General Conference Book Club Week 21: Elder Stevenson

05_03_steveI have to admit that I’ve been avoiding this talk on purpose.  This was the talk that pushed my guilt buttons at General Conference and I have not felt “ready” to study it quite yet.  (I even posted about it back in May, with a few insights that helped me to understand better my role in an organized temple-home.) But, it’s time.  I need to embrace it, make goals, and reap the blessings.  I’m rambling and I haven’t even told you what the talk is.

Elder Gary E. Stevenson of the Quorum of the Seventy, gave a talk called “Sacred Homes, Sacred Temples” in the Sunday Afternoon session of the most recent General Conference.

I knew it was time to study this more carefully when I, myself, taught a family home evening lesson this week about this topic.  I need the kids’ help to make our home more like what it should be.

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Then today, at church, all the talks were about making a Heavenly Home, and I was reminded — by the speakers and the whisperings of the Holy Ghost — how important this is.  One speaker quoted often from this talk by Elder Douglas L. Callister, called “Your Refined Heavenly Home.”  I think it makes an excellent companion study to Elder Stevenson’s GCBC talk for this week.  (There is also an abridged version of Elder Callister’s talk recently printed in the Ensign here.)

I, personally, am going to try really hard this week to focus on this topic… plant the seed, so to speak.  I’ll come back and comment at the end of the week how my experiment goes.  Can’t wait to hear what you have to say, too.

(Are you wondering what General Conference Book Club is?  Click here to figure it out.  Then join us!)

Women’s Conference chapter 2: Integrity

I want to share my notes from a class called, “Till I die, I will not remove mine integrity from me.”

Before I do though, wow, did I get a lot more chatter on that home organization post than I expected!  It was great.  There are two afterthoughts I’d like to add on to that post:

  1. That particular class was more practical in nature than spiritual, thought it obviously had some spiritual underpinnings and spiritual applications.  Two different speakers basically presented in a “here are some things that have worked for me” attitude.  The things I included in my notes were simply things that I thought might work in my family, or at very least, were worth remembering and trying.  Trying to implement them all, especially all at once, would probably lead to certain death.  I just thought there were many good ideas.
  2. celestialroom2I need to make a confession.  A couple weeks ago, for the General Conference Book Club, I planned on doing that talk about the “temple home,” but when I read the part about your home being clean and orderly, I immediately disqualified it, because as I told my friend, “I just wasn’t ready for that yet.”  I didn’t want the guilt, and I needed to come to better terms with what realistic expectations are for myself and my own situation. 

    So I’ve given it quite a bit of thought, and I’ve decided that it would take some kind of heartless, robotic mother to keep her home in temple condition around the clock.  However, I’ve also felt that if we approach our housekeeping as an extension of our covenants and with the desire to make our home a welcome dwelling place for the Spirit, and if we go about our duties with that kind of purpose in mind (recognizing the work as a symbol of our Savior’s mission and also as a service to the spiritual development of our children), I think we’re in a good place.  Then it becomes like what I’m realizing a LOT of the gospel is about:  a PROCESS.  And what we become as we try is much more important than actually achieving a playroom that looks like the celestial room. 🙂 

    As I thought about that, I got a new insight into the whole Mary and Martha story.  Martha’s mistake was not trying to clean up her home after dinner, it was simply missing the whole point of doing it in the first place.  We do all that cleaning and organizing, etc. in an attempt to make our homes a place where the Spirit of the Lord can dwell, but He was already THERE.  In person.  She had already made a marymarthaplace where He felt comfortable and welcome, so she needed to LET IT GO, sit down, and just listen to Him teach.  We need to do that, too.  Pause from all our DOING, and make time for more LISTENING.  He doesn’t want a perfect home; He just wants to know you want Him to drop in.   Hope that makes sense.





So, um, yeah, how ’bout we actually learn a little something about the title of this post?  The first speaker told a story about how she was shocked when one of her 7-year-old daughter’s friends invited her to a play date and then the girl’s mother nonchalantly explained that they lived in a “clothing-optional” community, and would that be a problem?  More shocking to her than the actual question was the fact that she was now going to have to have a conversation with her second-grade daughter about why clothing was not optional in their family.  We have to start early to explain what we believe and why we choose the right even when others do not share, understand, nor applaud our choice.

You know what?  This post is getting too long too fast, and I need to go to bed!  Let’s chew on that home organizing stuff for one more day, and let your brains think about what this — my favorite Young Women’s Value (Integrity) — means to you:  “I will have the moral courage to make my actions consistent with my knowledge of right and wrong.”  I’ll finish up what I learned from the class, and we’ll discuss.  See you tomorrow night.