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Wednesday, February 14, 2018

A Comment About General Conferences That Coincided With Easter Sunday

Hello again, everyone! As some of you may be aware, Easter Sunday (at least here in the US) falls sometime between mid-March and late April every year. At times, however, we have seen General Conference Sundays coincide with Easter Sunday of that year. According to my research, the last time that occurred was in April 2015, and I am pleased to report that the first General Conference held during President Nelson's presidency will be another such example.

This will make the April 2018 General Conference all that more significant. I haven't been able to search back too far, but it would appear (again from my research, which may be flawed or inaccurate) that the April 2018 General Conference will be the first time in a very long time (if it has happened before at any other point in Church  history) where this one General Conference will mark the Solemn Assembly for a new Church president and the calling of two new members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles the day before the world observes Easter Sunday.

I find that significant, amazing, and humbling. Unless he opts to speak after the Solemn Assembly, the first opportunity President Nelson will have to address the general Church membership in General Conference will be Easter Sunday, and, unless he feels inspired to do otherwise, the Easter Sunday Session of General Conference will be filled with talks from six special witnesses of Jesus Christ, two of whom will be speaking to the Church for the first time as such. That is amazing to think about.

I apologize if I have bored or troubled any of you unnecessarily with this trivia, but thought it was worth noting. That does it for this post. Any and all comments are, as always, welcome and appreciated. Thank you for the privilege of your time. Until my next post, I wish each one of you all the best and pray that the Lord will bless you all in everything you do.

Some Thoughts on Valentine's Day and My Own Special Valentine

Hello again, everyone! I am back as promised on this Valentine's Day to share some thoughts, and especially a tribute to my own special valentine. It has been somewhat of a tradition on this blog that every Valentine's Day, I post a copy of the poem I penned in High School, entitled "Will You Be My Valentine", and add to that a brief tribute to my wife. This year will be somewhat different. Having noted in my last post the beautiful tribute Elder Holland published to his wife on social media, that seems to be a better context for what I would like to say in tribute to my wife, Amy.

As many long-time readers of this blog know, I first met my wife in early 2009 when I was serving as a temple worker. The moment I first heard her voice, I had the distinct impression she would be my wife one day. Perhaps unwisely, I shrugged off that feeling (as we were not able to exchange much personal dialogue at the time, and since I had never previously met her and had no idea who she was), and I promptly forgot about that impression.

By contrast, I later learned that our brief exchange, though no personal dialogue was involved, had left a favorable impression of me on her. And in retrospect, it was just as well that her neither of us sought out the other until later, since her focus at that time needed to be on her mother, for whom she had been the primary caregiver for the previous 15-20 years or so, and who passed away in Janury 2010.

In due course, Amy became a temple worker herself. And when her school schedule prevented her from maintaining her assigned shift (on Tuesday evening), and her only option was to move to the Friday evening shift (on which I had been for about 3 years at the time).

She instantly recognized and remembered me, although my memory of our previous encounter was not restored in full until several years after that. Because I have always been a people person, she was one of the many temple workers I talked with on a regular basis during times that were less busy at the temple.

We continued to chat, forming a strong friendship, and although I didn't know it at the time, we both wondered whether or not we were mutually attracted to each other. In point of fact, she had (again without my realizing it) just been waiting for me to ask her out.

But in view of a wide variety of factors (which in retrospect were far more minor than they seemed to be at the time), I had convinced myself that she wouldn't be interested in going out with me. But I had decided that if the Lord opened a way for that door to be open, I would walk through it.

And so it was that during a time when the temple was closed for cleaning, I got a letter from her indicating her interest in me and her willingness to work around whatever my situation was to enable us to spend time getting to know each other better. Although an unexplained error resulted in my first acceptance of that offer not reaching her, once I learned that response had not gone through. I sent it again.

Having ascertained our mutual interest, we went on 14 dates in the next 3 weeks, agreeing after the first week that the question of marriage would be when and how rather than if, as long as the Lord approved of that course.

