The Official Website of Kendel Christensen

Each of these talks has radically changed the way I view and approach life. Only the most impactful talks of all time make it on this list. Even if you are not LDS, I invite you to consider the centuries of combined wisdom that these talks represent:

Kendel’s Favorite Talks

[If the Links are broken, just do an internet search for the title. It will come up.]

Best of the Best (6 out of 5 stars)
Lynn G. Robbins, “Be 100% Responsible,” BYU Education Week August 22, 2017

As one former associate said, “You are not fully a person until you read this talk.”

The #1 purpose of this site, and my life is to make the world a better place.
To be part of the solution rather than being a part of the problem. 
To do this, READ THIS TALK. PLEASE. FOR THE BETTERMENT OF MANKIND. Don’t spend another day perpetuating the problems of this world (even if you have GOOD reasons to rationalize your lack of control) You are 100% responsible for your life and how you live it. The moment you blame or rationalize or otherwise flee from taking responsibility (even if you “are right”), ‘Satan cleverly begins to control your life’.

D. Todd Christofferson, “As Many as I Love, I Rebuke and Chasten,” April 2011 General Conference.
This talk is absolutely foundational to my life. It defines what religion is all about. We are here to become something. We can’t hope to do so if we resist chastening. If we are to grow in this life, we must entertain the idea that we could be wrong, imperfect, or in need of change–sometimes drastically. I cannot think of any other perspective that will lead to the humility necessary to make the improvements necessary for Godhood… In point of fact, we should eagerly seek out correction and feedback–from any source. “Even when we encounter mean-spirited criticism from persons who have little regard or love for us, it can be helpful to exercise enough meekness to weigh it and sift out anything that might benefit us.” Additionally, we should continually self-analyze our performances and eventually become “self-correcting”. Combined with David A. Bednar’s “And Nothing Shall Offend Them,” and we have essential ingredients in the recipe for true sainthood. This was so important that he repeated the essence of the message again in October 2011 with “The Divine Gift of Repentance,” this time emphasizing that the nature of repentance and change sanctifies us. Therefore, invitations to help others repent are “expressions of love” and part of our “fundamental duty.”

Bonnie D. Parkin, “Personal Ministry: Sacred and Precious” BYU Speeches, Feb. 13, 2007. 
I sincerely believe this world is constantly pressuring us to conform, to stay within a “small box that doesn’t rock the boat.” This exponentially advances Satan’s ability to influence isolated individuals and keeps good people’s influence inside that box. This was the first talk that convinced me to think and act outside the box–even if everyone around you is pressuring that your grand gesture or idea would make people uncomfortable or would be “too weird.” A lot of the things I am most proud of accomplishing is directly because of reading this talk. NEVER suppress a generous thought!

Lance B. Wickman, “‘Friends Again at Last’: Justice and Mercy in the Warming Glow of Charity,”  (Ensign, Jun 2000, 30). 
     This talk began the instillation in me of perhaps the most important lesson of life: Our position before God and thus the eternal importance to extend mercy, forgiveness, and especially charity to our fellow men.  I will be forever grateful and indebted to my Savior Jesus Christ and can only hope to remember and extend to others, even if only to a small and feeble degree, the mercy He has extended to me.

Dallin H. Oaks, “The Challenge to Become,” (Ensign, Nov 2000, 32–34).  
     This talk changed my whole perspective of living the commandments and gospel of Jesus Christ.  As Elder Oaks says, in his parable of an important, influencial, principal father to his son: “All that I have I desire to give you—not only my wealth, but also my position and standing among men. That which I have I can easily give you, but that which I am you must obtain for yourself.”  We are not working in this life merely to comply with a list of rules or to-do’s that, if we score high enough, we can “make it into heaven.”  No, we are developing attributes and characteristics that will, if we truly make them a part of who we are, will enable us to live with God.
Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “Your Potential, Your Privilege,” April 2011 General Conference
This talk challenges us to partake fully of the gospel blessings that are available to us: President Uchtdorf invites us to “ask yourself if you are merely going through the motions as a priesthood bearer—doing what is expected but not experiencing the joy that should be yours.” He says that “we are faced with a choice. We can be satisfied with a diminished experience as priesthood bearers and settle for experiences far below our privileges. Or we can partake of an abundant feast of spiritual opportunity and universal priesthood blessings.” How do we choose the abundant life?  The answer is that Church is not merely to “attend meetings and nod our heads,” rather, we must be actively applying the counsel we here. We are accountable for those promptings to change. In his words, “let’s make sure to set our ‘do it’ switch always to the ‘now’ position!” He also challenges us “to also become experts in the doctrines of the gospel.”
Elder Jörg Klebingat, Approaching the Throne of God with Confidence,” October 2014 General Conference
Speaking of our potential, this talk highlights some of the barriers to reaching our full divine potential. One of the biggest? Making and believing excuses. In Elder Kelbingat’s words, “Stop blaming others or your circumstances, stop justifying, and stop making excuses for why you may not be fully striving to be obedient…God knows perfectly well whether you simply choose not to fully live the gospel.”

