The Unsung Hero

It’s spring time, and that means it’s baseball season. I’ve taken an extra part-time job as an umpire for the local city league. Towards the end of the final game last night, the coach of the fielding team made a pitching change. He called time out and brought the infield in to the pitcher’s mound, told the current pitcher that he had done well and that a change was going to happen. Then he asked one of the boys in the huddle if he wanted to pitch. I watched this little fifth-grade boy’s face light up instantly. He quickly nodded in excitement. As he began to pitch, I noticed something very different.

This was no ordinary pitcher, and I would later learn no ordinary boy. His coach would later tell me after the inning was over that he was a miracle baby. He had suffered a rare stroke after birth and lost traditional movement of his right arm. When he would pitch, he would take the glove off from his left hand and hold it between his right arm and torso, giving him the ability to throw the ball with his left arm. As soon as the ball left his hand, he would quickly put the glove back on and prepare for the imminent play. This was the process for each and every pitch. One batter hit the ball directly back to the pitcher’s mound. Not only was his glove on in time, he was able to make the catch, remove the glove and ball to be able to throw to first, and throw the runner out.

His pitching performance was entertaining, but his story is inspiring. I’ll never forget this boy and the lesson he taught me last night. No matter what the circumstance may be, no matter how difficult the challenge, if we truly want something and work hard for it, we can achieve it. For this boy it was being able to play baseball. For the rest of us, the opportunities are endless.

So whenever you need a little extra motivation, think about this boy. I know I will. We all need good examples in our lives. Those unsung heroes, like the one I met on the baseball field last night, can inspire and motivate goodness in everyone.

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April 2015 General Conference Notes – Sunday Afternoon Session 

Conducting – Dieter F. Uchtdorf

Opening Hymn – My Redeemer Lives

Robert D. Hales – Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

robert-d-hales-largeWe must not forget that moral agency is an essential part of God’s plan to all his children.

Jesus exercised His agency to sustain Heavenly Father’s plan.

To keep the commandments we need to know the official doctrine of the Church.

The blessings we enjoy now are because we made the choice to follow the Savior.

It is not too late to make that same choice again and follow Him.

The blessings of the Spirit increase our power to do right.

The faithful use of our agency depends on our having religious freedom.

Four cornerstones of religious freedom.

1. Freedom to believe.

What we believe about God is very personal and very important.

2. Freedom to share faith and our beliefs with others.

We rely on religious freedom to teach the gospel to our families and throughout the world.

3. Freedom to form religious organizations.

4. Freedom to live our faith.

We have a responsibility to work together with like-minded believers.

Be aware of the issues in your community that can have an impact on religious liberty.

Live your life to be a good example of what you believe in word and deed.

How we live our religion is far more important that what we say about our religion.

Don’t walk, but run to receive the blessings of agency.

Kevin W. Pearson – Seventy

kevin-w-pearson-largeTo “hang in there” is not a principle of the gospel.

We struggle when we are caught between competing priorities.

Don’t forget to pray.

Come unto Christ and be perfected in Him.

Press forward with faith.

God’s commandments are strict but not restrictive.

The Book of Mormon is key to spiritual survival.

When adversity comes don’t let something you don’t fully understand unravel everything you do know.

Be patient, cling to truth. Understanding will come.

Don’t be distracted and deceived.

Only the Savior has the words to eternal life. Everything else is just words.

Stay by the tree.

Apostasy is the reverse of conversion.

Returned missionaries cannot swan dive back into Babylon.

Once we enter into covenants with God there is no going back.

Average is the enemy of excellence.

Study the Book of Mormon and live its teachings everyday, everyday, everyday.

Enduring to the end is the great test of discipleship.

Rafael E. Pino – Seventy

rafael-e-pino-largeThe Father’s desire is to give everyone the opportunity to receive a fullness of joy.

Understanding the plan will help people keep the commandments.

The eternal perspective of the gospel leads us to understand the place we occupy in God’s plan.

Don’t make decisions of eternal value from the perspective of mortality.

Perspective is everything.

The Lord knows what He wants to accomplish with each one of us.

Neil L. Andersen – Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

AndersenNL_1008sWe are a very large world-wide family of believers.

We are not casual in our faith. We believe in Him. We worship Him. We follow Him. We deeply love Him.

His cause is the greatest cause in all the world.

If everything is going perfectly for you right now, just wait.

He is the grand Architect.

Can you see the hand of God moving His work forward?

God’s miracles are happening everywhere.

