Preparing for General Conference

 If you want a great pattern for preparing for LDS General Conference, re-read Mosiah 2. This is the chapter where King Benjamin is about to present his son as the new king and give his last sermon. But the first part of the chapter talks about how the people prepared for his talk. Check out what they did, and notice how it can apply to us as we prepare for conference:

1 And it came to pass that after Mosiah had done as his father had commanded him, and had made a proclamation throughout all the land, that the people gathered themselves together throughout all the land, that they might go up to the temple to hear the words which king Benjamin should speak unto them.

The first thing they did? Show up! They came! We’ll read later that the words were written down for those who couldn’t hear, but the people didn’t wait for it to come out in the Ensign. They were present. That doesn’t mean you have to be at the conference center, but it will help a lot if you are at your TV or radio at the time it’s taking place.

3 And they also took of the firstlings of their flocks, that they might offer sacrifice and burnt offerings according to the law of Moses;

Obviously we don’t do animal sacrifices, but do you remember what Jesus said replaced burnt offerings? A broken heart and a contrite spirit. Approach general conference in a spirit of humility, repentance, and sacrifice, and not only will the experience be awesomer, but you’ll change what the Lord asks you during conference to change, and you’ll be what the Lord asks you to be.

4 And also that they might give thanks to the Lord their God, who had brought them out of the land of Jerusalem, and who had delivered them out of the hands of their enemies, and had appointed just men to be their teachers, and also a just man to be their king, who had established peace in the land of Zarahemla, and who had taught them to keep the commandments of God, that they might rejoice and be filled with love towards God and all men.

Carry a spirit of gratitude. If you’re struggling to feel spiritually motivated, either about the gospel or the things taught in the gospel, take a half hour and go for a walk, or find a quiet place to kneel. Pray to your Father in Heaven and just list off to Him the things you’re grateful for. “I thank thee for…” “I thank thee that…” “I’m so grateful that…”

At first it may feel forced, but keep it up until you are filled with gratitude. You’ll be amazed how powerful gratitude is in increasing spiritual desire. Approach general conference with a spirit of gratitude, and you’ll see a huge difference.

5 And it came to pass that when they came up to the temple, they pitched their tents round about, every man according to his family, consisting of his wife, and his sons, and his daughters, and their sons, and their daughters, from the eldest down to the youngest, every family being separate one from another.


Involve the family. If possible, watch together, and don’t shoosh people when they interrupt to say something relevant to the talk. They are likening the words to you and your loved ones–that’s what you’re supposed to do. Experiencing conference together builds the family up, and reminds all how much the Savior is a part of your family. And, yes, conference bingo is good, too.

6 And they pitched their tents round about the temple, every man having his tent with the door thereof towards the temple, that thereby they might remain in their tents and hear the words which king Benjamin should speak unto them;

However you are watching, face the speaker. Face the TV, radio, or computer, where the talk is happening. Not only will it send a message to your own brain that this is important (thus helping you pay attention), but it will help others see how much you want to be involved. They are less likely to ask you to come help them clean up the garage, because they will see that doing so would interrupt. If you’re listening passively to the background radio, your likely to get distracted and/or interrupted.


8 And it came to pass that he began to speak to his people from the tower; and they could not all hear his words because of the greatness of the multitude; therefore he caused that the words which he spake should be written and sent forth among those that were not under the sound of his voice, that they might also receive his words.

Don’t just suck in the words and expect them to stay. Take notes! Bring a notebook, portable device, or computer to write down things that catch your attention. Even more important, write down thoughts that the Spirit gives you while you listen. That is God’s revelation to you personally. You can trust that the guidance will come, but if you have no way to record it when it happens, you’ll forget. Believe me, no matter how powerful the experience, if you don’t record it, you will forget.

If for whatever reason you can’t be present for conference, take advantage of the many means the church has provided to review it. The Internet archives are available immediately, so you don’t have to wait for the Ensign. The video is up within minutes after the session ends. The audio will be available within a day or so, and the text will be up within a week. Don’t miss conference. If you can’t attend, make sure a week doesn’t pass before you’ve watched or read the entire four sessions (or five, if you’re a guy).

Never in the history of the world has there been such remarkable tools for reviewing the words of God. Even after you do watch the whole program, either live or afterward, go back through and read more carefully. The first time through is a marathon. The second time through, go through carefully, deliberately, taking the time necessary to learn all that you can from the talks. If you have a portable device or laptop, download the audio and listen to it often. Read the words, cross-referencing with the given links.

Do these things, and this may be the best conference you’ve ever participated in.

Fish Philosophy

Imagine you are a fish in a pond.

While in school, your teacher tries to convince you that it is impossible to see through water.  Of course this seems ridiculous to you at first, but then he stirs up the mud at the bottom of the pond.  Soon the entire pond is completely clouded.  You cannot even see the fish around you or the teacher.  “See?”  Your teacher says, “you are in water and you cannot see.  Now you know that it is impossible to see through water.”

