Visit the Tabernacle Replica Now to June 23 - Register for a tour!


We are delighted to invite you and your family to visit a life size replica of the tabernacle of the Old Testament! Tours are happening right now at the location site in Syracuse. The location will be moving to Kaysville on June 2nd.

There is a fireside for the youth on May 22nd at 6:00 pm at the Bountiful Regional Center.
Tours will begin with a visitors center that will share insights into the Tabernacle and the rich symbolism used within its structure to point the ancient Israelites to the Messiah and their return to our Heavenly Father. Following the visitors center, tours will take those attending through 5 stations of the Tabernacle beginning with the Camp of Israel and ending the tour passing through the Holy of Holies.
The Layton Utah South Stake will have access to the Tabernacle on June 23rd. We will need volunteers to staff site for that day.

For more information, please visit www.tabernacle2022.com
See the QR code below for tickets.

Coming unto the Savior in times of doubt by Ashley Simmons


This is a photo of Joshua Chamberlain. He made history in 1862 for his courageous leadership in the battle of Gettysburg. Although from the looks of this photo, it's his mustache that made history. Chamberlain wanted to end slavery so he volunteered to fight in Civil war. His faith and determination shone so brightly in his eyes that he inspired the very best in all around him and was quickly promoted as a General. At a critical point in the war Chamberlain and his troop were assigned to the most isolated and important hilltop in the battle of Gettysburg. Chamberlain was told to hold their ground at all costs. And they did but after two days of determined fighting his troops ran out of ammo and options. They were alone on that hilltop and in a desperate situation. This is when Joshua Chamberlain made history. It would have been very reasonable for them to retreat, in the face of such ridiculous odds and yet they all chose to hold their precious ground. Chamberlain decided to fight with the only weapon they had left- their bayonets (a small sword  that attaches to a musket).  Chamberlain and his men ran downhill with their bayonets toward an enemy that was shooting at them, literally bringing a knife to a gun fight.  Amazingly the confederate army, seeing the resolve of Chamberlains and his men, surrendered. This tipped the momentum of the battle of Gettysburg and ultimately the whole Civil war towards freedom and unity. I wonder if Chamberlain and his troops had any idea that the future of our great nation hung on their defending an unremarkable little plot of ground.

Chose Faith, Doubt Not

History is filled with extraordinary moments like this where men and women facing terrible odds, reasonable doubt, and justifiable discouragement CHOSE INSTEAD to focus on faith, courage and hope.  These men and women’s faith was so determined that it was reflected in their eyes for all to see.


Sisters each one of us has troops of our own looking into our eyes for faith. Our troops can be anyone we influence, our parents, our siblings, our spouse, friends, colleagues, followers and of course our children and grandchildren. Now obviously we cannot control who sees our faith nor how they react to it, but sisters our faith is NEVER wasted. The ground we defend might seem unimportant to us but could it be that we, like Chamberlain, have no idea of how precious it is?

 

Today my topic is Coming unto the Savior in times of doubt. Surely we live in the age of doubt, where doubt is not only encouraged but we are consistently told that the doubt we face at times is the most real- authentic part of who we are. We are misled to believe that faith in the face of doubt is somehow inauthentic, or hypocritical. Would we tell Joshua Chamberlain and his troops that their choice of FAITH over doubt at Gettysburg was inauthentic or hypocritical?

 

I want to share with you briefly two times when I had eyes that were filled with doubt and how coming unto the Savior helped me.

Knowledge from Heaven


As a young girl it feels like in many ways I was born with a question in my heart ready to be asked.
Specifically ‘how do the daughters of God fit in his kingdom and are we equally valued? ”  As I grew into a teenager, that question got more and more urgent for me to answer and more filled with pain and doubt. I had experiences that added to my doubt.  I tried to resolve these questions by talking to leaders, friends, family and though everyone was helpful and kind, no one could ultimately resolve this issue for me.  I eventually realized that I needed to try asking the source of truth and light- My Father in Heaven. One day I knelt down in prayer and with sobs and frustration I petitioned my God to help me with this doubt. Sisters for reasons I know have nothing to do with my merit, my Father in Heaven graced me with an unforgettable answer that day. Experiences with the Divine aren’t easy to explain but I instantly understood the value and love our Father has for his daughters and it exceeded what my human heart thought possible! What I felt of his love and value for his daughters truly astonished me. I closed the prayer, and opened my eyes and said with a little shock “oh I didn’t know.” The doubt I had wrestled with for years was now replaced with knowledge.  

