And blessed we were. At first I worried we'd never make it past security with a mini version of my "Church Bag." Laden with coloring books, individual boxes of crayons, my scripture journal, and various pens I watched it searched, hoping nothing undesirable would suddenly pop out, then heaved a sigh of relief when it was promptly returned.
The meeting didn't start until ten. Naturally this meant we were in our seats by 9. ARGH! Do you know what it's like trying to convince children it's a good idea to sit quietly even before the meeting officially starts? Fortunately no one else seemed to mind our noisy family, as they were looking for family members or ward members of their own. My hubs took everyone to the bathroom shortly before the meeting was to start, and once the opening prayer was done out came the brand new coloring books! I'd say it entertained them for a good 45 minutes or so. Not too shabby :)
The only way to keep Anna happy was to sneak in a baggy of fish crackers. I don't know what we would have done with that child without the fish crackers. They kept her nicely entertained for a little over an hour. No, the crackers didn't run out by then. Instead the (hushed) moaning and (quiet) wailing of the children was at last diminished by the magical appearance of their own baggies full of Mike & Ikes. I had those stuffed in my skirt pockets.
The candy only took up a good twenty minutes or so of time. Good thing I had one last coloring kit in my magical bag, which seemed to keep them entertained until the meeting was almost done.
Even amid all this organized chaos, I got a lot out of the meeting that I'd be happy to share with you today.
Cheryl Lant, the current General Primary President, spoke on protecting our homes and our families from the influence of Satan. In particular she mentioned that Satan cannot come into our homes if we do not invite him. What sorts of things invite Satan's influence? Bickering, pornography, suggestive movies/music/television, etc. Too many things, yet if we become ever aware of what brings this dark influence into our homes we can work harder toward keeping it out.
How? By securing ourselves in the basics, such as faith, repentance, baptism, church attendance, prayer, scripture reading, family prayer, and family home evening, among others. In doing these basics we can strengthen our families.
We need to evaluate where we spend our time and our resources. We tend to over-spend, over-schedule, over-work, over-everything in an attempt to get ahead. Instead of feeling loved and secure our children grow up thinking money, power, skills, and material wealth is vastly more important.
And we need to make and keep sacred covenants with the Lord. We need to show our children why these covenants are so important, that they can be kept even in an increasingly evil world, and if we slip that it's possible to truly repent and come back.
Next we heard from Elder M. Russel Ballard. I think his talk spoke to me the most. He talked of promptings in our lives. He said, "If you receive a prompting from the Lord, follow it.... Live so that you are worthy to receive these promptings."
He gave a quote by President Monson which said, "No truth has ever come into the heart of man except it be through the Holy Ghost." This was followed up by the encouragement to discover the truth of anything through our own study, our own pondering, and our own prayer. This is vital in anything regarding the Lord's Church and our own personal revelations and promptings.
We have been taught that we are all entitled to have the Holy Spirit to be with us. There is a catch, however. In order for this guiding influence to be with us, we must be making choices that will allow it to be with us. If we're making wrong choices, the Holy Ghost cannot stay. We must work from today to shun evil. As we make righteous choices, the Holy Ghost will guide our thoughts.
I think there are few greater blessings than to have the Holy Spirit always with us, prompting us in the choices that will bless our lives. These blessings, ones which help to build our testimonies, are truly born of the Spirit and can changes lives.
Lastly we heard from President Monson, who spoke much on building up our temples. He referred specifically to D&C 88:119, and mentioned temples are not just beautiful buildings, but refer to our bodies as well. This chapter in the D&C acts as a blueprint:
"Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing; and establish a house,
even a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of
learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God."
How often do we take the necessary time out of our days to pray, to fast, to enrich our faith, to learn, to glory in our Lord, to put things in order? If our temporal temples (our bodies) are not in order, the workings and influence of the Lord will be greatly diminished.
He pointed out something great, however. If we're trying our best in the Lord's work, He will help us. He will help us!!! How magnificent. How loving. How perfect.
I want to leave you with two thoughts shared by President Gordon B. Hinckley's son, who conducted the meeting today (I'm terribly sorry for not recalling his name). President Hinckley and much of his family were gathered in the temple to witness the sealing of the 24th of his 25 grandchildren. As he spoke, which those who perform the ceremony often do, he paused.
Then, almost to himself, he said, "It has just occurred to me I have sealed all five of my children, and 24 of my married grand children here in this temple. I think that is the finest thing I've done in my life."
Again, just before he died, as the family was once again gathered near he said that the greatest accomplishment of his life was to have bound his family together for eternity.
With all this extraordinary man accomplished in his life, in all the callings he'd held, in all the years he'd led this Church, having his family sealed to him has been his greatest accomplishment.
Makes you think, doesn't it?