Eyes to See, Discipline to Create, Glue to Bind—Converted unto the Lord

By Sharon Eubank, First Counselor in the Relief Society General Presidency

The following is the text from Sister Sharon Eubank’s keynote address given at BYU Women’s Conference in Provo, Utah, on May 4, 2017.


 


A few months ago, I went to an Asian café in town for lunch. The friendly guy behind the counter said: “Have you ever been here before?” And I confessed no. “Okay, pick your starch, your protein, and your sauce.” I had never thought of lunch that way before, and it struck me that there were almost endless combinations made from these three basic building blocks for a meal:

  • Pasta, meatballs, and marinara
  • Rice, chicken, sweet and sour
  • Spaetzle, beef, and stroganoff
  • Tortillas, carne asada, and salsa
  • Brown rice, tofu, and curry
  • Rye, pastrami, and mustard
  • Potatoes, steak, and A-1
  • Biscuits, ham, and gravy
  • Angel hair pasta, scallops, cream
  • Waffles, bacon, and syrup

I’ve thought about this a lot since that day. What would be the main building blocks of conversion? What are the basic experiences we all have that combine into an endless variety?

BUILDING BLOCKS OF TRUE CONVERSION

I have come to believe there are three basic ingredients to the feast of each person’s conversion. We all have experiences with these key ingredients, but each has such a different look and taste that it’s not always easy to compare our conversions. There is no one conversion. It’s the Atonement that gives us the multiple chances we need to repent and to combine these three ingredients into a satisfying feast of true conversion.

The first ingredient is learning to see beyond the mortal limits of time and space.

On earth we are bound by limits:

  • During the 70–90 years of an average life, we can only experience a fraction of the stream of time. It’s very difficult to look forward or backward to see the big picture.
  • Our memory is very poor. We forget almost everything unless we write it down.
  • Frailty, illness, energy, disease, and death limit us physically, mentally, and emotionally.
  • Pride, conflict, and the quest for power are constantly disrupting our attempts to come together and accomplish something as a group.
  • We cannot prove the truth to others; they must find it for themselves.

Transcending the limits of mortal time and space is the power to see “things as they really are,”1 not how they look on the earth. One person able to do it was the brother of Jared. He was able to pierce the veil and see the bodily form Jesus would take later on earth.2 Another to do it was Sarah, who looked beyond a suffocating personal grief and let her only beloved son walk out on a journey with his father, Abraham.3 Another name for this ability to see beyond right now is faith.

What would it mean for you and me in the 21st century to think beyond mortal limits? It means the fashions of the day, the opinions on Twitter, the handicaps and barriers of this brief mortal life are just that. Brief. They don’t last. We women are called to focus on what lasts. From the very beginning, Eve took a really long look through the veil. What is mortal life for? To hang around in the beautiful garden? She realized that to have birth there had to be death. In order for Eve and Adam to multiply and replenish the earth, she had to choose to eat the fruit. To open the door for all of us to come into mortality, she had to trigger the Fall. She sacrificed a Garden-of-Eden kind of life in order to bring us all through the veil. She became the mother of all living. Her ultimate testimony to all her children is “Were it not for our transgression we never should have known good and evil, and the joy of our redemption, and the eternal life which God giveth unto all the obedient.”4 She could do it because she put her complete confidence in Jesus Christ. She and Adam had the faith that Jesus would accomplish His atoning work. Jesus promised to compensate for the Fall of Adam and Eve. And He did. His Atonement removes the barriers of sin, injustice, mistakes, ignorance, and pain at the hands of others so that if we have faith and keep covenants with Him, we will transcend or overcome the limits of this fallen world. Every challenge we encounter in life will help us learn to use revelation, or eyes of faith, to look past the realities of this world into the better world.

I want to share three examples of women who used their eyes of faith to look beyond present pain and circumstance.

