“Hello my name is Walker Kitch, and I was asked to talk on President Russell M. Nelson’s talk Let Us All Press On. This talk was the final talk of the April 2018 conference. The first part of this talk touches on music, specifically the song the talk is titled after. Let us all press on in the work of the Lord. The Lord alone we will obey. These are the central messages of the conference.
Being able to sum up a conference in a song is not a coincidence. Music really is an important part of, not only spirituality, but human culture. Music can express so much emotion and can convey messages and ideas so well and so personally. It touches people in ways most other mediums can’t hope to achieve. The preface of our hymnal says that “Hymns can lift our spirits, give us courage, and move us to righteous action. They can fill our souls with heavenly thoughts and bring us a spirit of peace.” Music is omnipresent from ancient times until now, every culture has used music to unite and entertain. Each culture has added to or created their own genres and styles. Music has a profound emotional and biological effect on us. You can innately tell how a song feels which, while it seems weird to hear, I’m sure many of you know exactly what I’m talking about. And while it may seem that I’ve gone off on a tangent, the point I’m trying to get across is the power of music. In every church they use music. Monk chants, gospel, christian rock, hymns. It brings the spirit, it helps convey ideas. It is pure emotion. There is a reason Joseph Smith, knowing of his coming death, had John Taylor sing him a song. Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief. It can unite such as when slaves would work in the fields. It was something that couldn’t be taken away and could unite them and remind them of where they came from. Music is very important to me if you couldn’t tell. It has been innately tied to who I am for as long as I can remember. From listening to Weird Al with my dad on the way to elementary school. Developing that wacky sensibility. To the many novelty, though thoroughly enjoyable, genres that I have found such as Chap Hop, Ska, and Pirate Metal. And the eventual maturation of my tastes with a focus on bands and sounds rather than trivial genres. Music has carried me through tough times and enhanced the good times. However it can have ill effects. Such as country music which just ruins everything, always. Just kidding. But just like anything we have to be careful in what we consume. Balance in all things including the good and bad sides of music. But there is a reason we incorporate hymns in most every church activity.
The talk then goes on to express the importance of the messages of conference. A solemn assembly was held for a new First Presidency, temples were announced, High Priests were thrown back in with the Elders, and many talks explain and express the importance and power of things such as ministering. President Nelson wants us talking about and acting on the things mentioned in this conference. It is the only time everyone, everywhere gets to hear from church officials, so this is important stuff. Ministering was a big shift in our approach to things. The way it was described we are supposed to almost constantly be in the act. Unlike home teaching that was a dedicated and somewhat forced ordeal. Ministering is almost more of a way of living the gospel rather than an activity. But it can be that too.
He also talks about sharing “our [simple and sincere] message” with others “to come unto their Savior, receive the blessings of the holy temple, have enduring joy, and qualify for eternal life”. But I like the way he describes the manner that we’re supposed to share. He says with love. You can’t run someone down shouting at them, Hey listen there’s this message I want to give you that’ll show you everything you’ve been doing in your life has been wrong. You have to do it with the intention of helping them, but also lifting them up, not bashing what they are currently doing or how they are currently living, but instead show them the truths and let those things fade through their desire not yours. I really do appreciate the emphasis on sharing outside the church though, but it’s unfortunate that it’s necessary and that we need instruction to do it with love. That should be a default. We should really try not to think mormon and non mormon and instead think people, children of God. And treat all of them with love. I don’t want to sound like a hippie, but it is the ideal. Not to say it isn’t hard but it’s necessary especially when trying to teach or explain the gospel.
He then moves on to express the importance of temples and the blessing of so many current temples and those being constructed. Temples, being God’s house and all, hold immense power and recently I had an opportunity to experience that power. You see I was going through a bit of a rough patch. So my loving mother told me to grab a journal and we drove to the temple. And so we sat in the heat journaling and praying and I have to say it surprised me how much it helped. Even just on the grounds you can feel the power of the temple.
As the talk winds down he gives an apostolic blessing. And the first part is to aid in us identifying what we can drop in order to get to the temple more. The phrasing of this was interesting. A blessing to help us identify it. That means we still have a part there and that is to actually identify what it is and to actually drop whatever it is. One of the other parts of the blessing is harmony and love in the home, which really can help with virtually everything in our lives as family is so important. Rough family life means most things will be harder, however situations are what we make of them and we have to play our part in bringing that harmony. It can be hard for sure, but setting the example while not guaranteed to work is the only way to get the desired results. He finishes with a blessing to share our testimonies so I guess I will share mine. I know this church is true. I know that Jesus Christ died on the cross for me and every other person that has and will ever live and that by doing so we can be forgiven for our sins and due to this we can return to heaven to be with our Father. And that this is unconditional much like His love for us. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ amen.”