Sister Spafford Was Speaking to Me

Sandy Howson, Ohio, USA

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    I was playing an online restaurant game late one night when my husband walked by and announced that he was going to bed.

    “I’ll be right in,” I told him.

    “I’ll believe it when I see it,” he said.

    I was playing a game in which I cooked virtual food in a virtual restaurant for virtual customers. I looked at the computer screen and said, “Actually, I have food coming up in 15 minutes.”

    To pass the time while I waited, I picked up Daughters in My Kingdom: The History and Work of Relief Society, which had lain on the desk since I had received it in Relief Society. I began reading the preface. On the third page I found the following by Belle S. Spafford, ninth Relief Society general president.

    “The average woman today, I believe,” she wrote, “would do well to appraise her interests, evaluate the activities in which she is engaged, and then take steps to simplify her life, putting things of first importance first, placing emphasis where the rewards will be greatest and most enduring, and ridding herself of the less rewarding activities” (2011, xiii).

    Other than the scriptures, never has anything I have read touched me so deeply. This woman who died more than 30 years ago was speaking to me. Her words are likely more relevant today than when she said them.

    I knew immediately that I would never play online games again. I turned off the computer, went to bed, and told my husband of my decision. The next day I did not even turn on the computer. Instead, I figured out how many hours I had wasted on those games every day.

    I multiplied three hours a day by 365 (days in a year) and divided by 24 (hours in a day). I was stunned to learn that I had wasted 45.62 days per year. Those precious hours and days are gone forever. I could have spent them reading my scriptures, spending time with my husband and children, serving others, or magnifying my callings.

    General Authorities often address this subject during general conference. Yet it had never hit home, and I thought it did not apply to me.

    I am grateful that the Holy Ghost helped me recognize that the General Authorities—and Belle S. Spafford—were speaking to me.