What a day in downtown Salt Lake City, to kick off the April 2012 General Conference. So many highlights! I'm kind of like a kid when it comes to being here in Utah. I love it! And I love the spring with all the blossoms on the trees, and the daffodils popping up everywhere. Life is everywhere! When I drove into town on Thursday, the first thing I did was make my husband pull the car over, so I could use Instagram to take a picture of the beautiful pink blossoms. But what most excites me about being here is covering General Conference -- via social media.

There is something powerful in being a part of helping others to know about, and hear, that we have living prophets upon the earth, today -- and broadcasting their messages around the globe. I trust that many of you feel the same as I do, and that many of you are part of that effort, online, to do the same.

Who would have thought when we started using social media to share the gospel, online, that things would have exploded the way they have. Certainly not me. I don't think any of us could have predicted the power that the Internet would eventually have, when we were initially inspired to get involved. In just this last week I was contacted by Deseret News for an interview with Trent Toone, KSL TV's Carole Mikita invited me into the studio for an on camera interview -- and just today, between sessions of General Conference, Roxeanne Vainuku, of KUTV approached me and requested an on camera interview, that aired tonight on CBS channel 2 -- all to talk about social media and General Conference. That's what a big deal it has become!

This afternoon Jesse Stay shared these stats on how successful the efforts of so many were, on Twitter, to broadcast the first two sessions of General Conference: "This conference has seen 30,678 total Tweets today (so far), by 7,835 users, and a total reach of 3,448,285 people." That's incredible!

So, I'd like to share some of the 'messages' or 'pearls of great price" that I, and others, shared, online, during the Saturday morning session of General Conference. These are direct quotes from living prophets -- "noised abroad" by faithful Latter-day Saints. Imagine with me, if you will, what it must be like for many people, who have no idea what living prophets teach, or what Mormons truly believe, to hear these words of life...

Thomas S. Monson - As We Gather Once Again

"I welcome you and express my love to you."

"We are here to learn."

"Some may be seeking answers to questions and challenges you are experiencing in life."

"Each can be enlightened and uplifted…"

"How blessed we are to have come to earth at this time"

"No cause, no force in the entire world can stop the work of God".

"There is much that is difficult and challenging in the world today…"

"I thank you for your faith and devotion to the gospel"

Boyd K. Packer - And a Little Child Shall Lead Them

"The creation of life is a great responsibility for a married couple."

"It is the challenge of mortality to be a worthy and responsible parent"

"Neither man nor woman can bear children alone."

"Some, due to circumstances beyond their control, are raising children as single mothers/fathers."

"These are temporary states"

"In the eternal scheme of things, not always in mortality, righteous yearnings will be fulfilled."

"Husbands and wives should understand that their first calling - from which they will never be released is to one another and then to their children."

"One of the great discoveries of parenthood is that we learn far more about what really matters from our children than we ever did from our parents." 

"We urge our members to show devotion to their families."

"Fathers and mothers next time you cradle a newborn child in your arms you can have an inner vision of the mysteries and purposes of life."

Dallin H. Oaks - Sacrifice

"Sacrifice of Jesus Christ has been called "the most transcendent of all events…"

"That sacrifice is the central message of all the prophets."

"That sacrifice - the atonement of Jesus Christ - is at the center of the plan of salvation."

"The Christian faith has a history of sacrifice including the ultimate sacrifice."

"Christians have voluntarily given sacrifice motivated by faith in Christ and the desire to serve Him."

"For most followers of Christ our sacrifice involve what we can do on a day-to-day basis in our ordinary personal lives."

"Today, the most visible strength of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the unselfish service and sacrifice of its members."

"The best known example of unique LDS service and sacrifice is the work of our missionaries."  

Other examples of service and sacrifice appear in the lives of the faithful members who serve in our temples." 

"Such examples strengthen all of us. They remind us of the Savior's teachings."

"…most important examples of unselfish service and sacrifice are performed in our families."

"Mothers devote themselves to the bearing of children and nurturing their children."

"Husbands give themselves to supporting their wives and children."

"…as you sacrifice for each other and your children, the Lord will bless you." 

"Latter-day Saints look on their sacrifice of time and means as a part of their schooling and qualifying for eternity."

"Just as the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ is at the center of the plan of salvation, we followers of Christ must make our own sacrifices to achieve the destiny that plan provides for us."

"I know that Jesus Christ is the Only Begotten Son of God the Eternal Father."

Henry B. Eyring - Mountains to Climb

"Many of you are now passing through physical, mental, and emotional trials that could cause you to cry out…" 

"The Son of Man hath descended below them all. Art thou greater than he?" 

"There seems to be no better answer to the question of why trials come and what we are to do than the words of the Lord Himself, who passed through trials for us more terrible than we can imagine."

"You and I have faith that the way to rise through and above trials is to believe that there is a "balm of Gilead".

"The Lord has promised: "I will not… forsake thee."

Quotes Monson "A foundation of faith in the reality of those promises takes time to build" 

"If the foundation of faith is not embedded in our hearts the power to endure will crumble."

"My purpose today is to describe what I know of how we can lay that unshakable foundation."

"…the ground must be carefully prepared for our foundation of faith to withstand the storms that will come into every life."

"That solid basis for a foundation of faith is personal integrity." 

"Our choosing the right consistently whenever the choice is placed before us creates the solid ground under our faith."

"Those choices, hundreds in most days, prepare a solid ground on which our edifice of faith is built."

"The metal framework around which the substance of our faith is poured is the gospel of Jesus Christ, with all its covenants, ordinances and principles."

"Trouble itself can be your way to strengthen and finally gain unshakable faith."

"The particle of faith most precious and which you should protect and use whatever extent you can is faith in the Lord Jesus Christ."

"When hard trials come, the faith to endure it well will be there…"

"You built a foundation of faith from loving as the Savior loved and serving for Him."

"It is never too late to strengthen the foundation of faith." 

"In their perfect love for you, Heavenly Father and the Savior want you fitted to be with them to live in families forever." 


Kathryn Skaggs

Saturday Afternoon April 2012 General Conference Highlights
The Saturday afternoon session of the April 2012 General Conference brought with it plenty of Church business with, among other positions, the release and call of the Presiding Bishopric and the General Relief Society Presidency. On the lighter side, the Internet was frantically trying to confirm rumors that David Archuletta was part of the MTC choir, singing during the session -- which he was -- made evident by snapshots taken by attendees, flying across cyberspace!

"Millions of Church members, friends and invited guests are expected to view the 182nd Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon). All five conference proceedings will be held Saturday and Sunday, 31 March and 1 April 2012, in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City and can also be viewed live via television, radio, satellite and Internet broadcasts."

"Countless LDS members and others will also be “noising abroad” their thoughts, impressions and comments through various social media tools this weekend during the 182nd Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Through its website, the church is encouraging members to use Facebook, blogging, Google+, Twitter, and other social networks to promote the conference and invite others to listen to living prophets."

There's a lot of people of our faith, not of our faith, that don't like our faith, want to misrepresent our faith, online. Many of 'them' are talking about 'us' and writing about 'us' -- and too often what they're saying is not what we would want 'John Smith' to first come in contact with, about Mormonism -- when he does his Google search to learn more about Mormon beliefs.

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