It's that time of year.
General Conference time!
And as a member of the Relief Society, I get a "warm up" the week before Conference. Tonight was the General Relief Society meeting.
It was incredible. In.cred.i.ble. And I wasn't even there; I was watching it being broadcast in a stake center with my mom.
I started getting teary before it even started. They had the live feed going while people were still arriving at the Conference Center. I saw the back of Elder Hales head as he went to his seat and I immediately was filled to the brim with a sense of love and appreciation for him and all that he does for the Church members, for Jesus, and for Heavenly Father. He and all the other apostles are amazing men who I have come to love very much. In those few moments the Spirit bore testimony to me that the work he does is not for himself or for any worldly glory; he's called of God to be a witness of Jesus Christ.
So yes, started the meeting off on a great note:)
Then we sang, "Count Your Blessings." Good heavens, did I really have to start crying before the opening prayer was even offered?!?! We later sang, "More Holiness Give Me," and I've determined that my next big project will be to memorize hymns so I can sing them whenever I want and have that spiritual lift (good music really lifts me up and none more so than the hymns of Zion:)).
One of my biggest impressions during the beginning was of sadness for the millions of people who don't have the blessings of being in an organized religion (most especially the one I'm in;)). I receive so much strength and joy when I'm gathered together with other members. When we sing together. When we pray together. When we learn together. When we worship together. And when I can be a part of a worldwide gathering at Conference time...WOW:) I'm so sad that "religion" is being added to the list of society's taboo words. Following the tenants of a religion now carries with it the connotation of slavery. Nothing could be further from the truth! The blessings that so many are denying themselves simply because they feel themselves too enlightened to be "tied down" by a religion! It's very sad to me.
I am also determined to be a better visiting teacher, to really try to build a friendship with the sisters I get to visit.
And President Monson? Oh, how I love him! I get all teary just thinking about him and how amazing he is. I am so thankful for a prophet. I am going to try to remember what he taught tonight and pray for help to live it every day. I've made much progress over the last eight years in the judging others department, but I still have a long way to go.
What a beautiful night it was for such an amazing meeting of sisters. I feel so blessed tonight to be part of this Church and part of the most wonderful women's organization ever:)