Our faith grows as we anticipate the glorious day of the Savior’s return to the earth.

All the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of God.

In the day of the Lord’s coming the skeptics shall be silent.

Jorge F. Zeballos – Seventy

jorge-f-zeballos-largeSeeking our own salvation and then the salvation of others are our two main responsibilities.

The sources that allow us to learn our duty are the words of Christ and personal revelation.

We need to repent, be obedient, and be patient.

We should accept God’s will even if it does not match our desires or preferences.

Joseph W. Sitati – Seventy

joseph-w-sitati-largeDevelop our divine nature and obtain our divine destiny.

Develop a vision of what you can become.

God invites all His children to obtain His help to overcome all the challenges of this life.

God’s plan is a plan of happiness.

Russell M. Nelson – Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

russell-m-nelson-largeExamine your feelings of and your behavior on the Sabbath day.

Is the Sabbath really a “delight” for you?

The Sabbath is the Savior’s day.

What sign do I want to give to God?

The fullness of the earth is promised to those who keep the Sabbath day holy.

The home is the basis of a righteous life.

Give highest priority to family prayer, family home evening, etc.

No other work transcends that of righteous, intentional parenthood.

Teach one another the doctrine of the kingdom.

Make the Sabbath a delight by finding your ancestors.

Make the Sabbath a delight by rendering service to others.

Not pursuing your own pleasures on the Sabbath requires self-discipline.

Routine and recreational activities can be done some other time.

It is our privilege to consecrate our money and time to Him who consecrates to us each day.

Wherever we live we are to be examples of the believers.

True believers keep the Sabbath day holy.

Closing Hymn – Lord, I Would Follow Thee

April 2015 General Conference Notes – Sunday Morning Session

Conducting – Henry B. Eyring

Opening Hymn – He is Risen

Opening Prayer – Linda S. Reeves

Thomas S. Monson – President

th-3The building of temples is a very clear indication of the growth of the Church.

Three new temples – Ivory Coast, Haiti, Thailand

When we enter the doors of the temple we leave behind us the distractions of the world and find beauty and order.

In the temple we can find peace.

May we offer prayers of gratitude for His great and marvelous gift to us.

Rosemary M. Wixom – Primary General President

rosemary-m-wixom-largeFocus on what you know during faith-trying times.

You’re not so much in the dark as you think. Pray for light.

Jesus Christ does not leave you when you have questions.

You have to have your own spiritual experiences with the truths in that book. (The Book of Mormon).

It may not be a perfect offering, but it will be my offering.

Hold fast to what you already know and stand strong until additional knowledge comes.

Our faith can reach beyond the limits of current reason.

José A. Teixeria – Seventy

jose-a-teixeira-largeThe joy of living in righteousness and abiding in Christ can continue despite the tribulations of mortality.

More enthusiasm for life and keeping the commandments of God even in challenging circumstances.

The choices in our priorities that we make with our time online are decisive.

Habits of healthy online activity

Visit the Church’s official websites for resources.

Subscribe to the Church’s official social networks.

Put aside electronic devices periodically.

Life is not confined to a four-inch screen.

We have the means to know Him better and to live his gospel.

Gérald Caussé – Presiding Bishopric

gerald-causse-largeCan you imagine sitting as His feet?

We are privileged to live in an exceptional time.

Do not be insensitive to the most remarkable signs of the gospel.

Is the gospel still wonderful to you?

Never tire of discovering or rediscovering the truths of the gospel.

There is always something new to learn.

Anchor your faith in the plain and simple truths of the gospel.

Seek and cherish the companionship of the Holy Ghost.

We cannot forget the miracles and signs we have witnessed.

Never do anything to erase the precious and marvelous gift of the companionship of the Holy Ghost.

The Savior’s Atonement is a perfect gift of love.

Brent H. Nielson – Seventy

brent-h-nielson-largeThough we can’t embrace someone’s choices, we can still embrace them.

Watch and wait.

After all we can do, we love with all our hearts, and we watch and we wait.

All of us fall short of the glory of the Father. All of us need the Savior’s Atonement.

Jeffrey R. Holland – Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

JeffreyRHollandThis is the most sacred day of the year.

We remember brotherly hands that reached into death.

There is no way to truly celebrate Christmas or Easter without actually understanding that there was an actual Adam and Eve.

All things have been done in the wisdom of Him who knoweth all things.

Jesus of Nazareth was and is that Savior of the world.

The resurrection must come by reason of the Fall.

Today we celebrate the gift of victory.