D. Todd Christofferson, “Justification and Sanctification,” Ensign, Jun 2001, 18
     I want to live with God again.  Have you ever wondered how you are doing in that endeavor?  Or how to be happy and or at least at peace all the time?  In this spirit-filled exposition of the Atonement, grace, mercy, and justice, we are taught just how it all works.  Everyone should read this talk! For companion talk that also expounds on the Plan of Salvation and the purpose of this life, especially as to trials, read “Moral Agency.”
Bruce C. Hafen, “A Disciple’s Journey,” (BYU Devotional, February 5, 2008) Download MP3 HERE
     The principles of the gospel found in this talk, I believe, holds the keys to making our lives, our homes, and the church as a whole into Zion.  It answered another question that I’d wondered my whole life.  It answers the question of what is the difference, in actions and characteristics as well as the condition of our hearts, between a celestial life and a terrestrial one.  Both are trying to be “good,” but there are deep, fundamental differences in their foci.  
David A. Bednar, “In the Strength of the Lord,” (BYU Devotional, October 23, 2001) Download MP3 HERE.
     I can’t begin to summarize this talk, nor its impact on how I think . . . it is highly related to “A Disciple’s Journey.”  But . . . more on the “how it’s possible” aspect.  Here is an excerpt in his own words: “Please notice the next line in Mosiah 3:19: “and becometh a saint.” May I suggest this phrase describes the continuation and second phase of life’s journey as outlined by President McKay. “The purpose of the gospel is . . . to make bad men good”–or, in other words, put off the natural man–“and good men better”–or, in other words, become more like a saint. Brothers and sisters, I believe this second part of the journey–this process of going from good to better–is a topic about which we do not study or teach frequently enough nor understand adequately.”
Gene R. Cook, “Receiving Divine Assistance through the Grace of the Lord,” Ensign, May 1993, 79
   This talk deals with the same topic as Elder Bednar’s “In the Strength of the Lord”: The Enabling Power of the Atonement, or Grace.  It talks about how faith, repentance, humility, doing all in our power, and keeping the commandments directly relate to having Christ’s grace attend with us always, no matter our situation in life.  Beginning to understand and apply this one principle has enabled me to maintain a high level of hope and cheerfulness always.  I know personally that Christ can lift and help us beyond our own capacities. 

Neal A. Maxwell, “Notwithstanding My Weakness, Ensign, Nov 1976
   In all of the discussion about conversion and gaining a true understanding of what God expects of us, it is natural to feel inadequate.  This talk will touch your soul in reminding you not to expect more of yourself than God does.  As Elder Maxwell reminds us, God loves us more than we love ourselves, and if we engage in self-pity, we are forgetting that. Remember, “direction first, then velocity!”
Brad Wilcox, “My Grace is Sufficientnot only highlights the truth of the Atonement that is a source of power despite–not ‘after’–all we can do, but also why Grace is necessary. It is not merely to cleanse us, but to change us. To prepare us for heaven. For “heaven will not be heaven for those who have not chosen to be heavenly.” Kendel’s Marked Version Here

“Falling Out of Love … and Climbing Back In,” (Ensign, Jan 2005, 50–53, Author Anonymous). MP3 HERE
     This talk helped me to start looking for the best in people, to love them independent of their actions toward me.  There is good in everyone.  Even if they do some bad things, if you try, you can see it from the perspective of them trying to fulfill a good desire, just in the wrong way.  Christ loves everyone.  What does He see in them that I am missing?  John 15:12 teaches us that we are commanded to love others in the way that Christ does.  Hard?  Yes.  Impossible?  No, but we need to realize our utter dependence on God and what He has done for us.  Once realized, it is much easier to extend the same love to others even . . . perhaps especially . . . if they are “undeserving.”

