Women’s Conference: Cherishing sacrament, scriptures

Sister Carol F. McConkie speaks on the importance of the sacrament during the BYU Women’s Conference. (Anna LaTour)

General Relief Society first counselor Carol F. McConkie and BYU professor Gaye Strathearn spoke on understanding Christ’s doctrine during a BYU Women’s Conference session.

Sister McConkie spoke on the importance of the sacrament and missionary work, recounting her service abroad and teaching missionaries in the MTC.

What stood out to her most from her time at the MTC was gathering for church. She recalled missionaries blessing and breaking the bread, and her voice choked describing missionaries passing the sacrament.

Sister McConkie said the sacrament’s meaning is “unique” and brings comfort to her.  She shared the origin of the word “companion,” which comes from the Latin word “panis.” meaning “bread,” The word’s original definition is “one who breaks bread with another.”

She related this to the Savior giving bread when he was ministering on earth. “The Lord is a companion to the companionless,” she said.

She also said that through the sacrament, we can find comfort and answers to our prayers. Regardless of race, gender and background, the Lord can help people on their unique journeys.

Sister McConkie shared a statement from “Preach My Gospel” about a missionary’s purpose and how it also applies to any disciple of Christ.  She referenced the five principles of the Doctrine of Christ, which are faith, repentance, baptism, receiving the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end. “Can you imagine life without (any of these)?” she said.

She also encouraged giving attention to Christ after being baptized and pondering on what the sacrament means.

To illustrate the blessings of the sacrament, she shared stories from when she served abroad of women cherishing the sacrament. Many of these women faced political challenges that made church gatherings dangerous.

She added many people may take the sacrament for granted like they may take the “beauty of the stars” for granted, but after knowing what those other sisters have gone through, she has found a deeper appreciation for the sacrament.

BYU Ancient Scriptures professor Gaye Strathearn then spoke on the importance of feasting on the words of Christ and having the desire for the Holy Ghost.  Throughout her talk, she read scriptures from 3 Nephi and from Mark 14.

A woman reads scriptures as Gaye Strathearn speaks on cherishing scriptures during BYU Women’s Conference. (Anna LaTour)

She invited the audience to compare how the disciples of the Bible differ from the disciples of The Book of Mormon when Jesus left to pray. “Why did (Peter, James, and John) fall asleep?” she asked, explaining that Jesus woke Peter, James and John after He prayed, while He found the Nephites in prayer because of their desire to follow Christ.

Strathearn encouraged the audience to feast on the words of Christ and desire the Holy Ghost.  She said she still works hard at repenting and keeping her covenants and sees “glimpse of eternity” in the process.

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