Often a favourite of members, the Saturday Session of the Calgary North Stake Conference on August 22 was a goldmine of advice and counsel – from missionary work to the temple, from the Atonement to councils and their use in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Presiding Area Authority, Elder Paul F. Hintze described himself as a “relatively new member of the Seventy” – he was called and set apart last April – and talked of and bore witness of the Atonement of Jesus Christ and some miraculous impacts on him. Formerly a physician and Chief Medical Officer of a St Louis hospital and while a Stake President, Elder Hintze said that he met an intellectual Jewish man who battled through many difficulties and an abusive father. In that condition, the man met a Church member who invited him to church where he felt the love of members and the truth of the gospel and was baptized a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Later, he was sealed to a woman from the branch he attended. “This is a remarkable story of changes because he recognized who he was and took advantage of the benefits of the Atonement,” Elder Hintze said.
“We sometimes don’t do as we should. We are human and human factors play a role in our lives,” he said. “We make mistakes even in the things we do automatically from day to day. Statistics show we make a mistake every 1,000 times we do something. When it comes to cognitive or complex ‘thinking’ things, we make a mistake 1 in a 100 times. When faced with difficult things we have never tried before and we try to do it alone, we make mistakes 30 to 40% of the time. Satan tries to trick us and while no one is perfect, sin does take place in our lives. We all need the Atonement.” Elder Hintze said, “Taking the sacrament is our weekly antidote to all of our humanness. Take advantage of the sacrament on the Sabbath day; there is no more important thing than to understand the power of the Atonement in our lives . . . Heavenly Father knows us all, He loves us all and He has given us all His son.” Elder Hintze urged members to reach out in love to non-members. “He knows them and has a plan for them, too, and if they feel His love, they will live in a better world.”
New Calgary Mission President Stephen Miles urged members to work with the missionaries . . . “they are different from you, they have a sacred purpose. Our missionaries will teach your friends and family, perhaps how to pray for the very first time in their lives. Whatever names come into your hearts and minds, please allow the missionaries to visit with them in your home. I know you won’t lose a friend,” he added.
Stake Presidency Second Counselor Mike Bester said, “We are still learning how important councils are in the Church.” He urged members of councils “to tell what you really think” and share your thoughts. He also urged members to be “open and honest” in their personal counseling whether it be with key holders or others. “Share where you are in your life, your successes, your joys. You will find a great lift in your burdens if you do this.”
Stake President Craig Prince remembered returning from a veterinarian conference recently, seated apart from his wife he was not happy about the arrangement. Seeing his credentials, the woman next to him asked, “Do you think cats have souls?” “I pray for missionary opportunities and for the courage to know how to act on them,” he said. “Here was a missionary opportunity delivered right onto my lap.” Then the woman asked, “Where do you think we go when we die?”President Prince “practically gave the couple the first discussion.” The woman asked “what else do you believe?” At home, President Prince made a referral of the couple, urging the Mission President to send “missionaries who love cats.” He urged members to “think of those in your circle, have courage and pray for missionary experiences.”
Stake President Craig Prince hosted a morning tea with Presiding Area Authority Elder Paul F. Hintze and visiting Member of Parliament Michelle Rempel before the Sunday session of conference.
Stake Presidency First Counselor, Ken Payne, urged: “Those of you who have youth at home, take them to the temple every month and see what it will do for them. They will change; the Spirit of the Lord will resonate in you; you will see a mighty change.” President Payne counseled parents to make an effort to strengthen and protect their families by involving youth more in the temple. “Let us act; let us put our faith into action,” he encouraged.
Mission President Stephen Miles and his wife Lori also spoke. President Miles encouraged members to use the full-time missionaries to share the gospel. “The strength of the Church is planted in your testimonies,” he added. Sister Miles said that she had felt the cleansing power of the Saviour’s Atonement in her life. “The power of the Atonement has blessed me with every good thing in my life, including my sealing to my husband and family.”
Stake President Craig Prince told of the lessons he learned about keeping the Sabbath day holy and the value of the temple. He said that he’d met many people in the autumn or winter of their lives who were determined to put their lives in order by being worthy of a current temple recommend. The Stake President urged all to “find out where it’s at with your temple recommend. If it’s not current, then let’s get it current.”
The Calgary North Stake conference provided not just nuggets, but a wealth of wisdom, encouragement and counsel to be treasured, pondered and shared—words, if embraced to enrich our daily lives.