Sister Stephens Outlines Three Markers That Lead to Safety

Contributed By Noelle Baldwin, Church News contributor

  • PROVO, UTAH

Sister Carole M. Stephens, First Counselor in the Relief Society General Presidency, spoke to women on April 28 in the Marriott Center as part of BYU Women's Conference.  Photo by Savanna Sorensen, BYU.

Article Highlights

  • Covenants and ordinances provide safety, direction, and protection.
  • Living prophets warn us of danger on the path.
  • Jesus Christ is the way that leads to eternal life.

“Through the Atonement, Jesus Christ provides an arm and a hand to reach for, to rely on every day, especially when the path back home seems primitive and challenges seem overwhelming.” —Carole M. Stephens of the Relief Society General Presidency

“Through the Father’s plan, the covenant path, and the life, example, and Atonement of Jesus Christ, we will find our way back home to our heavenly home,” said Sister Carole M. Stephens, First Counselor in the Relief Society General Presidency, during Brigham Young University’s Women’s Conference. “As we continue along the path [to eternal life] one faith-filled step at a time, He will be with us,” she continued.

Sister Stephens addressed women in the Marriott Center in the afternoon session on April 28. She discussed the need for members of the Church to take the counsel and correction that will lead, protect, and help them. She compared the mortal journey to a recent visit to Arches National Park that she enjoyed with her husband.

During this visit, Sister Stephens and her husband started on a primitive trail that was marked only by stacks of red rocks. Sister Stephens said, “We watched carefully for these markers. They set our course and guided us along the path.” Sister Stephens gave three “markers” that Heavenly Father has provided to help guide members along the path to eternal life. “These markers help us stay on the path, get back on the path, and provide directions and needed course corrections,” she said.

Marker 1: Covenants and ordinances

“Our pathway back to our heavenly home is … well marked by covenants,” she said. These covenants and ordinances will provide “safety, direction, and protection on the path home and prepare us to enter into God’s presence when we reach the end of our journey,” she said.

Sister Stephens mentioned the ordinance of baptism that is followed by receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost as the starting point for leaving the world’s influence behind.

She said that the ordinance of the sacrament and the covenants that are made with it serve as a reminder that Christ’s hand is still stretched out. “Through the Atonement, Jesus Christ provides an arm and a hand to reach for, to rely on every day, especially when the path back home seems primitive and challenges seem overwhelming,” she said.

Marker 2: Living prophets

“[Living prophets] see the way ahead and warn us of danger on the path,” Sister Stephens said. “There is safety in witnesses. There is safety in the teachings of those called to be His special witnesses.”

Sister Stephens asked the women to reflect on where they sought counsel, truth, and guidance. “Do we seek for truth while googling great and spacious buildings? Or do we turn to the word of the Lord given through His special witnesses?” Truth and safety is found by following the word of the Lord that is spoken by His prophets. They will always warn of dangers that are in the path ahead.

Marker 3: Jesus Christ

“Our Savior Jesus Christ not only marked the path, but He led the way,” taught Sister Stephens. Christ is the way that leads to eternal life. “He has prepared the way for us to be successful and to reach our divine destiny—eternal life,” she said.

While she was hiking with her husband, Sister Stephens said that the path became difficult and it was hard to progress to the next marker. They soon came to a place where they had to descend a smooth rock face. She said that she was frozen with fear and couldn’t let go of the rock until her husband climbed back up the rock and extended his arm toward her.

Just as her husband extended his arm to help Sister Stephens down the difficult path, Jesus Christ is there to extend His arm. When Peter started to sink below the surface of the water, he cried out, “Lord, save me. And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?” (Matthew 14:30–31). Sister Stephens taught, “With this gentle but profound counsel and correction, He reminded Peter, and us, that His arm is stretched out still.” Sister Stephens said that Christ’s arm is reaching for those who let go of their pride and humble themselves before Him.

Sister Stephens closed by asking the audience to think about their personal path.

Part of mortal life is to experience disappointment, trials, and opposition, she said, but if the counsel of the prophets is followed and members are true to their covenants and close to Jesus Christ, “He will be with us. He will guide us in the way we should go.”

Women attend a session of women's conference on April 28, 2016. Photo by Savanna Sorensen, BYU.

Women walk between sessions of women's conference that was held on April 28 and 29 at BYU. Photo by Savanna Sorensen, BYU.

On April 28, a group of women walk on BYU's campus during women's conference. Photo by Aaron Cornia, BYU.

Women's conference attendees fill the Marriott Center to hear Elder Dale G. Renlund of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and his wife, Sister Ruth Renlund, speak on April 29. Photo by Jaren Wilkey, BYU.

Women fill a room in the Wilkinson Center for a session of BYU Women's Conference on April 28. Photo by Savanna Sorensen, BYU.

Women walk across BYU's campus during women's conference on April 28. Photo by Meagan Larsen, BYU.

Four women smile as they travel between the sessions of women's conference on April 28. Photo by Savanna Sorensen, BYU.