On July 4, 2010, we fasted together and thereby determined that we should go ahead and get engaged. In the 5.5 months that followed, we saw much in terms of both blessings from the Lord and challenges in the process of preparing for our marriage. Because we knew the Lord had brought us together, we trusted His promises, and that trust proved justified, as we were able to be married on December 18.

In the 7 (going on 8) years since that time, although trials have continued (and at times have been quite severe), we have been reminded over and over again that, in terms of the many reasons the Lord brought us together, perhaps the most fitting were that we are so much on the same wavelength that we not only complement each other in the best ways, but more than that, each of us has been able to help the other with times when struggles have been particularly challenging.

I could not ask for a better, more wonderful, or more loving eternal companion. Particularly in light of the many additional difficulties with which we continue to grapple (not the least of which are those factors relating to how my health limits my ability at times to do as much as I would like to), my wife has shown me great patience, understanding, sympathy, empathy, and so much more.

She sees me not as I am now, but as I may become And that takes a very special and unique kind of woman. Because of that, and because of all she constantly and consistently does to keep us going, I owe her a greater debt than I can every repay.

And so, on this Valentine's Day, I am infinitely grateful to the Lord for placing her in my path 8 or 9 years ago. She is my best friend, my confidante, someone who can help me look at situations in different ways than I have previously done, and someone who never fails to keep encouraging me to become better than I am, and someone with whom I am always in good company.

We were best friends before we ever started dating, and that has helped us realize just how good we are for each other. I find it no accident that the Lord put us in each other's paths. I am so grateful that I heeded the spiritual prompting to continue my temple service beyond the original length that service was supposed to be. If that had not been the case, we would never have met.

And so I could go on. My point in mentioning all of this is to demonstrate that the Lord is at work in and very much aware of the details of our lives. That was true for me, and I know it is true for all who have lived, are living, or will ever live on this earth.

That does it for this post. Thank you for the privilege of your time. If any of you have comments or questions about what I have said herein, let me know in the comments below, and I will be happy to address those Until my next post, I wish each one of you all the best and pray that the Lord will bless you all in everything you do.

Additional Church News Reported

Hello again, everyone! It was my intention to do a post earlier today in honor of Valentine's Day (and in tribute to my wife), but had to postpone that until now while I attempted to deal with ongoing health issues. In the interim, I became aware of some Church news updates that were well worth passing along. So this post will cover those items, and the next will be the one I intended to do earlier today. With that said, let's talk about the news updates from the Church.

First, although it has not been reported in official Church news resources (which rarely, if ever, devote time to such things), the First Presidency has observed one full month of service together as of today. A lot has occurred within that time, and it is obvious that they have hit the ground running. If the last month is any indication whatsoever, then the remainder of 2018 will be full of many Church and temple developments and updates. And you can catch many (if not all) of those developments here on this blog.

Second, in connection with this Valentine's Day, the Church News ran this article highlighting a sweet Valentine's Day tribute which was published on social media by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland honoring his wife. His tribute makes it clear how successful marriages are established and maintained. Next, in this article, dates and featured speakers were announced for BYU's annual Church History Symposium.

And as reported here, BYU hosted a forum today featuring the former US Chief Data Scientist, who spoke on the importance of gathering and sharing information and data. We do live in a remarkable time when data can be gathered, assimilated, analyzed, adapted, and shared on a scale and to a degree that we have not seen before in the world's history, and I hope the things I share on this blog agree with the principles taught in this address.

The Church News also reported on the three LDS athletes competing at the Olympics who are hopeful that they will earn medals. It is good to see that the Church continues to have a presence in the Olympics.

And we conclude this news update by mentioning that, from the Church's Pacific Area, we have this report covering the devastation and relief efforts in American Samoa and Samoa, and this one covering the same procedures which are underway in Tonga.

That does it for this post. Any and all comments are, as always, welcome and appreciated. Thank you for the privilege of your time. Until my next post, I wish each one of you all the best and pray that the Lord will bless you all in everything you do.