David A. Bednar, “The Character of Christ” Brigham Young University-Idaho Religion Symposium, January 25, 2003
This talk redefined character for me: ” character is demonstrated by looking and reaching outward when the natural and instinctive response is to be self-absorbed and turn inward.”

Bruce C. Hafen, “On Dealing with Uncertainty,” Ensign, Aug 1979, 63–67.
      In life, many of us encounter ambiguity, doubt, or the frustration of experiencing much less in reality than what we were always taught was the ideal.  This talk illuminates the different levels of dealing with that gap.  “May we be honest enough and courageous enough to face whatever uncertainties we may encounter, try to understand them, and then do something about them.”

Dallin H. Oaks, “‘Judge Not’ and Judging,” (Ensign, Aug 1999, 7) Download MP3 HERE
     This talk cleared up a question I have had for my entire life.  As the title implies, it clears up the issue of the commandment to not judge people, but the practical need to make judgments in life about people.

Fantastic Talks (5 out of 5 Stars)
Neil A. Maxwell, “O, Divine Redeemer,” (October 1981 General Conference)
    Often in the Church we talk about having a “personal relationship with Jesus Christ.” This talk makes my heart feel a depth of gratitude and love and connection to my Savior more than any other. Truly, I Stand All Amazed at what the Savior did to be able to succor me and show me the way to live.

M. Russell Ballard, “O Be Wise,” (Ensign, Nov 2006, 17–20)  Download MP3 HERE
     This talk I took to be my standard for how church administration should be conducted.  It tutors on means, ends, and purposes of what we do in the church.

Ezra Taft Benson, “Beware of Pride,” (Ensign, May 1989,  4) 
    Pride is the most universal sin.  This talk made me more aware of its more subtle manifestations within myself and helped me to see another great lesson of life: the need to be humble and repent continually. 

Robert C. Oaks, “The Power of Patience,” Ensign, Nov 2006,  15–17  Download MP3 HERE
    This talk changed my life.  I realized how closely patience is linked to my faith and how a lot of the questions and frustrations in my life were directly because I was lacking in this most important Christlike attribute.  It is akin to the awesomeness of President Uchtdorf’s later talk, “Continue in Patience”, Ensign, May 2010, 56–59

Lynn G. Robbins, “Tithing—a Commandment Even for the Destitute,” (Ensign, May 2005, 34) MP3 HERE
     The only talk whose author I have personally met and even dined with!  But seriously, this talk made me realize the true meaning and purpose of sacrifice.
Elder Robbin’s “What Manner of Men and Women Ought Ye to Be?” from the April 2011 General Conference contains some of the BEST parenting advice I have EVER heard: focus on what children are becoming, not merely what they are doing (one aspect of this is “never let behavior progress from an action to an identity.” PROFOUND!) 

Great Talks (4.5+ star talks)
 Henry B. Eyring, “Education for Real Life,” Ensign, Oct 2002, 14.  
This talk spoke to my soul, deeply, of how important education is–all the time, in all areas!  As just one part points out: “Conversion brings a drive to learn. . . Our education must never stop. If it ends at the door of the classroom on graduation day, we will fail. . .”  Wow.  And this wasn’t explicit in the talk, but I think the same principles to secular education applies to self-knowledge.  We must always be learning about ourselves and not be afraid of correction, but rather, completely and sincerely open to it!  It is an opportunity to learn and grow in something that perhaps we weren’t aware of (or, if we are aware of it, an opportunity to honestly examine why we aren’t taking the steps we know we need to).  What better way of more quickly and completely becoming, step by step, more perfect and like God!!
Robert D. Hales, “The Journey of Lifelong Learning,” BYU Campus Education Week Devotional, August 19, 2008MP3 Here
Another transformational talk. He quotes Brigham Young and concludes that continual self-improvement, continual learning, is essential to what it means to be a true Latter-day Saint. Another AWESOME quote: “Lifelong learners are driven by . . . eternal motives. One of the giant steps in maturing and acquiring knowledge and experience is when we learn for the joy of being edified rather than for the pleasure of being entertained. The goal of the wisest lifelong learners is not so much to impress others but to improve themselves and to help others. Their desire is to learn and to change their behavior by following the sound counsel and example imparted from great teachers around them.”

