Our weekend of great messages did not end when Elder Holland left. We then had Stake Conference.
It began with such a sweet thing. In 1988 and 1989 we lived in Worthington, Ohio. During that time, we became close friends with some of the other couples in the ward. Our children were about the same age, so we started a babysitting co-op. One of the couples would watch all of the children on a Friday night so the other three couples could go out. I loved those couples. One of them was Randy and Becky Bluth. Randy is now Elder Bluth, a member of the Quorum of the Seventy of our Church. It was great to see him.
He shared a message on Friday about the sacrament. It was a little video that the Church had done. It had a powerful effect on me. I was taught that if I do something wrong, like yelling at another driver on my way to Church, I should repent of that, but then I should take the sacrament. We should not fail to take the sacrament unless our sins are such that we need more than personal repentance. The sacrament is to renew us, to strengthen us and to help us. We should take the opportunity to renew our covenants every week.
There was also a message today in conference about the sacrament. We were asked how we would view taking the sacrament if we had been there in that room when the last supper was given. What would we have thought? Certainly we would not be looking at our cell phones.
I found a picture at Deseret Book that depicts it well. In the picture it shows the congregation as we typically are behaving during the passing of the sacrament. But in the front row depicted is a young family. The person passing the sacrament has wounds in his hands and is wearing a robe. A small child is reaching for him. The father and mother are completely aware of who is serving them the sacrament. It is beautiful.
There were many great things I took away from conference. I will just share a couple. I believe that part of the reason that people are not better about sharing the gospel is that they do not realize how many miracles occur. President and Sister Bennion shared two stories that reinforce the knowledge we have that God loves His children.
In one story, a young woman belonged to another church, but had a strong feeling that she needed to be baptized again. Her father, who is very active in her former church, told her she could be baptized in any church but the "Mormon" church. She came to church anyway, but was not setting a baptismal date because of her family. Then, a newly returned missionary went with the missionaries to visit her. He indicated that she knew it was true and that each of them should pray that she would have the strength to act on her knowledge. They did, and when she prayed she said she felt like "Jesus kicked me in the ribs". She joined the church and is very happy.
Some of you may remember that we had a sweet young sister missionary who was killed in a car accident in our mission. She had been working with a couple in one of her areas, but the couple had been dragging their feet on setting a date. Finally, the missionaries who were following up after Sister Barnard died, asked the couple to choose a date. Without even realizing it, they chose Sister Barnard's birthday. In another of her areas, one of the less actives had been struggling with some addictions. The missionaries who had begun working with her had suggested she choose a date as a goal. Without realizing it, she also chose Sister Barnard's birthday. Seems that Sister Barnard is still busy as a missionary.
Elder Bluth concluded the conference and part of his message was about not being deceived. He told a story that when he was a child, his family did not have a lot of candy around. So, when he was about 7 and his mother came home with a grocery bag with what appeared to be a large chocolate bar, he was excited. On the wrapper it had a picture of a big bar of chocolate with a bite out of it. His mother explained it was baking chocolate and that it did not taste good. She put it away in the cabinet. When she was away, he got the bar and proceeded to take a big bite. It was awful. When he later told his mother, she basically said "I told you so". Elder Bluth related the story to our lives today and that Satan uses things like the internet to make things appear to be something they are not. It was a great message.
By the end of Stake Conference, though, it was good I had taken notes because I felt like I was drinking from a fire hose!