The Human Experience

What does it mean to have a ‘human experience’? What is the ‘human experience’? How can we create ‘human experiences’?

I spent a large portion of my last Sunday morning with tears building up in my eyes as I was reading articles and watching videos online from various sources that all touched on our ‘human experience’. They showed a variety of ways in which we are all engaged in the ‘human experience’ (at least as it’s understood by most under the vast umbrella of what we might classify as a human experience).

So, what does it mean to have a ‘human experience’? I think we would all give varying definitions of what the ‘human experience’ is. Which makes me think there’s probably a better way to phrase my initial question; possibly: What does it mean to have a ‘human experience’ to me?

Answering this question for myself, I would say it is creating a source of accountability; taking responsibility for my thoughts, words, and actions. My answer may be a bit vague and disenchanting for some, but I’ll introduce you to an emerging social company that I believe will better explain what I mean.

SoulPancake LogoSoulPancake is by far one of the most engaging ventures I’ve experienced that would fall under the genre of creating and exploiting the ‘human experience’. Whether they are on the street evoking simple movements that can bring a grown man to tears or in their “Happiness Lab” using people as human guinea pigs to see what causes happiness, SoulPancake asks the hard questions and bring us face-to-face with the thing who’s very definition is so elusive: the ‘human experience’.

I’ve been confronted by these grand questions regarding our lives often in my recent history: when I was investigating The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, when I reached my emotional limits as my former spouse decided she could no longer be with me, and when I found love again in the arms of my best friend/ current spouse. These questions come at us in different times and for different reasons, but for most of us they come unannounced and without apologies.

Share what it mean to you to have a ‘human experience’ and some of your own ‘human experiences’!


April 2012 General Conference Wrap-up; Sunday Sessions

This weekend is the 182 Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Today was the second and final day of the conference and consisted of the two sessions; one in the morning and one in the afternoon. If you missed any, or all, of the sessions from this General Conference, you can find archived sessions to watch, listen to or read.

Here are some of my highlights from these two sessions of the conference:

Sunday Morning Session

President Uchtdorf

  • I must repent, and I must be willing to forgive others.
  • Passing judgment on others is inexcusable.
  • Refusing to forgive is a grievous sin.
  • I simply have to stop judging others, and replace that judgment with a heart full of love for God and His children.
  • “Don’t judge me because I sin differently than you.”
  • If I want to draw nearer to God I must rid myself of pride and stop passing unrighteous judgment on others.
  • The pure love of Christ can remove the scales of resentment and wrath over my eyes.
  • It is the merciful that obtain mercy.

Elder Nelson

  • Sometimes we live day-to-day, unaware of God’s blessings. We must learn to recognize His hand.
  • Family is the most important social unit in time and in eternity.
  • The aspects by which I will be judged one day are all spiritual. Developing those spiritual attributes is essential to my eternal progress.
  • The spirit is nurtured by eternal truth. I must focus my efforts on nurturing my spirit.
  • Each day, mine is the challenge to access the powers of the Atonement.

Elder Rasband

  • Some of the sweetest spirits are housed in frail frames.
  • This life is training for eternal exaltation, and that process means tests and trials.
  • If I come across one who is drowning would I ask if he needed help?
  • Renew my commitment to Heavenly Father and to His service.
  • Sister Beck
  • It is important to build into my life the pattern of regular service in the church.

Elder Christofferson

  • There is no debate or ability to contest the pure doctrine of Christ. Interpreting and understanding doctrine is a matter of divine revelation.
  • There are no common men. God is not a respecter of persons.
  • The Spirit will testify of the truthfulness of what is taught by the Brethren of the Church.

President Monson

  • Eternal truths will enrich our lives and see us safely home.
  • Do I pause to listen to the Spirit for eternal truths?
  • The most important treasures in life are those that cannot be taken nor corrupted by others, for they are stored up in heaven.
  • In a thousand ways, I am privileged to make decisions for myself.
  • There are consequences attached to my actions.
  • The prize belongs to him who endures to the end.
  • We have been provided with divine attributes to guide our destiny.
  • This life is training for eternal exaltation, and that process means tests and trials.

Sunday Afternoon Session

Elder Perry

  • Boldly declare my faith. Declare it to my friends, my family, strangers, and myself.
  • Read the Book of Mormon and look for the theme of deliverance.
  • Sometimes the Lord doesn’t see fit to deliver His people out of deliverance.
  • I must prepare myself to be worthy to receive deliverance of Heavenly Father.

