Monthly Archives: September 2013

Women’s Conference – Did You Catch It?


English: Thomas S. Monson. Photo by Brian Tibb...

English: Thomas S. Monson. Photo by Brian Tibbets (tibbets.org) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yesterday was the women’s conference!  The General Relief Society meeting of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  Did you catch it?

I almost didn’t.  Well, almost didn’t get to the church to watch.  So I would have watched it at home on http://www.lds.org.  After waking up at 5:00am and not being able to go back to sleep, I had plenty of time to write about it.  You would think I also had plenty of time to prepare to go.

Well, luckily I got there with a few minutes to spare.  And to catch a quick bite to eat too.

The meeting was wonderful!  The choir was made up of the sister (lady) missionaries from the training center.  They looked so wonderful in their colorful blouses and dark skirts.  And they weren’t all the young 19-21 year olds.  I saw a few older women who are also now serving missions for the church.  They sounded beautiful!  The music is always a bonus at conferences.  And, they were all very nicely dressed, entirely appropriate.  You’ll never look at a sister missionary and have to ask if what she’s wearing is appropriate.  They are excellent examples of true womanhood and femininity.

The three members of the Relief Society General Presidency, Linda K. Burton, Carole M. Stephens, and Linda S. Reeves spoke.  Their messages were inspirational and enlightening!  They spoke about the importance of making and keeping covenants.  A covenant is a 2-way promise we make with Heavenly Father through the ordinances of the church.  We make certain promises, and He promises certain blessings in return.

They pointed out that as we reach out to others in love, or in concern, we are keeping the covenants we have made.  And we can teach our children that as they follow the feelings of their hearts and look to help their family or friends, especially during times of need, they are keeping the covenants they make when they are baptized at the age of 8.

Our beloved Prophet and President of the church, Thomas S. Monson, was the final speaker.  He has such great love for the sisters of the church throughout the world!  He appreciates the good that we do, our devotion, and our strength.  He spoke of his wife, who passed away a few months ago.  He misses her terribly.  “My beloved companion, my dearest friend” he called her.  Can you think of more tender feelings a man can have for his wife?  🙂  He also said it is impossible to calculate the good that has come because of the Relief Society organization.

He said we all have struggles, and sometimes fear replaces faith.  At these times remember prayer.  We were not placed here to walk alone.  God has assured us that He will be there to help us if we but ask.  Trust Him to know best how, when, where, and why to answer your prayers.  Pray and calmly wait.  And prayer is not just for times of need.  Pray always.

Also study the scriptures.  They contain the way to eternal perfection.   You will find answers to your questions in them.  You will gain a sure testimony of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.

Heavenly Father loves you.  That love never changes, not by your appearance, your possessions, how much money you have in the bank, your talents or abilities.  It is always there.  We do not ever walk alone.  One day you will look over your life and discover that during all the difficult times He was still there.  He prays that we will always be blessed with every good gift.

What a wonderful man he is!  And how wonderful to have a living prophet of God on the earth today.

It was a wonderful and inspirational meeting!  You can see it any time you want by going to http://www.lds.org/broadcasts/archive/general-relief-society-meeting/2013/09?cid=HPTH091213087&lang=eng (or just to http://www.lds.org and search for General Relief Society and find a list of all of them).

And let me know what you think about it!  🙂

And by the way, this next weekend is the semi-annual General Conference of the Church!  Four 2-hour sessions over 2 days filled with inspiration and hope!  Watch the same ways that the women’s conference was available!

Women’s Conference Today!!


Salt Lake Temple in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA....

Salt Lake Temple in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA. Taken by myself with a Canon 10D and 17-40mm f/4 L lens. This is a 3 segment panorama. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Behold, I am Jesus Christ...

Behold, I am Jesus Christ… (Photo credit: was_bedeutet_jemanden)

 

 

 

 

Today I give you a promise.

 

I promise you that when you participate in the General Relief Society meeting of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints tonight, you will be filled with joy and rejoicing.  You will feel the Spirit of God and receive inspiration from Him to help you in your life.

