This has been an amazing three days. Since Friday we have had Elder Richard G. Scott of the Twelve in our stake and for the past three nights I've been able to "sit at his feet" and listen to him in various meetings. He spoke on a wide range of topics from learning to same gender marriage to how we can tell if we are receiving an answer to prayers.
On Friday he spoke to the young adults. We were all gathered in the chapel of the stake center. The high councilman got up to introduce him and Elder Stevenson of the Seventy. He begin to read the bios of the two from these three pages he held up. Elder Scott stood up and went over to the speaker and said, "Brother please, this sounds like a funeral, none of these people care about this stuff, lets just move on, you don't need to read this stuff." There was a lot of laughter and the guy just then said, "well I'm sure you know who he is so umm be nice to him."
After the meeting he met with each and everyone of us to learn our names and shake hands and then eat ice cream with us. This was really a unique opportunity to talk to face-to-face and get to know someone that I've always looked up to.
This was an unusual meeting because he walked around with a mike and encouraged us to ask questions. These are from my notes, they are pretty close to what he said. Again these are my notes and not official transcripts, I don't think I'm sharing anything new but perhaps new ways of thinking about them which is also something he talked about when learning.
This being California of course the topic of Same Gender Marriage came up.
What he said was blunt to the point.
"There are times when we are called on to stand for what is right. There are also times we are called to stand for what is wrong. What I mean by this brothers and sisters is that we must never allow Satan in all his subtle sohpostries to convince us that what is wrong is right."
He talked about how Satan will use things like political correctness to make those who stand for what is right look like hateful people or religious bigots. Or make sin seem like a civil right. Or say that those who stand firm on moral issues are robbing others of their agency.
"When you know the real purpose that you and I are here on the Earth, you will realize this. When you know the plan of our Father you will know why same gender marriages is one of his greatest evils and how it traps those Satan has snared into this lifestyle of the chance of ever having a family that can be eternal. Satan wants to confuse, blur and destroy. This is not a matter of agency once you know the truth, it becomes a matter of obedience."
A friend of mine asked Elder Scott how he could tell the difference between a good feeling and the spirit when he prays for guidance about what to do.
Elder Scott looked at him and asked outright, "are you worthy?" He then added that in most cases when you are living worthily Heavenly Father will not allow bad ideas to pass as spiritual prompting. He said that almost all good ideas will be spiritual. That some times when you have two choices and both are good and it is more of "what you will do with them" and less about "which is the right one."
Another friend of mine asked him "what his favorite dream was." I felt this was an unusual question, but Elder Scott seemed to felt it was a good time to share a spiritual expirence with us. He told of waking up from a dream covered in sweat and sore. He said that he at first felt like he must have had a nightmare. Then he realized that he need to ponder and perhaps see if it was something the Lord was trying to teach him.
In the dream he said he dreamed that he was looking for his late wife but that people kept telling him that she wasn't there. Finally when they realized that he wasn't going to give up they said that she didn't want anything to do with him and further that he would soon lose all memory of her. He said he stopped and said that he had been married in the temple for time and all eternity.
"Suddenly I felt as if I had been raised up out of the scene and I could see that it was evil spirits trying to convince me that that wasn't true."
This is the key point.
He said that we need to be careful not to let Satan or the world or our fears convince us. Not to be taught by our fears or to believe what we have told ourselves in desperation when we are close to losing faith. That a person with a body will always have more power over evil spirits that will try to convince us otherwise. To have faith in God and not our fears or what we convince ourselves is true if it goes against what God has told us.
Elder Scott said was that we should keep a separate journal of things that the Lord teaches us that are sacred to us. He said in the day and age of blogs that some things still need to be kept sacred in a journal. He said he keeps his on a computer with a password.
He told us that there are times we may not get anything out of a meeting but that we should still take notes. He said that sometimes in the future when we are pondering things that these items may be of some importance in the future. We may not be in the proper mind frame or maybe the Lord knows we will one day need the message.
He also said that sometimes things are too sacred at the time to share with others but that sometimes we will be inspired to share them at the right time. He talked about his recent conference talk when he was supposed to right about justice and mercy and while he tried and prayed and wrote nothing came to mind, but he was inspired to write about abuse. He said that after he had completed the talk he said "Well I guess perhaps the Lord wants me to talk about abuse."
A final thought he left with us was the difference between leaning by hearing and learning by understanding. He said in teaching if we "communicate" with those we teach instead of just trying to impart our message, which isn't bad but not the best way to teach, we open up the channels for the spirit to teach and edify. The best teachers are those who help the invite the Spirit to teach with them as their companions.
He challenged us to always set goals by saying for instance instead of "I will grow more spiritual." To say "I will grow more spiritual BY:" Then add bullet points.
I hope that I've been able to impart some of what I've learned and more importantly the spirit I've felt the past three days. If anyone wants to comment or write me with their thoughts I'd love to discuss them. Thank you for the opportunity to share them with you.