He still extends unending grace.

Dieter F. Uchtdorf – Second Counselor, First Presidency

mormon-UchtdorfEaster Sunday is the day that changed everything.

Death has no sting. The grave has no victory. Satan has no lasting power.

We must never lose our sense of awe and gratitude for the eternal sacrifice of the Son of God.

God loves us deeply, perfectly, and everlastingly.

Grace unlocks the gates of heaven.

We can not earn our way into heaven.

God’s grace leads to heights we can scarcely comprehend.

All things are ours, and we are Christ’s.

Grace opens the windows of heaven.

It is by God’s amazing grace that his children can overcome the undercurrents and quicksands of the deceiver.

His graces refines us. His grace helps us become our best selves.

Salvation cannot be bought with the currency of obedience. It is purchased with the blood of the Son of God.

As we walk the path of discipleship it refines us and leads us back to His presence.

Grace is a gift of God.

We know that it is by grace that we are saved after all we can do.

The Savior’s grace allows and enables us to overcome sin.

Believe in Christ and be reconciled unto God. That is what we can do.

The gates of heaven are unlocked. The windows of heaven are opened.

Jesus Christ has cleared the way for us to ascend to heights incomprehensible to mortal minds.

Keep his commandments and joyfully walk in a newness of life.

Closing Hymn – Christ the Lord is Ris’n Today

April 2015 General Conference Notes – Priesthood Session

Conducting – Dieter F. Uchtdorf

Opening Hymn – For The Strength of The Hills

M. Russell Ballard – Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

m-russell-ballard-largeSpeaking to missionaries – past, present, and future.

Video chat (pretend it’s one on one).

It’s time to raise the bar.

Do you read your scriptures, pray, fast?

Do you think deeply about the Atonement while the Sacrament is being passed?

Do you attend all your meetings?

Are you honest?

Are you mentally and spiritually clean? (Pornography, etc.)

Are you careful with your time?

Is there anything you need to change starting tonight?

Preparation for life never ends.

Use missionary skills everyday  to bless the lives of others.

Do not think you’re too busy to study the gospel.

YSA need to date and marry.

Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ know you the best and love you the most.

Be strong. Keep the commandments of God.

Ulisses Soares – Seventy 

*Speaking in Portuguese*

ulisses-soares-largeWe are waging a war with sin – we can and will win.

All of us need to become modern-day captain Moroni’s.

Have the courage to obey God’s will, even if you stand alone.

Don’t be confused by popular messages of the world that contradict the doctrine of the Church.

Our testimony will shield us from the adversary.

Find safety in the scriptures and the words of the prophets.

Be a righteous example for others to follow.

Larry M. Gibson

larry-m-gibson-largeSeek not the things of this world.

Teach the gospel at all times, and when necessary use words.

Always be an example of fatherhood.

Through your example they (children) can learn to respect, honor, and cherish womanhood.

Invite all of your family to come unto Christ.

No iniquity in family.

God wants you to see your purpose clearly.

Dieter F. Uchtdorf – Second Counselor, First Presidency

mormon-UchtdorfAvoid being deceitful in your desire to impress others.

Goals should address real needs.

“I’m here because I desire with all my heart to serve my Master.”

“I’m here to be a better man.”

Most bonfires begin with a single spark.

The God of creation who has power to breathe life into the universe surely has the power to breathe life into you.

We come to church not to hide our problems, but to heal them.

The praise of the world meant nothing to Jesus.

Henry B. Eyring – First Counselor, First Presidency

henry-b-eyring-largeYou have received the right to speak and act in the name of God.

Go before God often as a witness that we remember Him and are willing to be His servants.

Pray that God may recognize you and hear your prayers.

God hears your silent prayers.

Shut out the distractions.

Pray to know the hearts of those that you home teach.

You will need the Holy Ghost as your constant companion.

Warnings are part of the plan of salvation.

God hears our every prayer.

Thomas S. Monson – President

th-3Consider our callings, reflect on responsibilities.

We are united in our priesthood callings.

Take our calling seriously.

As a holder of the Aaronic Priesthood you are entitled to the ministering of angels. (DC 13)

Be at all times worthy of the priesthood. (DC 121:45)

We have answered His call. We are on His errand.

Let us learn of Him.