I read just two weeks ago a BBC survey where 31% of Christians polled believed in the literal Resurrection of Jesus.5 That means 69% of Christians in that poll do not believe Jesus actually rose from the dead in a physical form. We just celebrated Easter. I like to imagine early in the morning before dawn Jesus as a spirit coming into the tomb before He was resurrected. The grave clothes would have to be unwound from the body before He could enter it. In John chapter 20 it describes how the napkin that had been around His head was folded and laid on one side and the clothing on the other.6 When the body was ready for Him, I imagine Jesus’s spirit entered it. Was there light or sound at the Resurrection? I don’t know. But I do know that when the heavy stone was rolled away and Jesus walked out of the grave, “the firstfruits of them that slept,”7 the limits of death and hell stopped having power on this earth. There was now a living, physical example of those scriptural promises that the dead should rise again. Of course it was hard to mentally grasp. Mary Magdalene, full of grief in the garden, couldn’t believe it at first, but when Jesus spoke her name and she reached out to embrace Him, she knew Him. She knew what resurrection meant.8 Mary Magdalene was the first mortal witness to testify: He is risen.9

If we as Christians don’t believe that Jesus is resurrected and brings resurrection to us all, then we live in a dead world. Things die and don’t revive. Dead children, dead dreams, dead relationships. Mary is the first in a cloud of witnesses that the death which defines our time in mortality and feels so permanent is really only temporary. Jesus Christ was resurrected. We too will be resurrected. The sureness of resurrection makes a very big difference to me in the way I view the world and the things I choose to do. Women like us who have made covenants must join Mary Magdalene as witnesses. There is life after death, and the kind of life we gain after death depends on our choices now.

The second example is of three women who made a painful choice but had the hope that it wasn’t a final choice. It is the story of the daughters of Onitah told in Abraham chapter 1.

In the land of Chaldeans (modern day Baghdad) the people had turned from righteousness to idolatry because of the false teachings of the Egyptians.10 The priest of Pharaoh had built an altar in the land of Chaldea, and he was sacrificing men, women, and children to the sun god, Shagreel.11

Abraham 1:11 reads: “Now, this priest had offered upon this altar three virgins at one time, who were the daughters of Onitah, one of the royal descent directly from the loins of Ham. These virgins were offered up because of their virtue; they would not bow down to worship gods of wood or of stone, therefore they were killed upon this altar, and it was done after the manner of the Egyptians.”

These three young women’s choice to stand as a witness was their final act in mortal life, but that decision opened up an eternal world of promise to them. Of these three virgins, Neal A. Maxwell said: “Matching … [Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego] are three young women whose names we do not have. They appear in the Book of Abraham, remarkable young women about whom I am anxious to know more. They were sacrificed upon the altar because ‘they would not bow down to worship [an idol] of wood or stone.’ Some day the faithful will get to meet them.”12

For the last example, let me introduce you to Reyna Aburto. She is a woman who truly knows how to see what really matters. She and I have really only known each other four weeks, but we have become trusted friends. This is her story:

“A terrible earthquake hit Nicaragua just after midnight on December 23, 1972.13 My house collapsed in a few seconds. I was saved because a piece of furniture behind me protected me with a space to breathe. My mother and some neighbors helped me out. It was pitch dark. I remember just sitting across the street and looking at where the house used to be. It felt like a nightmare. I didn’t think it was real. Being only 9 years old I was thinking: Where will we live now? What clothes will I wear? It felt like everything stopped and I didn’t know what would come next. But we received so much help from neighbors, family members, even strangers. Gradually life started to make sense again. We eventually had another house, another table, another bed, another place to live. I learned not to be attached to material things but instead to focus on what really matters.

“10,000 people died in the earthquake that night. My 10-year-old brother sleeping on a bed next to me was killed. He and I were close. It didn’t feel real that he was gone. I was in shock for months. Years later when I was a teenager I had a kind of fantasy. I was obsessed with the idea that my brother would knock on our front door and tell us that he had just been away somewhere, that he wasn’t really dead. I can remember staring at the front door and wanting it to happen. At some level I knew it was silly, but I wanted so much to see him again.

