Speakers open Women’s Conference in BYU’s Marriott Center

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Steve Fidel
Former General Relief Society President Julie B. Beck takes a selfie with her husband, Ramon P. Beck, before the opening session of the 2019 BYU Women’s Conference, where she was the keynote speaker. (Universe photo)

Sister Reyna I. Aburto, BYU President Kevin J Worthen and Sister Julie B. Beck opened Women’s Conference by speaking about the theme for this year’s conference — Ether chapter 12.

Sister Aburto spoke of Moroni and his message of faith, hope and charity. Faith, as Moroni spoke regarding Alma, Amulek, Nephi, Lehi and Ammon, brings miracles that are succeeded by faith.

Sister Aburto added her own testimony regarding Eve, saying she needed faith in order to bring mortality to mankind.

“I know that it was by faith that Eve initiated the conditions of mortality with wisdom and courage, because she understood that otherwise, mankind ‘never (would) have known good and evil, the joy of … redemption, and the eternal life which God giveth unto all the obedient,’” she said.

Mary, Sister Aburto said, accepted the sacred calling to be the mother of Jesus Christ. “She rejoiced in God, accepted her assignment with humility, and raised that child with the understanding that His mission was greater than her fears.”

Continuing on the path of faithful women in the scriptures, Sister Aburto spoke of the joy Abish had as she sought to have her message heard by everyone after her conversion.

“It was by faith that Abish, having been converted to the Lord, ran from house to house to tell the people about the wonderful things that God had done, hoping that they would believe in His power,” Sister Aburto said.

She went on to speak of latter-day experiences faithful women have that show their faith, hope and charity. She described a woman who is not living the life she had once hoped for can continue on with hope.

Speaking specifically of young mothers who lose their children because of rare diseases, Sister Aburto described the faith these mothers exhibit to press forward because they know the they will see their children again.

Her message concluded with Moroni’s invitation to “seek Jesus of whom the prophets and apostles have written, that the grace of God the father, and also the Lord Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost, which beareth record of them, may be and abide in you forever.”

President Worthen echoed this message while also speaking about joy and repentance. He said the two teachings he hopes everyone gains from this conference are to be joyful and to repent.

Linking these two teachings, he said those who are repentant seek joy through the remission of their sins.

His message concluded on a hopeful note, saying we may not be exactly who we want to be, who we need to be or who we are going to be, but we are also not who we once were — this knowledge being a gift given through repentance and joyful remission of sins.

Sister Julie Beck added her own thoughts while also reiterating some of the words spoken by Sister Aburto and President Worthen. She said it was interesting that Moroni writes about “This Jesus.”

“The addition of the word ‘this’ invites us to ponder which Jesus (Moroni) wants us to seek,” she said.

Sister Beck said during the life of Jesus, there were always disputes about who Jesus really was. There were disagreements during His ministry about his messages, actions and divinity. This was followed by violence and hate from people who would prefer to see and hear Christ’s suffering rather than His message.

She added that ever since His death, there have been people who fought wars supposedly in His name, fought against one another because of differing views and thousands of churches built separately to glorify His name.

“Great good and great evil have been done invoking His name,” Sister Beck said.

Steve Fidel
Former General Relief Society President Julie B. Beck leads Primary songs as part of her address during the opening session of BYU Women’s Conference with the help of some of her grandchildren. From left to right, Malachi, Daphne, Cora, Talcott, William and Josh. (Universe photo)

Sister Beck brought some of her younger grandchildren to the stage to lead and sing hymns about Christ. They sang “He Sent His Son,” accompanied by everyone in attendance: women, children and choir alike. They also led “Tell Me The Stories of Jesus” among other songs.

The song lyrics paralleled the examples given by Sister Beck that described Jesus as “bright,” “pure,” and “divine.” His invitation, “Come follow Me,” was also addressed.

Sister Beck then brought her older grandchildren to recite Doctrine and Covenants 2:1, which states that the priesthood would be revealed by Elijah. She said revelations like those received by the Prophet Joseph Smith are given to those who search for Christ.

Knowing Christ comes about through inquiry — inquiry to God about who He is and who Christ is, Sister Beck said. These answers come through hope and faith.

“Many trials are punishing and demoralizing,” Sister Beck said. “In most cases, it is the pain and stretching we experience which give us the greater knowledge of Him. That knowledge is hard-earned, but it comes with its own reward of recognizing Him and His presence in our lives and learning that He will help us because He has borne our pains.”

She gave an analogy involving tennis and how Christ acts as our doubles partner. Sister Beck explained though the adversary is a rival combatant, the Lord assures us that life is a “doubles match.”

“We have to be scrappy, determined to keep his influence out of our court,” Sister Beck said. “Our faith enables us to resist, with all our might, chasing after out-of-bound shots and wild hits in our direction.”

Sister Beck concluded with Christ’s invitation to “feel after Him.”

Steve Fidel
Former General Relief Society President Julie B. Beck speaks during the opening session of the BYU Women’s Conference.(Universe photo)
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