First off, I apologize for the double post. The Ten-Word Tuesday was preset.
Second, I'm not usually one to procrastinate, but I did save writing this to the final hour and now I'm sick. My head is so muddled that I'm not sure this post will make much sense, but here goes. I thought I'd post just a few of my favorite quotes from the general conference talk that struck me. (That's what this blogfest is about, writing on the things we learned from our semi-annual general conference.) The talk I chose was "Desire" by Elder Dallin H. Oaks.
The first thing he said that resonated with me was this: "Desires dictate our priorities, priorities shape our choices, and choices determine our actions. The desires we act on determine our changing, our achieving, and our becoming."
From a writing standpoint, this could definitely apply, but Elder Oaks wasn't talking about secular desires. He was giving us a map, so to speak, of how to change our wants into spiritual desires. Eternal desires. "To achieve our eternal destiny, we will desire and work for the qualities required to become an eternal being."
It is my belief that we are not on this earth coincidentally, but that we have a loving Father in Heaven who sent us here that we might be tested and become stronger, better than we are. Elder Oaks talks about avoiding what, in our church, we call the 'natural man'. Basically, our carnal desires. "Readjusting our desires to give highest priority to the things of eternity is not easy. We are all tempted to desire that worldly quartet of property, prominence, pride, and power. We might desire these, but we should not fix them as our highest priorities."
He goes on to say that those who follow these priorities can fall into traps such as materialism. But what I found most enlightening about Elder Oaks' talk was how empowering it is. We truly are in control of what we become. I believe that with all that is in me. We can choose what we desire, but maybe you're wondering how you can do that.
"How do we develop desires? Few will have the kind of crisis that motivated Aron Ralston, but his experience provides a valuable lesson about developing desires. While Ralston was hiking in a remote canyon in southern Utah, an 800-pound (360 kg) rock shifted suddenly and trapped his right arm. For five lonely days he struggled to free himself. When he was about to give up and accept death, he had a vision of a three-year-old boy running toward him and being scooped up with his left arm. Understanding this as a vision of his future son and an assurance that he could still live, Ralston summoned the courage and took drastic action to save his life before his strength ran out. He broke the two bones in his trapped right arm and then used the knife in his multitool to cut off that arm. He then summoned the strength to hike five miles (8 km) for help. What an example of the power of an overwhelming desire! When we have a vision of what we can become, our desire and our power to act increase enormously. Most of us will never face such an extreme crisis, but all of us face potential traps that will prevent progress toward our eternal destiny. If our righteous desires are sufficiently intense, they will motivate us to cut and carve ourselves free from addictions and other sinful pressures and priorities that prevent our eternal progress."
The entire talk was wonderful so I'll post it here: https://lds.org/general-conference/2011/04/desire?lang=eng
Can this be related to writing? Absolutely! My spiritual goal to be a better person (it's perpetual for sure) affects what I write, why I write and certainly how I interact among the writing community.
"Desires dictate our priorities, priorities shape our choices, and choices determine our actions. The desires we act on determine our changing, our achieving, and our becoming."
I hope after reading my thoughts on this, you'll have a better understanding of me and why I spend quite a bit of time focusing on the moral content we choose to put into our books. I'm not trying to be contrary or confrontational. I really am just trying to be better than I was yesterday and I believe that we, as writers, can be a very powerful force for good in this world.