 

We are members of a church that is founded on personal revelation. Our Savior said in Matthew 7:7 “Ask and it shall be given you; seek and ye shall find; knock and it shall be opened unto you.” Our Father in Heaven is generous and delights to bless us. While I’ve noticed that He doesn’t duplicate others' experiences or bend to our Spiritual expectations, He does give us answers to our prayers, on His time, in His way. I know there are Heavenly answers for every one of our questions.

Find my Faith

 Fast forward 25 years and serious doubt came back to my vision on a very different topic. I did not go looking for doubt, but it found me just the same. For the first time since my teens I had serious and troubling doubts again. Doubt can be so very painful and feeling ashamed does not help and is not necessary!  Like when I was a teen, I knew that I didn’t want to search public opinion for answers to my doubt-instead I knew I needed personal revelation from my Father in Heaven.  I resolved to listen more closely to the whisperings of the Still Small VOICE at that time then I had at any other time in my life so that I could respond the best way to my doubt. I wanted to take the right path. I prayed many times for help and the answer I received this time was very different then when I was a teen.


One night when I was jogging and pondering my doubt, I had a vivid memory come to my mind.  It was a memory I had almost forgotten, when I was lost as a very young girl at night.  My whole family had been attending a play together and as the play ended a huge crowd started pushing towards the many exits. My mother told all her kids to stay together or you will get lost.  My intent as a young child was to obey her, however little by little, so slowly I didn’t notice, I started following the crowd and not my parents.  The crowd almost always seems to be going the wrong way- and by the time I realized that I was separated from my family, the crowd had guided me to an empty parking lot late at night.  I was lost and afraid and crying.  In dark times there always seems to be a kind soul ready to help. A caring woman walked up to me- knowing that I was lost and bent down and offered me guidance. She told me to remember the last place I saw my parents, saying that if I went back there, I would find them. I listened to her advice and ran back immediately and sure enough- they were there where I saw them last, searching for me, with pain in their eyes. Me being lost caused them as much pain as it caused me.

 

Remembering that experience as I was jogging that night was an answer to my prayer. I knew I was still that lost girl who needed to follow that guidance again. I needed to have faith and remember back to the last time I felt my Father in Heaven and Savior near. Remembering our spiritual experiences is a willful act of faith. Part of what makes doubt so destructive to our lives, Sisters, is that it can be so very short sighted. No wonder the prophet Helaman said ‘remember, remember’ to his children. I decided that night to have faith and remember.

Faith Shines Forth

Many years after my decision to have faith, the circumstances that caused me to doubt changed significantly. When I found out about the change, the first thing I thought of was not my own feelings, but of my troops. I thought of all that occurred in our lives in those years. Births, deaths, weddings, baptisms, good times and bad, I was so grateful that my flawed but sincere faith could be a part of my vision for all of it. I was so grateful that my faith was not on hold until my doubt was resolved.

 

In these two experiences with doubt, one time I received knowledge from Heaven, the other time, I was instructed to find my faith. Over the years, it has surprised me to realize that Faith has been every bit as powerful in my life as knowledge has. Joshua Chamberlain and his troops' faith shined brightest BECAUSE of the doubt they faced, not despite it. As we patiently come unto the Savior with our doubts large or small, He can turn them into incredible sources of knowledge, power, strength and most importantly FAITH for our lives.

 

Sisters In the battlefield of life, most of us will face some encounter with doubt but be not afraid, we are daughters of a King, doubt is not our destiny.

In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.


Partake of His Healing Power by Lori McMillan West



   A few years ago, I was walking through a store when I saw a T-shirt that spoke to my southern-girl heart. I instantly knew that I wanted the shirt.  Let me show you. “Y’all Need Jesus!” Goes right along with our conference theme!

