We are daughters of our Heavenly Father, who loves us, and we love Him. We will “stand as witnesses of God at all times, and in all things, and in all places” as we strive to live the Young Women values, which are: Faith, Divine Nature, Individual Worth, Knowledge, Choice and Accountability, Good Works, Integrity, and Virtue. We believe as we come to accept and act upon these values we will be prepared to strengthen home and family, make and keep sacred covenants, receive the ordinances of the temple, and enjoy the blessings of exaltation.
I was sustained as the secretary of the Young Women in my ward yesterday.
I’ve felt since before I even left Bloomington (in July) that this is the direction I was supposed to be heading. I couldn’t be happier or more excited about this calling.
The difference in a member’s relationship with living prophets is that we have bound ourselves, through covenant, to hearken to their messages. To hearken means not only the obligation to listen, but to DO — or quite literally, follow their instruction.
An understanding that the words of living prophets are applicable to all people should create a desire in each of us to invite others to listen to their counsel — General Conference is an excellent opportunity. The other key element in the member relationship with living prophets is the right to have the Holy Ghost confirm to us that the words they speak are inspired of God. This does not mean, however, that members can simply pick and choose which counsel they are comfortable following. And of course, this is where faith and trust enter this most unique of earthly relationships.
The restored gospel of Jesus Christ is a way of life. It is not for Sunday only. It is not something we can do only as a habit or a tradition if we expect to harvest all of its promised blessings. “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap” (Galatians 6:7).
We do not allow ourselves to go into a field to plough without taking our religion with us; we do not go into an office, behind the counter to deal out goods, into a counting house with the books, or anywhere to attend to or transact any business without taking our religion with us. If we are railroading or on a pleasure trip our God and our religion must be with us.
The When of the Gospel
There was a stake Relief Society conference last weekend. There were talks and some videos and activities and crafts and then there was a (delicious) luncheon. I went by myself and was pretty much on my own for most of it (not that anyone was unfriendly) since I’m so new and I was the only YSA who went.
But during lunch I just happened to end up at a table full of converts. We had some good conversation. (I really, really love being able to discuss the gospel with people, trading insights and experiences.) One of the ladies had just joined the church this year and commented that she wished that she’d found the gospel a lot earlier, like I did, so she could have “done things right.” I can see where she’s coming from. I mean, of course I wish I’d gotten to go to girls’ camp and I’d love to have my family sealed in the temple. BUT I firmly believe that when and how we come into the gospel is an important part of Heavenly Father’s plan for us. I’ve been thinking about that a lot this week.
If I’d been raised in the church I would never have ended up where I am. I wouldn’t have had nearly the same experiences and I wouldn’t have a lot of the same perspective or opinions that I do. I would be a very different person and I like who I am! I wouldn’t have gone to IU (where I did find the gospel), I wouldn’t have met Ben, I would probably still be majoring in the wrong thing as a junior somewhere like Penn State or BYU.
If I’d met missionaries only a couple of months before I actually started learning about the church, there is no way I would have listened to what they had to share. There were so many factors that prepared me to hear the gospel exactly when I did, from the way my friendship with the few church members I knew was progressing to some horrible events that lead me to finally getting out of a bad relationship. (He would not have let me investigate the church. it was that kind of relationship and he was that kind of person.) But even that relationship played a huge role in me being in the right place at the right time, which is why I don’t regret it. And if I Ben hadn’t shared the gospel when he did, who knows where I would have ended up! Things in my life got messy after I joined the church so I promise it wouldn’t have been good.
I have a very firm testimony of this gospel which includes the why, the how, and the when. I’m sure those who are born and raised LDS are so blessed for a specific reason. Those of us who have converted have taken a much different path, but I’m sure it was just what Heavenly Father intended for us. And for those who have yet to have such an opportunity I know Heavenly Father has beautiful plans also.
I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.