We learned so many amazing truths this conference and I hope everyone came away feeling as much love as I did! I came away wanting to serve more and do better and love harder. I know I want to share my testimony more, like the woman in Sister Franco’s talk this morning! I want to glory more in my Jesus and consider my ways. I don’t want to be spiritually snoozy and lazy. Elder Budge’s words have been ping-ponging around in my head since yesterday filling me with brighter and brighter hope as the hours pass. The imagery of my sorrows making more space for joy illuminates my future!
But! Here’s the takeaway. There were so many talks I loved. I learned stuff I don’t think my soul has even fully realized that I have learned yet. But the reason I started writing this was that I got a note from a podcast listener shortly after Conference that said,
“One of the things from
I want to share this concern publicly and my reply for two reasons. One, because I feel the exact opposite about this theme and two, because I feel this is an important opportunity to reiterate a very important principle I’ve been trying to share with all of you for the last 8 months.
First, this was the heart of my reply about the new theme.
“I, too, bumped for one second on that word qualify as well until I heard the very next sentence. (Heart, heart, heart) I cherish the gift of repentance. The old theme didn’t mention Jesus Christ at all. It talked about Heavenly Father loving us and the good things we can do to help prepare us for the temple and exaltation, right? But it is irresponsible to hide the fact that we have to qualify for exaltation. We do! But what do we have to do to qualify (besides receiving essential life-saving ordinances)? READ THE NEXT SENTENCE! “Cherish the gift of repentance and seek to improve each day.” It’s the most beautiful thing ever! Heavenly Father wants me to have all he has! He wants me to be happy and to have peace and eternal life and what I have to do to qualify for that is to cherish the Savior’s gift and try to be better. I have to strive to keep all of the commandments and then repent when I mess up? Wow! Easy.
I hope this takes the pressure OFF the youth. I hope this empowers them to see what an integral part Jesus Christ plays in their lives, how beautiful and simple the gospel is and how learning to turn to the Savior and repenting continuously improves and strengthens home and family, helps me make and keep sacred covenants and receive the ordinances of the temple! Without repentance, none of us would ever qualify. It’s impossible. We all sin! That’s the truest thing in the kingdom. So this new theme is empowering to me. The pressure of perfection is lifted in these words not added. Cherish repentance! These girls need to love Jesus Christ and that isn’t going to happen by being fed that they are perfect just how they are! It will be through seeing that they are all NOT perfect, but are still able to qualify because of the Savior and the gift of the atonement. Without that qualification, no relationship would ever develop between us and Jesus Christ!”
I really do LOVE the new theme. I’m excited for us to memorize it.
And this next part of what I wrote to her is the important truth I’ve been trying to tell anyone who will listen for the last 24 years of my life. It is this:
“And if you feel I’m wrong in my interpretation (which is fine) or still struggle with this then please get on your knees, tell your Heavenly Father how you feel about it and then open the Book of Mormon! Today Peter M. Johnson said, “Study the Book of Mormon with a question in mind.” This is where the Book of Mormon becomes magical to me. This is where we begin to understand how we can receive personal revelation from the Lord. And when we do, we are never the same again! When he specifically answers our prayers, our questions, or our doubts through the pages of the Book of Mormon we become further anchored to Jesus Christ. And not just to Jesus Christ, but to the entire gospel of Jesus Christ, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints! Because if the Book of Mormon is true, and we learn it is true through feeling its’ powerful influence on our minds, then it is all true! I no longer need to question every piece of information I find on the internet and I don’t have to second guess if there is a prophet today, etc. etc. Let the Book of Mormon clear this up for you!”
I love you people. I love this gospel. I love that someone would think to turn to me for some clarification on something, but I know that I’m so flawed I get stuff wrong all the time! But our Heavenly Father never does. Turn to him. Ask him. Love him. Trust him and then go read the “most correct [book] of any book on earth and the keystone of our religion.”