I also LOVE President Uchtdorf, of course. He's fabulous. I used the raining blessings/umbrella analogy in a lesson yesterday. It was received very well.
Quote from President Uchtdorf's talk at Women's Conference
I am SO excited for General Conference. It has never been so important to me until now, on my mission. I have finally realized how amazing it is that we have a PROPHET and APOSTLES and amazing leaders of our church who receive revelation from God to help us!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! THAT'S INCREDIBLE!!!!!!!! And I'm just so giddy about the whole thing and I want it to happen now and I can't wait. It's going to be amazing.
I don't really have anything too interesting to write about this week, and I don't have a ton of time, but I thought I'd share more about what we learned during the Zone Conference with the Lawrences! I can't remember anything I said last week, so I apologize in advance if I repeat stuff.
Our spirits are all made of light, and we are literally the spirit children of God. Meaning that at one point we were all "born," or formed. When we were formed, we were all equal to each other. But, even in our pre-mortal existence, we had agency, and some people used that agency to progress faster than others. We developed talents and skills in the pre-mortal existence, and we worked on those things before we were born. That's why some people seem to have a knack for certain things like music or math, etc. Because they learned it as a spirit! Some spirits distinguished themselves through those talents that they developed, and others distinguished themselves by exceeding faith and good works. So while some developed talents, others developed "spirituality" (the ability to recognize truth, and then act upon it) and some developed both.
Jehovah, or Jesus Christ, progressed the fastest out of all of the spirits, and that is why He became the Savior and Redeemer of the world. We looked up to Him because we knew Him and we knew His talents and how great He was. And we also trusted Him because he was our brother and we loved Him and knew that He loved us. That's why we trusted Him when He said He would perform the atonement, and that's why we chose to follow Him.
Another really cool thing that Sister Lawrence said is that Heavenly Father doesn't touch our agency, but He knows us so well that He knows what we will do. I've always wondered how He could know everything that was going to happen, because it didn't seem fair. It seemed like we didn't really have any control over anything. But now I understand so much better that we still totally have control over our lives, but He knows us so well that He knows what's going to happen. And it makes sense as well why He still gives people chances even when He knows they won't take it - because He's hoping that they will change! He WANTS all of His children to return to them, and He's not going to give up hope.
In the pre-mortal existence, Heavenly Father presented the Plan of Salvation. Lucifer took one side, and Jehovah sided with the Father. There was a war in heaven over who we would follow. It wasn't a literal war, like with swords and shields, but it was a war of words and of testimonies. Satan had followers, and Jesus had followers, and the followers tried to convince the others to side with them. We know that although many people chose to follow Lucifer, the majority chose to follow the Savior. All those who followed the Savior came to earth or will come to earth in the future. So, congratulations! You followed Jesus Christ!!!! That's fantastic.
The war in heaven was won because of the "blood of the Lamb" (the atonement of Jesus Christ) and because of the testimonies that were borne. We bore our testimonies in heaven, trying to convince our friends and families to follow the Savior and come to earth! Those who helped God to win the "war" were called and elected as the House of Israel. You can read more about this in Revelations 11 and 12, I believe. Heavenly Father called and elected those who had the most potential to become like Him. It talks about that more in 1 Peter 1 and 2.
So Satan never got a body, and he never will get a body because he and his followers were cast out. His only pleasure now is making us miserable, so he focuses on those who he is most jealous of - those of the House of Israel! Those who fought against him! He HATES us and he is low enough to do anything to make us miserable. He's kind of a jerk.
In the pre-mortal existence, women were "pre-designated with the influence of motherhood" and men were "pre-ordained with the power of the Priesthood." It's kind of cool when you think how often in the scriptures it refers to "influence and power."
And here is more information on the Abrahamic Covenant:
It is the way to become more like God. Abraham promised that he would be loyal, obedient, and that he would be a witness for God. We make a similar covenant at baptism, when we promise to take His name upon us, always remember Him, and keep His commandments. Cool, right?
In return, God promised Abraham that he would have posterity, property, and priesthood (or in other words, he would give Abraham all that he has).
Abraham had Isaac, who had Jacob and Esau. Traditionally the "birthright" was given to the oldest son. The birthright is a double portion of what everyone else got, because it was supposed to be one portion for the son and then the other portion was to be used to bless the rest of the family and others. Isaac knew that Jacob was more deserving of the birthright, and would use that double portion more wisely.
Then Jacob had 12 sons, and again he chose Joseph to have the birthright, and Joseph wasn't the oldest son either. But because he had the birthright, the line of those in the House of Israel is much greater through his sons Ephraim and Manasseh. He had twice the responsibility! And his posterity was much greater. And Ephraim also had the birthright in his family, which is why the majority of people from the house of Israel are from Ephraim.
I love you all! Have a great week! Transfers are next week (Tuesday), so if you are mailing things to my address here in Grand Junction, hold off until I know if I'm staying or going. I'll update with any changes next week!