My message today is centered on the second part of the theme “Partake of His Healing Power.” 

How do we partake of the Savior’s healing power?

Let’s think about that.   Partake is an action verb. WE must take action.

WE must reach to the Savior to partake.

You have each been given a packet of wildflower seeds when you entered the conference this morning.  I want to talk briefly about seeds.


When we plant a seed into the ground, we, as the planter of the seed, know the potential of that seed.  The seed is planted into the ground, surrounded by darkness.  To realize its potential, the seed must reach up through the darkness to the light. God knows OUR potential.  When we are surrounded by darkness, like these seeds, may we know that we are not buried, we have been planted!  If we reach up to our source of light, we too can obtain our potential!

Sisters, God is much more interested in our growth than in our comfort.

My father died in a terrible car accident that also sent my mom to the hospital for months when I was one and a half years old. As you can imagine, I don’t remember much about my dad, but one thing that I have never forgotten is how I felt when I was with him.  The sheer joy of being with my dad and experiencing the safety of his embrace, feeling his absolute love for me, and feeling adored and special.  I knew that he loved me, and that I was cherished by him!

This world has a way of making you forget that you are loved, and cherished. 

We experience pain, emotional or mental distress, sore trials and various challenges and difficulties that are present in a fallen world. 

I continually have to remind myself that life is MEANT to be a test. We WILL be tested!

I recall one of the battles of Helaman’s army, the second battle, in particular.  At that battle, ALL of those righteous and valiant young warriors were saved, but I often forget what else the verse says.  Let me read a verse of the account.

Alma 57:25 And it came to pass that there were two hundred, out of my two thousand and sixty, who had fainted because of the loss of blood; nevertheless, according to the goodness of God, and to our great astonishment, and also the joy of our whole army, there was anot one soul of them who did perish; yea, and neither was there one soul among them who had not received many wounds.

 

Let me read that last line one more time. 

there was anot one soul of them who did perish; yea, and neither was there one soul among them who had not received many wounds.

 

These young men were completely valiant, righteous men of God.  They were saved, but they ALL received many wounds.

This is a small allegory that is directly parallel to our lives, and our experience on this earth.  We all will receive many wounds, and some will faint from the loss of blood!

Broken & Shattered

A couple of months ago, I was setting up my Christmas decorations, and as I turned around with an armful of Christmas garland, I bumped into a beautiful Christmas plate that I’d had for many years.  It crashed to the floor with a spectacular sound and broke into many, many, tiny pieces. I tried not to show my disappointment to Mark as it registered in my mind that I could never piece that plate back together, or repair that beautiful plate to its usefulness. 

The adversary would have us believe that when we have been broken, especially when we have been broken multiple times, that we have lost our usefulness. Sisters, we are not like that plate.  When we have been broken, that is when God is able to work through us, and often that is when we realize our true purpose. The Savior himself was broken to fulfill His greatest work.

Brad Wilcox said, “Christ did not perform the Atonement to free us from suffering, but to be able to be with us in our suffering.”

Let me preface what I am about to say by telling you that I have Mark’s permission to share what I am about to relate.

Mark and I are a blended family, both of us lost our eternal companions to an early death.  Together in our new family, Mark and I have nine children. Anyone in a blended family can tell you how challenging it is to unite a new family, even under the best circumstances. There are a lot of feelings with that many people, and it takes a great deal of effort, love, and patience on everyone’s part. As part of our effort to blend our families, Mark and I go to counseling.  Counseling has been a wonderful experience, and I highly recommend it. I would advise seeking out a counselor that shares your values and beliefs, and has a sincere desire to heal relationships, not to take sides.   Our counselor is a beautiful and dear lady from Nebraska, named Tracy. She is ALSO Christian, and she speaks of God in her EVERY conversation. Together, Tracy and I have had the opportunity to share tender stories of faith, and to discuss the healing power of our Savior. I cannot tell you what a blessing Tracy has been to our family.

