When we first heard that this conference was happening, we were all excited. We anticipated learning tons about different cultures, understanding different religions, deep conversations about God. Which we did. I was really appreciative of the people who came with genuine curiosity and willingness to find the commonalities in ways we worship and serve. We had a lot of respectful discussions about what we do and believe. It really was awesome. What wasn't so awesome was the occasional passive aggressive comment. One such example: "In my missionary work, we make sure that we spend a lot of time trying to understand the cultures of the places we serve in. For example, when I went to India, I lived with the people for a couple months in their homes. I studied with them. I worshiped with them. We don't have the missionaries just go out to preach straightaway." And then he looked at my name tag. Ouch. But then we had a good conversation about how everything we do is centered on Christ, and I shared Helaman 5:12 with him and we ended on a good note so all is well.
After I had a long long discussion with another woman about why Prophets are always men, she says, "well, I'm glad that you've thought about this issue, and that you're not like... following blindly. You kind seemed like one of those in the beginning." Another ouch.
It was a rough week, to be quite honest. One morning, Sister Burgoyne and I were walking and talking about how difficult hard it's been, and trying our best to still smile and talk to the angry pedestrians. As we walked through the gates of Temple Square, a elderly lady came up to us and said, "SISTERS! I HAVE SOMETHING FOR YOU... A hug! From your mother!" She gave us each a long needed hug, and we immediately started tearing up. God is looking out for us, and the lady was an angel.
Also, Elder Holland came and spoke to us for Relief Society. ELDER HOLLAND, EVERYONE'S FAVOURITE APOSTLE, CAME TO OUR RELIEF SOCIETY. To all you people that laughed at me for getting called to Temple Square, now is your time to feel embarrassed, because you probably didn't have an apostle come to give your Relief Society lesson.
He spoke to us about how why the Book of Mormon is so important. I feel like I finally truly understand the phrase, "The Book of Mormon is the keystone of our religion". It only took an apostle to speak to us in the real life for me to understand it. Most of the organization of the church didn't take place until the Book of Mormon was found, translated and published. The Book of Mormon takes precedence over any ordinance that we have, any establishing of auxiliary, any... anything. Even before the temple or even baptism... reading and knowing that the Book of Mormon is the word of God is essential in being a Latter-day Saint. It's important because it's about Christ, who He is, and His atoning sacrifice.
Understanding Christ's love is the best thing that has happened in my life. I don't completely understand it; I know that because I learn something new about Christ and our Heavenly Father every single day. But the Book of Mormon and the Bible are the richest sources of understanding that love, and I just wish every single person just got around to even just opening the scriptures.
Picture #1: A cool series of illustrations in the Conference Center called "Women Who Chose God". Everybody should go to the Conference Center to look at the art there.