 

Go with a prayer in your heart and a question in your mind.  Be open to receiving inspiration from your kind, loving Father in Heaven to answer that question.  Be prepared to seek to know what His will is for you in your life, how you can become all that He would have you become.  You are His child!  That gives you all the good attributes and characteristics you could hope for.  Look for the ones that you can develop at this time of your life, and how to do so.

 

As you do this you will find new avenues opening up to you.  You will receive greater gifts and knowledge that you have ever had before.  Things will become more clear to you.  You will begin to understand your relationship to your Father in Heaven, and you will love Him more.  You will be strengthened to overcome the problems and trials in your life.  The path through them will become more readily visible.

 

The little annoyances in life will start to dissipate.  You’ll find yourself feeling happier and more hopeful, despite the circumstances around you!  This will surprise you.  But the feeling of peace will pervade your existence and you will find yourself more drawn to your loving Heavenly Father.

 

You will desire to keep these feelings alive in you always.  You can have that!  God has given us many resources to enrich our lives.  We can come to know Him better as we pray to Him by talking to Him as we would to our best friend.  He is always near and anxious to hear from us.  He is the “Great Parent of the universe” and stands ready to help and guide us in our lives!

 

He has given us a living prophet to guide and direct us today.  He has provided His word through sacred scripture, the Bible, Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price.  All contain His words and bring us closer to Him and give us answers in our lives as we study, ponder, and pray about the things we read in them.

 

He has given us His church so that we can be organized in helping and serving others.  Through the organization of the church we have the principles and ordinances we need to know why we are here, where we came from, what our relationship with God and each other is, where we are going after this life, and to tie ourselves and our families together forever and return to Him who created us and live with Him for all Eternity.

 

All from watching women’s conference.  Ask and ye shall receive!  🙂

 

 

 

Women’s Conference in 1 Day


A typical meetinghouse of the church

A typical meetinghouse of the church (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

It’s only 1 day away!

 

I have shared many thoughts and ideas about the General Relief Society Meeting of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  I guess now it’s time to share my feelings with you.

 

This women’s conference is a great blessing, and is available to all of us.  Whenever I have attended a broadcast at my local Stake Center, I have felt the sisterhood of the other women who also attended, enjoying their love and friendship.  We were there for a common cause – to be uplifted, to be spiritually fed (as well as physically fed as they usually have a dinner beforehand), to renew acquaintances with those we don’t see very often, and to sit at the feet, as it were, of the Savior and hear His guidance, advice, and words of wisdom specifically to us through His spokesman, the prophet.

 

We are also inspired by the things shared by members of the General Relief Society Presidency.  These women have experienced the same trials, hopes, and joys that we have, sometimes more that what I have had.  As they share how they overcame problems in their lives, I feel hope that I can also overcome mine.  They share their successes and the joyful times in their lives, I feel happy and remember the good times in my own life.

 

And as they share the things they did to strengthen their faith in the Lord, improve their dedication to Him and to following His path, Heavenly Father‘s Spirit whispers to me the things I can improve in my own life to find the answers I am seeking.  I feel the comfort and warmth of that Spirit and am lifted up to joy and rejoicing, heartened to continue striving to do that which I know is right.

 

I have always been glad I went.  And my life is just a little easier afterwards, as always happens when I do things the Lord’s way.  He blesses and strengthens those who live as they should.  It’s a natural result of living that kind of life.

 

You can enjoy all these blessings too!

 

And you can always go online and see or review the conferences whenever you want.  Need a pick-me-up?  🙂

 

 

Women’s Conference in 2 Days


Today I share with you my favorite talk from a women’s conference.  It was given by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, 2nd counselor in the Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  He is from Germany, and was the Stake President of the Frankfurt Stake while I served my mission in Darmstadt.  He is an amazing person!  I love his talks.  He is a spiritual giant.  He used to fly 747s, and he loves to compare flying to life.

But at this particular conference, he sought to comfort and strengthen the women in the Church.  His talk was entitled, “Happiness, Your Heritage”.  I love this talk because he gives advice on how women can find happiness – through creativity (creating something) and through service (doing something for someone else).  It is a true principle, and will bring happiness.