My sweet counselor, Tracy, told me during one of my meetings with her that there were things that I needed to tell Mark regarding our marriage; hurt feelings that I had held back, but that I needed to share with him. She went on to say that it was not healthy to hold painful things inside, and she paralleled it to “throwing up”.  When our stomachs are feeling sick, our tendency is to try and suppress its reaction to throw up because throwing up is so awful.  However, after throwing up, we actually feel better. I could see her point, so I accepted her challenge to share some very vulnerable things with Mark. This was very difficult for me to want to discuss the hurt feelings because our natural tendencies are to become defensive.  Talking about my feelings often seemed to pull us apart and hurt our relationship.

I began the conversation with Mark by saying, these are my feelings.  I may have a different perspective than you have, I may even have a totally inaccurate perspective, but this is still how I feel.  Mark did listen. I was heard, validated, and my feelings were treated kindly and gently.  Tracy’s parallel to throwing up was a perfect description.  It was wonderful to be able to release those feelings.

A few weeks after Mark and I had this shared discussion of our feelings, I received a call from a family member, making me aware of the recent death of someone I knew in the past.   

Just the mention of his name caught my breath in my throat, and triggered awful memories of things that happened to me many years ago.

Even though, with his death, the threat was over, nightmares returned for me; and I awoke several nights in tears. These night terrors and dreams did not go unnoticed by Mark.  He would hold me until I felt safe again and could sleep.

Mark knew of the extremely difficult things that I have experienced in the past.  He did not, however, know the severity or any details.  I decided to share some of the details; horrible things that I have never shared details of, with anyone. As I spoke and let out all of the awfulness, I remembered more, and told him that as well. My words came in sobs, and I could barely speak them. It was difficult to watch as the horror registered on his face.  But I was in the middle of “throwing up” and could not stop.  When I finished, Mark gathered me in his arms and cried with me. He saw me in all of my broken-ness, all of my shattered pieces.

Give your Brokenness to the Savior

Later, I shared a couple of my horrific experiences from my past with my counselor. She marveled at how I survived all that I had been through, and came through it with such faith, grace, and perspective. 

She asked me how I did it.

For many, many years I gave my broken pieces to the Savior alone. When I kneel down in prayer, He has wrapped me safely in His arms (just like my Father did as a child) and reminded me of my value.  HE has told me that I am not like that plate, that there is beauty in brokenness, and that I am HIS daughter.  HE is the one who helped me to remember how I felt as a child in the arms of my earthly father.  The Savior had taken the burden of the awfulness of my experiences and held them for me in kindness.  I could never have made sense of my experiences without His help, and without the knowledge of His love, and without His guidance.

When we experience things that are emotionally challenging, it is difficult to carry those experiences to church with us; we look around and see families lined up in a row, with their beautiful dresses or straightened ties.  We see the “perfection” and we feel even more broken.  

Looking around at your beauty, wit, intelligence, and talents could be very intimidating. But I have learned that we all have broken pieces. Some of us (me especially) have become very good at hiding our brokenness. But the Savior can heal our brokenness.  As a matter of fact, he finds beauty, usefulness, mercy, love, and companionship in our brokenness.  In HIS life on earth, he spent HIS time with the broken, those that needed healing, and sought to understand their purpose.

Exercise Grace & Kindness

I have suffered tremendous emotional scars in the past, however, there are people in our midst that are suffering right now.  There are also people in our midst that suffer emotional challenges EVERY SINGLE DAY OF THEIR LIVES.  Our mental and emotional health is affected by the social, environmental, and genetic factors over which we have no control.  Might we exercise a little more grace and kindness to those living with  those struggles every single day? My youngest son lives with OCD onset by the death of my eternal companion, Joseph, his father.   

People don’t understand OCD, it is not a propensity to clean or have things in order.  OCD is a paralyzing fear that causes the person with that fear to perform actions to attempt to rid themselves of the fear. Doing the actions to calm their fear actually confirms in their mind the reality that there is a threat.  

I could not walk in the shoes of my son.  He is one of the very strongest people that I know.  The battle that he wages daily makes him a warrior to me. These challenges have come through no fault of his own, and as a mother, you may know that it is incredibly painful to watch your child suffer something that you cannot help them with.  This is part of their life test.