Some of you and your classmates recognize that it is not water that is blocking your vision, but the mud that your teacher spread in front of you that makes it impossible to see.  You recognize that when the mud settles, you will again be able to see again like normal, because the mud and water will again be separated.

But some of the fish begin to feel confused and lost.  In panic, they turn to the teacher for help.  The teacher replies, “The only safe place is the bottom of the pond.  At least there, you can feel something beneath you.”  They follow, because they don’t know what else to do.

As the mud settles, they are buried in the mud.  Their “new perception” that mud is the same as water is therefore confirmed in their minds, and they remain in the much ever after.

Though unhappy in their new state, they pride themselves on their new understanding, wondering how they could have ever been deluded into thinking that what they once experienced was sight.  They scoff at the fish above, swimming happily about the pond.  They mock them, telling them that their childish belief in “Clear” water is just a tradition that their parents convinced them of.  They say, “Yeah, we once thought as you do, but now we see what water really is.  Sight is an illusion.  You cannot trust your senses.  The only safe place is the bottom of the pond.”

The wise know the difference between the mud and the water.

The Lord is My Shepherd – Piano Solo Sheet Music

Printable Download: $3.95

The Lord Is My Shepherd

This arrangement of The Lord is My Shepherd has been floating around in the musical side of my brain for a number of years now, so I’m excited to finally have it done and put onto sheet music. Psalm 23, which is the basis of the text of this hymn, is probably one of the most quoted scriptures in the world, and for good reason.

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

The Lord is my Shepherd

The Lord Is My Shepherd

Let me know if you guys want this made into sheet music.

Art by Maria Spencer.

We’ll Bring the World His Truth Sheet Music Released!

Harrah!!! I’ve finally got the piano solo arrangement of We’ll Bring the World His Truth available for sheet music purchase. I had to get permissions from Janice Kapp Perry, so it took a little longer than usual. But now it’s here! To see the real store, go to chashathaway.com, but to save you a step, I’ve pasted all the links so you can buy it right from this page if you want:


We'll Bring the World His Truth Purchase Sheet music for $3.95

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We'll Bring the World His Truth, sample Download Sample Page

Beauty is in the Eye of God

I’m not sure where media came up with the idea that beauty has something to do with weight, but it’s not true. Actually, I think media has knowingly taken upon itself the role to make sure that the general population is ugly. In reality, they know nothing about beauty at all. The problem is, they’ve convinced us that their “standards” of beauty should be sought at all costs.

As a rather ugly guy, I’ve actually thought a lot about this. The world’s whole approach is to create totally meaningless standards that can only be met by the consumption of products and services that only they can provide. The only way they can keep the demand so disgustingly high is to make sure that 90% of the population is way below the expectation.

All the while, God keeps telling us, “Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; …for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.”

Of course, the world has to make itself louder than the voice of the Spirit in order to maintain it’s powerful status. But Beauty is NOT in the eye of the beholder. It is in the eye of God. God cares nothing about physical attractiveness, but he cares a great deal about the beauty that comes of bearing children, which naturally causes some flabbiness and increase of skin and weight.

Have you ever noticed that a mother carries a brightness in her eyes that is very obvious and beautiful – and unique to mothers? It first shows up when she is pregnant, and those who know the feature can often figure out she is pregnant before the slightest belly begins to show. And it’s beautiful! So why do we not see it? For the same reason that we turn our heads at the sound of a coin drop, while not noticing the dozens of bird songs surrounding us. The world has done its job well, training us that beauty is in features that it has chosen, and we are the unhappy recipients of its lies. There is a reason that satan is called the father of lies, as well as the prince of this world. He directs the world in its quest to keep the population depressed.

But you can be the exception. You can learn to see beyond the world’s ridiculous aspirations, and see beauty, including your own, as God sees it! The moment you ask God for His view on things, He’ll open to you a whole new vision that is so much more beautiful, so much more exciting, and so much more fulfilling than ANYTHING the world has to offer.

Once you see things that way, you may glance back, and see all the myriads clamoring for another lost pound, another lost wrinkle, or another face-lift. There’s a reason those clamorers are depressed. There’s a reason they can never seem to grasp what dangles just before them at every moment, and it’s not because they are too ugly or too fat, or even too sinful. It is simply because they have let satan distract them from something that he can NEVER have – true, eternal beauty.

Under his direction, the world shouts, “You’re too baggy, you’re hideous, you’re too wrinkly!” All the while he is silently scared to death that you will notice the real beauty that is you, because the moment you see that, he has no power over you.

That is the moment when life becomes grand and beautiful. That’s the moment that you realize that you are already living your “happily ever after.” That’s the moment you realize that all of your dreams are already being fulfilled.

Don’t let satan distract you from that. God knows who you really are, and is anxiously waiting for you to ask Him about it so He can explain it to you. You may know it already in theory, and you may have heard it over and over in Sunday school, but you should hear His personal explanation of it to you. I promise it’s worth the asking.