“Then 4 years ago, I was standing at my kitchen sink in Orem washing the dishes. It was Easter time and I was thinking of the Resurrection for some reason. I thought of my brother and suddenly a feeling came over me. I got it. It wasn’t silly. That vivid obsession I had about seeing him at the door was really a revelation from the Holy Ghost, even though I was too young to understand it and not a member of the Church. It was telling me that he really is somewhere. He will be resurrected and I am going to see him again.”14

Reyna relates that her physical world as a young girl was full of uncertainty, insecurity, shock, and sorrow, but the Lord taught her as a teenager through a vivid daydream and the whisperings of the Holy Ghost about the reality that exists beyond this mortal world.

President J. Reuben Clark Jr. said something very powerful about this ability to see beyond what is visible to our physical eyes as we exercise faith. He said: “As I think about faith, this principle of power, I am obliged to believe that it is an intelligent force. Of what kind, I do not know. But it is superior to and overrules all other forces of which we know. … [We] have had this great power given unto us. … What are we doing about it? … If you but live the Gospel, … you may invoke the power which is within you.15

Consider the example of Eve, or the daughters of Onitah, Mary Magdalene, or Reyna Aburto. Then take a long look into eternity, into what really matters. Hold fast to the vision of what you see that is true. The Lord told Emma Smith that her role and the role of all of us was to “lay aside the things of this world, and seek for the things of a better.”16 If you exercise the power of your faith that the stark realities of this life—the restrictions, the abuses, the things that are unfair, the barriers—only exist temporarily. And you are eternal. The priesthood power that comes to you by keeping your covenants in faith is also eternal and propels you continually past the limits of now.

But what if you are blinded by what is going on in your life? What if you can’t find the faith to see beyond the stifling things that are happening to you right now? We’ve all felt that way too.

About a year ago I had eye surgery so that one of my eyes would see far away and the other one close up. The surgeon warned me that it would take weeks for my brain to separate which picture from which eye it was looking at and adjust. After the surgery, I knew I had made a severe mistake. My vision was like looking at everything underwater. I couldn’t read. My focus jumped back and forth between the eyes. I had a monster headache. I had been prescribed eye drops to use every two hours, but I was easily distracted and couldn’t remember to use them. When I went back to the doctor, I was frustrated and complained that my vision wasn’t getting any better. “Are you using the eye drops faithfully?” I wanted to say yes. But the real answer was no. “The eye drops are the key to your new vision.” Fine. So I started to use them. I kept them in my pocket and in the car and at work and on my bed table. They became a part of my daily routine. Slowly, over several weeks, my eyesight began to improve. The more I used the drops, the better I could see. After six weeks, my vision had improved to be vastly better than before the surgery. I was so happy. What made the difference? The skill of the surgeon and the laser technology were both important, but it was my remembering the simple eye drops that only takes a small amount of time every day that allowed everything else to work together so that I could see.

If we want to develop the faith to see in new ways, beyond this life, then small drops are the key to our new vision. What are the drops? Acting on what you know. If we get distracted and don’t act on the things we know, our eyesight starts to dim and get wavy. We get a monster spiritual headache. When we act regularly on our testimonies, our vision slowly improves until we are seeing things we never had in the past.

Elder David A. Bednar taught: “Knowing that the gospel is true is the essence of a testimony. Consistently being true to the gospel is the essence of conversion. We should know the gospel is true and be true to the gospel.”17

So, take a long look through the veil and focus on things that really matter. What will we keep with us on the other side of that veil? Relationships, covenants, knowledge, testimony, experiences, repentance, mercy, service. Then, don’t just know them; do them. That is the secret to the recipe for being converted to the Lord.

To summarize this first ingredient of true conversion:

The ability of women to see beyond the limits of mortal time and space is called faith. The barriers of this world aren’t real or permanent. Priesthood power transcends mortal limits. Experiences with faith lead to testimony. Acting on testimony brings conversion. Women can be seers for their own lives. Faith in Jesus Christ is the foundation of this building block.

The second ingredient of true conversion is about using the body as an instrument of power, order, and creation.

