Fall 2014 General Conference Opens with Great Women’s Broadcast

imageOur ward young women decided to meet at the home of our patriarch and listen to the Women’s Broadcast together. The hour before the broadcast involved socializing in the back yard, eating popcorn, cake, pizza, and other goodies. Then we gathered inside to watch on the projector-screen system our patriarch has in his basement.

Summary I thought the meeting was a spiritual delight in the strong tradition initiated with the first Women’s Broadcast last spring. I was also excited to hear President Uchtdorf refer to the Women’s meeting as the first meeting of the General Conference.

I thought having the young women and friends meet in a home setting to enjoy the Women’s Broadcast was also a brilliant move, one which is enabled by the vast range of media options available to allow people to participate in the conference.

Below are my real-time notes (complete with typos…).

The meeting was conducted by Sister Rosemary M. Wixom, Primary General President. She used to be the Mission President’s wife in our mission and used to live in our stake. Which is just a small example of how the missionary program, mobile society, and other matters keep the Church a small community, despite being a world-wide Church with millions of members.

They brought in the YW board, and one of our YW leaders exclaimed that the Japanese lady is her husband’s aunt.

Choir – On This Day of Joy and Gladness. My friend with the pink hair told the girls in the choir to SMILE!

Prayer: Sister Dora Cabela, from South Africa (high five from the YW leader in our ward whose husband is from South Africa).

Next we saw a musical number, I Love to See The Temple, performed by children from Seoul, Korea. The young girls were all dressed in traditional Korean clothing, and everyone thought they were so sweet.

Sister Linda K. Burton – Her daughter explained on the morning of the day after her first day in school, “I already went to school!” She had not understood that she would need to return to school several days a week for many years.

Speaking of the temple, Sister Burton talked of how returning to the temple will help prepare the people for their future life with God. She spoke of Captain Moroni, and how the Nephites were prepared in a manner which never had been known. As Moroni’s preparations required consistent patience, our own preparation will similarly require consistent effort, wisdom, and patience. She quoted from the parable of the ten virgins, where those who were ready were able to participate in the wedding, while the foolish were unable to return in time.

This was the Savior’s story. It was He who called five of them wise and five foolish. We understand that the “oil” which isn’t something that can be shared – it is spiritual power, worthiness that we individually acquire as we consistently make right choices.

Only the home can compare with the temple in sacredness. Let us prepare to have our homes be places where we can feel the spirit. As Sister Bonnie Oscarson said, where much is required, much more will be given.

To hold a temple recommend is a priceless privilege. As we consistently and diligently prepare, we can have our lamps trimmed and burning with astonishing preparation. That all may feel They power and receive a fulness of the Holy Spirit and be prepared to receive everything.

May we be prepared and ready to receive the promised blessings.
[I heard one of the ladies say, “She’s awesome!”]

Choir – I know that My Savior Loves Me/I know that My Redeemer Lives

imageDuring the song, I noticed my oldest daughter on the far side of the room, using a drop spindle to spin merino wool into yard.

Sister Jean A. Stevens (Primary 1st Counselor) – I know my Redeemer Lives. Our ages and personalities cannot separate us, because we are His. Sister Stevens talked about a baptismal service and the eight children who were preparing to make that covenant. She named each of them. Even though we are many, God knows us individually and loves us individually. His desire is that we will choose the path that will bring us home to Him.

Baptism is only the beginning. There are other covenants in our future, such as the covenants we enter into in the temple.

Sister Stevens spoke of her mother, and the way her mother consistently chose righteousness. She was dating her future husband when he was called to serve a mission in South Africa. With the approval of their priesthood leaders, the young couple was married for time and all eternity before he left for his mission. It was a humble wedding. There was no fancy dress, no reception. It was just the covenants. Six days later, he left for South Africa. The covenants they had made gave them strength and power, a perspective that transcended their short-term sacrifice. It was not easy, but it was an ideal way to lay a foundation for an eternal family. It was a pattern of righteousness that is still blessing their family.

Three years after returning from his mission, Sister Stevens’ father enlisted in the Navy during World War II. Despite this and other challenges, Sister Stevens mother lived a rich and loving life. Her faith in God and hope in His promises was reflected in the sentiment that no sacrifice was too great for the blessings that awaited her as a faithful daughter of God.

How can we access the power and blessings of temple covenants? I have come to know there are sisters of all ages and all circumstances whose lives provide answers to these questions. Mary has not yet turned 12, but she has prepared over 1000 names for temple work. Others were also mentioned, who are attending the temple and preparing family names to receive temple blessings, both those who have ready access to a temple and those who can only visit a temple on an infrequent basis requiring travel to other countries.

We travel to God one by one. Every mighty change matters to God. Our loving Heavenly Father lives. And it is through His son, Jesus Christ, that every promise and hope is fulfilled.

Video Presentation of women and girls around the world bearing testimony of the temple. Each woman or girl spoke in their native language, and their words were translated into the language of the viewers along a band at the base of the screen. As the stories were told, I cried, and could hear other around me sniffing. One of the most powerful stories was told by a women whose six children were killed in an earthquake.

Sister Neill F. Marriott – Every one of you is valuable and essential to Heavenly Father’s plan of salvation. We need to live it and share it. We need more of the influential voices of women. You faith is felt by all around you, whether in person or known through social media.

How can we keep that light of truth glowing? The scriptures teach that which is of God is light. And as we continue in God, we will receive more light. We can go to the temple, where all things point to Christ and His atoning sacrifice.

