I thought I would share a few of my notes and thoughts from Stake Conference starting with the Saturday Evening adult session.
The evening began with a Bishop from one of the wards in the stake sharing the “small and simple” things that his ward was doing to build each other up. It served as a nice reminder of the Savior’s plea “Wherefore, be not weary in well-doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great work. And out of small things proceedeth that which is great.” (D&C 64:33) Every little advancement that we make, no matter how small, in doing the Lord’s work serves a great purpose.
The next speaker was Sister McRae. I thoroughly enjoyed her talk. She shared some simple goals that we could set as a family. The goals she suggested were to:
1. Pray morning and night together.
2. Read the scriptures together daily and have a weekly family home evening.
3. Smile more.
Not one of those goals are new or are earth shattering in any way, but sometimes we need to be reminded of the most basic of things. I know I needed the reminder.
President Barry, the mission President, share a few scriptures about missionary work (I know, so surprising :)). But then he went on to share some of his experiences of raising his children and doing those small simple things, like reading the scriptures daily. Are you starting to see a pattern here with these talks? It certainly felt that way to me. Or perhaps it was just I was hearing what I needed to hear and these small and simple things were the message that I took from the talks. Others may have received a different message entirely. President Barry shared that when his home was full of children, they had a set schedule of scripture study every single morning at 6:30 a.m. He left attendance to this early morning study session up to his children individually. But when they would miss, he would go to them and express his love, tell them how much he had missed them that morning at scripture study, and then ask what he could do to help them get up and be there with the family the next morning. His sweet example drove home to me that I need to find ways of persuading (not forcing) my children to do what is right. To love them into choosing the better part.
Elder Ingram share a series of scriptures to remind us of the importance of opening our mouths to prepare the way of the Lord. I think the point that stood out most for me during this talk was that the joy of the gospel is so great that not only is sharing it with others an obligation/duty it is also a pleasure. To find kindred spirits who thirst after the same sweet water of the living wellspring of our Savior Jesus Christ.
And last we heard from Elder Oaks. Oh my goodness he is a character! He told us that as it was Saturday night he felt that he could make his talk much more light hearted. And so he shared with us a number of different little things that he has collected over the years that bring him a little chuckle, but that also teach a little along the way.
One of my favorite things he shared is a birthday card that he received from one of his acquaintances. Shortly before receiving the card he had spoken at general conference (I think) and had been receiving some negative feedback on what he had said. His friend had defended him to those who chose to talk badly of him and labeled them the “Moaners and the Groaners”. She shared with him that throughout her lifetime she had come to realize that you can find the Moaners and the Groaners everywhere in the church. It seems that each ward must have a specific calling given to certain people to make them Moan and Groan over everything. Unfortunately it seems that for most Moaners and Groaners it is a calling that they are called to for life. Each time she meets one of these Moaners and Groaners she simply realizes that they are fulfilling their calling and thanks them for their service. I don’t remember all of the things that she said, but her satirical narrative while quite hilarious helped me to realize that I definitely wanted to make sure that I try very hard not to ever fall into the category of a “Moaner and a Groaner”. The other thing that I loved about this is that Elder Oaks was totally ok with her mocking sense of humor and enjoyed it thoroughly. He was so cute about it.
Elder Oaks then went on to share a few things that someone had shared with him about how husbands should speak to their wives. He said that there were 5 things that a husband should routinely say to his wife in order to have a happy marriage:
1. I love you.
2. I am sorry.
3. Yes, dear.
4. You look good in that.
5. We can’t afford it.
And then he added one more that a Sister had shared with him after hearing those five, “Let’s eat out.”
Of course these all made everyone laugh, but only because there is a bit of truth in conscientiously finding ways to show your spouse that you love and support them and that you want to work together to have a happy peaceful home.
On a trip to South America in the mid 80’s, Elder and Sister Oak were sitting in an airport and Elder Oaks got a hankering for some lifesavors. Not able to speak a word of Spanish, but knowing the power and universal language of the almighty American dollar, he approached a kiosk and bought a roll. In return, he received a 1,000,000 pesos bill as his change. Upon sitting down beside his wife, he announced to her that now they were rich – they were millionaires! He returned to the US and spoke with a missionary who had served in that area some 10 to 12 years prior and asked him what the value of that 1,000,000 pesos was. The returned missionary said that bill would have been enough for a large number of people to live off of for a whole year – something around $125,000. Elder Oaks then went and checked with the church’s finance department and was told that the current value of that bill (in 1986) was 7 cent. So in only a short space of time the value of money in that country had plummeted so much as to make it almost worthless. Elder Oaks then shared the scriptures 2 Nephi 4:34 and 2 Nephi 28:31 – “Cursed is he that putteth his trust in man, or maketh flesh his arm, or shall hearken unto the precepts of men”
The ways of world are not our ways. We cannot chose to put our trust for our future happiness on the precepts of men. Money and power and worldly things are just not important and are not a true source of joy. They can easily fail you. Our trust should be put in our Father in Heaven, in our Eternal families, in goodness, in kindness, in service to those around us.
Elder Oaks then reminded us that it is not Heavenly Father’s design that we should be rescued from every trouble, but rather that we should learn to handle them ourselves.
To end the night, he again reminded us that laughter is good. The Lord gave us a sense of humor – ENJOY IT! He shared a letter that he had gotten from a 10 year old girl while on a trip to England. She told him, “You are handsome, kind and nice.” But then she also said that President Hinckley, President Monson, and all down the line of all of the apostle are “handsome, kind and nice” too. He laughing said that she had now “diluted” the compliment :). The cutest part though is that he showed around a little drawing that she had made at the bottom of the letter of him and his wife. The picture was labeled “I know you are an Apostle because you are clean and your head is shiny.” His smile and laugh at that was just too cute.
He closed by sharing his testimony that the heart of the Gospel is the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Repentance is real. The resurrection is an accomplished reality. We are children of God. We are led by His prophet.
His testimony is my testimony.