Melanie Stroud

Can you clarify this?

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 General Conference that I have been thinking a lot about is the new Young Women’s theme. You always have such a positive spin on things, and a way to see things and optimism. I am wondering if maybe you can help me look at this in a better light. When I heard it said strive to qualify my first thoughts were that we are not good enough the way we are. Young Women are so impressionable, I worry if they say this every week it will make them feel as though they are not good enough the way that they are. And if [they] fail to do the things that the Lord asks they will not qualify. With suicide rates being so high, I worry so much about the youth who struggle with sin, especially moral sin. Please help me see this in a way that can help me.”

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!”

Here is my plea people.  If any part of General Conference bothered you, or you have some doubts stemming from something else,  take it to the Lord and then to the Book of Mormon before you take it to the internet. You’ll not only be blessed with a question answered, or at least peace, but your anchor to the Savior and his gospel will become one link stronger and that testimony gained will help buffet all the storms that are bound to come in the coming months as we prepare for the UNFORGETTABLE April 2020 Conference! 

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.” 


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5 thoughts on “Can you clarify this?”

  1. You are again amazing Melanie. I too loved the inspiration we I received from General Conference. I really like how you answered your listener’s question.
    I want to tell you my prayer was answered after opening the Book of Mormon last night.

  2. I agree! And there were so many talks in conference that mentioned not needing to be perfect, but just trying, becoming more pure each day through repentance, DOING. We do have to qualify but all that requires is a belief in Christ, a desire to do better and to try our best! I love the knowledge this gospel brings to our lives. And I love the changes in YW and am excited to implement them!

    1. Katrina Rasband-Clarke

      Your response was spot on but your last comment was my favorite. Did you take it to the Lord and the Book of Mormon before the internet. Yes!!! I feel this way with my kids when they ask questions that I know they either know the answer to or can find it themselves fairly easily. But that’s just it, asking me is faster. No real thought or intent is required. No work. But I don’t have all the answers and sometimes my answers are wrong. Let’s all take our questions to the Lord and the Book or Mormon. I think there would be a lot less crap on the internet if we did.

  3. Beautifully said! I love how you point out that the new theme takes the pressure off being perfect because we are all imperfect. Yes! 👏👏👏 I love the new theme and feel it is so inspired along with all the new youth changes and messages during conference. Thank you for sharing your testimony on this with a special post as well as sharing your testimony weekly with the podcast. 😘

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