Here is his talk, given at the General Relief Society Meeting in September, 2008:

Happiness, Your Heritage

Second Counselor in the First Presidency

Dieter F. Uchtdorf

Our birthright—and the purpose of our great voyage on this earth—is to seek and experience eternal happiness.

My dear sisters, I am grateful for this, my first opportunity to speak to the women of the Church gathered together in all parts of the world. We are especially honored today with the presence of President Monson and President Eyring. The choir has touched our hearts. We have been inspired by the messages of Sister Thompson, Sister Allred, and Sister Beck.

Since learning that I would be with you today, I have thought about the many women who have shaped my life: my wonderful wife, Harriet; my mother; my mother-in-law; my sister; my daughter; my daughter-in-law; and many friends. All my life I have been surrounded by women who inspired, taught, and encouraged me. I am who I am today in large part because of these singular women. Each time I meet with the sisters of the Church, I sense that I am in the midst of similar remarkable souls. I am grateful to be here, grateful for your talents, compassion, and service. Most of all, I am grateful for who you are: treasured daughters of our Heavenly Father with infinite worth.

I’m sure it comes as no surprise, but the differences between men and women can often be quite striking—physically and mentally, as well as emotionally. One of the best ways I can think of to illustrate this is in the way my wife and I cook a meal.

When Harriet prepares a meal, it’s a masterpiece. Her cuisine is as wide-ranging as the world, and she frequently prepares dishes from countries we have visited. The presentation of the food is awe inspiring. In fact, it often looks so beautiful that it seems a crime to eat it. It’s as much a feast for the eyes as it is for the sense of taste.

But sure enough, no matter how perfect everything is, looks, and tastes, Harriet will apologize for something she thinks is imperfect. “I’m afraid I used a touch too much ginger,” she will say, or, “Next time, I think it would be better if I used a little more curry and one additional bay leaf.”

Let me contrast that with the way I cook. For the purpose of this talk, I asked Harriet to tell me what I cook best.

Her answer: fried eggs.

Sunny-side up.

But that isn’t all. I have a specialty dish called Knusperchen. The name may sound like a delicacy you might find at an exclusive restaurant. Let me share with you how to make it. You cut French bread into small slices and toast them twice.

That is the recipe!

So, between fried eggs, even when they are greasy, and Knusperchen, even when they are burned, when I cook, I feel pretty heroic.

Perhaps this contrast between my wife and me is a slight exaggeration, but it illustrates something that may extend beyond preparing meals.

To me it appears that our splendid sisters sometimes undervalue their abilities—they focus on what is lacking or imperfect rather than what has been accomplished and who they really are.

Perhaps you recognize this trait in someone you know really well.

The good news is that this also points to an admirable quality: the innate desire to please the Lord to the best of your ability. Unfortunately, it can also lead to frustration, exhaustion, and unhappiness.

To All Who Are Weary

Today I would like to speak to those who have ever felt inadequate, discouraged, or weary—in short, I would like to speak to all of us.

I also pray that the Holy Ghost will amplify my words and bestow upon them additional meaning, insight, and inspiration.

We know that sometimes it can be difficult to keep our heads above water. In fact, in our world of change, challenges, and checklists, sometimes it can seem nearly impossible to avoid feeling overwhelmed by emotions of suffering and sorrow.

I am not suggesting that we can simply flip a switch and stop the negative feelings that distress us. This isn’t a pep talk or an attempt to encourage those sinking in quicksand to imagine instead they are relaxing on a beach. I recognize that in all of our lives there are real concerns. I know there are hearts here today that harbor deep sorrows. Others wrestle with fears that trouble the soul. For some, loneliness is their secret trial.

These things are not insignificant.

However, I would like to speak about two principles that may help you find a path to peace, hope, and joy—even during times of trial and distress. I want to speak about God’s happiness and how each one of us can taste of it in spite of the burdens that beset us.

God’s Happiness

Let me first pose a question: What do you suppose is the greatest kind of happiness possible? For me, the answer to this question is, God’s happiness.

This leads to another question: What is our Heavenly Father’s happiness?

