Monday, October 1, 2012

Okay, I Think I like Sister Burton

Three years ago, about this same time of year, I wrote this post. In it I said :

"I love the image of our glorious Mother Eve receiving the Savior as He visits the spirit world with hundreds of thousands (perhaps millions) of her daughters standing behind her, ready and excited to receive the fullness of the gospel. Women who, even though we don't have their names, lived lives that put them on the same standing before God as the men who were in the congregation, great and righteous men like: Adam, Abel, Seth, Noah, Shem, Abraham, Issac, Jacob, Moses, Isaiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Elias, Malachi, Elijah and the prophets of the Book of Mormon (D&C 138: 40-49) .
How I would love to get a glimpse of those women, to learn their names, to know their stories and to hear their testimonies of the Lord Jesus Christ... I look forward to the time when Christ will come for the second time and Eve will once again stand before God with ALL her faithful daughters and present them to the Savior. That will be one meeting I hope I get to be a part of!"

Then a few days later, after the general Relief Society Meeting, I wrote this post. In it I said

"Last week I wrote about Eve and her faithful daughters and I remarked that I would LOVE to get a glimpse of these women. Well, God answers the prayers of our heart because during the broadcast I got that glimpse.

Imagine this place

the Conference Center for the Church of Jesus Christ of Later-day Saints, filled to capacity with over 21,333 righteous women (and millions more in meeting houses around the world) standing and singing "How Firm a Foundation". Especially imagine them singing at the top of their lungs with tears streaming down their face (I'm sure I wasn't the only one crying) the last verse of the song,
The soul that on Jesus hath leaned for repose,
I will not, I cannot, desert to his foes:
That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,
I'll never - no, never, no, never forsake!
As I stood in my meeting house, more than 100 miles away from the Conference Center, and sang this hymn my mind was filled with images of women all over the world standing along side me and singing their devotion to Jesus Christ. I felt such a connection to these women and to the women on the other side of the veil whom I felt were standing with us. I realized that I was only one in the army of millions of faithful women-- past, present and future--whose testimonies of the gospel burn strong in their hearts and who are ready and willing to do all that God asks of them. I know that even though we are so far apart we are all bound together as sisters through the gospel of Jesus Christ. No matter where or when we live or have lived we are all the daughters of Eve-- glorious, faithful and strong. I am so grateful that God answered my prayer and granted me what I wanted... a glimpse."

Well on Saturday night I got that glimpse... again.

During the opening hymn of the General Relief Society Meeting as I stood shoulder to shoulder with women I love and sang:

Fear not, though the enemy deride;
Courage, for the Lord is on our side.
We will heed not what the wicked may say,
But the Lord alone we will obey.
("Let Us all Press On", read and hear it here)

I felt the power and majesty of all the righteous women of God-- on this side of the veil and beyond-- and I was humbled. 

We are simply glorious. 

And I saw that we haven't even begun to realize our power. 

I will freely admit that I was nervous about this General Relief Society Meeting. I was nervous that I wouldn't be able to love or respect the new President, Sister Linda B. Burton like I had the former president, Sister Julie B. Beck. In fact, I'd pretty much convinced myself that she was going to fall flat on her face in comparison... not so Christ-like... but it was how I felt. I didn't realize it until later, but I had a bit of an agenda about what I wanted her to say and I went into the meeting with a, "Okay, lets see how good you are. Let's see if you say this..." mentality. 

Once again... not very Christ like

And certainly not a good mindset in which to receive personal revelation. 

Yet after my sweet experience during the opening song my heart was softened, and when Sister Burton got up to speak I felt a wave of love for her wash over me. Not only that, but I also felt the "mantle" of her presidency fall upon her, much like I saw the mantle of prophecy fall upon President Thomas S. Monson the first time he spoke after being sustained as the Prophet of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 

I realized that, even though I still love and miss Sister Beck, that Sister Burton has been called by God to lead His women and to carry the work we have to do on this earth forward. I loved listening to her talk and saw that she is a powerful woman of God, who knows, sees, and understands. I am excited that God has chosen her to lead the women of His church and the world (if they will listen) and can't wait to see what He has in store for us. 

