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Remarks offered by Elder and Sister Palmer in a devotional to the Area Office Staff in Johannesburg upon the Area Presidency’s return from General Conference on April 9, 2018.

General Conference Impressions

Elder S. Mark and Sister Jacqueline Palmer

Remarks by Elder Palmer

Over the years I have learned that when my wife tells me something that I need to do with the kids I need to pay attention.  I do that because she is close to the spirit and she feels impressions that often I would not feel – and I am grateful today for what you shared Jacqui.  I love all the members of our presidency and their wives – but I really, really love Sister Palmer.

Now my brothers and sisters you have seen general conference.  You don’t need to actually be there like we were, to feel all the feelings each of us receive as we watch.  In fact, we went yesterday down to the Johannesburg Second Ward and just loved to watch conference again as we were amongst the Saints.  But just a couple of feelings or impressions I would share with you, that perhaps while reflecting together can help all of us.

One, it was a remarkable and extraordinary conference.  I don’t know how to use sufficient words to describe that feeling. The feeling I had was a little bit like we were back in the time of Joseph Smith when the revelations flowed forth that formed the Doctrine and Covenants.  The brethren were not shy in the few days we had before conference, while they were training us, with describing these changes as revelations.  In fact, President Oaks stood up and said (after President Nelson had just described to the Seventy the changes with home teaching and ministering), “We have just heard a revelatory announcement from our prophet”.  President Nelson bore testimony that He had received revelation and that the Twelve had received revelation as they had pondered and considered these many changes for a long time.

This also happened in our Tuesday meeting after conference, in what we call an assignment meeting, as we come together and find out if we will be staying or going (I am so pleased I am staying in Africa.  So sad the Hamilton’s are going.  But I am pleased and thrilled that we can still be here with you.)  But it was quite wonderful really, because President Nelson put up this little graphic on the projection screen and he said, “You know we got together with our family after conference and I was feeling kind of frazzled and someone showed me this thing that was posted on social media (and it was a picture of a guy standing there with a gushing fire hose pointed at his face.  At the bottom of the picture it said General Conference 2018).

It was a time in which we received so much in terms of revelation for the Church. And revelation for us personally.

I think I would perhaps just share this feeling with you.  A year ago, President Monson stood, and he gave the shortest of talks and in this talk he closed by saying the words, “I exhort you…”  Specifically, “I exhort you to ponder and to pray and to read the Book of Mormon every day”, and then he promised blessings.  Six months ago, President Nelson, then President of the Quorum of Twelve, stood up and described to all of us in the Church how literally he had taken to heart the counsel he received from the living Prophet.  So, during the conference on the Sunday when President Nelson stood and used certain words, I found myself sitting up for and paying special attention to those words and what followed.  He said, “I urge you”, and then there was something that followed.  He said, “I plead with you”, and then there was something that followed.  He said, “I promise you”, and then there was something that followed.  On Sunday afternoon he closed by saying, “I bless you”, and then there was something remarkable that followed.  Again, “I bless you”, and then a third and fourth time, “I bless you”.  In each instance with something wonderful following.  Now I have right here in my notes what he said, but I think we will all do well to go back and to see specifically what a prophet of the Lord, who we sustained, urged us to do, pleaded with us to do, promised us as we do it and blessed us with.  I know that I am changed as a result of what happened in this conference weekend.  I am going, with all of my heart, to try better to follow the counsel of a living prophet.  To be able to follow what he has urged me to do.  What he has pleaded with me to do.  What he has promised me, if I will do.

I leave you my witness and my testimony, my dear brothers and sisters.  It is a remarkable thing to live in a day where we are led by living prophets and apostles.  To feel the absolute unity that exists between the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve.  To feel the love and respect they have for one another.  I pray that in our councils – here in the Area office; in our councils in the Area Presidency; in the councils in which we serve in our Church callings – that we can strive for that same kind of unity that was so beautifully demonstrated.  And that we can also seek to not just use our best judgement, but to go to the Lord and receive His revelation and His guidance because this is His Church.

I leave you my sure witness that President Nelson is a prophet of God.  That he is who the Lord has prepared for so many years, even for all his life, to stand at this time and to lead the Church forward on a remarkable series of changes that will help strengthen families and strengthen each of us on our journey towards eternal life.

