It was a beautiful wedding and the joy on the faces of the bride and groom made it all worth it. Everything in LDS temples points to Christ, especially and including a wedding ceremony, which we call a sealing. We believe that because of the power of Christ, our marriages do not end at death but if we are faithful to the promises we make to our Heavenly Father, can and will continue into eternity.
Many of my kids were enlisted to help with the decorations, so it was a thrill when we saw the tables turn out like this:
So lovely. At the last minute, our neighbors gave us cherry blossoms from their tree so not only did it all look amazing, it smelled divine.
And can I just say that Mormons are the best? Seriously, at 9:00, after the bride and groom left, we started taking a few things down, and it just snowballed. Dozens of people, just moments before guests at the wedding, began gathering things together, taking down lights, putting away chairs, folding up tablecloths . . . the best. It was mostly put away by 10, and a few of us stayed to tend to the last details. I locked up the building and left at 11:00. Wow. It truly feels like Zion when a huge job like that just gets done with very little need for anyone to organize or direct any of it.
He Lives!What with the wedding and all, I didn't get the chance to share the best Easter links from last week. I hope that like me, you are still celebrating the Easter season and Christ's glorious resurrection.
Until April 4th, you can watch last Friday's Messiah concert free at this link. Handel was a master, and I must confess, he's been my constant companion the last week as I've folded mountains of laundry (on Sunday because we got behind, but it's not breaking the Sabbath if you're watching the Messiah while you do it, right??), cleaned my kitchen and home, and organized and put away wedding crafts. The concert is amazing. If it doesn't fill your home with light and love this beautiful season, I don't know that anything can.
For those wanting a shorter taste of Easter, try these videos:
And from one of my favorite talks (we Mormons are too casual to call them "sermons") of all time:
And one of my favorite arrangements of all time:
He lives, and because He lives, I Will Rise. And so will you.
General ConferenceOne of my favorite weekends of the year is this weekend! I've written about our family traditions for the weekend here. Some of my kids couldn't pronounce it right, so they started calling it "Jennifer Conference" a while back and it stuck. Members of my faith gather for talks (remember, we don't usually call them "sermons") and beautiful music to learn what Christ and God want us to do to serve and love them and those around us. The conference started last Saturday with an amazing Women's Session that is already online. It was a such a spiritual feast. I loved it all, but these words were highlighted in my mind:
From Sister Marriott (you HAVE to hear her delightful Southern accent):
Mothers literally make room in their bodies to nurture an unborn baby—and hopefully a place in their hearts as they raise them—but nurturing is not limited to bearing children. Eve was called a “mother” before she had children.4 I believe that “to mother” means “to give life.” Think of the many ways you give life. It could mean giving emotional life to the hopeless or spiritual life to the doubter. With the help of the Holy Ghost, we can create an emotionally healing place for the discriminated against, the rejected, and the stranger. In these tender yet powerful ways, we build the kingdom of God. Sisters, all of us came to earth with these life-giving, nurturing, maternal gifts because that is God’s plan.
Following His plan and becoming a builder of the kingdom require selfless sacrifice. Elder Orson F. Whitney wrote: “All that we suffer and all that we endure, especially when we endure it patiently, … purifies our hearts … and makes us more tender and charitable, … and it is through … toil and tribulation, that we gain the education … which will make us more like our Father and Mother in heaven.”5 These purifying trials bring us to Christ, who can heal us and make us useful in the work of salvation.From Sister Burton (this story is especially meaningful, because among those stranded, frozen, starving pioneers arriving were my husband's family.):
On the day Relief Society was organized, Emma Smith declared: “We are going to do something extraordinary. … We expect extraordinary occasions and pressing calls.”1 Those pressing calls and extraordinary occasions presented themselves frequently then—as they do now.
One came in the October 1856 general conference as President Brigham Young announced to the congregation that handcart pioneers were still on the trail and late in the season. He declared: “Your faith, religion, and profession of religion, will never save one soul of you in the celestial kingdom of our God, unless you carry out just such principles as I am now teaching you. Go and bring in those people now on the plains, and attend strictly to those things which we call temporal, … otherwise your faith will be in vain.”2
We remember with grateful admiration the men who headed off to rescue those suffering Saints. But what did the sisters do?
“Sister [Lucy Meserve] Smith recorded … that after President Young’s exhortation, those in attendance took action. … Women ‘[removed] their petticoats [large underskirts that were part of the fashion of the day and that also provided warmth], stockings, and every thing they could spare, right there in the [old] Tabernacle, and piled [them] into the wagons to send to the Saints in the mountains.’”3
Several weeks later, President Brigham Young gathered the Saints again in the old Tabernacle as the rescuers and the handcart companies got closer to Salt Lake City. With great urgency, he pleaded with the Saints—especially the sisters—to nurse the sufferers and feed them and receive them, saying: “Some you will find with their feet frozen to their ankles; some are frozen to their knees and some have their hands frosted. … We want you to receive them as your own children, and to have the same feeling for them.”4And from Elder Eyring:
I hope and pray that you will feel gratitude and joy as the Lord puts you together with others to serve for Him.
As you have that experience often, and you will, you will smile with recognition, just as I do, whenever we sing, “Sweet is the work.”3
You will also smile as you remember this verse: “And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me” (Matthew 25:40).
The second thing you must do is remember the Lord as you go in service for Him. The Lord not only goes before our faces and sends angels to serve with us, but He also feels the comfort we give others as if we had given it to Him.
This video was also very touching. I loved the story of one-on-one service:
Will you consider joining us this weekend?