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Talks & Lessons: The Blessings of the Temple Sealing

Last year, after I gave a talk in Sacrament Meeting, Christy suggested that I start posting ones that I’ve recently given as part of documenting my beliefs and testimony here on this blog. I thought it was a brilliant idea. A way to have another record of my spiritual thoughts and feelings for posterity. Thanks for allowing me to indulge.

The bishopric member in charge of scheduling talks called and asked that I would speak on May 13th but what I didn’t think about when I said yes was that it would be on Mother’s Day. I tend to get weepy anyway thinking about my sweet mother and then of being a mother to own my children. But then he said that he wanted me to talk about our experiences with adoption and what the temple sealing means to me and my family. It will be a miracle if I make it through this talk without an entire box of Kleenex.

Thankfully, President Henry B. Eyring gave a fantastic talk about families and temple blessings in the Priesthood Session of this last General Conference, so I’ll be drawing on that for many of my thoughts. So, sisters, if you haven’t had a chance to read it yet, you’ll get a sense of its message here, and brothers, you can really hear it this time if you found yourself napping through it the evening it was first given.

The title of his talk is, “Families under Covenant.” He states “There is nothing that has come or will come into your family as important as the sealing blessings.” (President Henry B. Eyring, “Families under Covenant”, General Conference, Apr. 2012) I believe that is true. It is how we endure trials in this life, knowing that our loved ones that have gone before, and those that will come after, will still be linked to us after this life. It’s what makes us strengthen our families here and now so that we can continue those relationships throughout the eternities. It’s what makes us want to be better parents.

There are two parts to understanding the temple sealing that I want to talk about today: 1) that you believe the power binds families and 2) that you have a role in making that happen.

Realizing the magnitude of the sealing power and the effect on my own family has only been strengthened through our experiences of adopting our four children. Because our children came to us through adoption, we had the opportunity to take each one to the temple, to kneel at the altar with them, and be sealed together through priesthood keys for all eternity. Those of you who had children born to you within your temple marriage covenant knew that you would be blessed with that sealing power from the moment they were born. We, who have had the privilege of growing our families through adoption, are given those very same promises. It just takes a little longer before we’re able to receive them. But I believe there are some beautiful spiritual benefits to this process.

It is a holy experience to see your babies, dressed all in white, gathered around you in the House of the Lord. You feel the truthfulness of Gospel and an opening to heaven. I hope I never forget those feelings of peace and happiness I felt with each sealing.

And our children had the unique opportunity of entering the temple. Warren was able to be with us 3 times: for his own sealing, for Maddie’s, and for Jake and Joey’s. I pray that he and all of them will cling to the memories, however faint, that they have of being in the temple and that those feelings will help them make good choices throughout their lives. That they’ll want to return again to make their own temple covenants.

Whether your children were born to your family in the covenant, or whether you also had the opportunity to have your children sealed to you later in the temple, the knowledge of the temple sealing and faith in its blessings should instill in all of us a greater desire to make good choices.

Indeed, our biggest responsibility is saving our families.

President Boyd K. Packer said, “The ultimate end of all activity in the Church is to see a husband and his wife and their children happy at home, protected by the principles and laws of the gospel, sealed safely in the covenants of the everlasting priesthood. Husbands and wives should understand that their first calling—from which they will never be released—is to one another and then to their children.” (President Boyd K. Packer, “And a Little Child Shall Lead Them”, General Conference, Apr. 2012)

President Eyring said, “Melchizedek Priesthood holders who are fathers in sealed families have been taught what they must do. There is nothing that has come or will come into your family as important as the sealing blessings. There is nothing more important than honoring the marriage and family covenants you have made or will make in the temples of God.” (President Henry B. Eyring, “Families under Covenant”, General Conference, Apr. 2012). I know that the same can be said for mothers.

Talking about a man who had just come back to church, President Eyring described what was necessary for him to receive the temple blessings. “It took faith in Jesus Christ, deep repentance, and a change in his heart…” In truth, that’s what we all need to have in order to enjoy the blessings of the temple.

President Eyring gave specific points that we should follow to ensure that we receive the blessing of an eternal family:

Invite the Holy Ghost as much as you can into your lives and families.

“Gain and keep a sure witness that the keys of the priesthood are with us and held by the President of the Church. Pray for that every day” (Eyring, April 2012).

Our testimonies are not fixed but can ebb and flow depending on the trials and circumstances of our lives. We need to pray for and constantly nourish our testimonies so that we don’t lose sight of our goal.

