General Conference was amazing for me this time around. I especially loved the Saturday Morning session. I admittedly don't always get so much out of it. Usually I fall asleep or just am not in the right mindset to receive revelation. But this time it's different, I think because I did (most of) the 40 Day Conference Challenge where you watch a talk every day leading up to this weekend. Not to mention, I have been going through a hard time, and that usually makes me more tender and willing to improve myself. I loved the gathering of the Church and listening to talks that can help me improve myself and teach me about Christ.
Almost immediately after the last session ended, someone I love very deeply posted something on Facebook saying that our church is a cult and that everyone who belongs to it is brainwashed. This makes me so sad, because the LDS Church has been a great source of peace and comfort to me.
I, like anybody else, have questions and sore points. I actually had a few while listening to Conference this time. (Like, why does it always seem like women are lauded as the strong but silent partners who stand behind great men? Why can't we simply be the great women, period, who stand alone from men sometimes?) Anyway, it makes me sad when people I love only find hurt and confusion out of the Church.
Maybe they don't feel like there's a place for them, which I totally understand. At the moment I don't really feel like there's a clear place for me as a married but childless woman. But I remain active because I know that at the core of the Church are the teachings of Christ, and there's a place for everyone at Christ's feet. While at times the culture of the Church annoys and saddens me, I have a firm testimony of the GOSPEL of the Church. And that's what truly gives me joy.
I know I can never really say anything to convince loved ones to come back to the Church. They are on their own journey and have to grapple with issues inside themselves. But the song lyric, "They who reject this glad message will never such happiness know" makes me want to tell everyone I know that the Gospel of Jesus Christ can make you HAPPY! It involves a lot of work and soul searching, plus some humility and consistent habits. But it makes life on Earth and our existence as humans make absolute sense. It gives me a purpose and a goal to constantly strive to be more like Christ. "The healing and strengthening power of Jesus Christ and His Atonement is for all of us who will ask."
I don't really have a conclusion to all of these thoughts. I just had to get them out before I forgot them. I hope anyone reading this who doesn't know about the Church (or does and has problems with it) realizes that I love you just the same. I try to never judge people on different life paths, because I know that we all have our own lives to lead. I am certainly the least perfect person I know. And my life is crazy NOT perfect. But being a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints does give me joy, peace, comfort, a purpose, a sense of community, knowledge, pride, love and hope. And that's all I can really ask for right now.
And because these are all so good, here's a bunch of quotes from this weekend!