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Sunday, March 29, 2020

My Pre-Conference Testimony

Hello again,, everyone! This post is being published with two purposes in mind. First of all, since not a lot of new comments have come in on the latest edition of my April 2020 General Conference predictions, I have gone back in the history of this blog to when comments had been made on the most recent version of this list, and based on that, I have made some additional last-minue adjustments to the locations for which I have felt a temple might be announced. The open commenting period on those predictions in general, and on the list of potential temple candidates in particular, remains open between now and 10:00 PM on the night of Thursday April 2, so as to give me the following 36 hours to make any further adjustments that may be necessary prior to General Conference weekend. The other reason I wanted to post again here and now is to share my testimony in advance of the upcoming General Conference. I have always had a high degree of excitement relating to General Conference, and that excitement has only been heightened in recent years as I have had the opportunity on this blog to share my thoughts about things that might happen during each General Conference weekend. But the excitement in the air for General Conference this go-round is primarily significant because it will be the first General Conference held solely by technology and in the midst of a global pandemic that is having such wide-spread impact on the day-to-day operations of the Church, and on the ability of our current leaders to minister in a usual way.

For many of us, the current massive degree of coverage on the COVID-19 crisis, including the developments detailed by the Church as found in the Church News and through the official Newsroom may be cause for concern, worry, stress, and anxiety, especially in cases where (as has periodically been the case) the media outlets outside the Church sensationalize or promote fearmongering and mass hysteria. But with the Church reports striking a far more positive tone, and with President Nelson's two-fold encouragement through a recent video and Ensign article, the current cirucmstances, while still stressful, weighty, and devastating, can be given a proper context.

In his "Standard of Truth" statement, the Prophet Joseph Smith noted that 'no unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing." The reverse is also absolutely true, that no unhallowed hand can or will help to move the work forward. The current situation., continuing as it is in this week before General Conference, is cause for concern. But as we do our best to keep ourselves unspotted from the world, and to strive to stay positive and importune the Lord for His blessings to be bestowed upon us, we will be witnesses to and recipients of the miracles that we need at this time.

And with the upcoming General Conference proceeding as scheduled, originating from a small auditorium on Temple Square, and featuring prerecorded music and only those who are speaking or praying in each session being in attendance, it will be a slightly different experience, above and beyond what President Nelson noted in his admonition to us last October to prepare for it. We can take comfort in knowing at this time that the Lord's promise to "hasten [His] work in its' time" remains in force, and that we have the promise of angels round abou us to bear us up on both sides of the veil. As we continue to press forward in faith, the Lord will not only bless and sanctify us in our daily lives, but His blessings will be poured out in abundance upon us and upon all those who will particpate in the upcoming General Conference.

With that in mind, I'd encourage all of us, to the extent that we can, to take time within the next few days to consider what our biggest concerns, worries, and questions might be, to take those to the Lord in prayer, to petition Him that we will find answers in the upcoming General Conference, and to listen, record, and follow the promptings we will receive about what we heard (which may not be the same as what was actually said or taught). If we follow that process and engage ourselves in it more fully, the Lord will bless us to get more out of this General Conference than we would otherwise have been able to do so. Moreover, He will also confirm to us in our minds and in our hearts by this method that anything that is announced or taught is in harmony with His will for His Church at this time. We are blessed during this period of time to have the upcoming opportunity to listen to the teachings of those the Lord has called, appointed, ordained, and set apart to lead His people in the ways in which He would have them go, and to tell us what we need to hear (which may not necessarily be equivalent to what we want to hear). The Lord wants to speak to us through the events, announcements, teachings, and testimonies that will be offered next weekend. Will we hear His voice? Will we accept and follow His counsel? Will we take this opportunity to do and to become better? It is my hope and prayer that we will do so, and my testimony that He is mindful of our needs and troubles, and will speak peace to us thereby, and I share that witness with you all here in the sacred and holy name of Him whose Church this is, even the Lord Jesus Christ, Amen.