We attended Olympia Stake Conference meetings yesterday and today (Jan 11/12, 2020) and were privileged to have in attendance Elder Scott D. Whiting, a General Authority of the church.
In the Adult Session last evening, we first heard from President Bates, 2nd Counselor in the Stake. He related the story of his younger sister who fell away from the church in her youth, but came back many years later when she realized that her young children needed to be taught the gospel.
We had a couple speakers talk about their experience with Family History and Temple Work.
Elder Whiting told the story of meeting a young man on an airplane who was clearly not living gospel standards, but it turned out he was a member of the church, had served a mission, gotten married and had 2 young children. But he had made some bad choices, was separated from his wife, and had just been released from the hospital after attempting suicide. His wife had also filed for divorce.
Elder Whiting invited him to attend the Stake Conference he was about to speak at. The young man didn’t make it so Elder Whiting invited him to another one the following week. It turned out to be near his wife’s home.
This time he showed up with his wife and two children. Later Elder Whiting learned that the young wife had withdrawn her request for divorce.
Elder Whiting also talked about reading and pondering the Book of Mormon. He sometime will read the entire book with one question in mind or searching for ways to become more like the Savior.
This morning, we heard first from Stake President Mitchel about ways to minister, share the gospel, and the importance of Family History and Temple work.
They had 3 youth speakers, one of who was a girl only 7 years old, talked about the new Come Follow Me program and how she was applying what she learned.
In his talk, Elder Whiting talked about Lehi’s family and his rebellious sons. He talked about Pres. David O McKay’s statement from many years ago, “no success can compensate for failure in the home”, and Pres. McKay’s answer to the question “what constitutes failure in the home?”. His simple answer was that failure was giving up on trying to do the right thing.
He told us that one of his daughters has struggled with activity in the church, starting at age 7, when she was about to be baptized. He was Stake President at the time and his daughter said she wanted to be a Catholic. To this day she is a less-active member of the church. This has caused him and his wife a lot of anguish over the years, but they’ve vowed to “teach, testify, and love until their dying breaths”.
He also told of his calling as Bishop at a very young age. He wasn’t very well known in the ward at the time and one of his daughters was asked by her Primary teacher what he did. She responded “he sits on the couch and watches sports”. This was embarrassing to him and made him realize that he wasn’t setting the proper example. Subsequently, they decided to disconnect cable TV from their home to avoid the temptation to watch.
At the close of the meeting he challenged us to take appropriate action based on the impressions we had received during this conference. I’m guessing that a few men went home thinking that maybe they need to cut down on watching sports or other entertainment. Fortunately, sports has never been a temptation for me, but no doubt I need to spend more time on things of the spirit, and less time on the computer.