On Sunday we had the best stake conf I've ever attended.
The Stake President was the concluding speaker.
Below is his talk exactly as he emailed it to me today. Sorry for the length but there was nothing I could cut out of it. It was that good.
Stake Conference General Session Talk: 2/3/13 President De Visser
I express my appreciation to those who have participated. The spirit of the Lord has been with us in abundance, and I pray that it will continue to be with us as I now address you.
Another year has come and gone, but not just any year – it was the year 2012. A year about which much was speculated, predicted, and some would even argue prophesied. And while the most discussed prediction or prophecy – that of the Mayans concerning the end of the world – did not come to pass, I feel and believe that 2012 will still prove to be one of the more significant years in our life time.
Let’s take a moment and look back at a few things that happened in 2012:- Gaza fired missiles on Jerusalem causing heightened unrest in the Middle East - The Director of the CIA, a man considered to be of the highest moral integrity, resigned due to improprieties and adultery- The UN Ambassador was instructed by the White House to cover up what happened in Libya, attempting to minimize the deaths of four Americans who were murdered- There was an attempt to raise taxes during the worst economic times since the great depression- Hurricane Sandy, called the “perfect storm” hit the east coast causing great devastation- Iran became closer to a nuclear weapon- The use of marijuana was legalized in Washington and Colorado- Some states legalized same sex marriage- 23 states began a petition to secede from the nation- Russia strengthened its coalitions with North Korea and Iran- Forces aligned to stop school prayer, but allowed the handing out of birth control- The government used tax dollars to fund abortions- Examples of violence, gambling, drug misuse, and infidelity were more prevalent than ever- Hollywood promoted parenthood without marriage.
- Entitlements over free enterprise
- Redistribution and regulation over self reliance.
“I fear, that, as conditions worsen, many will react to the failures of too much government by calling for even more government. Then there will be more and more lifeboats launched, because fewer and fewer citizens know how to swim. Unlike some pendulums, political pendulums do not swing back automatically; they must be pushed. History is full of instances when people have waited in vain for pendulums to swing back”.
“The government will take from the “haves” and give to the “have nots.” [When this happens] Both have lost their freedom. Those who “have,” lost their freedom to give voluntarily of their own free will and in the way they desire. Those who “have not”, lost their freedom because they did not earn what they received. They got “something for nothing,” and they will neither appreciate the gift nor the giver of the gift”.
Over the past 4 years, it has been a wonderful exercise for me to call upon the Lord for guidance and direction concerning this stake, and in particular the setting of stake goals. It has been an interesting evolution to witness. Let me share with you part of a statement we prepared for all of us this year (a copy of which can be obtained from your bishop):“As the Stake Presidency discussed, pondered, and prayed about our stake goals for 2013, we were impressed by the feeling that goals should be a matter of focus and commitment at a personal level.
In conjunction with this direction, we encourage each individual member to set their own goal based on the following question:What goal can I make that will bring me closer to the Savior?
Let me repeat: We encourage each individual member to set their own goal based on the following question: What goal can I make that will bring me closer to the Savior? We trust that as you prayerfully consider and ponder this question, it will be clear to you what your goal should be.
We also testify that your personal commitment and discipline to fulfill this goal will indeed bring you closer to the Savior and will give you spiritual strength to remain firm and steadfast in the gospel regardless of the circumstances.
We are impressed to share with you one goal you might consider, as you ponder the question: What goal can I make that will bring me closer to the Savior?
Spend time each day reading and studying the Book of Mormon.
Two others which are not in the statement but which I would like to also suggest are:
2) Perform a spiritual self examination. Examine every aspect of your life. Identify those things for which you need to repent and then do it. Simply put, focus on your own personal worthiness.
In the end, the only things that will matter will be our personal worthiness and our relationships, especially the one we have with the Savior.