Thursday, March 31, 2011

Conference and Learning at Home

I love conference weekend, and it’s not just that I get to attend church from my La-Z-Boy recliner in the family room. (We’ve come a long way from getting just one session, time-delayed, over the local PBS station!) Since my time in the MTC (before it was the MTC, in fact), I’ve really tried to participate in as many sessions as possible. Because I’ve never lived in Salt Lake City, that participation has always included some electronic connection, and I’m grateful for ever-increasing improvements in that regard.

I was reading a talk that David Bednar gave while he was president of BYU-I (“Teach Them To Understand”, BYU-I Education Week, June 4, 1998) , and he caused me to reflect on 3 Nephi 17:1-3:

Behold, now it came to pass that when Jesus had spoken these words he looked round about again on the multitude, and he said unto them: Behold, my time is a t hand. I perceive that ye are weak, that ye cannot understand all my words which I am commanded of the Father to speak unto you at this time. Therefore, go to your homes, and ponder upon the things which I have said, and ask of the Father, in my name, that ye may understand, and prepare your minds for the morrow, and I come unto again.

Always before, I had read those verses as a sign of the Savior’s compassion (I see you’re tired, so I’ll stop), and a suggestion that they go home and get some rest.

But Elder Bednar (he was an area seventy during his time at BYU-I, so I think I can still refer to him as Elder Bednar even in that period) suggests a further bit of learning:

What a marvelous formula! (1) Go to your home, (2) ponder upon the things that have been said, (3) ask the Father in Christ’s name that you will understand, and (4) prepare your mind for additional instruction.
This weekend as I watch conference, I’ll remember Elder Bednar’s counsel. After three sessions of conference on Saturday (including Priesthood), I’m sure I’ll be a little weak (our excellent pre-Priesthood ice cream social notwithstanding). But I’ll also make an effort to ponder about what I’ve heard, to pray for understanding, and to prepare for more instruction the next day.

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