I can say with absolute certainty that at judgment day, our merciful Savior will look upon those that have had giant mountains to climb, and take into consideration with HIS divine judgment the degree of difficulty of our experiences in life.

Sisters, may we know that when we are surrounded by darkness, we are not buried, we have been planted!


I am Given Strength

 


“Come as you are”

This brings me such hope. To know that when I make mistakes or sin, the Lord doesn’t look at me as a sinner. He doesn’t want me to be ashamed or hide. He sees me, he sees my potential, he sees who I really am and who I am striving to become. When I come to him as I am, I am given strength.

~Mandi Richins

Healing...In His Way and Time


 When Healing Is Denied For A Season

“The surgery didn’t work”
I sat there, stunned, as the doctor’s words bounced off the office walls. I heard a few more words - I vaguely recall hearing “barely any movement” and “frustrating disease”, but all I really took in was that the surgery had failed.
I have had double vision for more than 20 years, the result of a disorder that causes progressive paralysis of the muscles around my eyes. When I look at things, I see the real image and then a duplicate, somewhere off to the side and floating above the real thing.
In the Spring of 2021, after years of headaches and motion sickness and a host of other difficulties, I was handed a lifeline and told that my vision had been stable long enough that corrective surgery was an option.
Great, I thought, sign me up! So they did and I first had surgery in June 2021. Notwithstanding a bad reaction to the anesthesia, the doctor was mostly pleased with the results and felt that with a second surgery, we could get the correction locked in place.
Only the second surgery didn’t work. At all. And I was devastated.
I don’t have it in me to go for a third try. I just can’t.
I wanted so badly to be healed. I wanted so badly to only see one of an image and to not have to blink to try and get things to clear up. I wanted to only see one of me when I look in the mirror. I wanted my outsides to match my insides.
But it is not to be, at least for now. As I’ve reflected on what I felt was my denied healing, the Spirit has walked and talked with me and has taught me powerful lessons about healing.
Prior to going in for my first surgery, I had my older brother give me a priesthood blessing. With hands on my head, JD pronounced a blessing of healing. I remember having a fleeting thought that the healing wouldn’t be physical. I wrote it off as my anxiety kicking into overdrive, but now I know that the greater healing he pronounced has come to pass!
Through my brother, the Lord blessed me with an ability to see things as they truly are, to have my eyes opened to people around me and to know where I needed to be.
The word “heal” has its roots in the Old English word hælan, which means to make sound or well.
In many regards, I have been healed, because I am sound and well.
I have gained a lot of confidence since receiving that priesthood blessing. I have worked my way back to feeling at home among the saints. I have made new friends and been inspired to live a life worthy of dwelling in the presence of the Savior.
It has been a healing experience for me in many ways, just not how I expected.
When we open ourselves to the possibility of healing as He needs, I testify it will happen in His way and time.
Oh, it is wonderful!

~Shari Phippen

He Wants Us to Come!

“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

Matthew 11:28
I can see Him in my mind. There is a tenderness in his eyes. His arms are stretched out towards me. He is reaching. Inviting me. He wants me to COME.

And all of me yearns to move towards Him. I want Him to wrap his arms around me. To hold me safe. I want to rest my tired head on His chest to feel of His power and sense the rest only He can give.

But His words echo again. They aren’t just asking me to come to Him to be comforted. He is inviting me to Come Unto Him.

There is a difference. This is deeply personal for both of us. He is not going to pass me off to someone else. He is promising to help me personally. Which means he knows all of me perfectly. The help he is offering will be fitted to my needs and my circumstance.

He tells me. “Let me provide the help you need to carry your burdens. Let me hold you upright when you are broken.”

And I hear the promise . . .
“Come, I will give you rest.”
Draw nigh unto me, move to my side, find me, walk with me, and I will help you BECOME like me.

The word unto means progress and fusion.

So, I know Christ is telling me to Come Become One with Him!

