Another wonderful General Women’s Meeting has just concluded and we have been left with inspired council from leaders from our women’s auxiliary organizations and a member of the First Presidency. From beginning to end, the meeting was full of truth, light and goodness. Everyone is still buzzing about it and for good reason.
It’s always a sacred privilege to see and hear from women leaders and apostles. While President Thomas S. Monson was not well enough to attend in person, we were told he was watching the proceedings from home and sent his love for the women of the global church. In attendance was President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, President Henry B. Eyring, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, Elder D. Todd Christofferson, Elder Ronald A. Rasband and Elder Donald A. Hallstrom. Seated on the stand were also the new members of the General Relief Society and Primary Boards. What a blessing it is to have these wonderful women and men to lead us in these last days!
‘Turn On Your Light’
Sharon Eubank, First Counselor, Relief Society Presidency
In her first General Conference address, Sharon Eubank spoke about the oft-quoted prophesy given by President Spencer W. Kimball in 1979 (the address was given by his wife, Camilla, because he was in the hospital at the time). The original talk is incredible in its own right and can be found here. Sister Eubank shared her thoughts on the role of righteous women in the last days–our days–and the importance of being articulate, happy and righteous so that other good women of the world may see the light of the gospel of Jesus Christ in the women of the Church. She listed five key points from President Kimball’s prophesy: 1) Be righteous; 2) Be articulate; 3) Be different; 4) Be distinct; and 5) Do numbers one through four on the list in happy ways.
Just as President Kimball invited women to be a part of the building of the kingdom in the last days, Sister Eubank invited the younger generations, “the future leaders in this Church,” to carry the light forward and be the fulfillment of this prophesy.
“I appeal to each of you to put yourself in a place where you can feel the generous love God has for you,” she said. “You cannot put yourself beyond the reach of that love. When you feel His love, when you love Him, you will repent and keep His commandments. When you keep His commandments, He can use you in His work. His work and glory is the exaltation and eternal life of women and men.
“The prophets are calling on us, my sisters. Will you be righteous? Will you articulate your faith? Can you bear being distinct and different? Will your happiness in spite of your trials draw others who are good and noble and who need your friendship? Will you turn on your light? I testify that the Lord Jesus Christ will go before us and be in our midst.”
‘Abiding in God and Repairing the Breach’
Neill Marriott, Second Counselor, Young Women General Presidency
Neill Marriott put forth a challenge to the women of the Church to give our heart to the Father and the Son, and by so doing, we change our world even if circumstances around us do not change. She spoke of several difficult situations in which people were able to find ways to bridge gaps and repair breaches in relationships. Whether it be social or political gaps, it is so important to see others as our Heavenly Father sees them. We can pray to have a portion of God’s love for them come into our hearts, and this will change the way we interact with them and, indeed, change our hearts to loving them.
Sister Marriott said that the most important learning and growing will come from a person’s covenant connection to Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. We need to turn to the Father and the Son to bridge any spiritual gaps in these most important relationships. Sister Marriott said that, “Sins and pride create a breach — or gap — between a person and Heavenly Father. It is only through the Savior’s Atonement that a person can close that gap and be cleansed from his or her sins.”
“Heavenly Father will help us love even those we may think are unlovable, if we plead for His aid,” she said. “The Savior’s Atonement is a conduit for the constant flow of charity from our Father in Heaven. We must choose to abide in order to have charity for all.”
‘Value Beyond Measure’
Joy D. Jones, Primary General President
Sister Jones began by sharing stories from courageous women from Sierra Leone, India, and Salt Lake City. Each had a common theme: these three women had come to know of their divine identity, despite facing difficult circumstances in their lives. Once we know who we are, it changes everything.
Sister Jones is an example of faith and courage. Many may not know that Sister Jones’ son passed away last week. His funeral was on Friday, and she spoke to millions the following day. As one friend stated, “The faith of this woman amazes me. How she can bury her son on Friday and then stand on Saturday and address women world-wide at our General Relief Society meeting is a testament of faith.”
Sister Jones also acknowledged that it isn’t always easy as women. She shared that, “Despite this marvelous truth, how many of us struggle, from time to time, with negative thoughts or feelings about ourselves? I do. … Thinking small about ourselves does not serve us well. Instead, it holds us back.”
However, when we have virtuous thoughts, keep ourselves worthy and live the gospel of Jesus Christ, our Heavenly Father will bless us with confidence, and to know who we really are. She taught about the differences between worth and worthiness, and that we all have incalcuable worth that we brought with us before we even came to earth. Our worthiness, on the other hand, comes from keeping the commandments and living righteous and virtuous lives.
“If the love we feel for the Savior and what He did for us is greater than the energy we give to weaknesses, self-doubts, or bad habits, then He will help us overcome the things which cause suffering in our lives,” said Sister Jones. “He saves us from ourselves.
“Let me reemphasize: if the pull of the world is stronger than the faith and trust we have in the Savior, then the pull of the world will prevail every time. If we choose to focus on our negative thoughts and doubt our worth, instead of clinging to the Savior, it becomes more difficult to feel the impressions of the Holy Ghost.”
‘Choices, Not Abilities, Make the Difference in Life’
President Dieter F. Ucthdorf, Second Counselor, First Presidency
With his usual candor and remarkable ability to tell stories to illustrate gospel principles, President Uchtdorf taught about the importance of being an authentic disciple who is not sad or full of hatred and anger. He told of three sisters: one who was sad, one who was mad and one who was glad. The one who was sad felt as though she was a victim, the one who was mad focused on injustice and, ironically, felt she was acting out of love. The sister who was glad was the true and authentic disciple and an example of choosing to be happy regardless of circumstance.
He reminded us of the significance of Lehi’s dream in our lives, as recorded in the Book of Mormon.
“Dear sisters, dear friends, if you find it difficult to hold fast to the iron rod and walk steadfastly toward salvation; if the laughter and ridicule of others who seem so confident, causes you to waver; if you are troubled by unanswered questions or doctrines you don’t understand yet; if you feel saddened because of disappointments, I urge you to remember Lehi’s dream,” he said. “Stay on the path! Never let go of the rod of iron — the word of God! And when anyone tries to make you ashamed for partaking of the love of God, ignore them. Never forget, you are a child of God.”
President Uchtdorf said the promises of praise and acceptance by the world are unreliable, untrue, and unsatisfying. In contrast, God’s promises are sure, true, and joyful.
Summaries of the talks given during the conference sessions will be posted to DeseretNews.com and LDS.org. You can find an index of the summaries below, and follow @LDSconf for live Twitter coverage.