Our hearts are full and have been since yesterday when we were privileged to receive instructions from one of Our Lord's chosen apostles, Elder David Bednar. He taught us for over three hours without a break - it was marvelous! His remarks were directed towards the young missionaries of the Utah St George Mission, But the senior missionaries were permitted to be in the meeting. Elder Bednar counseled the missionaries to not take notes while he was teaching them. He said that is like writing on the "large plates" (writing facts). Instead he said we should write on the "small plates" (things made known to us by the Holy Ghost - the whisperings of the spirit.) Therefore what follows may not be exactly what Elder Bednar said, but it is what we learned from the meeting.
We are not objects - we are agents. We should acknowledge and respect that difference. Therefore we should be aware of things we can and should do for the Lord and not expect Him to do everything. We should not pray to the Lord to bless those not in attendance at a Church meeting that they will "be here next week" and then wait for the Lord to bring them. Rather, we should act like agents and call on those people and invite them to come to the next meeting. We spend to much time asking God to bless those in need while we do nothing about it.
We misunderstand the term "agency" in the Church. It does not mean we have a choice to choose between right and wrong at every decision in life. It means we have a choice of whether to accept God's plan and be baptized into His Church, or we can reject it. But, once we have chosen to be baptized, we make covenants with the Lord to keep His commandments. That means we have promised Our Father in Heaven what our actions will be in the future - we have promised to obey and keep His commandments.
It is very important to read the Book of Mormon on a regular basis. Members who apostatize do so because they have quit reading the Book of Mormon and they lose the promptings of the Holy Ghost. Elder Bednar said he has never known a member who reads the Book of Mormon on a regular basis who has fallen away from the Church. Some, even among those who have served a mission, have fallen away from the Church - but not those who read the Book of Mormon regularly!
The purpose of our mission is to "Invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end." We accomplish this purpose by loving people, teaching them and testifying of the truthfulness of the gospel, the reality of Jesus Christ as our Redeemer, and that the gospel has been restored in its fulness.
You can change the behavior of people more by teaching them the principles of the gospel than by talking about the need to change the behavior.
When we were baptized and confirmed we were given the gift of the Holy Ghost. It will be with us as long as we are keeping God's commandments and are engaged in wholesome activities. If we are engaged in unwholesome activities, the Holy Ghost withdraws from us - we get past feelings. If that happens, we should stop doing what we are doing that caused the Holy Ghost to withdraw. We know that inside of us!
This is but a small part of what we learned by the spirit while Elder Bednar taught.
God loves all of His children - that includes me and you!