We just had Stake Conference and IT WAS AMAZING. There's no way to actually relate all the wonderfulness of it but here's just a reminder to me for the future. The best one in years. Truly.
Our visiting authority was Elder Michael Dudley who started Sat night by proclaiming in a quiet but strong and tender voice, that we would start with the Name of Jesus Christ on our lips and would end it the same way. He talked all the time about being on the Covenant Path..of getting on, keeping on, and staying on…quoting Pres. Nelson. He encouraged us to read the biography Russell M. Nelson, Father, Surgeon, Apostle…a book that happens to have been written by a BYU bishop Robert had. Spence Condie. He conducted Saturday night session (which began at 6pm rather than 7 which was so much nicer) as we are instructed to hold our various classes. In a discussion form, not a lecture. He invited audience participation and still managed to get into the discussions all the things he had for us. It was the manner in which he framed his questions. The congregations responded perfectly.
Sunday morning I played the piano for the new convert meeting so I was able to hear him again talk about Getting, Keeping, Staying On the covenant path. This was almost a visual display as he talked about Lehi’s vision and said he looked at the iron rod was what we hold onto when we are in an airport and get on one of those people mover moving treadmills…how you step on, hold onto the grip on the side and KEEP ON moving forward til you reach your gate. While he told this he slowly walked down the center aisle between the chairs and gave the image of a man on that people mover. And reminded us how it’s important to know the end from the beginning. Quoting the new prophet when he addressed church members from the SLC temple when his presidency was announced.
For the Sunday morning session he told 2 interesting stories, maybe more but these 2 were important. He told how he had met his wife at BYU after his mission. But just as they started to date more seriously his girlfriend’s parents were called to preside over the S. Africa mission and they wanted her to go, She wanted to stay, They said, Go, She said NO. She asked him and he said Go. So she asks, will you be here when I return? He had not thought that far ahead. But she went. While there, the President of the 12, Spencer Kimball, came to tour the mission with his wife. One morning this girl heard a noise and went to look and saw Pres. Kimball on the ledge of a balcony trying to read a stick which was over the lake filled with alligators or crocodiles (whichever you have in S. Africa…i don’t remember which). She had him get down to safely. Pres. K asked her about her special friend. She asked him…Do you think it would be OK if he flew here, my dad married us and then we flew right back to the states and were then sealed in the temple? Pres K said, No, you must do the right thing in the right order. And if you will do this I promise I will seal you. So she waited but pretty soon Pres. K of the 12 got word that President Hunter, Prophet, had died and that he was to become the next president/prophet. Yet, when this girl and our authority were sealed in the temple, President Kimball honored his promise and did the sealing.
Years passed. Elder D’s wife took their 12 year old daughter to a Broadway show in NYC. The girl, Sandra came home and asked him, Dad how can I do that? I want to be on Broadway. Elder D said, I don’t know. I’m sorry. If you had asked me about baseball I could help you. But this I don’t know anything about This young girl persisted weekly looking at the theater classified and when there was a call for actress/singer she went. She received various parts. Then she got the choice role of Sandy in Grease on Broadway. But she knew from the fun film (and to this Elder D added that there was probably better films to see but that this was a fun one, even tho there were probably parts most parents would not want to have their kids see…do you know this movie, Elder Voss). Anyway…there was that cigarette scene. His daughter Sandra said she could not do that part, touching, smoking the cigarette. She went to the producer and director and told him, even telling him he might need to cast another girl in that role and that would be fine and in the discussion he said they would work it out. So the practice began with that very scene. They got to the cigarette part and she stopped, said she could not/would not do it. He said, NO? She said No. I thought we had discussed this and would find a way around it. The Director said, you either do it or you can walk. She turned and walked away…having chosen the covenant path, for her there was no other decision. And yet, heartbroken as she might have been, very soon afterwards she was given the role of Cosette in Les Mis on Broadway and she was there for 6 years in that role which would not have been hers had she been in Grease. I hope you know that musical
Anyway…it was a great story. A great response. A superb example for all of us. In a way this is the choice I had to make. At the time my dad was barely a member and a very ill man. I wasn't sure he would be able to get to Utah for my BYU graduation and my temple sealing the next day. Back then women with nonmember husbands were not allowed to go to the temple for themselves. But things worked out that it all came together My parents were sealed on the 25th in SLC, I graduated from BYUon the 26th altho Daddy remained in the hotel resting, and Robert and I were sealed in Manti on the 27th.
Linda Bruderer made this same choice as well and her parents flew all the way west to stand outside while she was sealed to Ken. Her parents never did join the church but they supported her in her new religion and her belief in an eternal marriage. She’s got a great story to tell. So you remember that…you Get on, Keep on and Stay on the Covenant Path.