This conference has been inspiring and uplifting in so many ways. From the announcement about the new home-study program to the announcement of 12 new temples, this weekend has been incredibly spiritual.
And with all these incredible announcements, it can be easy to miss the important counsel our prophet gave this weekend.
Here are eight challenges President Russell M. Nelson shared with us this weekend that we should follow in the coming months.
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Saturday Morning Session
1. Focus on Home Study
In the Saturday morning session of general conference, President Nelson began by introducing a new shift in the history of the Church—gospel home study. And with this new shift came a challenge from our prophet.
"As Latter-day Saints, we have become accustomed to thinking of church as something that happens in meetinghouses, supported by what happens at home," President Nelson said. "We need an adjustment to this pattern. It is time for a home-centered church."
This upcoming home-study program will, "assist all members to increase their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and in His Atonement, to assist them in making and keeping their covenants in God, and to strengthen and seal their families."
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Women's General Session
During the women's general session of conference, President Nelson gave several challenges for the women of the Church as he asked them to help gather scattered Israel. Here are the five challenges he gave:
2. Discover Spiritual Gifts
In his address, President Nelson asked the women of the Church to "cultivate, use, and expand" spiritual gifts more than they ever had.
"My dear sisters, you have special spiritual gifts and propensities. Tonight, I urge you with all of the hope of my heart to pray to understand your spiritual gifts," President Nelson said. He also promised that if the sisters of the Church did so "you will change the world."
3. Participate in a 10-day Fast from Social Media and Any Other Media That Brings Negative and Impure Thoughts
In order to start the process of helping to gather Israel, President Nelson also issued four challenges for the women of the Church. The first was a 10-day fast from social media.
"Pray to know which influences to remove during your fast," President Nelson said. "The effect of your 10-day fast may surprise you."
President Nelson also encouraged sisters to take notice of how they felt after the fast, especially after taking a break from perspectives that have been "wounding your spirit."
"I urge you to record and follow through with each impression," President Nelson added.
4. Finish the Book of Mormon by the End of the Year and Mark Passages About Christ
For his second challenge during the women's session, President Nelson urged sisters to finish the 531-page Book of Mormon by the end of the year.
"As impossible as that may seem with all you are trying to manage in your life, if you will accept this invitation with full purpose of heart, the Lord will help you find a way to achieve it," President Nelson said, adding, "and as you prayerfully study, I promise that the heavens will open for you."
President Nelson also encouraged the sisters to mark passages about the Savior and be intentional about talking, preaching, and rejoicing in Christ family and friends.
"You and they will be drawn closer to the Savior through this process and changes, even miracles, will begin to happen," President Nelson said.
5. Establish a Pattern of Regular Temple Attendance
The third challenge President Nelson gave for the sisters was to establish a pattern of regular temple attendance.
"This may require a little more sacrifice in your life," President Nelson said, but he promised, "more regular time in the temple will allow the Lord to teach you how to draw upon His priesthood power with which you have been endowed in His temple."
For those who do not live close to a temple, President Nelson said, "I invite you to study prayerfully about temples in the scriptures and in the words of living prophets. Seek to know more, to understand more, to feel more about temples than you ever had before."
6. Participate Fully in Relief Society
"I urge you to study the current Relief Society purpose statement. It is inspiring. It may guide you in developing your own purpose statement for your own life," President Nelson said about his fourth challenge to the sisters of the Church.
"I also entreat you to savor the truths in the Relief Society declaration published almost 20 years ago," President Nelson added. "It describes who you are and who the Lord needs you to be at this precise time as you do your part to gather scattered Israel."
7. Use the Full Name of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Addressing the responses to the Church's updated style guide and President Nelson's statement about using the full name of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, President Nelson shared that this change was not "a name change. It is not rebranding. It is not cosmetic. It is not a whim. And it is not inconsequential."
"I did this because the Lord pressed upon my mind the importance of the name He decreed for His Church, even The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints," President Nelson said.
Stating that the update was "a commandment of the Lord," President Nelson said the name of the Church was "non-negotiable."
"When the Savior clearly states what the name of His Church should be, and even proceeds His declaration with, 'Thus shall my Church be called,' He is serious," President Nelson said and urged members to avoid nicknames like "Mormon," "Mormon Church," "LDS Church," and "LDS."
"If we are patient," President Nelson promised, "the Lord will lead us through this important task. . . . My dear brothers and sisters, I promise that if we will do our best to restore the correct name of the Lord's church, He whose church this is will pour down His power and His blessings upon the heads of the Latter-day Saints, the likes of which we have never seen."
8. Realize the Importance of the Temple
During the last session of general conference, President Nelson spoke about the importance of regular temple attendance for all members.
"We know that our time in the temple is crucial to our salvation and exaltation and to that of our families'," President Nelson said. "After we receive our own temple ordinances and make sacred covenants with God, each one of us needs the ongoing spiritual strengthening and tutoring that is only possible in the house of the Lord. And our ancestors need us to serve as proxy for them."
Noting that the attacks of the adversary are increasing "exponentially and in intensity and in variety," President Nelson said our need to be in the temple on a regular basis has never been greater. Urging members who live close to a temple to invest their time in temple attendance, President Nelson also encouraged members to make a regular appointment with the Lord in the temple and keep it with exactness.
"I promise you that the Lord will bring you the miracles He knows you need as you make sacrifices to serve and worship in His temples," President Nelson said.
Lead image from lds.org