Stake Conference Thoughts

The Los Lunas Stake Conference was this weekend. Unfortunately we had to miss the Saturday sessions because we had assignments at the Temple.

Today’s General Session started at 10 AM. We arrived at the Stake Center around 9:30 and found seats toward the back of the soft pews — something we wouldn’t have been able to do in Akron without getting there much earlier.

To theme was family history and Temple work. I took notes for Dave and Corrine Salisbury since they couldn’t make it.

The choir did an amazing job as usual.

Dan Ramczyk was the first speaker. He talked about his conversion (he’s been a member less than a year), particularly as it related to family history and Temple work. He joked about the fact that his mother always wanted him to become a priest (in the Catholic Church), but followed a career in law instead. When he joined our church, he finally received the priesthood — just not the way his mother imagined. He shared the fact that he had said a prayer with his non-member father when he was near death. It made me wish that I had offered to say a prayer with my mom when she was near death — and offer to give her a blessing.

President Malarsie spoke, also relating his feelings about family relationships. It was a touching talk. His son was injured at the same time a couple other young men were killed in Afghanistan. Later, Pres. Malarsie and his son had the opportunity to help seal the children of these young men to their fathers.

Sister Webb (Temple Matron), spoke next, and mentioned how much she enjoyed meeting the youth and new members as they come to the Temple for the first time. She plead with everyone to come to the Temple.

President Webb first spoke about how grateful he was to the Stake Presidents who had helped him over the years. Then talked about the importance of Temple work. He said that the teaching done in the Temple is done using an ancient method. He also said that everything in the Temple helps us learn of 3 things: 1) Who is God?, 2) Who am I?, and 3) Who is Christ?

President Clark next felt inspired to ask 3 people to speak without much notice — Bishop Perez of the Rio Grande ward, Bishop Johnson of the Ladera ward, and Sister Clark (President’s wife). They all spoke of their personal feelings regarding the Temple. Bishop Johnson said that when they first got married, his wife said that if Albuquerque didn’t have a Temple within 18 months that they should leave. 17 months later, Pres. Gordon B. Hinckley announced that a Temple would be built in Albuquerque. Sister Clark learned that she needed to forgive her step-father before she was able to have success in trying to learn much about her biological family.

Pres. Clark talked about how much he enjoyed meeting with members who were about to go to the Temple — either for the first time, or after a long absence. He also quoted Pres. Russell M. Nelson from his remarks at his news conference after being set apart as President of the church when he urged us to  “Keep on the covenant path”, and followed that with the promised blessings “Your commitment to follow the Savior by making covenants with Him, and then keeping those covenants, will open the door for every spiritual privilege and blessing available to men, women, and children everywhere.”

Pres. Clark also spoke about Heavenly Gifts and what they are. They include the Savior’s teaching and his atoning sacrifice. He also plead with the members that they go to the Temple. He asked “what are we doing to be ‘about our Father’s business'”? He ended by thanking us for our goodness and says he prays for us constantly.

It was a wonderful meeting. I left feeling some regret that I hadn’t prayed with or blessed either of my parents before they died.

____________

Later in the afternoon, I spoke with Michael on the phone. His birthday was 3 days ago and I hadn’t spoken with him since I saw him at Christmas time. He’s settling into his new apartment with his friend Shane in Salt Lake City. His job is going well and he’s attending one of the Singles Wards in one of the University of Utah Stakes. So far they haven’t given him a calling.

So, it’s nice to know that he seems to be doing pretty well.

As always, I could feel some hesitancy from him about talking to me, and, as always, I didn’t know what to do about it. Hopefully we can get past that someday.

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