The theme of unity and preparedness continued from the first and second sessions of the 190th Semiannual General Conference into the Women’s Session of conference held Saturday evening.
President Russell M. Nelson’s message to the sisters was one of embracing the future with faith, and that members, particularly the women, should never stop preparing.
“I would love to know what you have learned this year. Have you grown closer to the Lord, or do you feel further away from Him? And, how have current events made you feel about the future?” Nelson asked.
Nelson said: “I recently heard a woman of deep testimony admit that the pandemic, combined with an earthquake in the Salt Lake Valley, had helped her realize she was not as prepared as she thought she was. When I asked whether she was referring to her food storage or her testimony, she smiled and said, ‘Yes!’”
If preparation is our key to embracing this dispensation and our future with faith, Nelson asked how members can best prepare.
“For decades, the Lord’s prophets have urged us to store food, water, and financial reserves for a time of need,” he said. “The current pandemic has reinforced the wisdom of that counsel. I urge you to take steps to be temporally prepared.”
However, Nelson said he was more concerned about the sisters’ spiritual preparation.
“Simply said, a place of security is anywhere you can feel the presence of the Holy Ghost and be guided by Him,” Nelson said. “When the Holy Ghost is with you, you can teach truth, even when it runs counter to prevailing opinions. And you can ponder sincere questions about the gospel in an environment of revelation.”
“Life without God is a life filled with fear. Life with God is a life filled with peace,” Nelson added. “This is because spiritual blessings come to the faithful. Receiving personal revelation is one of the greatest of those blessings.”
Sister Sharon Eubank, First Counselor in the General Relief Society Presidency, spoke to the continued theme of unity.
“Unity doesn’t magically happen; it takes work,” Eubank said. ”It’s messy, sometimes uncomfortable, and happens gradually when we clear away the bad as fast as the good can grow.”
Eubank shared her personal concerns noting: “This world isn’t what I want it to be. There are many things I want to influence and make better. And frankly, there is a lot of opposition to what I hope for, and sometimes I feel powerless.”
Over the past several month Eubank said she has been doing a lot of soul searching.
Eubank said from her soul searching she has three suggestions for sisters in the church: to have mercy, “make your boat swing” and clear away the bad as fast as the good can grow. The boat swing refers to the what happens to the boat when a rowing team becomes completely unified.
“I offer this invitation: be part of a collective force that changes the world for good,” Eubank said. “Our covenantal assignment is to minister, to lift up the hands that hang down, to put struggling people on our backs or in our arms and carry them.”
Sister Cristina B. Franco, Second Counselor in the Primary General Presidency, spoke of the healing power of Jesus Christ.
“Earthquakes, fires, and floods in different parts of the world, as well as other weather-related disasters have left people feeling helpless, hopeless, and brokenhearted, wondering if their lives will ever be the same,” Franco said.
To be healed, Franco said, individuals must come unto Christ.
“To heal brokenness by coming unto Him, we need to have faith in Jesus Christ,” Franco said. “Having faith in Jesus Christ means relying completely on Him — trusting in His infinite power ... and love.”
It includes believing His teachings, she asserted. It means believing that even though members do not understand all things, He does. He has experienced all pain, affliction and infirmities, and He knows how to help members rise above their daily difficulties, Franco added.
Other speakers included Presidents Dallin H. Oaks and Henry B. Eyring of the First Presidency. They spoke of being prepared, comparing the women today to the women in the city of Enoch who became so righteous that the city was taken to God.
Oaks reassured the sisters that the Lord knows their concerns and their sorrows.
“The Lord has special love and concern for his precious daughters,” Oaks said. “He knows of your wants, your needs, and your fears. The Lord is all powerful. Trust Him.”
Oaks added, “On a personal basis, each of us struggles individually with some of the many adversities of mortality, such as poverty, racism, ill health, job losses or disappointments, wayward children, bad marriages or no marriages, and the effects of sin — our own or others. Yet, in the midst of all of this, we have that Heavenly counsel to be of good cheer and to find joy in the principles and promises of the gospel and the fruits of our labors.”
Other speakers included Rebecca M. Craven, Second Counselor in the Young Women General Presidency. Young Women General President Bonnie H. Cordon conducted the session, which ended at around 7:30 p.m. Saturday.