Now I’ll tell you a story about grief. When I was 13 years old, my Beehive teacher told the nine of us in the class that according to statistics at least one of us in the circle wouldn’t get married. I looked around the group and thought to myself, “Well, of course it won’t be me.” I had plans to be married and all the things I would teach my children, how I would share my favorite books with them, how I would keep traditions for our holidays, how I would make them peanut butter sandwiches and wash the jam off their cheeks before putting them down to sleep. How they would roll their eyes at my quirky mom jokes, how I would be the world’s coolest grandma. But surprisingly to me I haven’t ended up marrying in this life, and I don’t have my children with me right now. This was a physical grief I could hardly bear for many years. Thirteen years ago, on a Sunday in May, I walked out of my house to get into the car to go to church, and I noticed that during the night the big maple trees had sent out all their helicopter seed pods into the grass. There was something about this image of the mother trees sending out thousands of their children into the world that stopped my heart. I can’t explain it. The grief was so terrible that I couldn’t cry or even speak. I felt sterile and wasted and truly damned.

It is part of our spiritual birthright to be creators. President Dieter F. Uchtdorf expressed it famously:

“The desire to create is one of the deepest yearnings of the human soul. No matter our talents, education, backgrounds, or abilities, we each have an inherent wish to create something that did not exist before. Everyone can create. You don’t need money, position, or influence in order to create something of substance or beauty. Creation brings deep satisfaction and fulfillment. Remember that you are spirit daughters of the most creative Being in the universe.

“The more you trust and rely upon the Spirit, the greater your capacity to create. That is your opportunity in this life and your destiny in the life to come. Sisters, trust and rely on the Spirit. As you take the normal opportunities of your daily life and create something of beauty and helpfulness, you improve not only the world around you but also the world within you.”18

In one of the highest expressions of creation, men and women create in tandem. Marriage is the process of two equal beings coming together to become a whole unit. Welded or sealed together by priesthood authority, they become authorized to combine and create life. Our bodies are made for creation but only under certain circumstances and parameters. A creation “key” we call “being sealed for time and eternity” has to be turned in order for us to be authorized to create life. It’s true we can act without authorization, but if we do and don’t repent, we lose the ability to keep our creations with us after this life.

Family comes from the union of creators under law. Eternal family results from using the powerful instrument of the body in a specific and ordained way with discipline, covenants, patience, faith, hard work, great love, sacrifice, consecration, chastity, obedience, and law. When creation occurs in this way, our creations stay bonded to us forever.

Now, creation isn’t only about children, as President Uchtdorf says: “We each have an inherent wish to create something that did not exist before.”19 And there are many ways for women to multiply, replenish, and create in the world.

Elder M. Russell Ballard said: “There is nothing in this world as personal … or as life changing as the influence of a righteous woman. … All women have within their divine nature both the inherent talent and the stewardship to mother.”20

In the story I told you about the maple seed pods, I didn’t understand this principle well. At least not well enough to be converted to it. On a very powerful emotional level, I felt I had been stopped from being a creator. I wasn’t able to use my eyes to look beyond the barriers of this life. Do you know what helped me get past this heavy grief, honestly? Relief Society. I was around women who acknowledged emotionally that I am still a creator. Not having my husband and children with me at this time is temporary. I have been a being with creative gifts for millennia. There are laws on this earth that help me discipline my body and my will so I can create even more powerfully in the future. Every day I am creating influence, compassion, love, and grace that did not previously exist.

In addition to using our bodies as instruments of power and discipline to receive life through the veil, we also have the chance to give life back through the veil. We speak often of women’s roles in birth, but we do not as often speak of their roles in death. Let me give an example very personal to me.

Last November, a woman who was like a sister to me—a 38-year-old wife and mother of two girls—was in the last throes of her fight with lung cancer. I watched as her sisters surrounded the bed in the UCLA medical center. They held her hands, they rubbed her feet, they kept her warm, they fed her ice, they told her jokes. She was afraid to die, and they knew that. At the very last, they held her in their arms until she passed from the room, telling her it was okay to go and that they would take care of her children. These women acted in godly perfection. They are now creating a family that will have to stretch out of the traditional shape for the needs it now faces. In a very tangible way they share in the creation of childhood for the two girls, along with the mother and father who gave them life.