This may be impossible to answer because His ways are not our ways. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are [God’s] ways higher than [our] ways, and [His] thoughts [higher] than [our] thoughts.” 1

Though we cannot understand “the meaning of all things,” we do “know that [God] loveth his children” 2 because He has said, “Behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.” 3

Heavenly Father is able to accomplish these two great goals—the immortality and eternal life of man—because He is a God of creation and compassion. Creating and being compassionate are two objectives that contribute to our Heavenly Father’s perfect happiness. Creating and being compassionate are two activities that we as His spirit children can and should emulate.

The Work of Creation

The desire to create is one of the deepest yearnings of the human soul. No matter our talents, education, backgrounds, or abilities, we each have an inherent wish to create something that did not exist before.

Everyone can create. You don’t need money, position, or influence in order to create something of substance or beauty.

Creation brings deep satisfaction and fulfillment. We develop ourselves and others when we take unorganized matter into our hands and mold it into something of beauty—and I am not talking about the process of cleaning the rooms of your teenage children.

You might say, “I’m not the creative type. When I sing, I’m always half a tone above or below the note. I cannot draw a line without a ruler. And the only practical use for my homemade bread is as a paperweight or as a doorstop.”

If that is how you feel, think again, and remember that you are spirit daughters of the most creative Being in the universe. Isn’t it remarkable to think that your very spirits are fashioned by an endlessly creative and eternally compassionate God? Think about it—your spirit body is a masterpiece, created with a beauty, function, and capacity beyond imagination.

But to what end were we created? We were created with the express purpose and potential of experiencing a fulness of joy. 4 Our birthright—and the purpose of our great voyage on this earth—is to seek and experience eternal happiness. One of the ways we find this is by creating things.

If you are a mother, you participate with God in His work of creation—not only by providing physical bodies for your children but also by teaching and nurturing them. If you are not a mother now, the creative talents you develop will prepare you for that day, in this life or the next.

You may think you don’t have talents, but that is a false assumption, for we all have talents and gifts, every one of us. 5 The bounds of creativity extend far beyond the limits of a canvas or a sheet of paper and do not require a brush, a pen, or the keys of a piano. Creation means bringing into existence something that did not exist before—colorful gardens, harmonious homes, family memories, flowing laughter.

What you create doesn’t have to be perfect. So what if the eggs are greasy or the toast is burned? Don’t let fear of failure discourage you. Don’t let the voice of critics paralyze you—whether that voice comes from the outside or the inside.

If you still feel incapable of creating, start small. Try to see how many smiles you can create, write a letter of appreciation, learn a new skill, identify a space and beautify it.

Nearly a century and a half ago, President Brigham Young spoke to the Saints of his day. “There is a great work for the Saints to do,” he said. “Progress, and improve upon and make beautiful everything around you. Cultivate the earth, and cultivate your minds. Build cities, adorn your habitations, make gardens, orchards, and vineyards, and render the earth so pleasant that when you look upon your labors you may do so with pleasure, and that angels may delight to come and visit your beautiful locations. In the mean time continually seek to adorn your minds with all the graces of the Spirit of Christ.” 6

The more you trust and rely upon the Spirit, the greater your capacity to create. That is your opportunity in this life and your destiny in the life to come. Sisters, trust and rely on the Spirit. As you take the normal opportunities of your daily life and create something of beauty and helpfulness, you improve not only the world around you but also the world within you.

Being Compassionate

Being compassionate is another great work of our Heavenly Father and a fundamental characteristic of who we are as a people. We are commanded to “succor the weak, lift up the hands which hang down, and strengthen the feeble knees.” 7 Disciples of Christ throughout all ages of the world have been distinguished by their compassion. Those who follow the Savior “mourn with those that mourn … and comfort those that stand in need of comfort.” 8

When we reach out to bless the lives of others, our lives are blessed as well. Service and sacrifice open the windows of heaven, allowing choice blessings to descend upon us. Surely our beloved Heavenly Father smiles upon those who care for the least of His children.

