Speeches by Topic Topics | Women's Conference

  • A few years ago, a film crew and I climbed into a rented green van at the Boston airport and set off up the coast to trace the unfolding of the Restoration. It was March—cold and blustery with sheets of ice and snow. We started in Topsville, Massachusetts, where Joseph Smith’s ancestors settled and had a pew in the church on the commons. Taking each historic site in sequence, we then drove to Sharon, Vermont, the birthplace of the Prophet Joseph. It was a serene, somewhat isolated setting. Next we went to Palmyra to that grand stand of trees—the Sacred Grove. I had been there several times.
  • I had been on my mission in Taiwan only a few months when Sister Newton was preparing to return home. Several sisters were visiting with her on the eve of her departure, and someone asked, “What’s the most important thing you’ve learned on your mission?” After a moment’s reflection, Sister Newton replied, “I’ve learned about the joy of serving the Lord. If I’m called to be the light-bulb changer when I go home, I’m going to do it to the very best of my ability!” I don’t know which comes first—serving the Lord with gladness or knowing there is joy in service—but I think they’re very closely
  • I was with three of my dearest friends, who asked about the title of this talk. As I struggled to remember, they tried to help: “Finding Joy Today”; “Joy in This Life”; “Joy Today, Gone Tomorrow”; “Where is Joy? Joy Who?” My friend Madlyn finally said, “‘There’s No Joy in Mudville.’” “That’s it!” I said. “That’s the title! ‘There’s No Joy in Mudville.’” I have learned that, regardless of circumstance, for some people there is no joy; for others there is only joy. Some of us experience catastrophe in our lives; others create catastrophe in our lives. For some, there are a
  • To the paralytic man lying helpless on a bed, Jesus proclaimed, “Be of good cheer” (Matthew 9:2). To the frightened Apostles battling the tempestuous sea, Jesus appeared on the water, declaring, “Be of good cheer” (Matthew 14:27). To Nephi the son of Nephi, who was subject to an arbitrary law threatening his life and the lives of other righteous Nephites if the signs prophesied by Samuel the Lamanite didn’t occur, the Lord said, “Lift up your head and be of good cheer” (3 Nephi 1:13). As Joseph Smith met with ten elders about to be sent out, two by two, to missions fraught with trouble and dan
  • Nephi said, “My soul delighteth in plainness unto my people, that they may learn” (2 Nephi 25:4). He later explains that “after this manner doth the Lord God work among the children of men” (2 Nephi 31:3). The Lord truly does work according to plainness. Plain means pure, clear, uncomplicated, honest, simple, and without ornamentation (Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary, s.v. “plain”). Sometimes in the worldly scope of things plain has picked up a derogatory sense, meaning ordinary, not pretty, or old-fashioned, but it does not carry this sense in the eternal scope
  • When we speak of modesty, I am reminded of what Tevya, a character in the musical Fiddler on the Roof, said when he spoke of his beloved village of Anatevka. He said, “In Anatevka everyone knows who he is and what God expects him to do.” For me, that is the bottom line of any discussion on modesty. Modesty is often talked of in terms of dress and appearance, but modesty encompasses much more than the outward appearance. It is a condition of the heart. It is an outward manifestation of an inner knowledge and commitment. It is an expression that we understand our identity as daughters
  • Our daughter, Emily, was in the hospital in another state caring for her two-month-old baby, who had an upper-respiratory infection, and her two-year-old, Ella, who had come to visit her little sister. It had been a difficult five days for Emily. Her husband was in the middle of final exams in a rigorous graduate program. Two children under two years of age is a large enough challenge under the best of circumstances. Finances were limited, and no extended family lived nearby for support. Emily had been wearing the same clothes, sleeping in the hospital by her baby, passing the two-year-old
  • Do you know who you are, little child of mine, So precious and dear to me? Do you know you’re a part of a great design That is vast as eternity? Can you think for a moment how much depends On your holding the “Iron Rod”? Your life is forever—worlds without end— Do you know you’re a child of God? Do you know where you’ve been, little child of mine? It is hard to recall, I know; Do you ever remember that Home Divine— With the [Parents who loved] you so? [“To a Child,” by Ora Pate Stewart, (
  • I appreciate very much the opportunity to participate in this session with my wife, Sharon, who always does so well in expressing her, and our, thoughts. Her counsel is most appreciated because some of her best perceptions, while usually complementary, are often different than my own. Thus, while we enjoy doing much together, we have learned that some differences can be enriching and very helpful, rather than competitive or conflicting. Largely because of my career and callings, we have also learned to do some things on our own without feeling any minimization of our love or relationship. This
  • I have prayed earnestly concerning the topic I have been asked to address—that we pray not for light burdens but for strong backs. I have come to understand that to honestly pray for a strong back is a very courageous thing to do. The spiritual exercise required is not an easy course, but the promised blessings make it worthy of our total commitment—whatever the cost. I learned of the importance of a strong back when I was about ten years old. In the summertime after we had put in a full day’s work, my father would take me down to the Belly River near the edge of our small Canadian town,
  • My soul delighteth in the things of the Lord,” wrote Nephi, “and my heart pondereth continually upon the things which I have seen and heard” (2 Nephi 4:16). Yet in the verses that follow, he expressed sorrow and even grief because of his weaknesses. Sometimes known as Nephi’s Psalm, these twenty powerful verses in 2 Nephi chapter 4 give us unique insights into the process he went through to lift himself out of discouragement and to renew his faith and determination in the Lord. I would like to spend the next few minutes examining these verses. My hope is that, by looking carefully at Nephi’s a
  • Whiplash One winter’s morning during a snowstorm, I took my mother to have some blood tests done. It was “white-knuckle” driving on snowy, icy roads. We were headed home and going around a corner very slowly. The car hit black ice, and as if in slow motion, we headed for the curb. THUNK! I quickly asked Mom, “Are you OK?” “Yes.” We continued cautiously, slowly. Then I said in an oh-so-sarcastic kind of way, “So I suppose you’re going to sue me for whiplash.” Instantly she jumped in, moaning and holding her neck. “Oh . . . ohhhhhh . . . oh, my neck hurts. . . . Oh, I c
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