Conference has been a little nerve-wracking for me since Scott came out and my eyes were opened to the harm the church had done with the gay-marriage debate. But today I was actually looking forward to it, hoping that it would be a good experience for me. I gleaned something from every talk this morning, and I was not uncomfortable with anything that was said. I enjoyed and felt admiration and love for each speaker.
Here is my own summary/highlights from the Saturday Morning Session.
President Monson was just down to earth, letting his human side shine through as he spoke of his wife. Even though we put him on a pedestal as the Prophet, it is nice to know that he is just like the rest of us, saying things that might get him in trouble with his spouse later. It makes him even easier to love and respect when I see this side of him, and for that I was grateful this morning.
Whenever Elder Packer speaks, I get a little bit nervous. But today I enjoyed his talk on the Priesthood, and the importance it has specifically with regards to family. One of the questions I asked the bishop in January when I met with him was whether or not Scott would be able to bless our new baby. He said no, not if he is not attending church at least somewhat regularly. So this has made me wonder if he would be considered worthy of using his priesthood for other things, since I have continued to ask him for blessings on occasion.The stories that President Packer shared today, though, brought peace to my mind. Scott is still the priesthood leader of our home. He still assigns out prayers over meals and at bedtime. He still leads us in our nightly scripture reading (with reminders from the kids and I, as has always been the case. :) And I feel it is still appropriate for him to give blessings to the kids and I, even if he may not be allowed to do so in an "official" setting because of his inactivity.
(I hope that our unborn child does not resent his blessing later in life. A blessing is not a saving ordinance, so maybe we should just skip it entirely. I don't think grandparents will let us get away with that, though.)
The next talk was Sister Beck from the General Relief Society, speaking on how busy and challenging it is to be a woman, and especially a mother, with everything we have to deal with in our lives. She encouraged us to seek personal revelation for ourselves, our children, and our families, saying that it could even come when the children are rowdy, as long as we are in the right frame of mind to receive it (by not yelling at the children. :). She reminded us that prayer and scripture study are a must in helping us to be more in tune to inspiration, and that Relief Society can also be an important place for the strength and sisterhood we need to endure everything in our lives. She made an interesting statement about how life will not always work out the way we want it to, but we will find peace and satisfaction in knowing that we have lived the best we could, despite the results. Yep, all good messages for me. Although the Sunday Relief Society thing is going to take some time. ;)
Next came Keith McMillan of the seventy. He talked about the book "the hiding place" (which was an incredible book to read, so mentioning it really got my attention!) and how the surviving sister (and author of the book) later spoke to groups about forgiveness and how "God forgives". After one of her presentations, a former guard from the prison camp she was in came up to her, held out his hand, and asked her to forgive him. She had to pray for strength to lift her hand to meet his, but when she did, she was filled with the love of God and true forgiveness for this man. Forgiveness. Something I really need to work on, that will also help me with the going-back-to-relief-society on Sundays issue. :)
Wildford Anderson, of the presiding bishopric I think, spoke about hope in adversity. Hope can always be found through faith in Jesus Christ, no matter how hopeless the situation may seem. No matter the adversity we must endure. If we need hope, we need to work on our faith. Noted.
Elder Ballard spoke to mothers and daughters, of setting and following good examples. Of learning from the past experiences of others, of listening and learning from each other as parents and children. He mentioned two specific things that mothers should work on as an example to their daughters. The first was gossip, refraining from speaking ill of or judging others. (oops--she's non-judgmental when it comes to gay issues, but I obviously have not set a good example when it comes to people at church that I have let upset me.) The second was keeping covenants, helping our daughters to prepare for the temple, and specifically discussing sexual messages that young women will pick up from the world around them. Interesting issue to face in our house at the moment as we consider a nontraditional marriage and family structure. Hm, I am a bit worried, especially as Scott feels it is time to let the children know what is going on. Not sure what to do...
He quoted Joseph F. Smith with a statement something like we live now, but we don't live just for now, but also for eternity. The relationships we form with family now will be with us forever. (sigh). Not sure if this is good or bad for me to think about right now.
Last was Elder Eyring, who spoke on how it is the responsibility of each of us to help God's children to return to him, especially when they are young. He says when we see them begin to stray, they must be rescued quickly. I have a big responsibility on my shoulders with regards to my children. But I think I am doing some things right. It was when I realized that they were no longer interested in attending church without me that I began to go back.
In fact, the afternoon session seemed to have a lot of talks and focus on parenting and spiritually guiding our children. I have to admit I slept through most of the session, so I will have to replay the recording or read it later. But there was definitely an overall theme of strengthening children and family.
Sounds like a good focus for my life right now.
4 weeks ago