Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Message Is Love

At church today we had a special stake conference attended by members of all the wards in our area.  Richard G. Scott, an apostle and one of the general authorities of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, was in the area so our stake president asked him if he would address our congregation.

Once upon a time, when I was very young, it wasn't so unusual to receive an occasional visit from one of the twelve apostles or even the prophet of our church.  Now, though, the mormon church has grown to more than 12 million members in about 25,000 congregations around the world, so it is a rare treat and blessing for us to listen to an apostle in person today.

The stake building was packed.  Cars were parked blocks away.  Those who couldn't find seats in the chapel or cultural hall were seated in other rooms with closed-circuit television access.  Our family got up extra-early this morning and arrived at 7:20.  The conference didn't begin until 10:00, so we were early enough to get cushioned seats in the chapel near the podium from which Elder Scott would speak.

Today's conference began with an inspiring message from our stake president, President Shumway.  Then Elder Scott invited President Shumway's wife to share her testimony of the gospel.  A teenaged girl and an elderly sister were the next speakers.  Finally, we were addressed by Richard G. Scott himself.

Elder Scott began by speaking lovingly of his wife, Jeanene.  He told of her love for God and family, her self-discipline, and her strong and loving character.  She was an amazing dancer who trained alongside a young actress named Shirley McLain, but Jeanene gave up that career path to serve a church mission, marry, and raise seven children.  Elder Scott is still clearly in love with his wife, who passed away 15 years ago after a battle with cancer.  To him, she still is and always will be his eternal companion.

For me, the message of today's conference was all about the power of love, especially within the walls of our own homes.  Love can turn lives around, change hearts, and save souls.  If we were to sum up Christ's mission on earth, it could be expressed in that one, all-encompassing word: LOVE.

As an apostle of the Lord, Elder Scott is called as a special witness of Christ to the world.  The conference closed with his powerful testimony of the divinity of our Savior and the great love He has for us.  It was that indescribable love that led Him to atone for our sins and die for us.  He suffered more than we can comprehend in order to save us, because He loves each of us that much. 

The Spirit filled the room with warmth and brought tears to my eyes as Elder Scott closed with this special testimony.  I hope to never forget it.

1 comment:

Jill said...

How uplifted this makes me feel. If LOVE is what it takes then it seems reachable.