Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints worldwide gather twice yearly for what they call “general conference.” During this conference, which is available to anyone interested in attending or watching live via the internet, we have the opportunity to listen to Church leaders speak on a variety of spiritual topics.
These talks are addressed not only to Latter-day Saints, but also to government, faith and community representatives and other conference guests. Speakers include the worldwide leader of the Church, President Thomas S. Monson, and his counselors in the First Presidency, the Quorum of Twelve Apostles and other church leaders.
One of my favorite talks, which has had a lasting impact on me, was given in the October 2012 General Conference by Sister Ann M. Dibb, second counselor in the Young Women General Presidency. Her talk was titled I know it. I Live it. I Love it, and focused on the importance of possessing and developing confidence in our identity as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
One of the things I loved about her talk was how she reminded me that when we live faithful, obedient, Christ-like lives, the blessings we receive not only affect our own lives, but also the lives of countless others in profound and often unknown ways.
When I heard this talk, I was in the last stages of serving the Lord as a full-time missionary in the England London South Mission, and this was a lesson Heavenly Father was already helping me to learn and to develop a testimony of. Through the experiences and examples of the faithful members of the ward I was serving in, I was learning that our Heavenly Father has a purpose for placing us in the different life situations we are in.
Where we live, and where we work, and where we go to school and what places we frequent are not by chance. The people who are our neighbors, and those who are our coworkers and schoolmates-they don’t happen to be in our lives just because-we are in each other’s lives for a reason. I believe that we have been placed where we are for purposes that are often unknown to us, and whether those purposes are ever fulfilled depends on us and on our courage to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things and in all places. Being reminded of this often helps me because it encourages me to find the reason and purpose for being wherever I am in life. By being aware of this truth, I find myself being more aware of situations where I am presented with opportunities to fulfill those purposes.
The motto Sister Dibb coined in her talk has stayed with me since then, and is something that I’ve often repeated to myself when I have been hesitant or timid about doing a good deed, choosing the right, sharing who I am, what I stand for or what I know to be true. It has been during these moments that I have repeated Sister Dibb’s words; I am a Mormon. I know it. I live it. And I LOVE it! On more than one occasion I have been inspired by this phrase.
This week I had the opportunity to participate in a career night hosted for the Young Women in our ward. As the day for the activity drew nearer I felt a desire to make something for the girls to take home. I wanted to make something they would appreciate while still embodying what I do for a living.
I decided to make them a bracelet since this is something that would be a simple and time-efficient item to make for 15 girls. Also, I had some awesome scraps of natural tanned leather waiting to be transformed into something useful. As I thought about what design, logo or phrase I wanted to put on their bracelets, I thought of Sister Dibb’s conference talk, and right away, I KNEW what their bracelets would say.
I intentionally left out the first part of Sister Dibb’s motto; I am a Mormon. I hope that as the girls wear their bracelet, someone will ask them what it means and they will be the ones to explain that the words refer to their sentiment regarding their membership in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
General Conference is upon us once more. In two short weeks we will once again be blessed to hear the words of a living prophet of God. I testify that conference has something to offer to each and every one of us. I invite you to come and see and to listen and hear what messages God has for you.