Closing Hymn – Master the Tempest is Raging

April 2015 General Conference Notes – Saturday Afternoon Session

Conducting – Henry B. Eyring

Opening Hymn – Praise to the Lord the Almighty

Opening Prayer – Jean A. Stevens

Sustaining Vote – Dieter F. Uchtdorf

Statistical Report

Stakes – 3,114

406 Missions

Members – 15, 372,337

Missionaries – 85,000

Convert Baptisms – 296,000

3 Temples Dedicated

144 Operating Temples

David A. Bednar – The Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

david-a-bednar-largeHow fear is dispelled through faith in Christ.

One of the first effects of the fall was for Adam and Eve to experience fear.

Jesus Christ is the only source of enduring peace.

The power of the Atonement makes repentance possible.

One of the great blessings of devoted discipleship is the peace of God.

His doctrine provides purpose and direction in all aspects of our lives.

Look to Christ, build upon the foundation of Christ, and press forward with a foundation in Christ.

We can be blessed to hush our fears through our ordinances and covenants.

Disciplined endurance.

We can cheerfully persevere and live a peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.

Godly fear is a source of peace, a surety and confidence. Righteous fear.

Godly fear grows out of a correct understanding of the divine will and mission of Jesus Christ.

Godly fear is the beginning of knowledge.

Every person who has and will live upon the earth will be brought before the bar of God.

Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is when whole duty of man.

Godly fear dispels mortal fears.

Our works and desires alone cannot save us.

We are made whole through the mercy and grace of Jesus Christ.

As we fear God more completely, we love him more perfectly, and perfect love casteth out all fear.

His power and peace are real.

D. Todd Christofferson – Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

christoffersont_largeMarriage is more than your love for each other.

In your marriage you’re a link in the generations.

Marriage comes from above, from God.

The addition of the physical element is essential.

Bridle the flesh to be the instrument instead of the master of the spirit.

With the fall became an awareness of good and evil.

God ordained that men and women should marry and give birth to children.

Nothing can be more important than physical birth and spiritual rebirth.

Marriage is the order of heaven.

Our claims for family and marriage are founded upon the word of God.

The holy order of matrimony cannot be reinvented.

Many things are good, many thing important. But only a few are essential.

Everyone can contribute to the unfolding of the divine plan.

With confidence we testify the atonement of Christ will compensate for the loss of all those who turn to Him.

May marriages flourish and families prosper.

Wilford W. Anderson – Seventy

wilford-w-andersen-largeWe can be taught to dance, but it’s up to us to hear the music.

We learn the dance steps with our minds, but we hear the music with our hearts.

The joy of the dance will only be experienced only when we hear the music.

Our children’s happiness depends on their ability to hear and love the beautiful music of the gospel.

We have to align with the correct frequency in order to hear the Spirit.

If our lives are out of tune with the gospel we need to tune them up!

When we can hear the music ourselves, we must try our best to perform it in our homes.

It takes diligent practice to perform beautiful music.

Dissonance in the home is like darkness in the room.

If you are not hearing the music of the gospel in your home…keep practicing.

Dale G. Renlund – Seventy

dale-g-renlund-largeA saint is a sinner who keeps on trying.

We know perfectly well that we’re not perfect.

God cares a lot more about who we are and about who we’re becoming than about who we once were.

In His mercy, God promises mercy when we repent and turn from wickedness.

That past wicked self is no longer who I am.

No failure ever need be final (Pres. Monson)

The Savior’s atonement can heal.

The Church is like a big hospital and we are all sick in our own way. We come to church to be helped.

Regardless of differences, all of us are in need of the same infinite Atonement.

If we don’t try, we’re just latter-day sinners.

If we don’t persevere, we are latter-day quitters.

If we don’t allow others to try, we are latter-day hypocrites.

Michael T. Ringwood – Seventy

michael-t-ringwood-largeGo about doing right for right’s sake.

Great women and men are always more anxious to serve than to have dominion.

Find ways to consistently serve and uplift others.

Don’t focus on titles.

The service that counts most is usually recognized by God alone.

All I really want in life is to please my fathers, both earthly and heavenly.

Quentin L. Cook – Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

quentin-l-cook-largeTrials must not distract us from rejoicing and celebrating Christ intercession in our behalf.

When we follow the Savior, like the sunflower, we flourish and become glorious.

Those that die in me should not taste of death, but it should deb sweet unto them.

It is important that our children know that they are loved and safe at home.

Wives and husbands are equal partners.

The family is the real thing.

Deep cultural values and belief go to the core of who we are.

The language of the heart is precious of all people.

We should be careful not to be critical or judgmental to those with concerns about the gospel.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has never been stronger.

“I know His voice.”

Closing Prayer – Randy D. Funk