I was also very impressed with her counselors, even though I was inclined not to be because of my bad attitude. I found that I loved Carole M. Stephens' talk about "awakening" to our spiritual duties, there was a lot of deep ideas in there that I can't wait to go back and read closer. And Linda S. Reeves' experiences and thoughts brought me to tears and opened up a beautiful new train of thought in my mind about Mary, Martha, Jesus and Lazarus which is sure to turn into a post one of these days. After her talk I went back and studied that story and wow, there is a lot of powerful stuff in there! 

It got me really excited for General Conference! I have been fasting and praying hard the last few weeks that my heart will be soft and open enough to hear and understand the messages God wants me to understand. If you haven't watched it before it would be well worth  a few hours of your time... I promise. 

Come listen to living prophets 

What did you like most about the General Relief Society Meeting on Saturday? 


  1. Agreed! The broadcast was amazing, but even more so because it was my first! I was as close to tears as I ever get when Sister Reeves talked about Mary and Martha, but I think President Eyring's story about his daughter pushed me a little bit closer. It was wonderful, and I can hardly wait for the rest of the talks. (I get to actually go this year, which is amazing!!!)

  2. MMmm, loved it! This year I invited several sisters I know to reread Daughters in my Kingdom in the 2 weeks before the RS session. Then my mom and one of those women came to my house to watch the session, and my oldest daughter stayed up with us (she's 11). The other 6 kids spent time with Daddy upstairs. It was wonderful.

    I think what touched me the most was the theme of the atonement. It is such a powerful doctrine and in the last year I have felt the power of the atonement in my life as we have had a special needs child added to our family.

  3. I watched the broadcast last night over the internet. I was touched by the personal stories that both President Eyring and Sister Reeves shared. I loved the messages about the Atonement. I felt that there was a quiet strength throughout the meeting.

  4. I want to know what video they showed while Sis. Reeves talked about Mary, Martha, Jesus and Lazarus. I had never seen that video before and loved it! It was a beautiful meeting. The themes of the Atonement, Covenants, and Unity was powerful.

    1. I know! I went home and checked the bible video website hoping it was a new one but it wasn't there. It looked like the same actor who plays Christ in the Bible videos (who I am in love with) and so I am hoping that it is a new one that will be up on the website too. It was beautiful!

  5. The General Relief Society Broadcast brought peace to my mind and happiness to my heart. It truly is a wonderful thing to be a part of such a great organization and to be a daughter of God.

  6. Hi Heather
    You know I felt some of that too, and I had to really pray not to allow those "petty" feelings to steal the coming joy of the talks of those women. This verse from D&C 21:5 came to me: For his (her) word ye shall receive as if from mine own mouth in all patience and faith."
    I thought "Who am I" to compare this relief society president and her counselors with the previous group? I also remembered that as we are commanded to sustain our prophet and his counselors, that also means the women called of God in the Relief Society. So I was duly reproved.
    I agree that the talks of each of those sisters was "on point". There was something in each talk that blessed and healed my heart, even the wonderful selections from the choir.
    Thank you

  7. I loved the talk about Mary, Martha and Lazarus. So much so, that I went home and reread the story and I had the coolest moment. I realized that it's Martha's house that Mary and Lazarus live in. So then I started thinking about where her husband is---probably dead for it to be Martha's house. And I've been thinking about her and her responsibility to Mary and Lazarus and all the judgments that were probably placed on her. Which then made me think about the famous Mary and Martha story and how much pressure she was probably under as a widow and everything else. As I had all these thoughts, I just felt a connection to Martha--that she was my sister. I felt that all the women that I've been studying are aware of us as women.

    So Thank you for challenging me to study the women. It was an amazing conference and I feel uplifted.

