Monday, October 3, 2011

General Conference Weekend

Yes, I know I got off the "Great Catch Up" track, but let me tell you, it was a packed weekend. My most favoritest 16 and 17-year old girls from the L.A. area drove all the way from our old stomping grounds to spend the weekend and go to General Conference. What a blast! Here's what our mostly unfurnished living & dining rooms looked like all weekend:
My bathroom on Saturday morning:
Kate and I were lucky enough to get the two extra tickets they had for the second session of conference on Saturday afternoon. My good friends I used to work with in the Young Women's program are in the back (the master minds behind this trip), as well as the bishop of the ward. Here we are heading out:
You never know what you're going to get when you hit downtown Salt Lake. All four of the guys in this car next to us had these masks on. (Whatever churns your butter . . .)
I refrained from taking pictures this time around, but the biggest side show was (of course) the display of anti-Mormon protestors who always congregate outside Temple Square at conference time. I prepped the girls in my car who had never been to conference before. It can be a little unsettling to discover that the thing that brings you comfort, strength, and inspiration is viewed by others as something certain to send you to an everlasting hell. Not that these girls are strangers to religious bigotry, but outright protestors are always something special. 

Our favorite was the guy who called out to the girls, "The Bible, girls! Just read the Bible!" to which Rachel aptly responded, "We do. Every morning." (They all attend early seminary at 6am every weekday before school where they are currently studying the New Testament. For some reason there are gobs of people out there who think we only read/study The Book of Mormon.) Then he called out to them, "You're not just baby machines!" Wow. What do you even say to that? What a nincompoop. I wish people like that would just step inside one of our conferences for a few minutes. They might be surprised to find out what we really teach and believe. It was more than a little ironic to hear one of the main speakers talk about how the decision to have children (when and how many) is between a husband, a wife, and God, and that we should never judge each other based on our different family dynamics. While we obviously value and enjoy families (a well known part of our culture), we hardly encourage the idea that women are "baby machines". Ah, well. As long as Big Love, Sister Wives and the fundamentalist Mormons (100% unaffiliated with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) are running around out there, I'm afraid we're going to be confused with them. 

Back to the story. 

I was THRILLED to run into a dear, dear friend of ours from our newlywed days. We met Patience just after she had arrived in America from Nigeria after receiving a PhD from Cambridge. Amazing lady with an amazing story. Not enough space for it here. These picture just make me happy:
She just about died when she saw Kate. The last time she saw her she was a baby:
Inside the conference center:
Outside the conference center: 

Didn't I say it was photogenic?

A random group of guys were singing hymns in harmony in two long rows across from each other on a sidewalk outside Temple Square. It was beautiful! We had to go up and down the corridor more than once:
The highlight of the day was when we got to meet with Elaine Dalton, general president of the Young Women's organization. Jeanine (far right) made her a lovely little plaque with a quote from one of her talks. She came down to southern California shortly after we moved and did a "Run for Virtue" with the girls, so when they decided to come up for conference they contacted her to see if they could meet again for just a few minutes. She was kind enough to oblige, and like one of the California leaders said, it was like she was a Disney princess outside the castle walls. People were lining up to meet her and talk with her, but she was giving our girls a few minutes of undivided attention. Such a gracious lady:

Many of our critics like to falsely emphasize how women are subordinate in our faith, saying we don't hold any leadership positions in the church. This couldn't be any further from the truth. There are three major organizations in our church that are run completely by women, the Young Women's program being one of them. Sister Dalton gave a powerful talk on Sunday about a father's influence on his daughters. 

I force fed the girls my french toast (made with Kneader's chunky cinnamon bread) and homemade buttermilk syrup the next morning. I haven't been that deliriously tired in awhile. I was up goofing off and laughing with them (and the other leaders, Debbie and Jeanine) until around 2:30am both Friday and Saturday night:

They left pretty early on Sunday morning to beat the Las Vegas traffic. I was sad to see them go! I could have easily spent a whole week with them:
That afternoon, Brandon's parents, brother and friend showed up for the rest of conference, dinner, and Rachael's little birthday party. (I told you it was packed. More pictures to follow.)

All in all, a wonderful weekend. Everyone always looks forward to General Conference weekend. Partly  because we get to watch church on TV in our pajamas, but mostly because of the inspired messages that kick off another 6 months of trying to be a little better than we were before.


  1. What a wonderful, wonderful weekend! I just can't look at those pictures of the young women without thinking of that story when a man talked about the eyes of our youth. They shine! And what a wonderful experience meeting with Sister Dalton!

  2. Ahhh this made me happy :) it was such a great weekend! Thank you so much Sister Reynolds for letting us crazy girls stay in your home! And, once again, I apologize for keeping you up so late!! oops! :)


Related Posts with Thumbnails