Second, he says, “husbands you need to love your wife.” And I would add, wives, you need to love your husband. Why would we strive for eternal life with our families and spouses if we don’t love them? Eternity is not in the future. Eternity is now.

“Third,” he says, “enlist the entire family to love each other.” He quotes President Ezra Taft Benson, “In an eternal sense, salvation is a family affair.” Later, President Eyring says, “Another crucial source for that feeling of being loved is love from other children in the family. Consistent care of brothers and sisters for each other will come only with the persistent effort by parents and the help of God.” (Eyring) I see that very clearly in my own family. It pains me to see my children fight or not get along. But part of our jobs as parents is to teach how to be an eternal family. We should nip conflicts in the bud and look for peaceable resolutions. We can be examples of kindness to our children by serving them with love, not just out of duty.

President Eyring taught that the sealing is only complete through the approval of the Holy Ghost, The Holy Spirit of Promise.

He says, “The way to do that is clear. The Holy Spirit of Promise, through our obedience and sacrifice, must seal our temple covenants in order to be realized in the world to come. Elder Melvin J. Ballard said, ‘We may deceive men but we cannot deceive the Holy Ghost, and our blessings will not be eternal unless they are also sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise. The Holy Ghost is one who reads the thoughts and hearts of men, and gives his sealing approval to the blessings pronounced upon their heads. Then it is binding, efficacious, and of full force.’”

As with many aspects of the Gospel, understanding that promised blessings (even temple blessings) don’t always come when you expect them is an important part of our spiritual growth. Sometimes they don’t come at all in this life, but are given after. But knowing that they do come, in the Lord’s time, is critical to our ability to endure and stay on the strait and narrow path back to God. We must have faith!

I found this to be true in my own life. When Colin and I were married in the Seattle Temple, we were reminded to multiply and replenish the earth. We wanted children and looked forward to that day, but we knew it was not going to be easy. Medical conditions indicated that bearing our children would be complicated, and most likely not even possible. But we decided not to worry. We knew that children would come to our family somehow.

I remember being in the temple when my good friend, Eileen, asked me if I felt sad or disappointed when I heard some of the words of the temple ordinances about posterity, when having children wasn’t happening for us yet. I told her no. I didn’t have to worry. I knew it would happen. My patriarchal blessing said I would have children. I just didn’t know when.

But we knew that Heavenly Father had a plan for us to be parents. A couple of years into our marriage, we felt impressed to adopt. It was after a combined Relief Society/Priesthood lesson on LDS Family Services and adoption that Colin and I looked at each other and just knew. That was the road we would take. It was a long and sometimes painful road, but we endured.

I remember times throughout the adoption process (with all our children but especially with Maddie because of her heart surgery) wishing that we had that comforting knowledge that they were tied to us forever. Without it, I worried more about mortality and what would happen to our family, to our children not yet legally adopted. When each adoption was finalized and we could take them to the temple, I felt a tremendous amount of peace. As President Eyring said, “…joy came from a feeling that connections with [family] are sure because you are or can be bound to them by priesthood ordinances that God will honor” (Eyring, April 2012). Having that temple ordinance complete for each of our children brings me such peace, knowing that I can handle the trials that may come that would part us from one another in this earth life. Death does not seem as debilitating to me now that all of our children are sealed to us.

I also realize that some of us may have heavy hearts thinking about the temple, and sealing, and eternal families because we have not received some of these blessings (children, marriage, etc.), or we have spouses or children who are not members or have not stayed active in the church. I have that same heartache knowing that my father is not a member of the church and that Colin’s parents have recently divorced. It’s painful thinking that these sealing blessings seem far from our grasp.

But there is always hope. We can cling to the examples from the Book of Mormon that President Eyring reminded us. He said,

“The success [that righteous Lehi and his wife, Sariah] won provide a guide for us. They taught the gospel of Jesus Christ so well and so persistently that children and even some descendants over generations had hearts softened toward God and toward each other. For instance, Nephi and others wrote and reached out to family members who had been their enemies. The Spirit at times softened the hearts of thousands and replaced hatred with love.” Don’t ever give up!

We can only change our own hearts. We can only gain our own testimonies. We must pray and study continually so that we can be strong links in our family chain.

In the end, it is our own actions that will make the difference. In speaking about leading our families in love and righteousness, President Eyring says, “That is a high standard for us, but when we, with faith, control our tempers and subdue our pride, the Holy Ghost gives His approval, and sacred promises and covenants become sure” (Eyring, April 2012).

