Elaine S. Marshall: Opening session


Elaine S. Marshall, a former dean of the BYU Nursing College, opened Women’s Conference by sharing with the thousands of women in the Marriott Center how to live in the darkness of the world with hope for the future. She quoted from the conference theme in Doctrine and Covenants 100:12, “Therefore, continue your journey and let your hearts rejoice; for behold, and lo, I am with you even unto the end.”

Marshall expounded on the three parts of that scripture: to just keep going, to rejoice in that continuing and that the Lord is always with us in our journey.

“To continue is to keep on doing small good acts every day,” Marshall said.

Marshall said, loosely quoting President Gordon B. Hinckley, that it is easy to get discouraged, “Most putts don’t drop; most beef is tough; … most jobs are more dull than otherwise. … There is time and hope while we combine patience and courage.”

Marshall then shared a story on how she finished her grandmother’s old quilt, which Marshall’s husband called a “Monument to Misspent Effort.” Marshall spent hundreds of hours hand-quilting the fabric, but she admitted that “(her) work was worse than (her) grandma’s.”

Marshall displayed the finished quilt and wrapped it around her to the applause of the audience. She said the quilt connected her to who she is; she feels her mother and grandmother’s lives preserved in her.

We worry about our individual thread, Marshall said. We worry about what color it is, what length, and what strength it is. What we fail to notice is our small contribution to the overall quilt, which, without us, would be incomplete.

Marshall urged the audience to take pride in what they were doing, even if it did seem small. She quoted the Doctrine and Covenants once more and urged the audience to “rejoice evermore.” She explained that rejoicing can be a learned skill, and through the eternal perspective of the gospel we all should have cause to rejoice.

Marshall then spoke on the last portion of the scripture, “For behold, and lo, I am with you even unto the end.”

Marshall said that it isn’t enough to just be on the journey, the journey must have a point to it.

“If you don’t know where you’re going, you might end up anywhere else,” Marshall said.

Marshall told the audience that we must do our best to follow the path that Christ has set for us. She added that Christ is with us every step of our journey, and willing to lend us support if we turn to Him through the Atonement.

Marshall finished with words from Elder Jeffrey R. Holland’s talk, “To any who may be struggling to see that light and find that hope, I say: Hold on. Keep trying. God loves you. Things will improve.”

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