28 June 2022

This post is part of the General Conference OdesseyThis week covers the Saturday afternoon session of the October 1997 conference.

Addresses by Apostles Neal A. Maxwell, Robert D. Hales, Joseph B. Wirthlin and Richard G. Scott are all worth reviewing. From the Seventy we heard great talks by Richard D. Allred, Eran A. Call, and Richard J. Maynes.

Elder Wirthlin visited my mission (Florida Tallahassee, 1979-80) and presided at our Zone Conferences. However, we were not allowed to greet him or shake hands; there were no interviews or other personal contact. I don't know if he wasn't feeling well or if his schedule was too tight or what. I've always been envious of the missionaries who got to speak to, greet, and shake hands with apostles. In spite of that, I loved hearing from Elder Wirthlin and considered him "my apostle". 

One thing from his talk "Valued Companions" stood out to me because of where we live in rural Southern Minnesota. We drive about 40 minutes to church each week; it's just shy of two hours to the stake center. My husband and I have no problem with these distances, considering them to be part of living the laws of obedience, sacrifice and consecration. We have been blessed often to get better gas mileage, or to find gas for less than expected. We totally enjoy meeting new friends at stake functions and seeing old ones. Others, however, think the distances rather inconvenient and attend the branch sporadically, and never attend any stake functions.

Elder Wirthlin said, "One of the many benefits of membership in the Church is that of companionship with the Saints. During the time of my assignment in Europe, we held memorable stake conferences for the military servicemen in Germany. Many of our good brothers and sisters drove long distances to attend the meetings. A number of them arrived the night before and slept on the floor of the cultural hall. No matter the sacrifice, they came with glad hearts seeking the companionship of fellow Latter-day Saints and the chance to be instructed and edified by Church leaders."

Oh that more could see the value and blessings of meeting with a large body of Saints. It is strengthening and encouraging! It is worth the sacrifice of time and money to attend!

21 June 2022


This post is part of the General Conference Odessey. This week covers the Saturday morning session of the October 1997 conference.

President Gordon B. Hinckley opened the conference with a short address including this statement:
You need not worry that I do not understand some matters of doctrine. I think I understand them thoroughly, and it is unfortunate that the reporting may not make this clear. I hope you will never look to the public press as the authority on the doctrines of the Church.

Elder Boyd K. Packer gave a talk "Called to Serve" that is often quoted.
It is not in the proper spirit for us to decide where we will serve or where we will not. We serve where we are called. It does not matter what the calling may be. 

There's been only one time I did not accept a calling. We had just moved to a new ward, from Washington state to Virginia. We had three little children, ages 5, 3 and 1. We had just begun to homeschool our oldest. One evening my husband said that a counselor from the bishopric was coming over to issue a calling to me. I asked, with trepidation, "What it the calling?" It was to work in Primary. I spontaneously burst into tears. My husband worked long hours and I was with children 24/7. I just couldn't face being with them on Sunday. I really needed to be with adults for a few hours. So my husband explained the situation to the counselor and Brother Brown said that if they'd known our circumstances they wouldn't have decided on that calling. Several months later when our stake was reorganized and boundaries changed, I was called into the Stake Relief Society presidency as a counselor. That calling fit our circumstances much better and I enjoyed building friendships throughout the stake. I even had two more babies while serving in that calling.

Elder Packer further said, 
While we do not ask to be released from a calling, if our circumstances change it is quite in order for us to counsel with those who have issued the call and then let them decision rest with them. Nor should we feel rejected when we are released by the same authority and with the same inspiration by which we were called.

Elder Richard B. Wirthlin (younger brother of Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin) said something that certainly applies to today:
We cannot cope with the confusions and the challenges of this world unless we use a clear and consistent moral compass that will unerringly take us through our own personal trials and the tugs and pulls of our own temptations--a compass that will chart our way to peace of mind, self-worth, and joy.
Elder Carl B. Pratt made this observation about members in the Latin American countries in which he and his family had served:
We have watched humble, devoted priesthood and auxiliary leaders strive to build the kingdom and to bless the lives of the Saints, but without having the advantages of telephones or personal vehicles.

I wrote in the margin of my copy of the Ensign, "We are so spoiled, and lazy!" We have every modern technological advantage and we still don't minister and take care of each other as we should. (I know there are many who do, but not near enough!)

Sister Mary Ellen Smoot, Relief Society General President, gave this counsel:
My desire is to plead with our sisters to stop worrying about a phone call or a quarterly or monthly visit, and whether that will do, and concentrate instead on nurturing tender souls. 

Wisdom we need today when ministering to each other. 
Elder Russell M. Nelson spoke of Spiritual Capacity. 
While the body may reach the peak of its maturation in a few years, the development of the spirit may never reach the limit of its capacity, because there is no end to progression.

He used President Hinckley as the model to follow in building spiritual capacity. He talked of how, "As a young father, he learned how to build. He acquired the skills necessary to remodel a house and make needed repairs. And more important, he has built and maintained the trust of his wife and their children."

President Hinckley was my ideal--spiritual, intellectual, great sense of humor, and a skilled handyman too!

The last speaker of the session was President Thomas S. Monson who told a delightful story that is not included in the printed version in the Ensign. He told of receiving a large, heavy package that had to be checked by security before he could open it. Inside he found a large pair of roller skates with the note that the sender had also sent a pair to President Faust so they could both keep up with President Hinckley!

Perhaps someone could do the same for Presidents Oaks and Eyring!

As always a delight to listen to, read and realize that eternal truths sound and feel fresh whenever we encounter them. 

15 June 2022

I Concur

This post is part of the General Conference Odessey This week covers the General Young Women session of the April 1997 conference.

Marilyn, who blogs at light-in-leaves, wrote eloquently the very things I thought and felt studying the talks in this session. Check out her blog post to read it.

I, heartily, concur!

07 June 2022

". . . life was very different . . ."

This post is part of the General Conference Odessey This week covers the Sunday afternoon session of the April 1997 conference.

Elder L. Tom Perry began his talk, "After arriving in the Salt Lake Valley, the Mormon pioneers found establishing settlements in the desert to be a real challenge." Ya think?

I'd find it a real challenge today! I can't imagine their mindset and determination. He goes on to say, "Daily they encountered trials and hardships that kept reminding them that their new life was very different from the one to which they had been accustomed." I can relate to that!

The political landscape of the United States of American has changed so rapidly that life is very different from the one we used to know. 

Elder Perry gives us the key to navigating our new landscape. The Gift of the Holy Ghost. He quotes Elder LeGrand Richards from a 1979 conference address, ". . . the gift of the Holy Ghost is as important to man as sunshine and water are to plants." That's pretty darn important, as in life sustaining. Elder Perry continues, "Gifts have only limited value unless they are used. The Holy Ghost will be our constant companion if we submit ourselves to the will of our Father in Heaven, always remembering Him and keeping His commandments."

This talk brought to mind President Eyring's address in the Saturday morning session of the most recent conference. Speaking of the Atonement he said, "Our natures change to become as a little child, obedient to God, and more loving. That change will qualify us to enjoy the gifts that come through the Holy Ghost. Having the Spirit's companionship will comfort, guide, and strengthen us."

As we live through days of increasing spiritual darkness we will, as President Nelson said, need the constant companionship fo the Holy Ghost. We can be grateful for prophets and apostles to instruct us on getting and keeping that precious gift.