BYU Women’s Conference Presentation: Come Unto Christ and Be Perfected in Him

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I am posting a link to listen to my presentation from BYU Women’s Conference 2014. I tried to put it on my Facebook Author page, but the .mp3 file wouldn’t upload, so I decided to stick it up here on my blog graveyard instead. :)

The title of the presentation is “Come Unto Christ and Be Perfected in Him” and is based on Moroni 10:32 from the Book of Mormon.

>>> Click here to download the .mp3 audio file<<<

(When I tested it, it worked, but it showed a warning script that the file was too large to virus scan on Google Drive, so you download at your own risk. I don’t forsee any risk since it’s just an .mp3 file, but now you know.)

BYU Women’s conference gave me permission to share the presentation, but if you do quote it, please give the proper credit to the conference and the speakers, and if you wish to use it in any other way, please ask. Thanks.

Women’s Conference Weekly: The greatest champion of womanhood

[Hey, I stayed up way too late last night and gave my blog a facelift. I've never done pink before, but I'm hoping this is subtle enough. Feel free to look around the new digs.]

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Here are some notes from the class I attended  at BYU Women’s Conference called “The World’s Greatest Champion of Woman and Womanhood is Jesus the Christ” by Cheryl Savage and Ann Marie Toone. Please forgive that I am not the most excellent note-taker in the world, but I tried to capture some points and thoughts and quotes that stood out to me as I listened, and hopefully you’ll find them enlightening as well.

From Cheryl Savage:

She opened up by describing her large, young, busy family, and then said, “This is my stage and my season. I am a warrior.”

She used one of my favorite President Packer quotes:

“True doctrine, understood, changes attitudes and behavior. The study of the doctrines of the gospel will improve behavior quicker than a study of behavior will improve behavior.”

Womanhood comes with its own set of messy mortality.

Satan has done his best to destroy women, but Jesus Christ is stronger than Satan.

Don’t measure your worth or your day by society’s standard.

Elder Craig C. Cardon:

“After we do all we can do, His compassion and grace are the means whereby “in process of time” we overcome the world through the enabling power of the Atonement. As we humbly seek this precious gift, “weak things become strong unto [us],” and by His strength, we are made able to do that which we could never do alone.”

Remember the big picture. Allow the Savior to help you. Find your joy and never forget it.

Cheryl posted up the complete transcript of her talk on her own blog, so go check it out in all its glory. I’m sure you’ll feel uplifted. (Oh, and she quoted my book a few times, which was so nice of her, but I still feel a little sheepish about it.)

From Anne Marie Toone:

Jesus Christ demonstrated deep familiarity with women’s lives. He appreciated them and ennobled them.

  1. Each woman is a beloved daughter of Heavenly Parents.
  2. There is a plan.
  3. The Holy Ghost will help us know our role.

The Lord accepts our righteous offerings. He needs His daughters to receive, accept and fulfill their role.

He created men to need women, and He created women to need men.

He gives righteous women more lasting influence than women of the world. (I love that. I believe it so much. This is our great power.)

Women are expected to lead and counsel together with men.

Heavenly Father expects his daughters to use their influence to change the world.

She referred to Luke 10 to show that the story of Mary and Martha demonstrates that women could also participate spiritually in Jesus Christ’s work.

Christ was the greatest champion for us in the preexistence.

Question to consider:

If the Savior is my greatest champion, am I His?

These were both great talks. I could feel the spirit and the cheerleading of my Heavenly Father. He wants us to know how loved and needed and powerful we are. I know women and their work is valued and honored in His plan.

How do you know personally that Jesus Christ is a champion of you?

[Go here to see some of the women's conference transcripts that are available as well as information about rebroadcasting on BYUTV.]

GCBC Week 18: “The Atonement” by President Boyd K. Packer

Already at week 18. Crazy. This week’s talk is President Packer’s powerful testimony from the Saturday a.m. session of conference. “My message is directed to those among us who are suffering, burdened down with guilt and weakness and failure, sorrow, and despair.” The knowledge of Jesus Christ, His plan, and the Atonement can help us cope with the challenges of life and overcome them.

The Atonement by President Boyd K. Packer

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What are some of your thoughts after studying this talk? How has your own testimony of Jesus Christ been a strength to you? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

(A reminder to those of you who are new to General Conference Book Club: You’re welcome to return to this post any time this week and leave your comment and thoughts in the comment section below. You may also want to see what others are saying about the talk and engage in a conversation for mutual understanding and encouragement. A new talk will be posted each Sunday and will be studied and discussed throughout the week.)

My Eye in the Storm

It’s snowing today, so as a matter of personal therapy, it seems like a good time to blog a little about the cruise. Warning: This post will include vacation photos mingled with deep thoughts. Proceed with caution.