In 1877, George Q. Cannon said that every temple lessened the power of Satan on earth. Our purpose is like the purpose of the temple, to push back the darkness, build faith, and bless others.

Some years ago our family faced a major challenge. I received a clear impression of my weaknesses, a prideful woman taking credit for each so-called accomplishment. I cried out to God, asking that I not be that woman any more. I was able to learn it was only through the atonement of Christ that I could be changed, if I gave my heart to Him. I still have weakness, but I am lighter as I go to the temple, accept God’s light, and accept His plan for me.

We, like temples, have an inner brightness. We each have many roles, each of which can be full of spiritual power. [Wage earner was one of the many roles she mentioned.] Our small acts of service benefit those around us. Please keep reminding your parents to pray.

Sister Marriott spoke of sisters in Alaska who had memorized “The Living Christ.” She has set a goal to similarly memorize this by this Christmas.

Choir and Congregation – I am a Child of God


[At this point I gave up on trying to capture the notes as third person summaries and just captured what was being said.]

President Dieter F. Uchtdorf – I am honored to have this opportunity to be with you to open another conference of the Church. I am most grateful to President Thomas S. Monson for asking me to represent the First Presidency.

A sister whose name translated means “Sister Eternal” was the one who first invived my grandmother to attend Church. I am eternally grateful to my grandmother, my mother, my sisters, my daughters and my wife. My wife is the strength in our home during good times and bad. Finally, I am very grateful to all of you, who do so much to build the kingdom of God. I am grateful for the countless ways you inspire and build those around you.

Pondering the truth that we are children of Heavenly Parents will carry us through the most difficult times of life and will inspire you to accomplish incredible things. This is not a distinction you have earned or will ever lose. You will always remain a daughter of God. This origin alone will not guarantee a divine inheritance, however. It is the faithful who will gain all powers and blessings.

How do we attain these blessings? “Except ye abide my law, ye may not attain this glory. Receive ye, therefore, my law.” Therefore we speak of being obedient to God’s commandments, receiving God heart, mind, and soul.

For some of us, obeying these commandments is not always joyful. Sometimes it is like eating a plate of hated vegetables. Perhaps during times such as these, we might ask “Do we really need to obey *all* of God’s commandments?” I think God may know things we do not. He is an eternal being with intelligence and wisdom ever greater than ours. He is focused on one goal, to bring to bass our immortality and eternal life. He not only knows what is best for us, He earnestly wishes for us to do what is best for us.

Should we not cherish the light posts He has given to guide us through the darkness of mortality? As we follow this path, we lay a foundation that will bless us throughout life.

Part of our challenge is that we imagine that God has all these blessings locked in heaven, locked unless we comply with some parternalistic commandment. But rather He constantly rains down blessings, but it is we who block out these blessing by refusing to obey, as though we are holding up an umbrella to block these blessings.

The commandments are not like life hacks or something on pinterest. They are God’s words to His children, His eternal wisdom for returning to His presence in love and majesty. He reaches out to you this very day. To qualify for these glorious blessings, we must have faith, seek Him in word and deed, and resolutely stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things and in all places.

When we understand God, we will better understand ourselves. As you understand this, it will become your heart’s desire to follow this path. Those who desire to follow Jesus Christ will gain more than those who are merely putting in their time sitting in a pew.

A single mother of two small children recently came down with chicken pox. The task of caring for herself and her children became overwhelming. The house became disorderly. Dishes and laundry piled up. A knock came at the door. It was her visiting teachers. They could see her distress and hear the cries of the children. They might have simply handed her a plate of cookies and left, simply asking if she needed help without giving the urgently needed help. But they were true disciples, and they stepped in to help, called a friend to bring much-needed groceries, and did not leave until the young mother’s burden was significantly lifted.

When we treat God’s commandments like something to check off on a to do list, we mist the heart of joyfully living the gospel, the path of discipleship. It is not a burden – it lifts us and fills our spirit with light in times of darkness. It gives us divine power and lasting joy.

Whether you are eight or one hundred eight, you are loved. You are dear to your Heavenly Parents. The eternal creator of life and light loves you this very day and always. He is not waiting until you overcome your bad habits. He loves you now. He knows of the times you have held onto the fading light, He knows of your sufferings. He knows of your successes and acknowledges and cherishes them. He loves you for reaching out and helping others with their burdens. He knows you as your really are, and He loves you.

Do you suppose it matters to Him if your make-up, hair, and nails are perfect? Do you think He cares how many followers you have on Facebook or Twitter? Do you think outward attractiveness make the slightest difference in your worth to the eternal maker of the universe? He loves you for the eternal person of glory and light you have the potential to become. More than anything, He wishes you to return to your heavenly home in glory and honor.

Trust in the saving power of Jesus Christ. Live the gospel joyfully. Find the faith, determination, and commitment to live the gospel and you will discover your best self. Your real self. You will discover what it means to become a daughter of God, The Lord of all righteousness. Amen.

Choir – Let Zion in Her Beauty Rise

Closing Prayer – Amy Caroline White (Logan Single Adult Stake)

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About Meg Stout

Meg Stout has been an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ (of Latter-day Saints) for decades. She lives in the DC area with her husband, Bryan, and several daughters. She is an engineer by vocation and a writer by avocation. Meg is the author of Reluctant Polygamist, laying out the possibility that Joseph taught the acceptability of plural marriage but that Emma was right to assert she had been Joseph's only true wife.

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