Stories from Conference

    “Stories from Conference,” New Era, Nov. 2014, 16–17

    Stories from Conference

    What about Your Patriarchal Blessing?

    Carlos A. Godoy

    “At the end of the 1980s, … life was good [for me and my family], and everything seemed to be as it should be—until one day an old friend came to visit us.

    “At the conclusion of his visit, he made a comment and asked a question that unsettled my convictions. He said, ‘Carlos, everything seems to be going well for you, your family, your career, and your service in the Church, but—’ and then came the question, ‘if you continue to live as you are living, will the blessings promised in your patriarchal blessing be fulfilled?’

    “I had never thought about my patriarchal blessing in this way. I read it from time to time but never with the intent of looking toward the blessings promised in the future and evaluating how I was living in the present.

    “After his visit, I turned my attention to my patriarchal blessing, wondering, ‘If we continue to live as we are living, will the promised blessings be fulfilled?’ After some pondering, I had the feeling that some changes were necessary.”

    Elder Carlos A. Godoy of the Seventy

    She Was Being Too Hard on Herself

    Jörg Klebingat

    “While presiding over the Ukraine Kyiv Mission, I once asked one of my most faithful sisters why she was always so hard on herself, why she was always beating herself up over the smallest things. Her answer was a classic example of someone listening to the wrong voice as she replied, ‘So no one can beat me to it.’

    “Brothers and sisters, my counsel to this sister missionary is my counsel to you: acknowledge and face your weaknesses, but don’t be immobilized by them, because some of them will be your companions until you depart this earth life. No matter what your current status, the very moment you voluntarily choose honest, joyful, daily repentance by striving to simply do and be your very best, the Savior’s Atonement envelops and follows you, as it were, wherever you go. Living in this manner, you can truly ‘always retain a remission of your sins’ (Mosiah 4:12) every hour of every day, every second of every minute, and thus be fully clean and acceptable before God all the time.

    Elder Jörg Klebingat of the Seventy

    Football, Goals, and Distractions

    Quentin L. Cook

    “Meaningful study and preparatory work experience were always at the top of my father’s recommended priorities. He appreciated that extracurricular activities like debate and student government might have a direct connection with some of my important goals. He was less certain about the extensive time I spent participating in football, basketball, baseball, and track. …

    “… Our high school football coach informed me that the Stanford football coach wanted to have lunch with Merlin Olsen and me. Those of you who are younger may not know Merlin. He was an incredible all-American tackle on the Logan High School football team where I played quarterback and safety and returned kickoffs and punts. … Merlin was ultimately the third overall pick in the National Football League draft and played in an amazing 14 consecutive Pro Bowls. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1982.

    “The lunch with the Stanford coach was at the Bluebird restaurant in Logan, Utah. After we shook hands, he never once made eye contact with me. He talked directly to Merlin but ignored me. At the end of the lunch, for the first time, he turned toward me, but he could not remember my name. He then informed Merlin, ‘If you choose Stanford and want to bring your friend with you, he has good enough grades and it could probably be arranged.’ This experience confirmed for me that I should follow my dad’s wise counsel. …

    “My intent is not to discourage participation in sports. … When used wisely, they enrich our lives. …

    “Our daily conduct and choices should be consistent with our goals.”

    Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

    How Did She Know?

    Tad R. Callister

    “About a year ago I was on assignment in Beirut, Lebanon. While there, I learned about a 12-year-old girl, Sarah. Her parents and two older siblings had converted to the Church in Romania but were then required to return to their homeland when Sarah was just 7 years of age. In their homeland there was no Church presence, no organized units, no Sunday School or Young Women program. After five years this family learned of a branch in Beirut and, just before I arrived, sent their 12-year-old daughter, Sarah, accompanied by older siblings, to be baptized. While there, I gave a devotional on the plan of salvation. With some frequency Sarah raised her hand and answered the questions.

    “After the meeting, and knowing of her almost nonexistent Church exposure, I approached her and asked, ‘Sarah, how did you know the answers to those questions?’ She immediately replied, ‘My mother taught me.’ They did not have the Church in their community, but they did have the gospel in their home.”

    Tad R. Callister, Sunday School general president