Elder Ballard

  • It is through the promptings of the Holy Ghost that we can be brought back to the right path. It is through the Atonement of Jesus Christ that we can return home.
  • It is my home and family that needs reforming, not to societal standards, but to heavenly standards.
  • When I make commitments to values and Heavenly Father I will be more prone to live a successful life.
  • The most important cause of my life is my family.
  • The Church stands as a symbol of heart turning.
  • Life is much better when ideals of living and standards are geared to those of the Church.
  • Husbands and wives should be equal partners in marriage. Avoid unrighteous dominion in any way or form.
  • Anyone married or single can have a happy and supportive experience in whatever his or her family circumstance is.
  • If I have lost my way I can apply the Savior’s teachings of the parables of the prodigal son, the woman looking for the lost coin, and the lost sheep.
  • I can always have the Holy Ghost as my spiritual GPS to tall me where I am and where I am going.

Elder Haleck

  • “Where there is no vision, the people perish.”
  • Fast and pray to know how I can handle my circumstances.
  • Focus my vision on the teachings of the Savior. He has a great vision of who I can become.

Elder Wilson

  • I cannot use the Priesthood to exercise control, dominion, or by compulsion. It can only be used in righteousness.
  • I must respect the agency of others.
  • Wise parents prepare their children to get along without them.
  • I must act as prescribed in Doctrine and Covenants Section 121.

Elder Evans

  • I must naturally and normally share the message of the gospel.
  • Whenever a person is brought to the gospel, it is rarely just one person who comes to the gospel.

Elder Pieper

  • Recognize the hand of God in all things and remember to give Him thanks.
  • Sacred things are to have greater priority and worthy of more careful attention.
  • If I chose to abandon even one sacred thing, my mind will become darkened until I repent.

Elder Andersen

  • Discipleship is not a competition; it is an invitation to all.
  • I may not be at my very best every day, but the Savior is willing and able to help bear my burden.

President Monson

  • The gospel provides answers, support, and guidance in my life.
  • Pray always and Heavenly Father will pour out His blessings upon me.
  • Settle any disputations and disagreements now.
  • Ponder the truths I have heard and allow them to make me better than I was before.

April 2012 General Conference Wrap-up; Saturday Sessions

This weekend is the 182 Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Today consisted of the first three sessions; one in the morning, afternoon and evening. if you missed today’s sessions there are two more tomorrow.

Come listen to living prophets

I always enjoy taking notes of the things I most enjoy from the speakers’ talks. Here are some of my highlights from the conference:

Saturday Morning Session

President Monson

  • If I am seeking answers I will find answers.
  • If I need to make changes in my life, I will find the strength and courage to do so.

President Packer

  • I can offer more to individuals in need of help.
  • Life was never meant to be easy or fair.
  • A married couple’s first responsibility is to each other and then to their children.
  • Family time is sacred time.

Sister Esplin

  • Heavenly Father knows exactly what I need to be able to return home to Home. He will give me that revelation through the scriptures and Holy Ghost.
  • Without experiencing a gospel principle in action it will be difficult to believe in that principle.
  • I need to live in such a way that I will learn and expand my understanding of the truth of the principles of the gospel. I will become more self-reliant if I apply this lifestyle.

Elder Hallstrom

  • This is my time to learn the gospel, repent, and prepare to return to God.
  • Activity in the Church is not the goal. Activity in the gospel is of greater.
  • I need to fully take advantage of the ordinance of the sacrament.
  • Become fully converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Elder Koelliker

  • Awakening my desire to know will prepare me to receive answers.
  • Patterns are templates and guides to follow God’s plan. Following patterns will allow us to stay humble and discern the voice of the Holy Spirit.
  • Having love one to another is one of the keys to progression in the gospel.
  • To love the Lord is not just counsel; it is a commandment.

Elder Oaks

  • Sacrifice brings forth the blessings of heaven.
  • Sometimes we have to sacrifice our own feelings to further the work.
  • If it’s true, then what else matters?
  • Can’t I sacrifice a few minutes of my time throughout the day to develop my relationship with the most important person (Heavenly Father) in my life?
  • I must be willing, and indeed act in a manner, to sacrifice everything to obtain the promise of eternal life.

President Eyring

  • When I have tried all my life to be good, why is this happening to me? All this adversity will give me experience and will be for my good. Fear not what man may do, for God will be with me forever and ever.
  • God will protect me and provide a way that I may overcome difficulties and become stronger as a result.
  • How exquisite you know not the power of God.
  • The ground must be carefully prepared for our foundation of faith to withstand the storms and turmoil of life.
  • Every choice I make each day lays the ground for that foundation.
  • Trouble itself can be my way to gain unshakeable faith.
  • I can build a foundation of faith by loving as the Savior did.
  • In all conditions I can follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit. It is never too late to strengthen the foundation of faith.
  • To be polished, always move forward and become better than what we are now.