In the sacred name of Jesus Christ.


Remarks by Sister Palmer

I wish we were all sitting in a great big circle and each of you could take a turn sharing the things that you have learned from General Conference.  I know that I would learn much from the feelings and impressions each of you have felt.

While we were in Salt Lake City, there was a phrase we heard many times as we talked with others and shared our feelings about our new First Presidency. It was that “revelation is flowing”. I think at this conference time we have all really felt and recognized that revelation is flowing.

Because of this, as I entered conference I was thinking a lot about revelation.  There was much said about revelation for the Church, but also about personal revelation.  Over these last couple of days as I have looked back over the conference talks and focused on the topic of personal revelation – I have been very touched by many of the things that I have felt and read. I would like to share some of them with you.

I loved how President Eyring reminded us that neither our Father in Heaven, His Son, nor the Holy Ghost will force themselves into our lives. Instead we must invite them in. It is up to us whether that door is opened.  As we desire and seek personal revelation, we must first make sure we are doing all we can to invite the Holy Ghost into our lives.

Elder Renland made a great promise.  He said, “Your worship in the Temple and your service for your ancestors will bless you with increased personal revelation”.  He also said, “If we’ve ever prayed for the blessing of feeling a greater influence of the Holy Ghost in our lives, we should participate in family history and Temple work and our prayers will be answered”.  I appreciate that encouragement and that promise.  I have been striving to be more involved in doing my family history. This invitation and promise has given me the extra push and encouragement that I have needed.

Elder Wilson shared a wonderful story about a LDS young man who was on a ship in the middle of a typhoon and the captain came and asked him to pray for the ship.  I am sure you all remember the story. Its a great one. I love the things that Elder Wilson shared about what we can learn from this story.

The first is that we have to be in tune – we have to tune our receiver to heaven’s frequency.  He expressed that the young man was obedient and was living as he should.  Because of that, he had the confidence to go before the Lord and ask Him for help.

The second – which I really appreciate – is how important it is that we ask to be part of the solution.  It would have been so easy for that young man to say, “Bless this ship”. Instead he asked, “What can I do? Help me know what I can do to help this situation.”.  I thought back on a talk I heard in Church years ago where the speaker said, “Sometimes in prayers at church we hear the phrase, ‘Bless those that aren’t here this week that they can come next week.’  It can become a vain repetition”.  While listening to Elder Wilson’s talk I thought how much better it would be in that situation to say, “Help me to know how I can make that person feel more welcomed?” Or “How can I help them with their needs and how  I can help increase their faith.”  It is a great lesson for me to be reminded that we should ask what we can do – and not just ask for things to happen.

The third thing we learn is to continually listen to the Holy Ghost.  That takes time and practice – and during a Typhoon is not the time to brush up our ability to listen to the Spirit.  But rather we should listen continually, so we understand what it means to feel the Spirit and to be directed by the Spirit.

President Nelson said, “The privilege of receiving revelation is one of the greatest gifts of God to his children”.  He also reminded us that we should be sure and give thanks when we receive personal revelation.  It really is a gift.  I believe that.

For me, one of the most important teachings on revelation was during the sustaining of the prophet.  In the solemn assembly, as you know, each quorum stood, and then the Relief Society and the Young Women.  Each group had the opportunity to stand separately and raise their arm to the square in sustaining our new prophet.  This gave me time to ponder what we were doing and to think about the importance of it. “Here is a man who we are sustaining and really sharing our testimony that he is called of God and that he is the living prophet on the Earth today.”  At the end as we all stood together, and all raised our hands again to the square, I felt a surge of the Spirit come over me, witnessing to me of his role as a prophet of God on the Earth today.  As we feel the Spirit of revelation from the Holy Ghost, there are great lessons which we learn.  It is a wonderful gift knowing He is there and that from Him we can seek and receive personal revelation.

I share my testimony that President Nelson is the prophet of God.  I testify of the reality of the Holy Ghost. He will aid us in our lives.  He will comfort us and help direct us in those things that we can and should do. I pray we will do all we can to prepare ourselves to receive and then follow the personal revelation and direction given us by the Holy Ghost.

In the name of Jesus Christ.