28 June 2022

Valued Companions

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!

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