Saturday Afternoon Session

Elder Holland

  • Don’t dwell on old issues and grievances. Even if all parties cannot settle those old quarrels, they can end with me.
  • Forgive. The thing God loves most about being God is the thrill of being merciful.
  • Tearing others down does not elevate your standing or improve your image.
  • There is no problem that cannot be overcome.
  • Step up and respond to the call!
  • Accept the atoning gift of Jesus Christ and enjoy the blessings of His labor.

Elder Hales

  • We should strive to come to ourselves and come back into the light of our Savior’s love. The sacrament gives us the grand opportunity to come to ourselves and experience a mighty change of heart.
  • Become spiritually reliant.
  • Let go of worldly thoughts and desires.
  • It’s as simple as choosing to keep and live the commandments each day.
  • The purpose of spiritual and temporal self-reliance is to be prepared and in a position to be an aid to others.
  • Have a talk with myself in the mirror and ask, “Where do I stand on living my covenants?”

Elder Baxter

  • Have role models worth emulating.

Elder Soares

  • Traversing one inch into Satan’s territory will cause the Spirit to withdraw and confusion to prevail. I need to live in a manner that places me in the Lord’s territory.

Elder Cook

  • I cannot be ashamed of the gospel. This is the way I live.
  • What we are speaks so loudly that our children might not hear what we say.
  • If I immerse myself in the scriptures, the distance between the Spirit and me will narrow.
  • Persistence is the answer, but a sense of humor helps. Temporary setbacks are overshadowed by persistence.
  • When one is tone deaf to the music of faith, he or she is out of tune with the spirit.
  • We must have the courage to refrain from judging others.

Elder Scott

  • It is not those who live in the spirit world who should be honored to live with us, it is us who should be honored to live in their presence.
  • Giving in to feelings of anger will not bring me joy or salvation.
  • We can improve the quality of our experience by making careful and appropriate choices.
  • Record impressions immediately or the details will rapidly fade from our memory. Inspirations carefully recorded show the Lord His revelations are sacred.
  • The words “sanctify yourself” can be replaced with “keep the Lord’s commandments.”
  • Humility is a fertile soil, where spirituality grows and produces the fruit of inspiration.
  • Do not live our lives in regret of what we have done or did not do.
  • Do not seek for the praise of man when acting as an instrument for the Lord.
  • It is much wiser to seek through divine inspiration rather than my own desires and experiences in life. When this is done, there will come a peace in my heart.
  • The disposition to do right brings peace and happiness.
  • Some leading principles in living righteously: obedience to the commandments, trust in His guidance, and avoidance of anything contrary to the gospel.

Priesthood Session

Elder Bednar

  • Nothing about the Priesthood is self centered.
  • We are agents to act; not objects to be acted upon.
  • I will not have the help of heaven if I seek to control or manipulate others.
  • Priesthood holders need to act different.
  • Go back to the walk of life I had during the mission. That was when I was happiest.

Elder Edgley

  • Don’t be difficult in staying active in the Church. Rid myself of all obstacles.
  • To stay and try to return later would be extremely difficult, even near impossible.
  • The Lord suffered for me. My commitment is to Him

President Ochoa

  • The Priesthood gives us access to wonderful powers from heaven.
  • Stand up boldly for what you know is true.

President Uchtdorf

  • Am I ensuring that I place myself in a position to serve worthily?
  • Invigorate marriage and strengthen families.
  • Read the scriptures diligently and make it a matter to have faith-filled, earnest prayer.
  • “The value of an idea lies in using it.” -Thomas Edison
  • The Church is true; the gospel is real; God and Christ really exist and they live.

President Eyring

  • The sealing power is the pinnacle power God has given the prophet.
  • 4 ways to lift and lead your family:
  • Gain and keep a testimony of the Priesthood.
  • Love your wife. Put her needs ahead of my own.
  • Enlist the entire family to love each other.
  • Lead your family in the Lord’s way when discipline in needed.
  • Control my temper and pride; then the Holy Ghost will guide my life.

President Monson

  • I will go and do what God has commanded.
  • Have ready hands; have willing hands; have worthy hands.
  • When selfless service replaces selfish desires when faith replaces doubt, the powers of heaven will accompany me.

Here is a link to some great photos from the Saturday sessions of General Conference.