Joseph Smith told the Relief Society in 1842 that because they were now organized after a priesthood pattern “you are now placed in a situation where you can act according to those sympathies which God has planted in your [hearts]. … If you live up to your privilege, the angels cannot be restrained from being your associates.”21

The sisters of my friend are counting on that promise of angels to help them in their divine work on behalf of their little sister who is gone.

There is going to be a lot of opposition to our attempts at using our bodies as instruments of order and creation. Having a body is extremely powerful, and there are potent forces arrayed to try to destroy what the body can do. This is a war Jesus Christ perfectly understands, and He can heal us from our battle scars and restore our body’s strength that earlier may have been misspent. Honest repentance can recover what was lost.

To summarize this second ingredient of true conversion, we are on earth to:

Use our body as an instrument of power, order, and creation that fully becomes “operational” under the discipline of covenants. All women are creators. The mastery of understanding the law, acting within the law, and repenting when we cross outside the law is a large part of true conversion. Family is the result of this building block of conversion.

The third and final ingredient of conversion is to practice unity and love.

The Savior said to Peter, “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to … sift you as wheat: but I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.”22

Strengthening others is evidence of our conversion to the Lord. It is the sauce that gives flavor to the rest of the meal. The women who do this well do it so masterfully that it is almost invisible. Let me tell you about meeting Jeri Cook.

Ten years ago, I was on my first assignment to the Middle East. I was nervous. The first event of the trip was a missionary couples’ conference in Amman, Jordan. I arrived a day early, thinking I would prepare for the conference. Instead, I ended up working in Sister Jeri Cook’s white, well-used kitchen and talking with her while we cooked. When I offered to help, she first had me make a Betty Crocker cake with Arabic instructions, and when that was cooling, she had me chop vegetables, fry hamburger, and make two big pots of soup.

With the two of us working, there was plenty of time to chat about how she and her husband were married when they were both 18; how they got the courage to leave Pleasant Grove, Utah, as a young, very poor couple and take a job in Saudi Arabia; and how she had loved her mission in Jordan. I asked about her family from the pictures on the fridge, and she talked about each one with tremendous pride. Whenever a new couple arrived for the conference, Sister Cook would stop what she was doing and throw her arms around them. They were frazzled from irritating border crossings and heavy traffic, and she would welcome them inside.

Meanwhile, her husband, Elder Cook, was busy arranging other details: figuring out the logistics to pick up Elder Holland at the airport, then on the phone confirming the next day’s appointments at the Ministry of Health, and haggling with the heating oil guy. If someone asked which of the Cooks was more productive that day on their mission, how can that possibly be answered?

But that evening, the five couples sat around the large dining room table and shared stories over soup and bread, juice and cake. It was a homey meal in a warm setting, and the camaraderie flowed in a way people would remember fondly after their missions were over. The couples were tired and used up from their difficult assignments. I was nervous about a new position I didn’t know how to fill. I realized it was Sister Cook’s gentle ministry which laid the foundation for the rest and faith and happiness we all felt that night.

We women are often like Jeri Cook. We throw our arms around the people who come and go. We have a refrigerator door full of pictures of people we love. We take a younger woman under our wing and involve her with whatever we are doing while we talk. I have no doubt each one of us would move the earth for the people in those photos on our kitchen walls. But so often we don’t want to scare them with our power to bless and heal, so we move the world in increments of soup and cake. They may never even recognize the universe has been realigned for their good. It may be that our mother does glorious things right in front of us every day so often that she blinds us with commonness. Maybe she serves the whole world soup and cake every night.

I wish I had a fancy name for it, but women are called to be glue. They create the bonds of unity and kindness. You see it in matriarchs who are the center of things. They reach out and include people, they find meaningful things for each person to do, they make sure the right things are said and done so things keep going, they make it fun, and they make us laugh.

This ingredient to conversion is in our most basic doctrines.

