BYU women's conference 2013

This year’s Women’s Conference provided me with a wealth of material to ponder and integrate into my life. Here are some of my favorite quotes from the classes I attended.

“Lord, who needs me today? Tell me her name.” -Elaine S. Marshall quoting her then Relief Society President – Ann Madsen

I have used this sentence prayer in the days since Women’s Conference and by doing so I have invited the spirit of revelation into my life. Names and faces have been provided and opportunities for service made manifest. I was not surprised when the names provided were my own husband and children, but other names have been provided as well. I’m printing this quote out and taping it onto my bathroom mirror, it’s just that good.

“How many spiritual experiences have we missed because we ran to tell instead of lingering and waiting on the Lord?” – Paraphrasing Camille Fronk Olson.

Eric Huntsman and Camille Fronk Olson co-taught a class on women disciples where they felt that the reason Mary Magdalene was privileged enough to be the first person to see the Lord in His resurrected form is clearly recorded in the gospel of John: she lingered. Since hearing these words I have tried to linger longer when I feel the Holy Spirit’s presence. This Sunday I made a point to find the mothers of children who had born their testimonies in Primary and tell them word for word what their child said. We stood and hugged, with tears stinging as we marveled at the faith of children. If I had hurried home (as I normally do after church) I would have missed these sweet moments with my friends.

“The best ways to preserve traditional marriage and families is to participate in them.” 

This was a summary thought I had after listening to Stacey Edgington and Ann Takasaki’s class entitled Defending, Preserving and Protecting Traditional Marriage. Stacey Edgington taught, “There are absolute truths. It is important to create an environment where eternal truths can be taught. We need to 1. understand the doctrines of God  2. teach them to our children 3. be examples of discipleship by living and teaching truths to our posterity…. How we live will preserve the sanctity of marriage.” When the Women’s Conference transcripts come out, this will be the first talk I re-read. Another great quote they shared in the class was from Spencer W. Kimball, “Many of the social restraints which in the past have helped to reinforce and to shore up the family are disappearing. The time will come when only those who believe deeply and actively in the family will be able to preserve their families in the midst of the gathering evil around us.” I was impressed by the strength and tenderness of these women and the compassion they showed while still standing firm in the defense of traditional marriage. This class stood out from the pack as a must read from Women’s Conference.

“Be brilliant in the basics.” – Julie B. Beck 

Stacey Edgington quoted Julie B. Beck in the Protecting Traditional Marriage class as a method for preserving family life. What are the basics? Personal and family prayer, consistent Family Home Evening and scripture study, tenderness, work, eating meals together. When I got back home from Conference I felt re energized in my commitment to live the basics. In lieu of the large family calendar that used to loom over me in my office daily, I have transferred all of our appointments to my phone and compiled a small checklist that lives in my kitchen.  My Monday through Sunday wipe board is where I tally check marks when I complete “the basics.” This way I can prioritize what is truly important and let work assignments, piano lessons, and book club meetings get the second tier level of importance they deserve.

“Elaine, You cannot live your life in Gethsemane, Jesus was already there. You must find yourself in another garden.” – Elaine S. Marshall quoting her mother

Due to the fall of Adam, all of us will find ourselves confronted by the ugliness of mortality. The longer I live the more I am convinced that this “rock bottom” moment is part of the plan.  Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” I believe that mortality forces us to choose Jesus Christ (or some form of God) or to arrogantly choose a path that ultimately leads to spiritual death. I recently found myself in the Garden of Gethsemane fighting a crippling battle with anxiety. The racing thoughts, panic attacks and my self defeating beliefs took me to a very dark place. A friend felt prompted to send me her testimony of the power of Christ’s atonement and what equated to the first two steps in the 12 step program for addicts and co-dependents as used by our church. Using her prescribed method and humbly recognizing that I was fallen and that Jesus Christ was and is the “way, the truth and the life”out of my hell I began to pray in such a way that light and healing began to pour into my heart and mind. I had found my way into another garden through the atonement of Jesus Christ.

“Charity is the pure love of Christ.” – Moroni 7:47

Kevin J. Worthen turned my life upside down when he shed a new perspective on this well known scripture. I have always thought this verse of scripture as a description of Christ’s love for us. His perfect love is what we aspire to have when interacting with our brothers and sisters here on earth. But in a simple story that Brother Worthen shared about a time when he was annoyed with an ill performing co-worker that turned into a teaching moment, Kevin Worthen found that choosing to love God (that first great commandment) quickly led his heart to loving his brother as himself (the second great commandment.) Brother Worthen taught me that when I struggle to love another, try loving God is a path to charity. With that in mind, let’s read Moroni 7:47 again “But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him.” Doesn’t Kevin Worthen’s take on this scripture make charity so much more achievable? What a lovely thought!

Two other themes that I saw throughout the entire Conference were understanding the doctrines of the Priesthood and feeling joy despite hardship. I recommend the broadcasts and written transcripts to you as edifying and worthwhile material for study and learning. We will be linking to these talks in the near future to make it easy for you to find and enjoy.

Let me just leave you with the scripture theme for the 2013 Women’s Conference at BYU:

Therefore, continue your journey and let your hearts rejoice: for behold, and lo, I am with you even unto the end. D&C 100:12