Glenn L. Pace, “Confidence and Self-Worth,” (Ensign, Jan 2005,  32–35) Download MP3 HERE
     I have always had at problems with confidence, and, to a lesser degree, depression and self-worth.  I have also always been really hard on myself for my weaknesses.  This talk helped me put that all into perspective.  The keys are keeping the eternal perspective and focusing more outward, others-centered and less inward, self-centered.
President Uchtdorf “Forget Me Not” (Ensign, Nov. 2011)
     President Uchtdorf visits this same theme of self-worth, reminding us not to be so hard on ourselves, that we need to not lose sight of the “why” of the gospel, instead of getting lost in all the “do’s” we have and that we are never forgotten. “The happiest people I know are not those who find their golden ticket; they are those who, while in pursuit of worthy goals, discover and treasure the beauty and sweetness of the everyday moments. They are the ones who, thread by daily thread, weave a tapestry of gratitude and wonder throughout their lives. These are they who are truly happy.”

Quentin L. Cook, “Looking beyond the Mark,” (Ensign, Mar. 2003, 41)
     The best talk on when and how “righteousness” is actually wickedness

Dallin H. Oaks, “Sins and Mistakes,” (Ensign, Oct 1996,  62) Download MP3 HERE
     This talk is perhaps the best explanation of what sin is and how we should think about what repentance actually entails (a fundamental change to be a morally strong person), the difference between chastening and correcting, and the need to be forgiving of other’s sins and mistakes.  
Another favorite on the subject is Dale G. Renlund’s “Repentance a Joyful Choice” from the October 2016 General Conference

Ezra Taft Benson in Fourteen Fundamentals in Following the Prophet lays the groundwork for a more complete understanding of exactly what we, as members of the Church, believe (or should remember!) about the President of the Church.  Essential reading for the faithful.

David A. Bednar, “Clean Hands and a Pure Heart,” (Ensign, Nov 2007, 80–83) Download MP3 HERE
     Of the same principle as “A Disciples Journey,” this talk captures the essence of this all-important principle of the gospel which has perhaps become the guiding principle in my life, that of becoming converted.  This theme is repeated so impeccably in many of Elder Bednar’s talks, I had a hard time choosing which one to include (“Ye Must Be Born Again,” Ensign, May 2007, 19–22 is also extremely edifying).

D. Todd Christofferson, “When Thou Art Converted,” Ensign, May 2004, 11 Download MP3 HERE
    Further instruction on not just “going through the motions” of the gospel, but truly living them, having them become a part of who you are–becoming a new person, a disciple of Christ.

Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “The Infinite Power of Hope,” Ensign, Nov 2008, 21–24.  Download MP3 HERE.
     This talk helped me have one of the strongest spiritual experiences of my life.  All I feel comfortable sharing is that I was filled with an overwhelmingly positive outlook on life and was given a glimpse of how God wanted all of us to feel all the time.  I think I was smiling for the next 3 hours straight.  
“Hope . . . is like the beam of sunlight rising up and above the horizon of our present circumstances. It pierces the darkness with a brilliant dawn. . . It is manifest in confidence, optimism, enthusiasm, and patient perseverance. . . we have the responsibility to make it an active part of our lives and overcome the temptation to lose hope.”  Woah.

F. Enzio Busche is one of those people who talks to you directly. I appreciate his revealing things as they are. Two of his talks, “Unleashing the Dormant Spirit,” BYU Devotional, 14 May 1996 and “University for Eternal Life,” Ensign, May 1989, 71 are well worth your introspection. The latter contains my 3rd favorite quote of all time.

Ezra Taft Benson, “Beware of Pride,” (Ensign, May 1989,  4) 
    Pride is the most universal sin.  This talk made me more aware of its more subtle manifestations within myself and helped me to see another great lesson of life: the need to be humble and repent continually. 