As we lift others, we rise a little higher ourselves. President Spencer W. Kimball taught, “The more we serve our fellowmen in appropriate ways, the more substance there is to our souls.” 9

President Gordon B. Hinckley believed in the healing power of service. After the death of his wife, he provided a great example to the Church in the way he immersed himself in work and in serving others. It is told that President Hinckley remarked to one woman who had recently lost her husband, “Work will cure your grief. Serve others.”

These are profound words. As we lose ourselves in the service of others, we discover our own lives and our own happiness.

President Lorenzo Snow expressed a similar thought: “When you find yourselves a little gloomy, look around you and find somebody that is in a worse plight than yourself; go to him and find out what the trouble is, then try to remove it with the wisdom which the Lord bestows upon you; and the first thing you know, your gloom is gone, you feel light, the Spirit of the Lord is upon you, and everything seems illuminated.” 10

In today’s world of pop psychology, junk TV, and feel-good self-help manuals, this advice may seem counterintuitive. We are sometimes told that the answer to our ills is to look inward, to indulge ourselves, to spend first and pay later, and to satisfy our own desires even at the expense of those around us. While there are times when it is prudent to look first to our own needs, in the long run it doesn’t lead to lasting happiness.

An Instrument in the Hands of the Lord

I believe that the women of the Church, regardless of age or family status, understand and apply best the words of James Barrie, the author of Peter Pan: “Those who bring sunshine to the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves.” 11 Often I have witnessed quiet acts of kindness and compassion by noble women who extended themselves in unselfish charity. My heart swells when I hear stories of the sisters of the Church and how they rush to the aid of those in need.

There are those in the Church—both men and women—who wonder how they can contribute to the kingdom. Sometimes women who are single, divorced, or widowed wonder if there is a place for them. Every sister in the Church is of critical importance—not only to our Heavenly Father but also to the building of the kingdom of God as well. There is a great work to do.

One year ago in this meeting, President Monson taught that “you are … surrounded by opportunities for service. … Often small acts of service are all that is required to lift and bless another.” 12 Look around you. There at sacrament meeting is a young mother with several children—offer to sit with her and help. There in your neighborhood is a young man who seems discouraged—tell him you enjoy being in his presence, that you feel his goodness. True words of encouragement require only a loving and caring heart but may have an eternal impact on the life of those around you.

You wonderful sisters render compassionate service to others for reasons that supersede desires for personal benefits. In this you emulate the Savior, who, though a king, did not seek position, nor was He concerned about whether others noticed Him. He did not bother to compete with others. His thoughts were always tuned to help others. He taught, healed, conversed, and listened to others. He knew that greatness had little to do with outward signs of prosperity or position. He taught and lived by this doctrine: “He that is greatest among you shall be your servant.” 13

In the end, the number of prayers we say may contribute to our happiness, but the number of prayers we answer may be of even greater importance. Let us open our eyes and see the heavy hearts, notice the loneliness and despair; let us feel the silent prayers of others around us, and let us be an instrument in the hands of the Lord to answer those prayers.

Conclusion

My dear sisters, I have a simple faith. I believe that as you are faithful and diligent in keeping the commandments of God, as you draw closer to Him in faith, hope, and charity, things will work together for your good.14 I believe that as you immerse yourselves in the work of our Father—as you create beauty and as you are compassionate to others—God will encircle you in the arms of His love. 15 Discouragement, inadequacy, and weariness will give way to a life of meaning, grace, and fulfillment.

As spirit daughters of our Heavenly Father, happiness is your heritage.

You are choice daughters of our Heavenly Father, and through the things you create and by your compassionate service, you are a great power for good. You will make the world a better place. Lift up your chin; walk tall. God loves you. We love and admire you.

Of this I testify, and leave you my blessing as an Apostle of the Lord, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

  1. Isaiah 55:9.
  2. 1 Nephi 11:17.
  3. Moses 1:39.
  4. See 2 Nephi 2:25.
  5. See D&C 46:11–12.
  6. Brigham Young, Deseret News, Aug. 8, 1860, 177.
  7. D&C 81:5.
  8. Mosiah 18:9.
  9. The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, ed. Edward L. Kimball (1982), 254.
  10. Lorenzo Snow, in Conference Report, Apr. 1899, 2–3.
  11.  J. M. Barrie, A Window in Thrums (1917), 137.
  12. Thomas S. Monson, “Three Goals to Guide You,” Liahona and Ensign, Nov. 2007, 120.
  13. Matthew 23:11.
  14. See D&C 90:24
  15. See D&C 6:20.

