Monday, September 28, 2015

Women's Conference

President Dieter F. Uchtdort
The pure love of Christ is “what makes us happy,” President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, second counselor in the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, taught during the General Women’s Session of conference held on Saturday in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City.

I was able to attend the session, which was broadcast world-wide, in my Whittier Stake Center with hundreds of other women - my dear church friends.  This session of conference was for all women - ages 8 and up, and it was a delightful experience.

Sister Rosemary Wixom
General Primary President
She focused her message on each individual's Divine Nature
We received many wonderful messages from the Church-Wide General Presidents of the Primary, Young Women and Relief Society.  The best, however, we all agreed afterwards, was President Uchtdorf's concluding remarks.

“As I pondered what I should say to you today, my thoughts turned to the way the Savior taught,” he said. “It is interesting how He was able to teach the most sublime truths using simple stories. His parables invited His disciples to embrace truths not just with their minds but also with their hearts, and to connect eternal principles with their everyday lives.”

Following that example set by the Savior and recognizing that President Thomas S. Monson often teaches through stories that touch the heart, President Uchtdorf shared a story of a girl named Eva.

“There are two important things you should know about Eva,” he said. “One is that she was 11 years old in this story. And the other is that she absolutely, positively did not want to go and live with her Great-Aunt Rose. Not at all. No way.”

Carol F. McConkie
First Counsellor in the Young Women's General Presidency
She spoke about faithful sisters being involved in the work of Salvation

Because her mother was scheduled to have a surgery that required a lengthy recovery, Eva’s parents decided that she would spend the summer with her Great-Aunt Rose.

“In Eva’s mind, there were a thousand reasons why this was a bad idea,” President Uchtdorf said. “For one thing, it would mean being away from her mother. It would also mean leaving her family and friends. And besides, she didn’t even know Great-Aunt Rose.”

But no matter how hard she tried to change the decision of her parents, she packed her bags and went with her father to her Great Aunt Rose’s home.

President Uchtdorf explained that “from the moment Eva stepped inside the house, she hated it.” Great-Aunt Rose lived alone — other than her gray cat — and had never married or had any children. Eva quickly noticed the old books, strange-colored bottles and other things in her relative’s home.

“Even the house itself seemed lonely,” President Uchtdorf said. “It was way out in the countryside, where the houses are far apart. No one Eva’s age lived within half a mile. That made Eva feel lonely too.”

At first Eva’s thoughts were focused on her mother, and she would oftentimes stay awake at night, praying that her mother would be well. When word came that her mother’s operation was a success, Eva’s thoughts changed as she began to think of enduring the rest of the summer with her relative. As the summer continued, she began to notice things about her aunt. Eva watched as her relative sang, laughed, read her scriptures and prayed.

A beautiful choir performed

“Over time, Eva made a surprising discovery: Great-Aunt Rose was quite possibly the happiest person she had ever known,” President Uchtdorf explained.

Although Great-Aunt Rose had never married, had no children, and had a hard time doing simple things such as tying her shoes and walking up stairs, she still managed to find happiness. She would find happiness in nature, in conversations with other people, or even in the process of making marmalade from oranges.

“Soon Eva made another startling discovery: not only was Great-Aunt Rose one of the happiest persons she knew, but Eva herself was happier whenever she was around her,” President Uchtdorf said.

With the end of the summer approaching, Eva asked her aunt a question she had been wondering about for weeks: “Aunt Rose, why are you so happy?”

Her aunt took her to a painting in the front room of her home. It was of a girl in a pioneer dress skipping along a bright blue path.

Her aunt explained to Eva that there were many dark and dreary days for the pioneers — their life was hard — but the painting represented being bright and hopeful, moving forward and upward.

Sister Linda S.Reeves
Second Counselor in the Relief Society General Presidency
She counseled us on the importance of Virtue and Enduring to the End

“Eva was silent, so Great-Aunt Rose continued, ‘There is enough that doesn’t go right in life, so anyone can work themselves into a puddle of pessimism and a mess of melancholy,’” President Uchtdorf said. “ 'But I know people who, even when things don’t work out, focus on the wonders and miracles of life. These folks are the happiest people I know.’ ”

Great-Aunt Rose taught Eva that God created His children to have joy, and that through trusting Him, He will help all notice the good, bright, hopeful things of life. She also taught the young girl that things don’t necessarily happen instantly, but that most good things take patience and work.

When asked how she was able to be happy, the older woman shared that she could either be miserable in her situation, or, make the choice to have faith. Through discovering faith she was able to have hope, which led to confidence in the Lord that “one day everything would make sense.”

Sister Bonnie L. Oscarson
Young Women's General President worked with my cousin Marit in the Swedish Temple
Sister Oscarson conducted this meeting

She taught Eva that as she relied on the Savior, she was able to see how to be happy in the moment — not just looking forward to happiness in the future — and find joy in life. Through filling her life with meaningful things — not just things to keep her busy — she was able to experience the heart of Christ’s gospel — love.

President Uchtdorf recounted the woman’s words, “You see, everything else in the gospel — all the should and the musts and the thou shalts — lead to love,” he said. “When we love God, we want to serve Him. We want to be like Him. When we love our neighbors, we stop thinking so much about our own problems and help others to solve theirs.”

And that — the pure love of Christ — the wise woman said, is what makes someone happy.

President Uchtdorf
President Uchtdorf concluded his talk by saying, “As you walk along your own bright path of discipleship, I pray that faith will fortify every footstep along your way; that hope will open your eyes to the glories Heavenly Father has in store for you; and that love for God and all His children will fill your hearts.”

God didn't design us to be sad!

Who am I really?  I am a child of God.  Therefore, what?  

Therefore, I can serve.  
Therefore, I can smile.  
Therefore, I can trust.  
Therefore, I can hope.

Watch and/or read the messages from this historic conference at this link:

Text from the Deseret News Article
Photos from

1 comment:

Marybeth said...

What a wonderful Women's Conference. What made it even more great was being there with great friends!