Sister Hill was our first speaker today, and she thought it was ironic that the topic she'd chosen was "Enduring to the End' and there were only 15 members there when she started. So much for our threepeat in the thirties.
Sister H always draws on personal stories, and today was no different. She remembered how, as a little child, she was so excited to leave the nursery (at the age of 3) and begin Primary, because her mom was the Primary President. She also looked forward to being baptized when she turned 8 and was so anxious, because all of the children in her class were slightly older, and she was the last to turn 8. But a few weeks after her baptism her mom called the family together and told them that she'd asked to be released from her calling. And then the entire family quit going to church! That's when the fighting and door-slamming and anger began. Sister H took her little sister, who was six, gathered a few things together, including 73 cents, and tried to run away. They got as far as the drugstore when it got cold and began to snow so they had to return home.
No longer feeling the love and guidance from our Heavenly Father caused many empty years, and it wasn't until Sister H went away to school that the Spirit returned as she began to go back to church. In 2 Nephi 31:19 Nephi asks "...after ye have gotten into this strait and narrow path, I would ask if all is done?" Then he answers, "Behold, I say unto you, Nay; for ye have not come thus far save it were y the word of Christ with unshaken faith in him, relying wholly upon the merits of him who is mighty to save."
In other words, this is just a beginning. As we continue to pray, study and ponder the scriptures and take the Sacrament, we find the peace we're looking for. That's why we're asked to endure. And so we need to learn how to pray sincerely, feast upon the words of Christ, partake of the Sacrament each week, and seek to further our knowledge by attending the temple.
Those were just some of Sister Hill's thoughts, so on to Elder Brimhall who talked about the Book of Mormon and how it is the "keystone of our religion." I'll just state a few of the points he made.
Without the Book of Mormon we have no religion.
It's important to have a testimony and apply the Book of Mormon to our lives daily.
Helaman 5:12 "...it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his might winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his might storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall."
We can build our foundation on Christ when we center our lives on His teachings, love the plainness of the doctrine and know that it can't be disputed.
Alma 23:6 talks about the Lamanites who were converted to the Gospel, and once they were converted, they never fell away.
If we're doing what we're asked to do, we have God's promise that we will receive happiness and peace in this like and Eternal Life in the world to come.
Our final speaker was Elder Browning, and he chose to speak on habits, which actually tied in nicely to the other two talks. Elder B used a portion of Elder Delbert L. Stapley's Conference address in 1974, "Good Habits Develop Good Character." He began with the quote: "We sow our thoughts, and reap our actions; we sow our actions, and we reap our habits; we sow our habits, and we reap our characters; we sow our characters, and we reap our destiny."
So our thoughts lead us to our destiny. "We can consciously form good habits, or we'll unconsciously form bad habits."
The way we live outweighs the word we say.
We have to be dependable. If we aren't, we're hypocrites. If we don't form good habits, we'll be cut off. Goodness isn't the absence of wrong doing, but consciously doing what's right.
D&C 58:28 "For the power is in them, wherein they are agents unto themselves. And inasmuch as men do good they shall in nowise lose their reward."
Bad habits can turn into addictions. Elder B share Elder Ballard's story about addiction and fishermen.
During the autumn in Utah the trout are insatiably hungry as they store up for the winter. Fly fishermen have to be deceptively cunning in trying to catch the trout. Just as artificial lures are use to fool and catch a fish is an example of the way Lucifer often tempts, deceives, and tries to ensnare us. Our hunger, or weaknesses, are used by Lucifer and can cause us to be "yanked from the stream of life" to make us as miserable as he is.
Addictions tear apart families, as they did for Elder Browing's parents. They also take away our agency. They're easier to prevent than to cure. Developing a personal relationship with God through prayer will give us the help and direction we need.
Philippians 4:13 "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me."