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Women’s Conference in 3 days


English: First page of the January 1917 issue ...

English: First page of the January 1917 issue of Relief Society Magazine, organ of the Relief Society of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah. Source: http://www.archive.org/details/reliefsocietymag04reli (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So yesterday I shared a REALLY cool statement that was shared at a previous women’s conference!  You are probably starting to think about how great this event can be.  So, how do you participate?

There are several options:

  • The General Relief Society Meeting will be live in Salt Lake City, Utah, at the Conference Center of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  It is, of course, free but you need a ticket to get in.  They may be full-up, but you can check with your local LDS friend or the missionaries (the young men in dark suits, white shirts, with name tags, and always found in twos, or the young women who also are found in twos, dressed tastefully, also with name tags).
  • If you are in the Salt Lake Valley you will be able to watch it live on TV, or listen to it live on the radio!
  • Almost anywhere in the world you can watch the broadcast at the local LDS Stake Center.  Again, check with an LDS friend or ask the missionaries for more information.  The advantage to this is that you will be with many other wonderful women.  You could make some new friends!
  • You can watch it on TV in your own home if you have cable or satellite.
  • You can watch it over the internet, from the Church’s official website http://www.lds.org.  As a matter of fact, if you go there now, it will tell you exactly when it starts.

However you choose to participate, it will be well worth your while.  It is a spiritual feast.  A warm, loving, caring, feel-good couple of hours.

Let me know how you watched and what you think of it!  🙂

Here’s a website I ran across with more info on how to watch it:  http://www.yourldsblog.com/2012/10/04/mormon-general-conference-7-ways-to-watch/

Women’s Conference in 4 Days


Gordon B. Hinckley from GC Conference Oct 2007...

Gordon B. Hinckley from GC Conference Oct 2007 (zoomed from very far away 🙂 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Have you caught the vision yet of how wonderful the women’s conference will be?  I’ve already given you several reasons to participate in it, and given you an example of what you will hear there.

 

This annual General Relief Society Broadcast by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is always wonderful and inspiring.  The leaders of the church share with women everywhere God’s love for them and His plan for them.  And in the September 23, 1995 meeting, the President of the Church, Gordon B. Hinckley shared for the first time a proclamation inspired by direct revelation from God about families!

 

The Family: A Proclamation To The World” explained in plain, simple, and clear language that all can understand how our Father in Heaven feels about the importance of the family.  Read it for yourself:

 

 

 

THE FAMILY


A PROCLAMATION TO THE WORLD

The First Presidency and Council of the Twelve Apostles of theChurch of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

WE, THE FIRST PRESIDENCY and the Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, solemnly proclaim that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children.

ALL HUMAN BEINGS—male and female—are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny. Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose.

IN THE PREMORTAL REALM, spirit sons and daughters knew and worshipped God as their Eternal Father and accepted His plan by which His children could obtain a physical body and gain earthly experience to progress toward perfection and ultimately realize their divine destiny as heirs of eternal life. The divine plan of happiness enables family relationships to be perpetuated beyond the grave. Sacred ordinances and covenants available in holy temples make it possible for individuals to return to the presence of God and for families to be united eternally.

THE FIRST COMMANDMENT that God gave to Adam and Eve pertained to their potential for parenthood as husband and wife. We declare that God’s commandment for His children to multiply and replenish the earth remains in force. We further declare that God has commanded that the sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between man and woman, lawfully wedded as husband and wife.

WE DECLARE the means by which mortal life is created to be divinely appointed. We affirm the sanctity of life and of its importance in God’s eternal plan.

HUSBAND AND WIFE have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other and for their children. “Children are an heritage of the Lord” (Psalm 127:3). Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, and to teach them to love and serve one another, observe the commandments of God, and be law-abiding citizens wherever they live. Husbands and wives—mothers and fathers—will be held accountable before God for the discharge of these obligations.