  • Alma calls on those who will be baptized to “bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light.”23
  • The Lord through Moses commands Israel that “the stranger that dwelleth with you shall be as one born among you, and thou shalt love [her] as thyself.”24
  • Jesus says plainly in the Doctrine and Covenants: “Be one and if ye are not one ye are not mine.”25

I DON’T FIT IN

When I was first called to serve in Relief Society, I was surprised at how many women sat down and told me: “I’m not a ‘Relief Society’ type. I’m not like everyone else. I’m not politically conservative, or I don’t stay home. I’m not put together. My kids are in trouble. I’m twice divorced. I have sins I can’t put to rest. I have doctrinal issues. Relief Society increases my anxiety.” I realized after a lot of this that none of us fits in.

Relief Society is exactly the place for all of us who don’t fit in. It is organized under priesthood keys for women to have a place to grow, progress, build their faith, talk about the reality of family life, and mourn with each other for all the stupid, crazy things that happen to us when we are mortals. We cannot give in to those voices who say it’s just like a sewing circle or a book club for people who have the same interests and backgrounds. No, Relief Society has a work to do on the earth. When you belong to Relief Society, you are part of that work. The Lord has a stewardship for His daughters in the work of salvation, and only we can do it. It can only be done by women who are truly converted unto the Lord.

Sister Addie Fuhriman, who was on the Relief Society general board, said in 1980: “The Lord saw our similarities as well as our differences, and he valued both. And from that wisdom, he provided within the Church the Relief Society where gospel principles that can touch the heart and life of each woman—you, me, young, old, married, single … could be taught.”26

To Addie’s list I would add people with disabilities, recovering addicts, new in the Church, old pioneer stock, American, Syrian, Chilean, Samoan, working, home with kids, wishing to have a job, poor, rich, in debt, happy, depressed, bipolar, autistic, serving others, being served, liberal, conservative, don’t care, immigrant, gay, converted, and unconverted. The question is: Can we open up the circle of sisterhood to many more kinds of backgrounds and see those backgrounds as valuable instead of as handicaps?

I have a friend who is like this. She isn’t shy. She makes friends easily. She can make anybody laugh. In any setting, she actively looks for the people who aren’t part of the group and heads straight over to them. She’s loyal. She’s interested in all kinds of people and topics. It’s extremely hard for her to give up on anyone. I tell her she has sticky hands. It’s as if she has put glue on her hands and holds fast to the people she cares about. She’s a good Samaritan, a seeker of black sheep. She bonds with people. She’s an example to me of the tolerance and good will that glues the world together when people try.

In summary, the third ingredient of conversion is to:

Practice unity and love. Strengthening our brethren and sisters shows how converted we ourselves are. These acts are often unseen or unrecognized, but they last a very long time. Women who can do this are glue. It’s the bonding together of the people around us and giving them relief for their problems that gives this block of conversion its power. It reaches us at the very core.

If the basic ingredients to our conversion are all the same, just like at the Asian cafe, the combinations of those ingredients are as endless as our personalities and spirits. Don’t judge if I’m a rice bowl and you’re a taco. We both contain the starch, protein, and flavor of the gospel. We are made from the same basic ingredients. Isn’t it great she chose to put Korean BBQ sauce on her protein, and isn’t it interesting you paired octopus with your starch?

Eyes to see, discipline to create, glue to bind. True conversion from these three basic ingredients isn’t boring; it’s endlessly interesting because it combines the building blocks of eternal life, which are unchanging, “the same yesterday today and forever,”27 with the infinite variety of each woman’s completely unique personality. No one’s conversion will be exactly like yours. And yet every one of them can be true.

If you look closely, you will notice that eyes to see, discipline to create, and glue to bind are expressed in Relief Society’s purpose. Slightly different words but the same idea: faith, family, relief.

Relief Society is designed as sort of a working kitchen to mix the ingredients of conversion. It is intended to take the work of salvation given particularly to women and create a structure for their expression and support. If we let it, it will make of us women who see beyond the barriers. It will help us repent and practice the discipline of creators. It will teach us to create something that didn’t exist before. It honors the women who stand near the veil to help us on our way, both going and coming. It acknowledges the invisible women who unify and make one, who serve the soup and cake, and who have sticky hands to hold people close to them. Relief Society is faith, it’s family, and it’s relief.

Relief Society is for all of us who don’t fit in. It’s the ultimate fit.

