We must be prepared in all things.

Saturday Adult Session

This was something of an open mic format where, after an introduction by Bishop Burton, the two counselors in the stake presidency lead discussion on Zion. We were invited to share scriptures and examples on the topic, and I was very much impressed by the Spirit of the Lord that was present during the discussion.

As the meeting was preparing to start, I saw an older couple walk in and set down. This reminded me of how much time I will have after parenthood with young children to enjoy discipleship, but also came the reminder of how pivotal this years are right now as parents in our children’s preparation.

Moses 7:18 – This was pointed out to be the theme of the conference, but was shared voluntarily by a member of the congregation first.

Questions asked that lead to a powerful conversation:

  • What is Zion?
  • Why do we want to be a part of Zion?
  • How do we dwell in righteousness?

Some observations that I made note of:

  • Alma prayed, not that the behavior of his son would change, but that he would come to a knowledge of the truth.
  • Dews from heaven require conditions to be just right for them to distill upon the ground. So our homes, too, require conditions to be just right for the dews of heaven to distill upon the heads of our children.
  • Pray, asking what is the most important thing that we can do each day.

Again, the most memorable part of this adult meeting was the feeling that I had participating in the Spirit of the Lord that was there. While we sat discussing Zion, I couldn’t help but feel that I was already here in Zion. Doctrine and Covenants 45:68 was mentioned by someone, and I found it to be particularly curious in reference to the earlier discussion that we had about a father’s duty to protect his family.

Sunday Morning General Session

Thoughts from listening to Bishop David H. Burton’s remarks:

  • He spoke about following the words of the living Prophet. He said that he had both a “Hinckley Bible” and a “Monson Bible” where he studied and considered the words of the living prophets with as much weight and importance as the ancient written scriptures.
  • Something spiritual happens to us when we share the gospel.
  • Can you strengthen your testimony on all key points? This last thought had nothing to do with anything that Bishop Burton’s remarks, only that I was recalling a recent experience where I bore testimony in a meeting on a point that I really had about 18 years collective experience with, and it really felt like a personal witness or testimony of things that I had experienced. On key doctrines such as the main 5 points of testimony (Jesus is the Christ, Joseph Smith is the prophet of the restoration, the Book of Mormon is the word of God, the Priesthood and church of Jesus Christ are restored, and we have a living prophet today), I want to have as strong a personal witness.

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