The Grace of the Atonement is written in those words. Turn to Him and He will be there! He will not only walk with me, but He will give me strength to grow to BECOME like He is.
This is His covenantal promise. He wants to meet me where I am, but He doesn’t want to leave me there. He wants to take me where He is, but I must first make the choice to have that relationship with Him.

So, I look at Him again. His arms are still reaching. His eyes are still inviting.
“Please come!”

And all of me desires more than anything to not only be with Him, but to also become like him. It is in that moment, I realize that the trials I am bearing, the ones I think are holding me down, are the very thing taking me one step closer to becoming like He is. He has always been in the details of my life.

When I look closer, He is right beside me. And I hear Him say, “Come, let’s walk the rest of the way together. I am Here!”

~Barbara Petersen

I Knew Christ was Reaching for Me...But I Had a Choice to Make

When I think of the Conference theme, the newer picture of Christ reaching his hand into the water comes to my mind. I have been taught all of my life to Come unto Christ. Come is an action word. It is an action that we have to choose to do.  

As the picture infers, we sometimes feel we are drowning. Lately, with all the things going on in my life, I was trying to stay afloat. I am not one to easily be offended, I usually just brush things off. But recently, twice, in about a week’s time, my abilities, commitment, and listening to the spirit were questioned. I was hurt, I was angry, and it put me way under and in a very dark place, like a bottom of a well. I couldn’t or wouldn’t let it go. I didn’t want to see people, I didn’t want to go to church, read scriptures, and I didn’t feel I could pray, feeling like such a failure. Satan loved that part, I’m sure.

I knew Christ was there reaching for me, but I had to make a choice – to stay there or grab His hand. When you’re in that deep hole, it is not easy to find a way out. Did I want to stay there or feel better? I chose to try and get out. I grasped for Him through prayer to help me get out of that dark place. I chose to change my focus from me to Him by digging into my scriptures, exercising more, listening to conference talks, serving others, repenting, and forgiving. All the primary things we are taught, which by the way have all helped. Healing doesn’t always happen overnight, but as I choose to do these things, I can see and feel His love and have been able to have healing.

I know He’s there and loves us. He wants to heal us when we struggle, and He wants us to be happy. Make the choice to Come as You are and feel Christ’s love.

~Nancy Christensen

The Lord's Healing Power is Magnified in the Temple

Come as you are and partake of His healing power through your temple covenants and His priesthood ordinances. When I went through the temple for the first time, I felt like I was home. As we come to the Lord in His holy house as we are, He will make something out of us that we could never be without Him. As we frequent the temple, He heals our souls and give us strength beyond our own. His healing powers are magnified there.

~Evelyn Martinez

He's Not Asking Us to Do it Alone


When I was asked to head the video committee for this year’s conference I had the accompanying panic of self doubt about my capability of not only producing a functioning video but also one that lifted and inspired. 

After meeting with the committee and finding that not one of us had the expertise in what we were doing- first we laughed- then we got to work. 

We know that the Lord loves effort. “Come As You Are To The Savior” to me means that you are just willing to show up. The Lord knows what He is doing, He’s not asking us to do it alone. We just have to be willing to be there to do it with him. 

He will always make our efforts more than we could ever do on our own - in our marriage, with our family, in callings, in all the hard and easy areas of our lives. We just need to show up. 

~Jen Hart

An "Unseen Pow'r" Will Aid Me and You


Mental illness is something that plagues the lives of my siblings and myself. I come from a family of four kids and each of us has our own struggles with it.

I hit the height of mine after the birth of my second child when postpartum depression set in. For many months which turned into years, I suffered in silence, suppressed the darkness and faked my way through on the daily, and nobody knew. 

I remember one particular night rocking my sweet baby boy to sleep and just bawling. We’re talking the ugly cry, on steroids! I was so sad, so exhausted, so depressed and so “alone.” 

Immediately the words to hymn 243, Let Us All Press On, flooded my mind, specifically a phrase in verse 2 (capitalization added for emphasis): 

We will not retreat, though our numbers may be few, When compared to the opposite host in view, BUT AN UNSEEN POW’R WILL AID ME AND YOU, In the glorious cause of truth. 