– and don’t let up until He tells you everything.

Taught Somewhat in All the Learning of My Father

What would Nephi’s education been like?

Well one thing for sure, traditional school’s in Nephi’s day were significantly different than they are today. Today the only thing religious that can be taught in school is the so-called constitutional “separation of church and state,” (which, interestingly, is never mentioned once in the constitution in any form). Nephi’s education would have been so immersed in the scriptures that it took precedence over math, science, art, and geography combined. He would have been taught reading, writing, and history intensely, mostly because it’ a vital part of scripture study and record keeping.

The bible dictionary talks about the kind of education Jesus would have received in His time, and I think the basic education system would have been the same in Nephi’s time.

“The divine law impressed upon parents the duty of teaching their children its precepts and principles, but little is known about the methods of teaching that were employed. Up to six years of age a child was taught at home, chiefly by the mother (cf. 2 Tim. 1: 5). The schools that all boys from six years old had to attend were generally held in the synagogues. Until a boy was ten no textbook was used but scripture. The aim was to encourage study by sense of duty rather than by reward or fear. Reading, writing, and grammar were taught, and in order that teaching might be thorough, no class even in the elementary school might exceed 25 pupils. The “religious question” could not exist in Jewish education any more than in Church schools today, for the whole purpose of education was religious. Nothing was regarded as worth learning except as it illustrated scripture. At home probably Bible stories were taught as with us, but the regular course at school began with the first seven chapters of Leviticus, so that a boy might know what outward acts were required of him; then the rest of the Pentateuch, the Prophets, and the remainder of the O.T. ”
Bible Dictionary, Education

Wouldn’t that be an awesome way to do school? What I find interesting is that Laman and Lemuel would have received the same kind of education. I guess it shows how much role agency plays in our education – secular and spiritual.

My Musical Journey: The Message

When I was nine, my sister Ria had piano lessons. Being the little brother, I thought I should be able to have piano lessons, too. To me it looked like fun, and I wanted a turn. So mom signed me up.

A lady in our neighborhood, who was also in our ward, taught many kids piano lessons, and for only $3 a week, it was a pretty good way to go, though I didn’t find out until later what a generous teacher I had to charge such a small fee for those valuable lessons.

The lessons were fun, and I learned all the basic musical terms and skills, and obtained a very basic piano proficiency. By the time I had been taking lessons for a year, however, I was tired of practicing, and after a few weeks of dragging my feet, I stopped going to piano lessons.

Years went by, and I didn’t touch my piano books. They were a thing of the past, and any time I considered playing, I remembered how boring practice was, so from the time I stopped the lessons, I stopped playing the piano entirely.

As a young man of fourteen, I loved listening to music while drifting off to sleep. I would stick in a favorite cassette and let it play through to the end. However long it took me to fall asleep, I would always get completely wrapped up in the music. As I made a habit of this, I soon found that the mere act of turning on music and closing my eyes did something to me. It was as if the sounds were wrapping around me, filling me. I don’t know how to describe it, but that simple, quiet music had an overwhelming effect on my whole system.

It was at that time that I came to a realization of the power of music – just a few simple notes, played at just the right… well, everything! The tempo was perfect, the notes were perfect, played at the perfect volume at just the right moments. What was it about this mix of sounds that drew a person in so completely? Was it the flawless skill of the artist, or was it something independent of the musician? Did the music itself somehow convey the sense of completeness and power that I felt?

Much of the music I listened to was religious music, and the powerful feelings I felt while listening to that music were always accompanied by an intense spiritual high that made me want to be better, do more good, and reach out more to bless the lives of more people. But a lot of the music I listened to was simple New Age music, which at that time was sometimes called Easy Listening music.

One night, while listening to some of this gentle music, I felt something unique – or I heard something, but with my feelings rather than my ears. It was as if someone or something was sending a clear message through while my mind and heart were in such a susceptible state. The message was simply this: “You can give this gift to others.”

I lay motionless, still wrapped in the feelings and power of the music. The words had been clear. You can give this gift to others. What gift? Music? The ability to play music? The feelings that the music expressed? Though the message had been clear, I didn’t know for sure what it meant.

The more I thought about it, the more I felt that it was time to go beyond simply listening to and enjoying music. I needed to make music.

But how? I didn’t play any musical instruments, and my voice was nasally and boisterous. I would have to learn to play an instrument. A flute? A brass instrument? I didn’t have any instruments, and I didn’t have access to any instruments – except…

Yes. The piano. The family had a piano. I would would get out my old lesson books and start learning to play first thing after school the next day.

This entry is originally from…

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The Sixth Day

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The Sixth Day

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The Sixth Day is the sixth piece in the Creation Series, and the sixth track on the CD, The Ancestor, by Chas Hathaway

See more entries about The Ancestor CD