Saturday, March 30, 2013

LDS General Young Women Meeting Expands On The 2013 Mutual Theme "Standing In Holy Places"

On March 30th, 2013, the General Young Women Meeting of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was held at the Conference Center in Salt Lake City, with 21,000 people in attendance. It was also broadcast to hundreds of thousands of other young women throughout the world. Although held a week before General Conference itself, it's generally considered to kick off Conference week. Archives and transcripts of the talks will be available HERE within the next few days. A special video shown during the meeting is available HERE. There are stories published in LDS Church News, and synopses are provided below, in the order in which the speakers appeared:

-- Sister Ann M. Dibb, Second Counselor in the Young Women General Presidency, discussed the instruction to “stand ye in holy places, and be not moved”, and noted it's found is three separate sections of the Doctrine and Covenants. She said that while a holy place can be a physical environment or a geographical location, like a temple, church building or a home, it can also be a distinct condition, position or state of mind. In the latter case, standing in holy places can include such seemingly mundane actions as walking out of a bad party or sharing a testimony with a friend.

“This means holy places can also include moments in time,” said Sister Dibb, “moments when the Holy Ghost testifies to us, moments when we feel Heavenly Father’s love, or moments when we receive an answer to our prayers. Even more, I believe any time you have the courage to stand for what is right … you are creating a holy place.”

In the final analysis, Sister Dibb concluded that standing in holy places confers protection, strength, and peace in unsettling times.

-- Sister Mary N. Cook, First Counselor in the Young Women General Presidency, encouraged young women to stand in holy places for their ancestors, for themselves and their immediate families, and for their future families, telling them that their righteous choices will qualify them to make and keep sacred covenants that will bind their families together eternally. To drive the message home, she cited the example of a young lady named Kate, who lost her father to a stroke shortly after she got baptized at the age of 14. To cope, Kate tried to be as close to the Lord as possible by reading her scriptures, praying, and writing in her journal frequently. She kept her testimony vibrant by writing it down, and attended church and Young Women every week. Then, at age 21 as Kate was getting ready to serve a mission, her mother was diagnosed with cancer. Kate had to decide whether to stay home and support her mother or go on her mission. Her mother received a priesthood blessing and, assured that her mother would survive her illness, Kate continued her plans to serve a mission. Today, she's in a temple marriage and raising a family, and credits this to the decisions she made when the first life crisis struck at age 14.

Sister Cook concluded by saying, “Decide now to do all you can to fill your lamps, that your strong testimony and example may be woven into the lives of many generations, past, present and future".

-- Sister Elaine S. Dalton, Young Women General President, discussed how young people are being prepared as missionaries. She said that when she heard the announcement of the change in missionary age during the October 2012 General Conference, she was thrilled and felt a sense that we must be ready whenever a prophet speaks. She reminded the young ladies that we must be worthy and respond to the promptings of the Holy Ghost. As more evidence that the announcement was the Lord's will, she said many youth expressed to her that they had felt stirrings within their hearts even before the announcement was made that they should increase their preparation. When the Lord gives direction to the Church, many people get a personal validating witness from the Holy Ghost.

But Sister Dalton directed much of her talk at parents. She stressed that homes can be missionary training centers, family history centers, and a refuge from the storms in the world. The Church can help, but parents do it best and most effectively. Sister Dalton suggested four things that can help the young women prepare for future roles and responsibilities:

1. Obtain a temple recommend and seek out family names and take them to the temple to perform baptisms.

2. Read the Book of Mormon.

3. Receive, recognize, respond to and rely on the Holy Ghost.

4. Be pure enough to hear the promptings of the Holy Ghost.

-- And finally, the Priesthood was there to show its support for the efforts of the Young Women in the person of President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor to the First Presidency. President Uchtdorf wanted to let the young women know that they will find their way on their journey home and be an inspiration to others as they follow the map given by a loving Heavenly Father. He said that map is found in the sacred scriptures, the words of the prophets and apostles, and through personal revelation from the Holy Ghost. But simply having a map doesn’t do any good unless it is studied and used to navigate through life.

“You are not alone on this journey,” President Uchtdorf declared. “Your Heavenly Father knows you. Even when no one else hears you, He hears you. When you rejoice in righteousness, He rejoices with you. When you are beset with trial, He grieves with you. Heavenly Father’s interest in you does not depend on how rich or beautiful or healthy or smart you are. He sees you not as the world sees you; He sees who you really are. He looks on your heart. And He loves you because you are His child. ... Seek Him earnestly, and you will find Him. I promise you, you are not alone.”

In the end, President Uchtdorf promised the young women that as they honor and live true to the covenants, the principles and values of the gospel of Jesus Christ, at the end of their mortal journeys, Heavenly Father will be there. He will embrace them, and they will know once and for all that they have made it home safely.”

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