That was my answer. That “unseen pow’r” had been aiding me, would continue to aid me and continues to aid me, as I “press on” through my mental illness journey. I was never alone! 

Many times the “pressing forward” is the biggest struggle. There is resistance and hard and it would be easier to just not; however I know as we struggle and wrestle and come as we are, that unseen power will come. 

After that night I started opening up to people and telling my story. The vulnerability was freeing. Combined with therapy, friends and family, priesthood power, medication, and the aid of that unseen power I started to heal. My testimony of the atonement became real to me. I had truly partaken of His healing power. 

To me this is what the theme of this year’s Women’s Conference means. Coming as we are to the Savior and partaking of His healing power in our lives looks different for each of us, but the invitation is the same. We are all His children. He beckons to each of us to come as YOU are-not like your neighbor, your sister, your friend, your mom or your fan-girl! Whether broken, happy, wounded, successful, getting by, trying, hopeful, depressed, killing it, anxious, confused, or whatever it may be- just come and He will aid you. He will bless you. He loves you! 

I know that as I continue to come to the Savior as I am, imperfect yet repentant, questioning yet seeking, unsure yet faithful, His “unseen pow’r” is the constant care, and assurance to me, to just come!

~Cassidy Goodfellow

"As a Hen Gathereth Her Chicks"

Come as you are

I was asked to share why I love this conference theme... it’s because I know firsthand How God wants us to come to Him just as we are, even if it’s a hot mess.
Many years ago I had fallen away from the church but contrary to popular belief, I could still feel the Saviors abiding and relentless love for me. Even though I wasn’t living as I was taught or how “I should be” He never left me.
I have heard many times from well-intentioned people that if you’re not living righteously or by the churches standards, that you will lose the right to feel the Holy Ghost, that He will leave you - or because you’re sinning YOU have left HIM.
Are we all not sinners? Do we all not fall short to reach perfection? How is it then that one sinner could be accepted of Christ and another not be, just because of the type of sin? Is He a respecter of persons?
No.
I am here today to testify that God will never ever leave you. Not ever. For any reason.
He will go to the ends of the earth, yea even the furthest depths of Hell to reach you.
He can’t lie... furthermore, didn’t He promise to never leave us comfortless and to gather us like a Hen gathering its chicks?
Have you ever watched a Hen try to gather chicks?
It’s hilarious... there’s always at least one that is running around the coop not wanting to get caught. But does the momma hen give up? Never.
She chases that little rebel and might even squawk or peck at it but eventually that little pest comes back to its momma to settle down and rest.
I was that little rebel - running around, wild and going crazy looking for “safety” in all the wrong places... when all along my Father in Heaven was calling after me to come back.
I was still able to feel the whisperings of the Spirit - certainly not as clear and poignant or frequently as before... but it was still there - no matter how hard I tried to drown Him out at times.
He will not be ignored. He will not give up. He loved me for who I was... a broken, confused and rebellious daughter... but still His daughter.
I promise that when the apostles say there is no depth so far that His love can’t reach it is true. There is no sin He can’t wipe away... there is no heartache He can’t soothe... there is no wound He can’t heal or trial He can’t overcome - He will rescue us time and time again.
He loves you infinitely... not because you “deserve” it but because you’re you... His precious daughter.

~Bonnie Randall

Little Beams of Celestial Light

We all know that we were put on this earth to gain a body and to learn to live in a mortal world with all the ups and downs that come with it. We all have trials, we all have struggles and they seem to be coming at a greater pace every day, month and year. It is so easy to get caught up in this earthly experience and sometimes we start to lose our eternal perspective. Heavenly Father always has a way to bring us back or at least try to bring us back to seeing this life for what it really is. Trials can do that for us. Whether they are physical, emotional, spiritual or one of many other trials, we can choose to battle them alone or we can choose to rely on our Savior and be willing to humble ourselves and turn our lives over to Him, the Master Creator, to turn us into something so much greater than we could ever imagine. Sometimes, if we are paying attention, He will give us a little glimpse of the life He has in store for us. The process is not easy, it is downright painful at times but because He has suffered for anything and everything that we will experience in this life, He is ready and willing to walk with us through every step of that difficult process. I have experienced the physical, emotional and spiritual healing of the Savior in my past and even now as new trials come I continue to feel Him close, guiding me, even in my broken and imperfect state. When I humble myself and focus on Him, I catch little beams of Celestial light, little glimpses of the future that is possible, only through Him.

