The Women’s Session of our last General Conference had such a powerful impact on me. I was profoundly grateful for the incredible women who boldly declared and defended God’s truths. I left that meeting with a greater desire to do my part, however small that might be. Their words and their examples have made me want to be a more devoted disciple of Christ. Here are just a few of the things that inspired me most.
From Cheryl A. Esplin’s talk “Filling Our Homes With Light and Truth”1:
“When filled with the Spirit and with gospel truth, we have the power to withstand the outside forces of the world that surround and push against us.
Families are the Lord’s workshop on earth to help us learn and live the gospel. . . . Strong eternal families and Spirit-filled homes do not just happen. They take great effort, they take time, and they take each member of the family doing his or her part. Every home is different, but every home where even one individual seeks for truth can make a difference.
As we fill our hearts and homes with the Savior’s light and truth, we will have the inner strength to withstand in every circumstance.”
From Carole M. Stephens’ talk “The Family is of God”2:
“The Savior knows the difficulties of the way and can guide us through whatever sorrows and disappointments may come.
As we use our time in mortality to study and apply the Savior’s teachings, we become more like Him. We come to understand that He is the way—the only way—we can overcome mortal challenges, be healed, and return back to our heavenly home.
If we are to be successful in our sacred responsibilities as daughters of God, we must understand the eternal significance of and our individual responsibility to teach truths about our Heavenly Father’s plan for His family.”
From Bonnie L. Oscarson’s talk “Defenders of the Family Proclamation”3:
“We need to boldly defend the Lord’s revealed doctrines describing marriage, families, the divine roles of men and women, and the importance of homes as sacred places—even when the world is shouting in our ears that these principles are outdated, limiting, or no longer relevant. Everyone, no matter what their marital circumstance or number of children, can be defenders of the Lord’s plan described in the family proclamation. If it is the Lord’s plan, it should also be our plan!
There is no greater honor, no more elevated title, and no more important role in this life than that of mother or father.
Our homes should be places where the Spirit of the Lord is felt in rich abundance and where the scriptures and the gospel are studied, taught, and lived.”
I can’t think of a greater blessing for us or our families than to have a home where the Spirit of the Lord dwells. As Sister Esplin said, that takes time and effort. If we do nothing more than listen to the words of our leaders, then they are nothing more than beautiful words. We must plant them in our hearts and then have the faith to live them, even when it seems hard. It does take effort. But the rewards are great! Especially now, it is essential to have a testimony of our Savior and invite His Spirit into our lives and homes. By relying on our Savior and living His gospel, we will have the strength needed to endure the trials we will face in this life. Heber C. Kimball said, “To meet the difficulties that are coming, it will be necessary for you to have a knowledge of the truth of this work for yourselves. The difficulties will be of such a character that the man or woman who does not possess this personal knowledge or witness will fall. The time will come when no man nor woman will be able to endure on borrowed light.”
I look forward with great anticipation to the next two weekends! I love general conference! For me, it is a time of rejuvenation, reflection and recommitment. Robert D. Hales said, “Oh, how we need general conference! Through conferences our faith is fortified and our testimonies deepened. And when we are converted, we strengthen each other to stand strong amid the fiery darts of these last days.”
The only way our faith can be fortified and our testimonies deepened is if we act on the impressions we receive while listening to conference. If we spiritually prepare ourselves, conference can be a very personal, even life changing, experience. Just as Paul V. Johnson said, “In order for the messages of general conference to change our lives, we need to be willing to follow the counsel we hear.”
1. Filling Our Homes With Light and Truth – Cheryl A. Esplin
2. The Family is of God – Carole M. Stephens
3. Defenders of the Family Proclamation – Bonnie L. Oscarson