I will admit that rarely do I get to listen to the Saturday morning session of conference while it is actually happening, especially in April because of baseball season, but yesterday I found myself home almost alone and was able to sit on my bed and watch the first session of conference. I was excited when Sister Durham from the General Primary Presidency began speaking. I had met her a few years earlier and had a really neat experience with her. As she began her talk she talked of a father who was trying to swim across a lake with his daughter on his back and the weight he carried as his shoes filled with water and began to pull him down. The story went on about he was finally able to get his shoes off and in turn the weight and then was able to swim back to the shore. Her talk was on the Holy Ghost, and more importantly how we as parents can teach our children to recognize the spirit and rely on it in this ever darkening world around them.
My eyes filled with tears as I remembered the sweet experience I had with Sister Durham.
Three years ago I took my then 8 year old son, Kris to Salt Lake for General Conference. My main reason for going is that I felt very strongly that I needed to attend the Primary General Auxiliary Training Meeting that was held in conjunction with General Conference each year. I look back now and realize everything was working against me for attending this meeting. Money, time, a sick baby, a husband who had to take time he didn't have off of work for me to go, but I just felt so strong that I needed to go. Many times I thought - I'll just go next year. It turns out this was the last Auxiliary training meeting they ever held. Now the training meetings are all online. I was grateful I listened to the sweet promptings I was given about attending that year.
We flew to Salt Lake on Thursday afternoon. The Meeting was Thursday night. I met my brother in law in downtown and sent my son home with him. I had a few hours before the meeting so I walked around the City Creek mall for awhile and then found a bathroom where I changed my clothes into a dress and tried to look as presentable as possible from traveling all day. There was over an hour until the meeting started but I decided to go early anyway and I thought I could work on a talk I was giving at our Stake Activity Day for Girls. I was so excited to be attending this meeting and I had goosebumps as I entered the Assembly Hall on Temple Square. There were very few people in the meeting already, mostly ushers who were getting last minute things ready. I sat down at the end of a bench near the front. Soon people started coming in. But not by themselves as I had entered but with friends and presidencies. Four at a time. Two at a time. But it seemed that no one else was by themselves. It didn't take very long for me to start feeling very out of place. As I watched sisters come in and immediately recognize others and give hugs and laugh and talk with each other I started to feel very lonely and a very dark feeling came over me - to the point that I had almost had tears in my eyes and I had thoughts of leaving. I really thought to myself "this meeting is a broadcast. No one will know if I was here or not. I can walk across the street to the mall and watch it online and no one will ever know I wasn't here." I literally was about to stand up and walk out when the Primary Board Members started walking out and visiting among the sisters there.
Sister Durham, from the Board was walking down the aisle and stopped when she got to me. She shook my hand and asked me my name. I told her and told her I was from Roseville. She then sat down next to me and began asking me all about our stake. For almost 10 minutes we talked about our primaries. Some of your struggles and a lot of your successes and what our primaries in the Roseville Stake our doing. I can tell you she was interested and humbled by what each of you do for your primaries. She wanted me to express her love to each of you and to your primaries. Sister Durham then introduced me to Sister Wixom, and Sister Esplin from the General Primary Presidency who were standing nearby. Sister Durham then told them some of the things I had shared with her about you and our stake and both of them hugged me and told me to tell you Thank you for all that you are doing to strengthen the children of our stake.
I know that Satan was using everything he had to get me to leave that meeting. The experience I had with Sister Durham and being able to meet Sister Wixom and Sister Esplin was so special and the adversary did not want me to have that experience and I almost gave in. I almost got up and walked out.
It was a testimony to me that Satan will work just as hard on our children and youth to try to prevent them from having spiritual experiences.
Listening to Sister Durham's talk yesterday brought this experience back to me like it was yesterday. I remember feeling like that father did as I sat alone waiting for that meeting to start. I have no doubt that the Spirit sent Sister Durham to talk to me that day. I know that if she had not listened to that prompting I would have left that meeting.
Her talk was beautiful and simple in its message as she taught us all how to increase the spiritual capacity in our children by helping them understand and recognize the Holy Ghost.