Before I conclude, I would add just one note for when we sometimes get agitated and worry about the things women do or don’t do. The second Relief Society General President, Eliza R. Snow, said this to the sisters: “We want to be ladies in very deed, not according to the term of the word as the world judges, but fit companions of the Gods and Holy Ones. In an organized capacity we can assist each other in not only doing good but in refining ourselves. … Women should be women and not babies that need petting and correction all the time. I know we like to be appreciated but if we do not get all the appreciation which we think is our due, what matters? We know the Lord has laid high responsibility upon us, and there is not a wish or desire that the Lord has implanted in our hearts in righteousness but will be realized, and the greatest good we can do to ourselves and each other is to refine and cultivate ourselves in everything that is good and ennobling to qualify us for those responsibilities.”28

In building our own conversions, we can personally seek the Savior, as Mary Magdalene did when she went to the tomb. We may not have the opportunity to see Him, but we can still witness of Christ. We can repent and obey the word of the Lord, like Mother Eve. We can discipline body and mind and use our godly powers for good and righteous examples, like the daughters of Onitah. Through the Holy Ghost we can learn the lessons our tragedies teach us, like Reyna Aburto. We can reach out with glue on our hands and bring others into the circle or hold them as they pass back through the veil.

In conclusion, let me read the words of pure joy after Christ visited the people in the Americas and they were all converted and notice how much of true conversion results from taming contention. This comes from 4 Nephi chapter 1:

“And it came to pass in the thirty and sixth year, the people were all converted unto the Lord, upon all the face of the land, both Nephites and Lamanites, and there were no contentions and disputations among them, and every man did deal justly one with another.

“And they had all things common among them; therefore there were not rich and poor, bond and free, but they were all made free, and partakers of the heavenly gift. …

“And there were no envyings, nor strifes, nor tumults, nor whoredoms, nor lyings, nor murders … and surely there could not be a happier people among all the people who had been created by the hand of God.

“… Neither were there Lamanites, nor any manner of -ites; but they were in one, the children of Christ, and heirs to the kingdom of God.

“And how blessed were they! For the Lord did bless them in all their doings; yea, even they were blessed and prospered.”

I testify that exactly like the families in the Book of Mormon, if we build our conversion to the Lord, a little bit every day, by acting on our faith to see, by disciplining ourselves to repent and create according to the law, and by strengthening others in bonds of unity, the Lord will bless us in all our doings and we will find the happiness we seek.

Notes

  1. Jacob 4:13.
  2. Ether 3:6–13.
  3. Genesis 22.
  4. Moses 5:11.
  5. ComRes survey of 2,010 British adults for BBC local radio.
  6. John 20:7.
  7. 1 Corinthians 15:20.
  8. John 20:11–18.
  9. Matthew 28:7.
  10. Abraham 1:5–8.
  11. Abraham 1:9.
  12. Neal A. Maxwell, “If Thou Endure Well,” BYU devotional, Dec. 2, 1984, 8.
  13. Earthquake Rocks Managua” Dec. 23, 1972.
  14. Reyna Aburto, interview with author, Apr. 21, 2017.
  15. In Conference Report, Apr. 1960, 21.
  16. Doctrine and Covenants 25:10.
  17. Converted unto the Lord,” Oct. 2012 general conference.
  18. Happiness, Your Heritage,” Oct. 2008 general conference.
  19. Happiness, Your Heritage,” Oct. 2008 general conference.
  20. Mothers and Daughters,” Apr. 2010 general conference.
  21.  Joseph Smith, in Daughters in My Kingdom, 169.
  22. Luke 22:31–32.
  23. Mosiah 18:8.
  24. Leviticus 19:34.
  25. Doctrine and Covenants 38:27.
  26. Singleness: How Relief Society Can Help,” Oct. 1980 general conference.
  27. Mormon 9:9.
  28. Eliza R. Snow, address to Lehi Ward Relief Society, Oct. 27, 1869, Lehi Ward, Alpine (Utah) Stake, in Relief Society, Minute Book, 1868–79, Church History Library, Salt Lake City, 26–27.