Sunday, January 26, 2020

Ward conference

Today was ward conference, which is an idea that always took me a long time to understand. I guess when I was young I didn't notice that stake leaders were it just felt like an ordinary Sunday. Because it's basically an ordinary Sunday.

Stake Conference and General Conference feel different. They have different venues and involve more people than we typically meet with week to week, but ward conference is just your ward meeting together, like, "I guess we're calling this a conference now."

I understand the purpose of it better now. And today was our ward conference.

We met before church to practice our musical number and then Miriam played prelude and did a wonderful job.

Later the choir sang, bolstered by angels, I'm sure, since we were few in number. Alexander came up with us because he can't be trusted in the pew with his siblings and he was a little stinker up there. He started pushing around the step stool and going for the volume control on the pulpit. So apparently he can't be trusted to come up on the stand with me anymore, either. I'm not sure what we're going to do with him since I'm one of the few sopranos in the choir.

Perhaps we'll have to sit by his favourite nursery leader on Sundays that we sing.

After sacrament meeting the stake music chair ran up to me gushing about Miriam and asking me if I'd be willing to play for stake conference (hard pass, thanks...unless you want to sing the exact three hymns that I can play) and then she asked if Andrew would be willing to play for stake conference. So I roped him into that.

That's what he gets for calling an 8:30 rehearsal (the tyrant).

My mom pointed out that it's not great for me, either, since that means I'll be left to sit by myself with the kids. But, honestly, they're usually pretty good except for Squirmy McSquirmerson.

(Now watch them be terrible (they are, after all, descended from a tyrant).

(And you all get that I'm kidding about the tyrant thing, right? Because although I was sad to have to get up so early on a Sunday morning, no one loves sleeping in more than Andrew so it was a real sacrifice on his part, too).

Anyway, Miriam also had to give a talk in primary and she did a wonderful job.

Here's her talk:

Good morning, everybody. This week I was asked to give a talk about being armed with righteousness and the power of God.

We are taught that “the Priesthood is the power of God on Earth used to bless our lives and the lives of others.” Sometimes when we talk about the Priesthood we only talk about boys because they will one day get to hold and use the Priesthood to bless others, but Sister Eubank says that “it’s important to acknowledge that there is already power in every kind, moral man and woman” on the earth. She says, “When a person resists the negative influences in their surroundings and keeps the two great commandments to love God and love their neighbor—whether or not this person has made formal covenants with God to do so—there is already godly power at work in that individual’s life.”

So we all have access to God’s power, for his power is goodness.

Joseph Smith accessed this power before he even founded the church. He was wondering which church was true so he went to the only place he knew to find God’s word—the Bible—and read James 1:5–6:
If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.
He went to the Sacred Grove and sought his answer in prayer. And the answer was amazing! It is because Joseph Smith asked that we have the church today. “By the gift and power of God,” the title page of the Book of Mormon states, Joseph Smith translated the golden plates and brought that knowledge into the world. And this was before he was even baptized!

Sister Eubank tells us that when we make baptismal covenants, our power for goodness is greatly magnified. This was true for Joseph Smith and I certainly hope that it’s true for me.

When I was baptized I made covenants to come into the fold of God and take upon me the name of Christ. Importantly, I’m supposed to bear other’s burdens, stand as a witness of God, and keep God’s commandments. Keeping the covenants I made at baptism is an important way that I arm myself with the power of God. 

President Eyring says we arm ourselves with the power of God when, “we keep the Sabbath day holy and honor the Priesthood. [When] we make and keep sacred covenants, work on our family history, and attend the temple. [When] we strive continuously to repent and plead with the Lord to ‘apply the atoning blood of Christ that we may receive forgiveness of our sins’ (Mosiah 4:2). [When] we pray and serve and testify and exercise faith in Jesus Christ.”

Another way that I magnify the power of God in my life is by sharing my musical talents with others. Music is very important to me and, I hope, to everyone. President Oaks said that, “through the miracle of sacred music, the Spirit of the Lord descend[s] upon us, and we [are] made ready for gospel instruction and worship…. The singing of hymns is one of the best ways to put ourselves in tune with the Spirit of the Lord.” And when we have the Spirit of the Lord with us we’re able to access his power more fully.

I bear my testimony that as we arm ourselves with righteousness and the power of God and keep our baptismal covenants, we can become better instruments in the hands of God. 

In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

I feel like she just gave a talk not too long ago, but that's part of the joy of living in a smaller ward. Looking back through history, it seems like my primary-aged kids spoke once or twice a year in our Durham ward, versus once in a two-year period in our Spanish Fork ward. Speaking more frequently is probably just something we'll have to get used to and that's okay because it gives us a reason to study a topic more in depth than we probably otherwise would.

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