~Jodee Bitner

A Father's Love

Almost two years ago my Dad was killed while riding his road bike in the little town of Snowflake, Arizona, where I grew up. In the months to come I really had a lot of soul searching, forgiveness, and healing to do. And I realized that I had relied on my Dad when it came to spirituality and hardships, and overcoming those hardships. Someone that knew me so well and loved me so unconditionally was now gone. I had relied on that support and love and constant reassurance that he gave me that I was wonderful and that I was doing great. All of a sudden I had to do it without him. When I tried leaning on the Savior I didn't feel that it helped. I realize that so many have lost loved ones, but this loss was new to me and I felt like I didn't know how to move on from the grief. I started turning more towards those around me and felt their kindness and love for me. I began to realize that by letting people help me I was beginning to heal. I decided to try turning to my Savior for help even though I didn't feel like I deserved it or that I was too broken for help. That was the best thing that I have done. I feel like if I just keep taking even little steps towards my goal that I am succeeding. And that the Lord is rewarding my efforts. I have felt the unconditional love that my earthly father had for me through my Heavenly Father. My Dad never seemed to ever doubt in the power of the Savior, and I want to follow that example.

~Emily Andersen

Partake of His Healing Power


Throughout my life I have struggled with feelings of self-doubt, unworthiness and just not being good enough. At times I felt I was a disappointment to my Father in Heaven and Savior. The only things that have helped me know that these thoughts are wrong, and come from the adversary, are the teachings of Jesus Christ found in the scriptures and the comforting gift of the Holy Ghost. 

One experience I had intensely brought these past feelings to the surface of my mind again. I always wanted to have a large family, but after delivering my second son I had a Strep B infection that almost took my life. The doctors had to perform an emergency hysterectomy. My husband and I cried so hard, and often still do, when we recall that day. Questions later filled my mind. Was I not good enough to be a mother? Did God not trust me to raise his children? The list went on. 

I wish I could say comfort came right away, but it took me a long time to truly believe that I was good enough to be a mother, and that God did trust me to raise his children. The number of times I have had answers to my prayers, times when I have needed reassurance that God is there and loves me, have been countless. Ten years ago, 1 Nephi 21:16 suddenly had new meaning to me. It says, "...thy walls are continually before me." 

I knew at that moment that whatever challenges I'm faced with, God is aware of them and is constantly thinking about them. He is always ready to help me get through them. After all, the beginning of that scripture says, "I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands." I know God loves us. He is aware of our struggles. He knows our needs and wants more than anything, for us to come as we are... that we may 'Partake of His Healing Power'. 

~Cayla Benard

The Savior Can Heal Each of Us When We Look Up and Seek Him


The healing power of Christ has blessed my life many times. Some of these experiences are personal and not easy to talk about. I have experienced loss of expected blessings—which was wrong on my part. I just expected some blessings to be a part of my life and when they didn’t come, I felt hurt, betrayed, and discouraged. In each experience, I had to search for answers. Some answers have come—and some may not come until I am in Heaven. But after many prayers, blessings, and searching, I have found peace and love through my Savior, Jesus Christ. 

 After one very long, trying night with no sleep, we attended Sacrament Meeting. I felt weak, broken, and tired. We sang the Sacrament hymn, “Reverently and Meekly Now”. The words to every verse seemed to speak to my heart.

​For thee ever do I plead
​I have loved thee as thy friend, ​
With a love that cannot end.
​Be obedient, I implore, ​
Prayerful, watchful evermore, ​
And be constant unto me, ​
That thy Savior I may be. 

These words sunk into my heart and I felt a great and tender love from my Savior. It was almost like I could feel His arms around me. I also could feel His love for those I love. His love is real and can heal each of us when we look up and seek Him. 

~Phyllis Hall