Tuesday, September 30, 2014

A World-Wide Sisterhood

Faithful Latter-day Saint Women gather for Conference in spite of the rain
Saturday, September 27th, Latter-day Saint women gathered all over the globe in a special Women's Conference, the second of its kind in this Dispensation.  Women and girls ages 8 and older were invited to participate in this event.

What can I say?  It was great.

I had to watch from my couch this time, as an illness kept me from attending at our Stake Center with the other women of Whitter.  I was so grateful for BYU-TV!  This broadcast brought such a great spirit into my home.

Accomplished women worthy of emulation
I love these women.  They are good women, and committed to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  They are truly women worthy of emulation.

I love getting together with the good ladies of our Whittier Stake, too.  I missed out on that this time. We always have a great time together.

This broadcast was unique in that, in addition to the lovely choir in the Conference Center, there was also a children's choir that performed from Korea.  There was also a beautiful video segment with women from all over the world bearing testimony of the power and importance of the Lord's Temples in their lives.

Their messages were powerful, timely, and extremely touching.

This wonderful choir of moms and daughters performed
The choir that performed at the conference center consisted of a combined Primary, Young Women and Relief Society sisters from stakes in Magna, Hunter and Taylorsville, Utah.  The choir's wonderful renditions (I particularly enjoyed a hymn medley they performed) were lovely and uplifting.

You can hear them, and the beautiful Korean Children's choir, here:

Sister Neill F. Marriott
Second Counselor in the Young Women General Presidency
“Do you know how important you are? Every one of you — right now — is valuable and essential in Heavenly Father’s plan of salvation,” Sister Neill F. Marriott said when it was her turn to speak. “We have a work to do. We know the truth of the restored gospel. Are we ready to defend that truth? We need to live it; we need to share it. We must stand firm in our faith and lift our voices to proclaim true doctrine.”

Sister Jean A. Stevens
First Counselor in the Primary General Presidency
 Sister Jean Stevens spoke on the importance of making and keeping covenants.  "When daughters of God focus on the temple and on their sacred covenants, God is able to send blessings in personal and powerful ways," she said.

"If we are to receive all the blessings God so generously offers, our earthly path must lead to the temple," Sister Stevens reminded us.  "Temples are an expression of God's love.  He invites us all to come, learn of Him, feel His love and receive the priesthood ordinances necessary for eternal life with Him.  Each covenant is made one by one.  Every mighty change of heart matters to the Lord - and it will make all the difference to you."

President Linda K. Burton
Relief Society General President
Sister Linda K. Burton also spoke of the importance of the temple, but began with a reference to the parable of the 10 virgins as told by the Savior.

“Though this parable refers to being prepared for the Second Coming of our Savior, we could also liken it to being prepared for temple blessings, which can be like a spiritual feast for those who are well prepared.”

The parable, found in Matthew 25, recounts the story of five wise virgins and five foolish ones. The wise took oil in their vessels. The foolish had no oil and could not meet the bridegroom when he came.

Sister Burton told the congregation that as they consider the parable as a pattern for temple preparation, they must also consider the words of a latter-day prophet, who taught that the oil of spiritual preparedness cannot be shared.

“President Spencer W. Kimball helped clarify why the five wise young women could not share the oil in their lamps with those who were foolish when he said, ‘Attendance at sacrament meetings adds oil to our lamps, drop by drop over the years. Fasting, family prayer, home teaching, control of bodily appetites, preaching the gospel, studying the scriptures – each act of dedication and obedience is a drop added to our store. Deeds of kindness, payment of offerings and tithes, chaste thought and actions … these, too, contribute importantly to the oil with which we can at midnight refuel our exhausted lamps.’ ”

The Parable of the Ten Virgins

“We are reminded in the Bible Dictionary, ‘Only the home can compare with the temple in sacredness,’” she said. “Do our homes or apartments fit that description? … It may be worthwhile for us to check ourselves now and then to make sure our homes are places we are prepared to feel the Spirit. As we prepare our homes to be places where the Spirit is welcome, we will be prepared to feel more at home when we enter the House of the Lord.”

Sister Burton said because Latter-day Saints come to the temple to receive eternal blessings, it should not surprise them that a higher standard is required to qualify for those blessings.

Sister Burton added, “Can you see the pattern of preparedness — drop by drop — that can help us as we think how we might be more diligent in our preparation to receive sacred ordinances for ourselves and others? What other small and simple things might we do to add precious spiritual drops of oil to our lamps of preparation?”

The Los Angeles Temple
She said personal worthiness is an essential requirement to enjoy the blessings of the temple.

“World-class athletes and university doctoral students spend hours and days and weeks and months and even years of preparation,” she said. “Daily drops of preparation are required of them to come out on top. Likewise, those who wish to qualify for exaltation in the celestial kingdom are expected to live a higher standard of obedience that comes by practicing the virtue of obedience day by day and drop by drop.”

"Those who wish to qualify for exaltation in the celestial kingdom are expected to live a higher standard of obedience that comes by practicing the virtue of obedience day by day and drop by drop," she said.

President Uchtdorf of the First Presidency was the final speaker.  He always has special messages for the women of the Church.

President Dieter F. Uchtdorf
of the First Presidency
"...Live the gospel joyful," President Uchtdorf challenged us.  “Heavenly Father is constantly raining blessings upon us. It is our fear, doubt, and sin that, like an umbrella, block these blessings from reaching us.”

He reminded us that we need to trust in the saving power of Jesus Christ and keep His laws and commandments.

To watch this wonderful meeting yourself (whole, or in parts!) on-line, go to: 

Print versions will also be available on-line through LDS.org by Wednesday.

-all photos from the Deseret News or LDS.org website

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