So this right here…

is an actual satellite photo of Hurricane Paul. He came ashore in Cabo San Lucas the same day we were supposed to dock there. For obvious reasons, our ship itinerary took some detours, but still managed to get up close and personal with a Category 3 hurricane. (And by up close and personal, I really mean a mostly-safe distance, but still plenty too close for my own comfort.) Let’s just say that we spent a whole 24 hours in bed as to avoid being thrown back and forth while about 50% of the passengers and crew puked their guts out. Luckily, Matt and I never got sick, and if we closed our eyes and pretended we were in a baby cradle, it was actually quite relaxing.

I am NOT complaining though. It happened, and we survived, and the rest of the week was very lovely, and hello, it was a FREE prize vacation.  So I won’t dwell on the hurricane other than to say that (because I have a tendency to imagine every worst case scenario and all the possible outcomes … like me floating at sea in a life raft in a hurricane with 30 drunk, crazy people) the whole event made me quite reflective.

I am also a professional people watcher.  That’s a nicer term than gawker, which is what my mother always called it.  Anyway, there are plenty of people to observe on a ginormous cruise ship, and so I did. There is a reason that Americans have the reputation of being gluttonous and spoiled. I won’t list the poor behaviors I saw, but one example is impatiently waiting for the elevator to go down ONE flight of stairs in order to gorge one’s self at the all-you-can-eat Chocolate Buffet. Enough said. There were also people who were deeply good, like our sweet waiter who works six months at a time with no days off in order to support his wife and children back in the Philippines.

In summary:  Hurricane + People-watching + Lots of uninterrupted quiet time = New insights and some personal revelation for Stephanie

I’ll come back to that.  Let’s look at some photos, shall we?

This was my view for most of the trip (including the napping husband):

Our first stop was Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, which was tropical beauty mixed with a roadside landscape of houses and communities that reminded me so much of my mission days in Argentina.

We were accosted by a guy who threw reptiles on us and took our picture for “a tip.” That’s my fake smile, but the background is so pretty, huh?

Our taxi driver took us up into the jungle mountains to wander around at a resort area, and the scenery really was magnificent.

We also spent some time in the old colonial city center. I love to visit old cathedrals and city plazas, and there were both.

On the first day of the trip, they did a safety drill where everyone had to line up with life jackets and practice the emergency de-boarding procedures. Right next to us, there was a man who was already drunk and being rude to his family members. I watched with dismay for a while and then we were all released. That night at our first dinner seating, the host led us to our table, and guess who was seated there? I thought, Oh boy, this is going to be a long week (You share the table with the same guests the whole trip), but then they realized that we were supposed to be at table 411 instead of 311 and led us in another direction while Matt chuckled at the irony. We were seated in a booth with a nice-looking couple who we quickly learned were from Utah. Seriously? So I was relieved because we quickly fell into natural conversation and formed a friendship throughout the week.  Here they are with our rock-star waiter, too.

I’m leaving their names out on purpose so you don’t Google them and steal their children. I’m sure they wouldn’t appreciate that. (And in my defense, lest you fear my reaction was as sheltered or narrow-minded as it seems, I could have been perfectly happy to share a week-long dinner table with people from any state or religion or race or creed or whatever, but “drunk” and “belligerent” are not my first choice for dinner companions.)

This is getting too long already. Do you care? Whatever, you know how to scroll and nod.

Next on the agenda: Cabo San Lucas, Baja California, Mexico, two days post-hurricane (It was actually a tropical storm by the time it hit shore, but the locals said it was crazy).  We liked this place. Matt wants to go back and spend more time there some day with the kids.

That last photo shows our boat off in the distance. (Now you can see why this is good snow therapy.)

I’ve always loved the combination of sunshine and wind. It just feels so relaxing and warm, so I loved being on deck on the sailing ship. There wasn’t much deck space available at the front of the boat, but I made it my mission to find a spot where I could stare off into the great beyond ahead of us. I finally did find a spot atop of a fake boulder on the mini-golf course. It was perfect, and no one was there in the early morning hours, so I would go up there and do my morning “devotional,” and watch the sun coming up, and enjoy the strong breeze and natural beauty, and think about my life and my testimony and all that stuff.  When I told Matt about some of my thoughts one morning, he teased me about my Mount St. Mini-Golf, so that’s what we called it the rest of the week.  Here are some of the things I learned at Mt. St. Mini-Golf.  I realize they are random and disconnected, but that’s how revelation usually comes for me anyway.