I am incredibly grateful for the sealing power on the earth today. To me, the adoption was really complete when we knelt at the altar of the temple with each precious child. I know that by working together as a family, we can enjoy the blessings of the temple sealing right now, as well as throughout the eternities.

In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Baby Blessings

Once all legal aspects of the adoption were complete, we were finally able to have Colin give Jake and Joey a baby blessing, something that normally happens before a baby is even 6 months old. This ordinance allows the child to be counted on the records of the church (thought not officially a member until baptized at age eight) and also gives the father or other special Priesthood holder the opportunity to bestow a blessing of counsel and guidance for the child’s life. Sort of a glimpse into God’s gifts and intentions for that particular child.

Jake and Joey were nearly 19 months by the time Colin laid his hands on their heads, one at a time. Because they were so much older, he already had insights into their personalities. The blessings he pronounced upon them were therefore quite special, as we could already see some of the things he felt impressed to say coming to pass.

Maddie, too, was older when she received her baby blessing and though I’m not necessarily advocating for waiting so long, both experiences have been special. But, then again, so was Warren’s.

I’m just grateful that Colin is a man who takes the responsibilities of holding the Priesthood seriously and uses it to bless our family. I love being able to witness this good father work with God to help our children grow spiritually, right from the beginning.

General Conference Viewing

Though we missed the morning session on Saturday because we were driving back from the temple, we spent the rest of the weekend watching General Conference.

Tami and Joe and their three kids came down for Jake and Joey’s temple sealing, so we got to enjoy Conference with them as well.

We went traditional and had homemade cinnamon rolls for Sunday morning breakfast. They were quite tasty and rest assured we did add cream cheese frosting. I just snapped this picture before they were complete.

To keep the children (and adults) focused on the talks, we played the key words game with an obscene amount of M&Ms. Later we played Conference bingo, again with the plethora of candy. Sugar can really be a good motivator, or bribe. Take your pick.

Maddie had to resist devouring the entire contents herself. It was a test in self-restraint, I tell you.

What a powerful conference. I think that every time, but I really appreciated the topics and the spirit I felt while listening. I love how the apostles and prophets speak to us in ways that make us laugh and make us ponder. They are clear and straightforward. One of my favorites was by President Uchtdorf called, “The Merciful Obtain Mercy,” given Sunday morning:

“I don’t know exactly how to articulate this point of not judging others with sufficient eloquence, passion, and persuasion to make it stick. I can quote scripture, I can try to expound doctrine, and I will even quote a bumper sticker I recently saw. It was attached to the back of a car whose driver appeared to be a little rough around the edges, but the words on the sticker taught an insightful lesson. It read, ‘Don’t judge me because I sin differently than you.’”

As always, I felt uplifted by the end of the weekend. Like I was ready to tackle the craziness of life again. Thank goodness we get this bi-annual spiritual recharge. And thank goodness we had good friends with us to enjoy it and discuss it together. Another form of spiritual recharge, for sure.

Maddie the Sunbeam

With all of the hubbub of my surgery and with me being gone from church for several weeks, I never posted about Maddie starting Primary and becoming a Sunbeam (the class for 3-year-olds at church).

Before the beginning of the new year, the incoming Sunbeams had a few Sundays where they sat in the Primary room for Sharing Time and Singing Time to help them transition, come January. Maddie acted like she was going to fight this change tooth and nail, saying “no” repeatedly for just about everything and running back to see me every few minutes (I’m still 1st Counselor in the Primary Presidency). But after the second Sunday “practicing,” she sat in her chair of her own free will and started paying attention and singing the songs. She stopped running over to me and stopped refusing to sit with her class.

Even though I wasn’t there that first month and a half of her official start, I understand that she did great. Sure enough, when I returned to church after my 6 weeks of bed rest, I found that she willingly sat in her chair and continued to participate, even helping out the Sharing Time teacher whenever she had a turn. Overall, I would say it was a smooth transition. I credit her teacher, my dear friend Gina who Maddie adores.

However, that apparently did not mean that she wouldn’t have her moments of resistance because today she was assigned to give the opening prayer and she flat out refused to do it. Warren stepped up as pinch hitter and took her place for her. He’s had much more experience, of course.

It may be awhile before she’s ready. But she’ll get there, on her own terms. Just don’t even think of asking her to give a talk yet.

Talks & Lessons: Teaching Your Children About the Temple

I’ve been given the opportunity today to speak with my fellow Primary presidency members about families and the temple. We’ve separated the topic into three parts and the portion I’ve chosen is “Teaching Your Children About the Temple.”

