Stake Conference was today. I am trying to find Christ-like things to say about it, but it's pretty difficult, actually. Two of the talks were very good, 5 were okay, and two were downright bad.
I did laugh out loud when the Mission President's wife said she thought the next YW value should be guilt! Ha! I could just imagine that section in the personal progress book. 200 pages in tiny print with requirements such as flog yourself if you think about dingdongs on fast Sunday or remind yourself what a loser you are for not freeing more people from spirit prison through daily temple attendance.
🙂 I could really have some fun with that. But I'll let it be.....
She also quoted Sherri Dew tho, and I thought it was very good. She said Sister Dew once said that she worried that most people knew just enough about the gospel to feel guilty but not enough to understand the peace and joy the atonement brings. I love it. That could be our RS theme for the year.
Whoa. I just had the sudden thought that I am probably only gonna be in this calling for less than a year. Two and three months ago I was in a funk, ready to ask for a release. Now I'm all "gotta work harder, faster, better." I really am fickle.
The temple president's wife brought up that we should focus on having our homes be peaceful and full of love. That one hit home for me.
Brother Cooper did an excellent job with his talk on encouraging the YM to get their Duty to God awards. I love that guy. I don't think I've ever heard such a kind slap-down talk. I hope that people went away with the right spirit..... Trouble is, the next gal ruined the spirit with her man-hating talk about personal progress. First time I've ever heard 1 Nephi 16 used to prove why YM should encourage YW to do personal progress: "You YM should encourage YW to do personal progress because we learn from this scripture that when the YW loose faith, the men fail. They are your future." She was full of passion, but was so ... what's the word .... unkind.... preachy? ... that the real message was lost.
I can relate though. I am good at lecturing -- not as good at encouraging. I see myself in others' mistakes, and I hope I can fix myself.
One other speaker said that if people are having a hard time and will just read scriptures, pray, fhe, etc., then they will be worthy to have the Lord's help. That will fix all the problems. This was hard for me to hear. I was looking at people sitting in front of me who do these things, but still suffer. They are worthy to receive the help of the Lord and still suffer. I'm certain that's not what he meant to imply.
The idea that if we are *just righteous enough* or *just filled with enough unwavering faith* we'll be problem free, is not correct. If we follow counsel we'll be filled with that peace -- peace that comes from knowing we're on the right path. (It's that part in Lectures on Faith. A requirement of exaltation is the knowledge that our actions are in accordance with the Lords' will. We typically call it "endure to the end.") Our trials will still be hard but we can gain some measure of peace. With humility we'll know that the Lord's plan is for us to improve. It's painful. Hate it. And yet we must know that many, if not all, of our trials will help refine us.
I have often wondered if some trials have no appreciable purpose -- if we suffer simply because someone has to be the victim to fulfill another's condemnation. It's like when Alma and Amulek watched the women and children of the newly converted burned alive before their eyes: "he doth suffer that they may do this thing, or that the people may do this thing unto them, according to the hardness of their hearts, that the judgments which he shall exercise upon them in his wrath may be just; and the blood of the innocent shall stand as a witness against them, yea, and cry mightily against them at the last day."
It's very hard -- learning to live without the whys. Someone told me that the Lord doesn't give the whys, that we have to learn those for ourselves. It must have something to do with learning complete trust in the lord. I can understand that I need it, but that doesn't make me like it any more. 🙂
I wrote a little piece for our RS birthday celebration this week. I was looking back at our stats for compassionate service and visiting teaching. Averaging the numbers out, sisters in our ward reported roughly an hour of compassionate service every day of the year in 2008. They also average 2+ visiting teaching visits per day, every day of the year. I suspect we're not all that different from other wards in the church, either. Amazing, isn't it, when you think of it that way. What a blessing it is to serve in the Church. Despite our human follies and weaknesses, it moves ahead, hopefully accomplishing the Lord's will in our small, imperfect way.