We had our conference with Elder Condie on Thursday...can I just say, WOW?!?!!!! It was awesome. He is an absolute riot. Seriously, you don't get to see that side of the General Authorities very often. Did you know he can play the piano? Yup, and he's good too! That part was a little nerve wracking, because we were asked to do the musical number, and since Sister Myer had been sick, we hadn't been able to practice as much as we would have liked. But it went really well. She played her own arrangement of "Behold A Royal Army," and Sister English and I sang. Anyway, we talked about a lot of different things; we'd written down questions last zone conference, and Elder Condie chose a few to answer. He talked to us about doing our very best where we are---bloom where you're planted. He talked about Elder Kikuchi---he's the fourth longest serving General Authority (Elder Packer, Pres. Monson, Elder Perry, and then Kikuchi), and he's so humble and kind and loving. He told us about when Pres. Marion G. Romney was conducting the GC session where Elder Kikuchi was sustained. Pres. Romney's eyes were pretty bad, and he couldn't read Kikuchi's name, so he simple called him, "that Japanese fellow." When Elder Kikuchi got to the pulpit, he said, "President Romney, when I die and go to celestial kingdom, I change my name to Smith."
We also talked a lot about the Spirit, especially about how we can invite it more strongly into our lessons. He told us that if our investigators won't keep commitments, they won't keep covenants, and that in order to help them do so, we had to bowl them over with the Spirit. He talked about seven simple ways to bring in the Spirit into a lesson, and just as he was ending, describing the beauty of the scene, he said, "Take that, you Southern Baptists." He is seriously hilarious! Just the way he said it---just threw it in there.
His wife, Sister Condie, gave a really good talk too. She said something that hit me really hard. She said the greatest gift her parents had given her was a knowledge of the Gospel. I have to agree with her. There is nothing more that I could ever be more grateful to you both for than teaching me about the gospel of Christ. Thank you, thank you!
Elder Condie gave us some things to talk about with stubborn people, which was REALLY helpful. He pointed out that Christ's original church had 12 apostles, temples, prophets. He then told us to sweetly but boldly ask them, "Does your church have these? If not, then how can it be Christ's church?" He also gave us some response to the whole Revelation "none shall add" thing. He told us to sweetly but boldly ask them where to find the Nicean creed in the Bible. He also talked about the prophecies in the Bible about the Book of Mormon, and about the Greek root of the word 'baptize' means 'immersed'. He told us to ask, "Where did the founder/leader of your church receive his authority?" He told us to bear powerful testimony of the First Vision, and how the keys of the Priesthood were restored. He said, "When you tell them in a humble, forthright manner, the Spirit will bear witness that what you are telling them is true."
Elder Condie talked about how we can have the power that the sons of Mosiah had, that Alma and Amulek had, that Nephi and Lehi had. He read Alma 17:2-3, and talked about the process found there. He told us that the spirit of prophecy tells us WHO to talk to, and the spirit of revelation tells us WHAT to teach. He told of an experience he had as a mission president in Austria (I think). He received a phone call from man who wanted to complain about two of the elders. The man said that the elders had told him that the reason he wasn't getting the answers he was seeking was because he was homosexual, and they told him that he needed to repent. Elder Condie asked, "Well, are you?" The man said, "Yes." Elder Condie then told us an expression in German which means, "The rock hit the barking dog." :) If we are doing what we're supposed to, the Lord will give us the information we need, when we need it. Our job is to call people to repentance, and to teach them of the gospel so they will understand and desire to be baptized. Elder Condie told us that if we wanted our investigators to get it, we need to close the gap between where they are right now, spiritually speaking, to where they need to be. He gave three examples from the Savior's life where He had to do the same thing---once with Nicodemus, once with the woman at the well, and once with the apostles themselves. He told us that we need to teach the concepts of our lessons multiple times, because this is new to them; they can't be expected to soak it all up the first time. He then demonstrated this by teaching six elders phrases in Hungarian, and asking them to repeat it back to him. He showed us the importance of repetition, in person, and in several scriptures.
Elder Condie encouraged us to be our best selves. He told us to rely heavily on the Book of Mormon. He quoted Elder Carlos Asay, "You'll never be involved in a Bible bash if you teach from the Book of Mormon." He told us that the Book of Mormon is how we invite the Spirit into our work. He told us, "You're in the whitest field there is, and you've got to be really, really sharp." He bore his testimony of Joseph Smith, and told us that there is a tight connection between the prophets of old and the prophets today. He told us that he believed Joseph Smith was still heavily involved in this work on the other side, and that we must keep up our work as well. He gave us his blessing, as a servant of Jesus Christ and as a representative of the Quorum of the Twelve. He said, "I bless you with greater love, a greater ability to repent, with greater courage, with greater patience, with a greater ability to see through the Father's eyes. I bless you that as you lose yourself here, things will work out at home. I bless you to have radiant, Christlike countenances."
I loved every single second of it. The Spirit was SO strong! I wish everyone in the world could have been there---they would have felt the Spirit, and would have KNOWN that the words which were spoken were true. I knew it then, I know it now, and I will continue to know it for the rest of eternity.
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