Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Final Preparation to SING and SHINE for the Sat Aft Session of General Conference - 4 Oct 2014

After much prayer and fasting, and receiving those tender feelings in the Temple to confirm my thoughts, I have prepared the following thoughts about the verses of the three amazingly beautiful Hymns that our Choir of 364 is going to sing this Saturday at the Afternoon Session of General Conference:


1. Arise, O God and Shine

Vs 1 - Herald Angels trumpet all to heed attention –but the world doesn’t understand

Vs 2 – Still Small Voice that penetrates their heart with the beginning of understanding

Vs 3 – Magnificent voice from Heaven which the world NOW hears is manifest in the most beautiful harmony

Vs 4 – The celestial harmony becomes polyphony as Angels attend those who are encircled by the Spirit – 3 Nephi Ch 17!

2. I Know That My Redeemer Lives

Vs 1 – Having just witnessed and felt such great things – we ponder and meditate and write it upon our hearts

Vs 2 – The Priesthood of the Son of God goes forth to bless God’s children

Vs 4 – We bare record of Him; of things so great and marvelous that no one can conceive of the joy which fills our souls! – 3 Nephi Ch 17!

3. Abide With Me ‘Tis Eventide

Vs 1 – We are in tears, looking steadfastly towards our Savior, with our hearts asking him to tarry a little longer with us

Vs 2 – The Priesthood of the Son of God goes forth to bless God’s children

Vs 3 - The heavens open and we are encircled about with fire as we sing and bear record of Him! – 3 Nephi Ch 17!

And of course, we cannot conclude our journey without finding our Choir of 364 likened within the sacred scriptures that led us in our journey to sing praises to our God and King!

In my daily Book of Mormon scripture reading, I have arrived at the 17th Chapter of 3rd Nephi, which contains some of the most tender descriptions of our Savior's love for His people!  In this Chapter, Jesus directs the people to ponder His words and pray for understanding. Then, He heals their sick AND He prays for them, all of them, using language that cannot be written. And, then when your heart can barely hold all of the beautiful and heart-felt things that you are reading, you then read of how the Lord's angels minister to the children and how the people are able to witness that fire encircles them!  Such holy writ!  And, it is within these scriptures (3 Nephi 17) that our Choir of 364 is likened in preparation for them to sing:

5 And it came to pass that when Jesus had thus spoken, he cast his eyes round about again on our choir of 364, and beheld they were in tears, and did look steadfastly upon him as if they would ask him to tarry a little longer with them.

6 And he said unto them: Behold, my bowels are filled with compassion towards you.

9 And it came to pass that when he had thus spoken, all the multitude, with one accord, did go forth with their sick and their afflicted, and their lame, and with their blind, and with their dumb, and with all them that were afflicted in any manner; and he did heal them every one as they were brought forth unto him.

10 And they did all, both they who had been healed and they who were whole, bow down at his feet, and did worship him; and as many as could come for the multitude did kiss his feet, insomuch that they did bathe his feet with their tears.

15 And [Jesus], he himself also knelt upon the earth; and behold he prayed unto the Father, and the things which he prayed cannot be written, and the multitude did bear record who heard him.

16 And after this manner do they bear record: The eye hath never seen, neither hath the ear heard, before, so great and marvelous things as we saw and heard Jesus speak unto the Father;

17 And no tongue can speak, neither can there be written by any man, neither can the hearts of men conceive so great and marvelous things as we both saw and heard Jesus speak; and no one can conceive of the joy which filled our souls at the time we heard him pray for us unto the Father.

18 And it came to pass that when Jesus had made an end of praying unto the Father, he arose; but so great was the joy of the choir of 364 that they were overcome.

19 And it came to pass that Jesus spake unto them, and bade them ARISE.

20 And they arose from the earth, and he said unto our choir of 364: Blessed are ye because of your faith. And now behold, my joy is full.

24 And as our choir looked to behold they cast their eyes towards heaven, and they saw the heavens open, and they saw angels descending out of heaven as it were in the midst of fire; and they came down and encircled our choir of 364 about, and they were encircled about with fire; and the angels did minister unto them.

25 And the multitude did see and hear and bear record with their singing; and they know that their record is true for they all of them did see and hear, every man for himself; and they were in number about three hundred and sixty four souls; and they did consist of men and women, who did sing the song of Redeeming Love.

This Choir journey has been a most blessed experience and one for which my heart will forever be full of gratitude to my Heavenly Father for this most tender of mercies given to me. Thank-you for allowing me to share my joy and love of my Savior with you, because I Know That My Redeemer Lives!

The Book of Mormon Helped Us to Know How to Sing and Let Our Light Shine!