THE FAMILY is ordained of God. Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan. Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity. Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities. By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners. Disability, death, or other circumstances may necessitate individual adaptation. Extended families should lend support when needed.

WE WARN that individuals who violate covenants of chastity, who abuse spouse or offspring, or who fail to fulfill family responsibilities will one day stand accountable before God. Further, we warn that the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets.

WE CALL UPON responsible citizens and officers of government everywhere to promote those measures designed to maintain and strengthen the family as the fundamental unit of society.

This proclamation was read by President Gordon B. Hinckley as part of his message at the General Relief Society Meeting held September 23, 1995, in Salt Lake City, Utah.

 

 

 

 

 

Women’s Conference in 5 Days


Latter-day Saints believe in the resurrected J...

Latter-day Saints believe in the resurrected Jesus Christ, as depicted in the Christus Statue in the North Visitors’ Center on Temple Square in Salt Lake City (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

In case I haven’t already convinced you, here’s an example of what was said at the 2012 women’s conference:

 

The Lord Has Not Forgotten You

 

By Linda S. Reeves

 

Second Counselor in the Relief Society General Presidency

 

Linda S. Reeves

Our Heavenly Father and our Savior, Jesus Christ, know us and love us. … We can feel of Their love and compassion in our suffering.

As we meet sisters around the world, we are amazed at the strength of your testimonies. So many of you are first- or second-generation members of the Church. We see many sisters serving in multiple callings, traveling long distances to attend church, and sacrificing to make and keep sacred temple covenants. We honor you. You are the Lord’s modern-day pioneers!

Recently my husband, Mel, and I met a volunteer tour guide named Mollie Lenthal as we visited a museum in Australia. We found out that Mollie, a lovely woman in her 70s, has no children and has never married. She is an only child, and her parents have been deceased for many years. Her closest relatives are two cousins who live on another continent. Suddenly, I was overwhelmed with the Spirit testifying to me, almost as if Heavenly Father were speaking: “Mollie is not alone! Mollie is my daughter! I am her Father! She is a very important daughter in my family, and she is never alone!

One of my favorite stories from the Savior’s life is the story of Lazarus. The scriptures tell us that “Jesus loved Martha, … her sister [Mary], and [their brother] Lazarus.”1 Word was sent to Jesus that Lazarus was very ill, but Jesus did not come immediately; He stayed away two more days, stating that “this sickness is … for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby.”2

Hearing that Jesus was coming, Martha “went and met him,”3 telling Him what had happened. Lazarus had “lain in the grave four days already.”4 Grieving, Martha ran back to her home to tell Mary that the Lord had come.5 Mary, weighed down with sorrow, ran to Jesus, fell down at His feet, and wept.6

We are told that “when Jesus therefore saw [Mary] weeping, … he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled,” and asked where they had laid him.

“They said unto him, Lord, come and see.”7

Then we read some of the most compassionate, loving words in scripture: “Jesus wept.”8

Apostle James E. Talmage wrote, “The sight of the two women so overcome by grief … caused Jesus to sorrow [with them] so that He groaned in spirit and was deeply troubled.”9 This experience testifies of the compassion, empathy, and love that our Savior and our Heavenly Father feel for each of us every time we are weighed down by the anguish, sin, adversity, and pains of life.

Dear sisters, our Heavenly Father and our Savior, Jesus Christ, know us and love us. They know when we are in pain or suffering in any way. They do not say, “It’s OK that you’re in pain right now because soon everything is going to be all right. You will be healed, or your husband will find a job, or your wandering child will come back.” They feel the depth of our suffering, and we can feel of Their love and compassion in our suffering.

Alma testified:

“And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people.

“And he will take upon him … their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, … that he may know … how to succor his people according to their infirmities.”10

When we wonder if we are known by our Savior and our Father in Heaven or how well They know us personally, we might remember the Savior’s words to Oliver Cowdery:

“If you desire a further witness, cast your mind upon the night that you cried unto me in your heart, that you might know concerning the truth of these things.”11

Earlier the Savior stated to him, “There is none else save God that knowest thy thoughts and the intents of thy heart.”12

The Savior reminded Oliver that He knew every detail of that pleading prayer—and remembered the exact time, the very night.

