Our General Authority was Elder Bruce Porter, and he gave two fantastic talks that were very nourishing to me. (I also really enjoyed his wife’s talks.) He said just the kinds of things I always pray to hear at stake conference. Here are some of my favorites:
We spend too much time in the church talking about lesser things. Too much time as individuals sq1ueezing every minute to get stuff done. We view ourselves as machines. His father wrote to him while he was on his mission, “Dear son, are you paying enough attention to rest, exercise, good food, prayer and scriptures? If you don’t, you will simply spin your wheels. You will be relying on your OWN mind.”
The song, “I Did It My Way” will be sung by those in the Telestial Kingdom.
This is not a gospel of guilt. Sometimes no matter what choice you make (like whether to go to stake temple night or back to school night or help your ailing mother) you feel guilty. DON’T. “If one of your kids needs you and the Holy Ghost tells you you should miss temple night to spend time with him, you would OFFEND THE LORD by going to temple night.” “We need never feel guilty for not doing things that are good so long as we are doing other things that are good that we feel prompted to do.”
They were both great talks. So keep the little suggestion I’m going to make here in perspective.
He was talking about how women in particular struggle with too much guilt. As an illustration, he told about a woman he knows who has ten children and who “keeps an impeccable household” (at this point I nudged Rog) who was discouraged because she felt she fell so short of what she should be. He, of course, reassured her that she was doing fine and needed to lighten up on herself. I told Rog, “That story would be so much more powerful if he would mention that her house WASN’T impeccable.”
And another comment was that he believed that “all mothers who try should get a free pass into heaven.” Probably that’s true, because everyone who tries should get to heaven, because the act of trying shows which way their hearts yearn. But NOT just because she is a mother. I buck at the age-old angel-mother stereotype that just because we’re mothers (or women) we are naturally more spiritual. This kind of rhetoric doesn’t help those of us who are hungry to be told HOW to measure (the Lord’s way) how we are doing, and how to know when and how we need to improve. The hardest thing about parenting is that there is no way to tell how you’re doing, no discernible relationship (at least at first) between effort/intention and results. Obviously, there must be a way to be doing things wrong and a way to be doing them right, but it’s so hard to tell what that way is.
The answer, of course, is that the only judgment anyone should make of themselves is just to assess how we are doing in our efforts at discipleship. Nothing else really matters.