This weekend was our stake conference and we had the blessing of having Elder Holland come and share his testimony with us. Considering we have an itsy-bitsy tiny stake and an itsy-bitsy chapel, the whole experience felt very personal and was immensely touching. On Friday night he spoke at the the adult session about trials. Many members from our stake are facing foreclosure on their homes and he talked a lot of economic trials. He was very compassionate in his teachings and also very stern. I had never experienced anything like it. In General conference they are very mild this time Elder Holland was very direct. He said something that I desperately needed to hear.
"You need to whine a little less and try a little harder. Remember, the only way to salvation is through Gethsemane. Welcome to the Garden brothers and sisters."
Listening to Elder Holland on Saturday night and Sunday morning was overwhelming and life changing. For so long now I feel like I am going through the motions because leaving the church doesn't seem like a better option. However, my spiritual conviction has been lacking for a very long time. Christian and I recognize that by keeping the commandments we see blessings in our home. Tithing, being the most evident. With how little we made last year and how much we paid for school and tithing it's truly a blessing that we have not only survived but also continue to find Teaching Assitantships that are close to impossible to get. We feel the blessings in our home but due to our skepticism and doubts we seem to simply go through the motions without really seeking or feeling the spirit.
Listening to Elder Holland was so renewing. He talked to us from a position of true love and the whole room was filled with that love. It was impossible to deny it. It was impossible! Recently, a high council brother in our stake and apparently a very close friend of Elder Holland was disfellowshiped from the church because of an editorial he wrote in the local newspaper concerning prop.8. This event has severely altered the moral of members from our stake. Most people, including myself, did not agree about the church's position on prop 8. I had long ago decided that I was voting no on 8. But Elder Holland with his genuine, humble, and loving personality was able to address this issue in a way that only a true prophet of God could ever have done. I felt like he was sitting next to me and that I was having a conversation with him about this issue. I felt that he knew me and loved me so much. I felt like he was respectful of my feelings and concerns in a way that only someone who knows my inner thoughts could only understand. The more he talked the more questions would come to my head and as if he could hear my thoughts he answered them one by one. And there I wept with many others from our stake who have been battling with accepting the church's position on prop 8. Everything he said and testified made sense. it simply made sense. It was this confirmation that I had been longing for for so long, however, without really making the effort to address it in prayer, scared that I would receive an answer I didn't want to hear.
As he was bearing his testimony he pronounced a blessing on our stake as well as on the state of California. He blessed us that we would be healed and made whole again. That our spirits and hearts would be whole again and that all the pain that has resulted from prop.8 would go away. I am so grateful for this man who opened up his heart and soul to our tiny stake so that members could experience the love of the lord and the healing power of the priesthood in our lives.
I will be so happy and relieved when tomorrow is over. Listening to the radio and checking the polls every 5 minutes doesn't help my anxiety over voter fraud and the outcome of this election. However I am excited to vote tomorrow and even more thankful for the peace I now feel in my heart about prop 8.