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. 

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