As I was pondering what I would share for this talk, I had a song from the album, “As Temples Fill the Earth,” running through my mind. The song is called, “Teach Me About the Temple,” written by Lynne Perry Christofferson. It’s sung by a child and these are the words:

I see the light of the temple at night
As it shines it reminds me
I must prepare if I hope to go there
But I need someone to guide me

Please teach me about the temple
Please show me how to prepare
Then all of my life I will try
To be worthy to enter there
Please teach me about the temple
I want to know so that someday I may go

I see the light of the temple at night
And its glow is a symbol
Helping me think of the safety and peace
That come from the holy temple

I believe our children feel this in their hearts. They do want to know more about the temple. It’s our responsibility to help them understand its importance and holiness so that they can enter one day and make sacred covenants themselves. They need our guidance and help to do it. I’d like to share some ideas I had in how we can teach them about the temple.

First, we need to understand for ourselves the importance of the temple and develop a testimony of its sacredness. Some of you may know that, although I grew up attending church I wasn’t baptized until I was 18, out of respect for my father who wasn’t a member. It was difficult seeing my friends plan for temple baptism trips knowing that I could not go. I remember being a young woman and taking a visit to the Los Angeles temple grounds, looking at the huge doors wondering if I’d ever be able to go inside. I set in my heart the goal of becoming worthy to enter. My testimony of the peace and the blessings of the temple have only increased as I’ve strived to make temple worship a priority in my life.

The next is simply teaching by example. We need to attend regularly and allow opportunities to take our children to visit. Let them see us planning to go, making the sacrifices in our schedules, and walking out the door in our “Sunday best” to worship in the House of the Lord. If it is practical for your situation, I highly suggest going as a family and staying the night at the temple apartments located behind the mission office. Or, if you only go down for the day, allow the chance for your children to accompany you occasionally so that they may walk the temple grounds and establish a personal connection with the temple. In a story much like my own that I just shared, President Monson told of an experience that provided a foundation for one young girl’s testimony. “He recounted the late Elder Matthew Cowley’s story about a grandfather who took his small granddaughter on a birthday visit to the Salt Lake Temple grounds. With permission of the groundskeeper, they walked to the large doors of the temple. He suggested that she place her hand on the temple wall and then on the door, saying tenderly to her, ‘Remember that this day you touched the temple. One day you will enter this door.’ His special gift to his granddaughter was an appreciation for the House of the Lord. Likewise, counseled Elder Monson, ‘As we touch the temple, the temple will touch us.’”

Also we need to help our youth keep schedules clear enough to attend temple baptisms regularly and to make goals now to receive their own endowment and plan for temple marriage.

We must make our home a place where the temple is prominent. In the April 2011 General Conference, President Monson gave a great example of how to easily do this: “To you parents of young children, may I share with you some sage advice from President Spencer W. Kimball. Said he: “It would be a fine thing if … parents would have in every bedroom in their house a picture of the temple so [their children] from the time [they are] infant[s] could look at the picture every day [until] it becomes a part of [their lives]. When [they reach] the age that [they need] to make [the] very important decision [concerning going to the temple], it will have already been made.” I plead with you to teach your children of the temple’s importance.”

Another way is to use Family Home Evening lessons as an opportunity to teach about the purposes of the temple and the feelings we experience there. In a 1995 Ensign 1st Presidency message, President Howard W. Hunter shared some important counsel about the clear messages we should be teaching. He said, “Let us share with our children the spiritual feelings we have in the temple. And let us teach them more earnestly and more comfortably the things we can appropriately say about the purposes of the house of the Lord. Keep a picture of a temple in your home that your children may see it. Teach them about the purposes of the house of the Lord. Have them plan from their earliest years to go there and to remain worthy of that blessing. Let us prepare every missionary to go to the temple worthily and to make that experience an even greater highlight than receiving the mission call. Let us plan for and teach and plead with our children to marry in the house of the Lord. Let us reaffirm more vigorously than we ever have in the past that it does matter where you marry and by what authority you are pronounced man and wife.”

While the idea of talking about the specifics of the temple would be inappropriate, there are things we can share that will help our children understand why we attend the temple. In a fabulous talk called, “Preparing Our Families for the Temple,” Sister Carol B. Thomas addresses that concern and suggests how we can sensitively, and respectfully, prepare our children to know about the teachings of the temple. She said, “…in a family setting, there are many precious truths that, with sensitivity and common sense, will help prepare our children for the temple.