  • When people are given so much, they often forget what matters most, and they use their prosperity to buy their way out of the kinds of experiences they were meant to have. I need to be careful to not avoid or shirk the responsibilities God has given me, even when other options seem easy or comfortable.
  • Vacations are so nice, and I promise I enjoyed every minute, but my children are what God wants me to do with my life. The break was refreshing, but my heart told me where I really belong.
  • As I stared off into the horizon, I was thinking of Elder Holland’s most recent conference talk as well as many other related gospel references. I had the clear thought that God doesn’t want cruisers; He wants fishermen. We have a work to do, and it’s not a lazy, relaxing meander through life. It’s the up-at-dawn and work-til-dusk kind of life as fishers of men. And that kind of life will make us happy.
  • I have always loved the scripture in Moses 6:62-63, which teaches that all things in, on, above, beneath the earth testify of Christ. I loved looking at my unfamiliar ocean and beach surroundings and finding the symbolism. There were so many things about wind and sun and boats and waves and even storms that teach great lessons about the role of the Savior in our lives. The hymns, “Master, the Tempest is Raging,” and “Jesus, Savior, Pilot Me,” and “Brightly Beams our Father’s Mercy,” and “Lead, Kindly Light” all came to mind. I just felt so blessed to have that kind of direction and love available to me in life, no matter what storms may come.
  • Oh, I’m coming back later to add this one more. A lady we spoke to was upset with the cruise line because they changed around the itinerary. I kept thinking, But there was a hurricane! It made me realize how often we might get upset with our Heavenly Father or the prophets for changing our plans unexpectedly or not meeting our own expectations when, in reality, they see dangers ahead that we don’t know about.  Just enjoy the ride and trust the Captain.

Well, that’s definitely more than you ever wanted to know about my vacation. Thanks again to those who voted and helped us win this break. It was much needed, and sufficiently refueling to get back to “my Father’s business” here at home. There truly is no place like home. But I’m thinking I might need to pick up my home and put it somewhere not snowing.

Mothers and Nurturing, by Allison Kimball


When I was growing up being a mother was not something I aspired to be. I loved my mother, still do. She was an amazing mother, still is, but I wanted something more out of life. I had degrees to earn, a career to pursue, exotic places to visit.  Motherhood, although something I would eventually do, was not in my 10- or 15-year plan after graduating from high school.

Imagine my surprise to meet the man of dreams, more importantly the man of my list (you know that impossible list of qualities that your future spouse must have) just 9 months out of high school.   I was so young, we were both young, but we immediately started our family.  Now 20 years later I find myself a mother of 9, reflecting back on that beautiful path the Lord has taken me on.  I am so thankful I was wrong about motherhood.  The Lord had a greater plan for me.

However, being a mother is hard!

The Proclamation on the Family says, “Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children “.  Well the secret is out, I am not naturally a nurturing person.  It’s a struggle for me.  I don’t do it well.

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Some days are endless.  I know there is great joy in motherhood, but sometimes I want to scream and pull my hair out at the monotony and chaos that accompany keeping a house, not to mention the children.  I’m  a very selfish person.  I want a little bit of time alone in a day, time when no one is calling my name.  Time when no one is touching me or demanding something of me.  Quite often, unless I find time between the hours of 12am and 5am, I don’t get that time alone.  My life is filled with teenagers, toddlers, and everything in between.  No one’s schedule matches, and everyone needs mom.

The other day as I was slamming the dishes in the sink that were left to soak (without any water) feeling sorry for myself, tears streaming down my face, I said, “Sometimes I don’t really like being a mom.”  Of course, the instant the words came out of my mouth I regretted them, because I love my job as a mother. It is my chosen profession, one that has challenged me in every way imaginable.  It’s a job I still don’t do well.  I’m not a perfect mother, far from it. I make mistakes every single day, multiple times a day, but my love for my children keeps pulling me up to try again.

“We must have the courage to be imperfect while striving for perfection.”  (Patricia T. Holland, “One Thing Needful: Becoming Women of Greater Faith in Christ, Ensign, Oct 1987)

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The beautiful thing about each of our lives is that we are imperfect, and the Lord loves us and continues to bless us despite our imperfections.  He knows how to succor me personally when I am doing the best I can do and when I don’t think I can put one more foot in front of the other.  He knows how to give me snapshots of who my children are, their value and worth after a long day when all the wrong buttons have been pushed.  The Lord in His wisdom has filled my imperfect life with tools to teach me how to nurture and love my children in ways that are beyond my own ability. He allows me to fulfill my role as mother.

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So today as I look out the window and watch the children play I am so thankful for this calling from the Lord (see L. Tom Perry, “The Importance of the Family,” Ensign, May 2003, 40).

“Husbands and wives should understand that their first calling—from which they will never be released—is to one another and then to their children. One of the great discoveries of parenthood is that we learn far more about what really matters from our children than we ever did from our parents. We come to recognize the truth in Isaiah’s prophecy that “a little child shall lead them.”4 (President Boyd K. Packer, “And a Little Child Shall Lead Them”, Ensign, May 2012)

He has taught me once again, patiently holding my hand through the temper tantrums, the mounds of laundry, and the endless dishes. I have grown in the last 20 years in ways I never thought possible.  I still have a long way to go before nurturing and patience come naturally for me, but I have faith that the Lord will take this weak thing and make it strong to bless the lives of His choice children.

Allison Kimball:
I am your basic run-of-the-mill mother.
I have 9 amazing children.
I am wife to 1 magnificent man who loves and supports me.
I used to have 13 chickens, traded them in for 1 puppy.
I praise God whenever I can.  I would be nothing without Him.
In my free time I quilt, paint, design digital scrapbook kits, and read.

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