We heard such beautiful messages and music at the Women's General Session of Conference and wanted to use those messages to guide us in how our Choir of 364 should prepare ourselves for our turn to sing.

Paraphrasing words and thoughts from Sister Neill F. Marriott, 2nd counselor in the Young Women general presidency, we found what we needed to help our light shine:

“As faithful [choir members] give voice to truth and share our light, we are able to push back the darkness of the world”, In order to do this, “We must go to the source of light — to Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ; [to] the scriptures,” said “AND to the temple, [because we know] that all things within its walls point to Christ and His great atoning sacrifice.”

“Why do [TEMPLES] beautify and shine? Because as the scriptures say, ‘truth shineth,’ and temples contain truth and eternal purpose; so do you.”

“By the nourishing spirit of the temple we can learn the reality, the power and the hope of the Savior’s Atonement in our personal life.”

In fact, Elder George Q Cannon explained that "every foundation stone that is laid for a Temple, and every Temple completed according to the order the Lord has revealed for his holy Priesthood, lessens the power of Satan on the earth, and increases the power of God and Godliness."

Continuing with paraphrasing words and thoughts from Sister Neill F. Marriott's message:

“[Our Choir of 364] may not walk the roads of Palestine healing the sick, but we sing about how the healing love of the Atonement blesses the sick and faint of heart. Though we will not cause the blind to see in the manner of the Savior, we sing and testify of the plan of salvation to the spiritually blind. We sing and touch hearts and open the eyes of their understanding to the necessity of priesthood power in eternal covenants.”

President Dieter F. Uchtdorf also declared:

“The Infinite and Eternal Creator of LIGHT and life knows you! He is mindful of you,” “Yes, God loves you this very day and always.

“He loves you not only for who you are this very day, but also for the person of glory and LIGHT you have the potential and the desire to become.

“Walking in the path of discipleship does not need to be a bitter experience,” President Uchtdorf said. “It is not a burden that weighs us down. Discipleship lifts our spirits and lightens our hearts. It inspires us with faith, hope, and charity. It fills our spirits with light in times of darkness and serenity during times of sorrow.

“It gives us divine power and lasting joy.”

 President Uchtdorf concluded saying “Live the gospel joyful!”

Which is exactly what our Savior taught to the Nephites in a discourse similar to the Sermon on the Mount in 3 Nephi 12:

14 Verily, verily, I say unto you, I give unto you to be the light of this people. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid.

15 Behold, do men light a candle and put it under a bushel? Nay, but on a candlestick, and it giveth light to all that are in the house;

16 Therefore let your light so shine before this people, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven.

 We will be singing JOYFUL! We will sing that our LIGHT will SHINE, that all may know we love our Father in Heaven and His Beloved Son!

It Felt Like A Miracle At Our Choir Dress Rehearsal!

Tender feelings were felt in abundance as had our Dress Rehearsal in the Conference Center. The parallels of our 'choir journey' through the Book of Mormon scriptures were before us!

As a result of my daily Book of Mormon readings, we had now progressed to A.D. 34 in 3 Nephi Chapter 11 where we read that  "Jesus Christ did show himself unto the people of Nephi, as the multitude gather together in the land Bountiful [and at the Temple], and did minister unto them."

Our hearts were full as we arrived at the Conference Center, next to the Salt Lake Temple, the House of the Lord.

At the Conference Center looking across the Salt Lake Temple

We raised our voices and sang of Christ and His Atonement. We humbly felt encircled in the Arms of His Love as we shared our testimonies of Him with our beautiful music.

The following verses describe the feelings of our heart as our Choir of 364 is likened with-in these 5 verses of 3 Nephi 11:

13 And it came to pass that the Lord‍ spake unto our choir of 364 saying:

14 Arise and come forth unto me, that ye may thrust‍ your hands into my side, and also that ye may feel‍ the prints of the nails in my hands and in my feet, that ye may know that I am the God‍ of Israel, and the God of the whole earth, and have been slain for the sins of the world.

15 And it came to pass that our choir of 364 went forth, and thrust their hands into his side, and did‍ feel the prints of the nails in his hands and in his feet; and this they did do, going forth one by one until they had all gone forth, and did see with their eyes and did feel with their hands, and did know of a surety and did bear record, that it was He, of whom it was written by the prophets, that should come.

16 And when they had all gone forth and had witnessed for themselves, they did sing with one accord, singing:

17 Hosanna! Blessed be the name of the Most High God! And they did fall down at the feet of Jesus, and did worship‍ Him.

This is how we felt. These are the feelings that flooded our hearts and filled our souls.