Consider:
The sacred nature of the temple clothing. In the temples all are dressed in white. White is the symbol of purity.
The temple is the Lord’s classroom. President Hinckley has said, “[The temple] becomes a school of instruction in the sweet and sacred things of God” (Teachings, 635).
What it means to be worthy for the temple. Can we teach our children that receiving one’s endowment and the wearing of the sacred garment will not require a change of wardrobe or lifestyle if the principles of temple worthiness are understood and lived in their earlier years? A young woman who wears knee-length skirts will not have to buy a new wardrobe after she receives her endowment in the temple. A young man who anticipates going to the temple will respect the Church’s moral standards in his social behavior.
Understanding gospel language. What do the words endowment, ordinances, sealings, and keys really mean? The story is told of a little boy who overheard his parents discussing doing temple sealings. He asked, “Are you going to do the walls next week?”

I especially love the idea of defining what it means to be worthy and how it will prepare them for temple attendance, helping children understand that it’s something they can obtain and not just for those that are “perfect.”

And though FHE is a great venue for discussing such ideas, it definitely is not the only opportunity we should take. In that same talk, sister Carol B. Thomas reminded us of this fact. She said, “Where may we teach our children? Family home evening is the formal setting, but there are so many more places where we may talk about our spiritual feelings for the temple. One of my favorite times was when my children were in bed at night. Occasionally I would lie on their bed and tell them of spiritual things. There in the peace and the quiet, the sweet Spirit can bear testimony to their heart and soul that the things you are saying are true.” I have experienced that and know that such a time can be a powerful testimony builder for both child and parent.

This suggestion made me think of another way we can teach about the temple: through music. Testimonies grow as we provide opportunities to sing and listen to the hymns regularly, especially those temple-related songs from the Children’s Songbook. I think most of us are familiar with the song “I Love to See the Temple.” It’s a valuable tool to help them understand about preparing for the temple starting now. But we don’t have to wait until we’re in Primary to sing it. For example, I’ve turned it into a lullaby, singing it to my children as they’re ending the day. I’ve also made adjustments to time spent in the car by turning off the radio and listening to two-year-old Maddie sing the song herself from the back seat and then asking me to sing it over and over again. How can I deny her request to sing both verses (seriously) 10 times in a row when I know it’s an opportunity to testify of the temple? Every time they hear the words I hope that the message sinks in a little deeper. I pray that the songs strengthen their testimonies and that they can draw on the lyrics in times of spiritual need.

Unfortunately, I can’t complete the other portion of my talk assignment: I’m not able to relate to you any of what our Primary children experienced at yesterday’s temple outing. Warren came down with the stomach flu and we had to cancel our plans to attend. Warren and Maddie had been so excited to go—Warren had been talking about it since we first started announcing the activity—and they couldn’t wait to spend the night in the temple patron apartments. When I told Warren that we wouldn’t be able to go he burst into tears. He was devastated to miss this opportunity. His disappointment was heartbreaking. But at the same time, I felt grateful. I was glad to know that our family trips to the temple were that important to him. It’s that kind of enthusiasm about the temple that I’m hoping to instill in my children, and I hope it lasts a lifetime.

I know that the temple is a sacred, holy place, even the House of the Lord. It is a source of great peace on the earth. Our children deserve to know early on about the importance of the temple. They must begin preparing from the beginning so that they can make the decisions all along that will lead them there. I have seen in my own family the joy that has come from loving and respecting the temple. I pray that as we strive to teach our children the value of temple preparation, we will become a temple-going people who serve the Lord more fully and that our families will be strengthened as a result.

In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

 

Super Saturday

The Relief Society organization in our ward (church congregation) has, for the last few years, prepared a day’s worth of craft activities and uplifting classes for all of the women to enjoy. One “Super Saturday” devoted to improving talents and strengthening faith.

The day started at 10AM with an inspiring talk on making the choice to be happy no matter your circumstance. Other classes and workshops I attended were: glass etching, hair accessory making, soap making, and matte decorating, with pictures of the Savior to frame “The Living Christ” document. Lunch was even provided. A fantastic (and nearly free!) mini women’s conference.

However, as far as productivity goes, this Super Saturday was not my day. My incredible husband took all four babies so that I could attend all five hours, and for that I am grateful. But I left almost empty-handed. I only completed one project, the matte decorating:

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Everything else I had signed up to create was a bust. The etching class involved stenciling your last name on the bottom of a clear 9×13 casserole dish so that it would never again be confused with another’s lasagna pan. But for some reason (most likely the age of the dish), even after two attempts, the glass would not etch and I walked away with a nameless pan. Lesson learned: use a new pyrex dish for glass etching, not a 12-year-old one like I did.