Jeffrey R. Holland, “What I Wish Every New Member Knew—and Every Longtime Member Remembered,” (Ensign, Oct 2006, 10–16). MP3 HERE
     The title is almost self-explanitory–it is so much more than what members of the church should know.  It answered deep, stirring questions of my soul.

Jeffrey R. Holland, “The Tongue of Angels,” (Ensign, May 2007,  16–18) Download MP3 HERE
     Essential reading for anyone who attempts to communicate at any time.  Directly Related is this excellent talk: 
Marvin J. Ashton, “The Tongue Can Be a Sharp Sword,” Ensign, May 1992, 18

Misc/Really Good Talks (~3Star Talks) (When you’re not looking for anything specific, but just want something good):

Lance B. Wickman, “Of Compasses and Covenants,” Ensign, Jun 1996, 37–43)
Twenty Questions with Elder Russell M. Nelson
Bruce C. Hafen, “A Willingness to Learn from Pain,” OCT. 1983 Ensign

Gordon B. Hinckley“The Great Things Which God Has Revealed,” (Ensign, May 2005,  80) MP3 HERE
     A talk that explains eight precepts that sets The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint apart from all other churches currently on the Earth. 

E. Richard Packham, “My Maturing Views of Grace,” (Ensign, Aug 2005,  22–25) Download MP3 HERE
     An article that instantly transformed a principle of the gospel that I never understood (and even avoided because of vagueness) to one of my greatest sources of joy, hope, energy, and motivation.

Madison U. Sowell, “On Measuring Flour and Forgiveness,” (BYU Devotional, 22 October 1996)
     This talk spoke to my heart on the most important virtue in human relationships, forgiveness.  It helped answer many perplexing question I had about what forgiving others required–and did not require–me to do.

David A. Bednar, CES Fireside for Young Adults, “A Reservoir of Living Water”, 4 February 2007 MP3 HERE
     This is the best exposition on scripture study I have ever encountered.  It completely changed my approach to scripture study.  A must-read for one of the few specific activities that our Father believes so important as to admonish us to do it daily.

Spencer W. Kimball, “Marriage and Divorce” (BYU Devotional, September 7, 1976) Download MP3 HERE
     I realized how special, how sacred, and how important the highest human relationship is after reading this.
Matthew O. Richardson, “Three Principles of Marriage,” (Ensign, Apr 2005,  20–24).  Download MP3 HERE
     This talk is a blueprint for a happy marriage and a happy life.

Boyd K. Packer, “The Gift of the Holy Ghost: What Every Member Should Know,” (Ensign, Aug 2006,  46–52) MP3
    This talk answered almost every question I ever had about an influence that we have the promise to be with us to help, guide, and strengthen us always.

Lynn A. Mickelsen, “The Atonement, Repentance, and Dirty Linen,” (Ensign, Nov 2003, 10) 
     Another stirring talk on the Atonement of Christ, Repentance, Mercy, and Forgiveness.

Dallin H. Oaks, “Divorce,” (Ensign, May 2007,  70–73) Download MP3 HERE
     The best treatment of this topic.  Ever.  Extends just as aptly to healthy marriages and all relationships.
Kelli Allen-Pratt, “Confessions of a Perfectionist,” (Ensign, Jun 2005, 64–67) MP3 HERE
Brent L. Top, “A Balanced Life,” (Ensign, Apr 2005, 26–29) MP3 HERE
     These two talks were the catalyst for one of my more dramatic transformations in life.  I used to be a huge perfectionist, type-A personality.  I was largely never satisfied and rarely happy.  These talks, my mission, and the spirit, taught me a few but extremely vital, things, and I am now one of the happiest people I know.
–Perhaps the most paradigm-altering talk on this subject, though, is What Do You Expect?: A Key to Personal Happiness by Professor Jeffry H. Larson

Dallin H. Oaks, “Eight Ways God Can Speak to You,” (New Era, Sep 2004, 4) Download MP3 HERE
     This is perhaps the biggest, most important principle within the restored church.  This talk expounds upon the most powerful influence and source of guidance that every person reading this, and is willing to seek, has access to, even a right to.