Many years ago my husband became very ill with a rare disease. As the weeks went by and the sicker he became, the more I became convinced that he was dying. I told no one of my fears. We had a large, young family and a loving, eternal marriage, and the thought of losing my husband and raising my children by myself filled me with loneliness, despair, and even anger. I am ashamed to say that I pulled away from my Heavenly Father. For days I quit praying; I quit planning; I cried. I finally came to the realization that I could not do this alone.

For the first time in many days, I knelt down and poured out my heart to my Father in Heaven, pleading for forgiveness for turning away from Him, telling Him all of my deepest feelings, and finally crying out that if this was what He really wanted me to do, I would do it. I knew He must have a plan for our lives.

As I continued on my knees to pour out my heart, the sweetest, most peaceful, loving feeling came over me. It was as if a blanket of love was flowing over me. It was as if I could feel Heavenly Father saying, “That was all I needed to know.” I determined never to turn away from Him again. Gradually and amazingly, my husband began to get better until he made a full recovery.

Years later my husband and I knelt by the side of our 17-year-old daughter and pleaded for her life. This time the answer was no, but that same feeling of love and peace that our Savior has promised was just as powerful, and we knew that even though Heavenly Father was calling her back home, everything would be all right. We have come to know what it means to cast our burdens upon the Lord, to know that He loves us and feels compassion for us in our sorrows and pain.

One of the sweetest father-to-son moments in the Book of Mormon is Alma the Younger’s testimony to his son Helaman. Alma described the “inexpressible horror” he felt as he imagined coming into the presence of God to be judged of his many transgressions. After feeling the weight of all his sins for three days and nights, he repented and pleaded with the Savior to have mercy on him. He described to Helaman the “exquisite and sweet” joy of remembering his pains “no more.” Instead of feeling “inexpressible horror” at the thought of coming before the throne of God, Alma saw a vision of “God sitting upon his throne” and declared, “My soul did long to be there.”13

Is that not how we feel, my dear sisters, as we repent and contemplate the love, the mercy, and the gratitude we feel for our Heavenly Father and our Savior—that we too “long to be there,” to be embraced by Their loving arms once again?

Just as the Lord has testified to me that He has not forgotten His precious daughter Mollie Lenthal, I testify that He has not forgotten you! Whatever sin or weakness or pain or struggle or trial you are going through, He knows and understands those very moments. He loves you! And He will carry you through those moments, just as He did Mary and Martha. He has paid the price that He might know how to succor you. Cast your burdens upon Him. Tell your Heavenly Father how you feel. Tell Him about your pain and afflictions and then give them to Him. Search the scriptures daily. There you will also find great solace and help.

Our Savior asked:

“For can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee. …

“… I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands.”14

“I have commanded that none of you should go away, but rather have commanded that ye should come unto me, that ye might feel and see; even so shall ye do unto the world.”15

That is our charge. We must feel and see for ourselves and then help all of Heavenly Father’s children to feel and see and know that our Savior has taken upon Himself not only all our sins but also our pains and our suffering and afflictions so that He can know what we feel and how to comfort us. I testify of Him in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Notes

  1. 1.  John 11:5.
  2. 2.  John 11:4.
  3. 3.  John 11:20.
  4. 4.  John 11:17.
  5. 5. See John 11:28.
  6. 6. See John 11:32.
  7. 7.  John 11:33–34.
  8. 8.  John 11:35.
  9. 9. James E. Talmage, Jesus the Christ, 3rd ed. (1916), 493.
  10. 10.  Alma 7:11–12.
  11. 11.  Doctrine and Covenants 6:22.
  12. 12.  Doctrine and Covenants 6:16.
  13. 13. See Alma 36:14–22; emphasis added.
  14. 14.  1 Nephi 21:15–16.
  15. 15.  3 Nephi 18:25; emphasis added.

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