And even though I got all my felt pieces cut out in petals to make my flower hair clip, I left the classroom with only one stitch sewn out of the 18 that were required to complete the assembly. No cute hair accessory to wear to church the next day for me. Lesson learned: don’t spend too much time gabbing (or finishing your dessert from the lunch buffet) if you want to walk away with a finished product.

But, despite my obvious craftiness inferiority, I am still glad I went. If nothing else, it was nice to get out of the house for awhile and visit with friends. I love the ladies that surround me each Sunday.

 

Mormon Helping Hands

Just like last year, our ward (church congregation) participated in a service project called Mormon Helping Hands. Saturday morning, Colin took Warren and Maddie to help our community and Goleta Valley Beautiful with some renovations and repairs using mulch, soil, and wheel barrows. They cleaned planter buckets and filled them with mulch and checked irrigation bags for big tears and patched those that needed repair.

The kids loved it. Not only did they help out but they had a great attitude while doing the work. And they got donuts for their efforts, which always makes things go more smoothly.

I was sad to miss out, but Jake and Joey needed to be home for a proper nap, otherwise we’d all suffer the consequences later.

I love this annual opportunity to work together and serve in our town. And I love that our children can be a part of that service as well.

General Conference Weekend

Every six months, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints tune into the broadcast of General Conference, a series of talks presented by church leaders on ways we can improve and grow as individuals striving to be more Christ-like. The Mormon Tabernacle Choir also sings throughout the meetings. It is an absolutely uplifting two days.

It used to be that you could only view it at a church building, or on television, if you had cable. But recent technology now allows the transmission into every home through the internet, as well as cable and satellite t.v. What a blessing this convenience is to a family with four small children!

I love General Conference! It’s a special time that requires special activities and, of course, special food.

Most people opt for cinnamon rolls for breakfast, which we did for the Saturday morning session. But I also wanted some pancakes, so we made some with cinnamon syrup, which was super delicious, for the Sunday morning session.

We, again, used the M&M game to help Warren pay attention to what was being said during the talks. A helpful way for all of us to take note of the recurring themes and topics.

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Warren made himself a little “Conference Fort” with all of the tools to keep him occupied: a General Conference packet filled with coloring pages, the latest issue of The Friend, and some LEGOS. Maddie just enjoyed the M&Ms that seemed to never end. Colin and I were happy to lean back on our ugly loveseat and take in as much of the messages as our kids would allow us to hear. And Jake and Joe only listened to about 5 minutes of each session since they happened to coincide perfectly with their nap times.

Two gatherings with friends between sessions and one Sunday dinner guest made the weekend complete.

Many talks touched my heart, but my favorite was Elder Lynn G. Robbins‘ on “being” versus “doing,” which was applicable to many situations. As a parent, though, his comments on learning from the child who tends to be more difficult were especially powerful reminders to be more patient. To be grateful for the challenges I face with my very different children and grow from the experiences.

I always walk away from conference weekend feeling like I can be the person that I want to be.

 

Elder Bednar

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I’m not quite sure how she ever took notice of him, but Maddie absolutely loves Elder Bednar. Whenever she sees a picture of him, or when he is on the screen during General Conference, she screams, “Who’s that?!” and points endlessly.”Hi, hi, hi!” she waves at him, hoping for a response.

She recognizes him as she’s flipping through The Ensign, or as we pass by the portrait of him hanging among the other twelve apostles at the Los Angeles Temple visitor’s center. He is definitely her favorite.

Hopefully, she’s always enamored with such quality men.

General Conference Key Words

Thank goodness for the convenience of watching General Conference on the Internet from the comfort of our home. It means that we can sort of pay attention to the speakers without incessantly shushing the kids. As much.

But we want them to start paying attention to the talks. Colin devised a plan to help get them started.

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M&Ms. We told Warren that we all could get an M&M for every word from this chart he heard the speaker say: Jesus, family, Priesthood, scriptures, prayer, gospel. Wouldn’t you know it, he noticed many of those words said. Repeatedly. Want to know the most used word? Jesus. The picture above shows the empty bowl turned upside down that once held the red M&Ms assigned to the word.

Call it bribery. I’m not beyond that. But it worked.

I love Conference. I walk away filled with a desire to be better. And today I walked away from the day’s sessions also filled with chocolate.