Former General Relief Society First Counselor Kathleen H. Hughes and author Brad Wilcox both spoke to women about trusting God’s plan during a 2 p.m. session of Women’s Conference in the Smith Fieldhouse on Thursday.
Hughes began her speech by quoting a scripture in 2 Nephi about the doctrine of Christ, emphasizing the importance of feasting upon the words of Christ and enduring to the end.
“I love this doctrine sisters because it’s plain, it’s simple, and it is complete,” she said regarding the doctrine of Christ.
“But in our day, I am becoming more and more saddened by those who are beginning to question the Lord’s word, especially as it is spoken by and through prophets,” Hughes said, in regards to those who vocally oppose the church.
Hughes talked about how friends and family are beginning to question their faith in Jesus Christ and in the words of the prophets, even if they’ve known it throughout their lives.
For people who are beginning to lose their faith in the church, Hughes emphasized the importance of daily prayer and scripture study. She also noted that gaining faith, humility, and a trusting heart is important for struggling members.
Hughes referred to the LDS Gospel Topic website and encouraged sisters to “go to the best sources [they] can find” and not “from those who oppose the church.”
The former General Relief Society First Counselor also talked about how we live in a time of transparency, in regards to church history.
“It’s faith building,” Hughes said. “I’d much rather be taught and know the complete truth about what I believe than take the word of someone who has no interest in gaining faith and remaining faithful.”
Hughes then spoke about how sisters can build up their faith in Heavenly Father by trusting in Him. This trust can be manifested by being faithful and having a unity with Christ, she explained.
The speaker ended her address by inviting the sisters to rely more on God, telling them that, “The Lord’s hands are stretched forth in love and mercy all the time.”
After a musical presentation from Hilary Weeks, author Brad Wilcox began his talk by thanking Hughes for her words and talking about Lehi’s dream in 1 Nephi.
Wilcox believes that the iron rod can be seen as Christ’s arm to cling to, rather than a cold rod.
The speaker described how holding onto a rod is lonely, but holding onto Christ’s arm means that we are not alone, because “He hold[s] tightly [to us].”
Wilcox explains that people let go of Christ when they have been hurt in the past, though everyone has their own reasons.
“For me, it has always been very easy to feel that other people deserve God’s love more than I do,” he said. “I never doubted God’s love and Jesus’ love. I just figured there were good children who deserved it more than me.”
Wilcox explained that he did not lack faith in God, but he lacked faith in himself. He talked about how God is bound to love each of His children not because they deserve it, but because God is good and is willing to love each of His children.
“God cannot forget us,” he said. “His heart cannot let go. And he won’t let go.”