  8. I really loved this session too! I think I cried at least 5 times. Such beautiful messages.

  9. Imagine interpreting for these wonderful women! What a blessing that was for me! One of the best meetings ever I thought! The Spirit was super strong in our interpretation booth. :)

    1. I always think about you during conference! What an awesome experience that must be. I am always a little jealous :)

  10. Oops - I tried to post a comment but it didn't work. I apologise if you end up with two from me! I just wanted to thank you for this post. I haven't had a chance to watch the broadcast yet. Here in UK we usually watch a recording of it at a special RS meeting, so on Saturday morning I will join the sisters in my *new* ward for a RS breakfast and then watch the broadcast. I am really looking forward to it - especially after reading this lovely post and the all the comments. It is only in last year or two that I have really started to appreciate the RS for what it is and your blog has helped me to gain a testimony of it. Thank you as always for sharing on your insights! :)

  11. I, too, loved the focus on the Atonement. I loved Pres. Eyring's talk as well, and loved even more that my daughter (a brand new 18-year-old college freshman) felt he was speaking just to her, giving her training in her first Relief Society calling as Compassionate Service Leader. This meeting is always a wonderful prelude to General Conference itself!

  12. Gah, I'm crying and I haven't even started typing what I wanted to say!
    I admit to also thinking that I wouldn't like the new presidency as much as I loved the previous. I have a special place in my heart for Sister Beck, and I didn't think that Sister Burton would be able measure up nearly as much. Yes, I was not Christ-like at all. . . . My heart completely changed when I came home from Church on Sunday and watched the broadcast in the silence of my home. Sister Reeves, especially, touched my heart. I felt like she was speaking to me only, and I knew that she was/is called of the Lord, just as Sister Stephens and Sister Burton were/are. I particularly loved the theme of the Atonement in the entire Conference. The Atonement is finally real to me, and I have gained a deep understanding, appreciation, and testimony of it in the past few months. Every one of those talks hit me strongly. I love the new Relief Society Presidency. :)

    Thank you for sharing, Heather. :)

    1. You are welcome! I am so glad that your heart was touched. It is amazing how the spirit knows what each of us needs.

  13. So, 3 Ne 6:20 totally applies to these wonderful women!! I was touched by their talks and their focus on the Atonement! What more could women in our day need than a firm foundation in Christ? Love it! Thanks!

  14. I just wanted to say that Sister Burton was a joy just WATCHING her speak the other night. She actually RADIATED and GLOWED when she spoke. I could FEEL the Spirit just by her countenance! I felt peace, calm, joy, love, and a variety of other things just by watching her! I hope I can be just like her when I "grow up".

  15. I really loved the broadcast too! Every talk was just so wonderful and I really felt the Spirit. For some reason I've put up a kind of wall for the past few years that when I start to feel the Spirit and cry during church meetings, I force back the tears, but in so doing, it basically pushes the Spirit away and I don't really allow myself to feel it fully (if that makes sense?) But this was one of the few times in a while that I really let myself just feel it and I ended up crying my way through the whole meeting. :-p

    I can't even think anymore of who was speaking at the time, but one of their talks reminded me of all I went through when my son had meningitis at 3 1/2 months old and the prayers and priesthood blessings given on his behalf....and me having to come to that point to say "if it's Thy will, you can take him Home." That talk became different to me when I realized I could relate to her experience!

    Also...I just wanted to say...At some point while reading this post, I realized that when I read your blog, I feel some of that connection to the Relief Society and the upliftment that I miss by not being able to go to Sunday RS meetings (since I've been in primary or nursery or out in the hall/mother's lounge with kids for the past 5 years minus a few Sundays). So THANK YOU! I love you, Heather!

  16. I am a little behind on my blog reading, so I am reading this after General Conference.

    When you said, "I felt the power and majesty of all the righteous women of God-- on this side of the veil and beyond-- and I was humbled.

    We are simply glorious.

    And I saw that we haven't even begun to realize our power. "

    For some reason the thought that now women can go on missions at 19 popped into my head. Heavenly Father realizes our power and wants more Sisters to serve him full time. :) So excited about this.

    1. The same thought popped into my head too. In fact, as weird as it sounds I kept feeling like the Lord had something important for women at this conference. This wasn't at all what I was expecting, which just goes to shows how little I understand the ways of GOd!