Family and friends, aloha!
Sorry to give another email about conference, but it does only come twice a year. Plus general conference is like Christmas for missionaries. It's all we can talk about before and after it happens.
This past week in district meeting, we went around the room and shared what we liked about a certain talk and why we liked it. Really brought me back to the good 'ol seminary days.
The talk that I chose to share was one from the priesthood session. I think the talk was given by the second counselor in theschool presidency, and I chose to focus on one story in particular from his talk.
He shared the story of a father who experienced tough trials as his son began to turn away from the church. It started in high school and he just continued in this downward spiral. The father had always hoped that his son would serve a mission, but his hopes were dashed when his son announed to their family that he would be married in a few months, not in the temple.
This father felt prompted to tell his son to get his patriarchal blessing before and pleaded with his son to do this. His son finally agreed and receiving his patriarchal blessing a little while later, but insisted that he go by himself. When he returned home after receiving this blessing, his father said that he was changed. Something was different about the boy who left, and the one who came back. He took his fiancee outside to talk. His father recalls looking through the window to see them embraced and wiping away eachother's tears. He came back inside and shared his experience with his father.
He said that during his blessing, he had a glimpse of what he was like in the premortal world in the war in heaven. How valiant he was in persuading his brothers and sisters to follow Christ's plan. He basically said once he realized how much of a force for good he had been, how could he not do all that he could to once again save his brothers and sisters and go on a mission.
In the scriptures we learn that the earth was the only place wicked enough to crucify their Savior. But we have also been told that in contrast, the earth is home to some of the most valiant of God's children, and that he has saved his most valiant and strongest for these days.
A prophet said that after this life, those pioneer ancestors who crossed the freezing plains will commend us on our staying true in the midst of opposition.
We're all here at this time for a reason. How then, recognizing how valiant we must have been, could we not do all that we can to live the gospel and share it with all those around us?
I love this work and know that no other is more true.
Aloha, Elder Merrill