News of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Pittsburgh area, counsel from its leaders, and reflections from its members.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Pittsburgh West Stake Conference, October 10-11, 2015

Stake conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is a bi-annual meeting for members of a stake, which is an administrative unit composed of multiple congregations. The Pittsburgh West Stake includes church members from the following greater Pittsburgh areas: Pleasant Hills, Greentree, Mount Lebanon, Upper Saint Clair, and surrounding communities, as well as areas from the West End of Pittsburgh to Moon Township. Additional areas are in and near Washington, PA, Wheeling, WV, and Wintersville, OH. At this stake conference, there was a visiting Area Seventy, Elder William R. Titera. Special thanks to Dwight D. Ferguson, Director of Public Affairs Pittsburgh West Stake, for assistance with this post.

Stake President Brennan C. Murray, First Counselor Dale C. Hoggard, and Second Counselor David B. Bayles 
Saturday Night Adult Session

Speakers included Bishop Seth Orban from Wintersville, who gave personal examples of using family councils to provide gospel instruction. President Dale Hoggard spoke on the importance of family councils. Soon to be missionaries Adam Oliver (Berlin, Germany), and Hannah Murray (Phillipines), were invited to bear testimonies. Gwen Haglund who recently returned from serving a mission in Armenia, spoke about keeping the Sabbath Day holy. Elder William R. Titera, our Area Seventy, revised instruction about the importance of teaching the atonement to our families in family councils, and by observing the Sabbath Day toward establishing multi-generational families who are faithful in the gospel. Elder Titera used video clips featuring President Russell M. Nelson and Elder David A. Bednar.  

Sunday General Session

President Brennen C. Murray -- Increasing our faith in the atonement of Jesus Christ 

Sometimes we're like a horse being beckoned by its master with a hand full of oats. We take a nibble of oats and run away. The Lord beckons us through his servants at conference. Like the horse, ultimately the master rides him. As we come to the Savior, we find his servants there. The Savior comes to where we are and beckons us. The Savior is our advocate with the Father. 

The atonement leaves no tracks. What is healed is healed. Pres. Murray pleaded with us to know that the Savior knows you, He atoned for you.  "Please come to the Savior". 

Savior, Redeemer of my soul, Whose mighty hand hath made me whole, Whose wondrous pow’r hath raised me up And filled with sweet my bitter cup! What tongue my gratitude can tell, O gracious God of Israel. 
Never can I repay thee, Lord, But I can love thee. Thy pure word, Hath it not been my one delight, My joy by day, my dream by night? Then let my lips proclaim it still, And all my life reflect thy will. 
O’errule mine acts to serve thine ends. Change frowning foes to smiling friends. Chasten my soul till I shall be In perfect harmony with thee. Make me more worthy of thy love.

(Hymn 112, Savior, Redeemer of my Soul)

Sister Bethany Harlan, Wintersville Ward -- Faith in the Lord, Jesus Christ

Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ prepares a person for the trials of life -

"And the office of their ministry is to call men unto repentance, and to fulfil and to do the work of the covenants of the Father, which he hath made unto the children of men, to prepare the way among the children of men, by declaring the word of Christ unto the chosen vessels of the Lord, that they may bear testimony of him. And by so doing, the Lord God prepareth the way that the residue of men may have faith in Christ, that the Holy Ghost may have place in their hearts, according to the power thereof; and after this manner bringeth to pass the Father, the covenants which he hath made unto the children of men."  (Moroni 7 :31,32)

Brother Johann Eissler, 6th Ward -- How the Book of Mormon has helped me to prepare for my mission

It seemed like I had a long time to prepare for my mission, which lead to missed opportunities.
I starting preparing in Freshman year of high school. I had a great seminary teacher. We began studying the Book of Mormon. My Bishop also challenged me to read the Book of Mormon. I read every day. My testimony of Jesus Christ grew and my weaknesses were turned into strengths. 

Alma the younger was a good example of faith. Nephi, Abinidai, Moroni and other prophets were good influences on me. My mother was the most important influence on my life. The Book of Mormon changes us in ways that others will notice. I will do, say, be and go wherever the Lord wants me.

Sister Melissa Boyer, Washington Ward-- The Gospel has blessed my life and given me answers

I was Lutheran but I was seeking answers. We moved to Washington County, and I was invited to attend church with a friend. It was like someone turned on a light switch. I had questions and the missionaries had answers. We learned about the plan of salvation. This gave us hope and comfort. My life has been enriched by the gospel. When I was baptized, someone gave me a great piece of advice: You are baptized today, but what matters is what you do afterwards. The gospel provides instructions that lead to a happy life.

Sister Rosemarie M. Johnson, Pennsylvania Pittsburgh Mission

We have recently had 3 baptisms in the mission from people who asked members or missionaries to learn more about the church. The power of example is real and no effort is wasted.
You are walking epistles of the gospel.

President and Sister Johnson
President Bradley K. Johnson, Pennsylvania Pittsburgh Mission President

Missionaries deal with rejection every day. The members love to the missionaries is helpful.
As a mission president, we have a front row seat to the conversion of souls and witness the marvelous changes the gospel brings to the lives of people.

Sister Ruth Ann Chrisman, Columbus Temple Matron

When we know who we are and have faith in the Savior, we have confidence in ourselves and can trust others. We build our faith by standing steadfast and immovable.

President and Sister Christman
President James J. Chrisman, Columbus Temple President

President Christman bore witness of the calling of President Murray as Stake President. He has responsibility for all who live within the stake. He spoke on the meaning of "soul": Spirit within the body; person in mortality; and a resurrected person. "He restoreth my soul", 23rd Psalm. We witness people coming to the temple and having their souls restored. There is an empowerment and revelation which occurs in the temple. We cannot get back to Father in Heaven without the ordinances of the temple. The kingdom of God is organized into families. We unite families in the temple.

Elder William R. Titera, Area Seventy

The temple is literally the Lord's house. Mountains served as temples in ancient times. A lot of preparation, training, and practice is required to climb a mountain. The higher you climb, the fewer people have reached there and the path is narrower or not defined. Like climbing a mountain, going to the Mountain of the Lord requires help from others, preparation, and training. Like the perspective from a mountaintop, the temple changes the way we see things. 

Keys are gospel symbols. They represent authority. You can go places you could not otherwise go with keys. Keys can be assigned for use by others along with the delegation of responsibility. 

Historic business is conducted in general conference. The law of common consent is exercised. We express our willingness and desire to uphold the leaders of the church. The Lord pours out His Spirit upon us. The Lord makes known to us what we shall do. Ponder on the teachings of the last conference. They will show you what you need. to do. What were the take-aways for you from the messages of conference? The teachings of conference keep us unspotted from the world. 

Prophets. The Lord promised to send us prophets, Amos 3:7. To the end of Malachi was added "End of the Prophets", but John the Baptist came. The Savior came. The gospel was restored and apostles and prophets called. The prophets and apostles hold the keys.  

Elder William R. Titera

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