Elder Holland came to our Stake Conference this past weekend. It was a weekend to remember. The first session of conference took place in the temple earlier in the week when we invited members of our stake to join together for an endowment session at the Provo temple. When we arrived the waiting room was filled to overflowing. So many members of the stake came to the temple we filled several sessions. It felt like walking into heaven when I entered the celestial room and saw the faces of so many people I love dressed in white.
On Saturday, my sweetheart Ross met privately with Elder Holland. They also held several other Priesthood Leadership meetings. Before the adult Saturday evening session I prepared a meal for our visiting authorities. We invited the family members of the Stake Presidency, secretary and clerks to attend the dinner. As we ate together each family introduced themselves. Elder Holland stood and expressed his sincere appreciation to each wife and child in the room for the loving sacrifices they make each day that allow their husbands and fathers to serve.
The adult session of conference filled the stake center to overflowing. I was so touched by Elder Holland’s sincere and hopeful counsel. A master teacher, Elder Holland told us God loves to mend broken hearts . . . “when we lay our broken hearts on the alter, God gives us back a new one.” He told us to let go of our fears, to pull up our socks, to grow up, to endure and to face our problems with courage. “Stay in the boat and be of good cheer for Christ has overcome the world.” He told us we will all have times when we think we can’t face our challenges, that God doesn’t love us or that God has abandoned us. He told us God is trying to help us become like Him – that when we feel most alone, God is most with us. He told us not to jump out of the boat and dog paddle on our own. “Look to the Master of earth and sky who says, ‘Peace . . . be still.’”
We were asked to prepare for stake conference by asking ourselves how our activities are bringing us closer to Christ and what we can do to better strengthen our families. Elder Holland met with the prospective elders in the stake early Sunday morning and reserved the front chapel for these prospective elders and their families during the combined general meeting later Sunday morning.
Elder Holland told one particularly touching story on Sunday morning concerning the late President Hinckley. He told us that our late prophet came to a meeting in the temple and told his counselors and the twelve apostles that he had cancer but he didn’t want them to tell any one. Then he told them he would be receiving treatments. When some expressed their worries for him and the difficulties of cancer treatments he told them he had no choice because all the Primary children in the church were praying for him and he owed it to them to remain alive as long as possible. He was given three more years.
Elder Holland stood as a witness of Christ. He told us he could not walk away from him wife, children and grandchildren for this work over and over again without an absolute conviction that, “God the Father and Jesus Christ really appeared to the prophet Joseph Smith.” Then he left us all with an apostolic blessing of comfort and joy.