I have just finished watching inspired leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints speak to the world. There has been 8 wonderful hours of these talks in the last 2 days. Along with the words, there have been songs of joy and gladness to aid in taking the teachings directly into my heart. I love to listen to General Conference and always it ends with so much spirituality overflowing my heart.
These are the times that I miss my Uncle Stan and Aunt Madge Roberts! I miss them after conference like at no other time. Let me tell you why.
Sunday night after conference ended, they invited their children and grandchildren old enough to express their feelings (and any other odd bits of family that happened to be in the area), over to their home. The first time I went, I had no idea what to expect. What I found made my soul sing. People came in all states of dress—from Sunday best to lounging pajamas- it didn’t matter. All were welcomed with a warm smile and a warmer hug. We gathered in their largest room with some extra chairs set up to help fit everyone, but even then, a few always ended up sitting on the floor. It never worked that all of those invited could be there, but it was always full.
Someone was asked to say a prayer to open this simple, but most important, family gathering. Then Uncle Stan would begin by reminding us that we had just been blessed to listen to a Prophet of God and other inspired leaders. He then shared one or two of the things that he heard and felt the strongest feelings about. Then Aunt Madge would share one or two of the things that she felt were most important to her.
After they had set the example, we went around the room, one by one, and each was invited to share feelings if they desired to. Some did and some passed. No judgment was ever made on anyone. Some were touched by a story, some by a song; some found answers they had been looking for. A few times there were tears, occasionally someone was too emotional to speak and would just pass. There were times that got uncomfortable, some that were too emotional, but no one was stopped or directed or questioned. It was just a family sharing feelings. As it should be!
By the end of the time, everyone had had an opportunity to share feelings and insight. All of those there had been given the opportunity to share the spiritual feelings they had been having from listening to the Prophet of God. Each family member was able to hear what was important to every other family member there. All of them, young and old, knew that their feelings about spiritual things were important to express and that others wanted to hear them. No one had to prepare a talk, or make notes or stand up in front of the church. It was only a place to share those overflowing spiritual blessings that strengthen testimonies when shared and heard.
I have never seen another family do this kind of sharing of spiritual feelings. But the focus on listening to the leaders of the church, and then being able to share what your feeling were about the things said, is one of the most powerful teaching times for a family. No one was pressured, no one was assigned, no one was overlooked, and everyone was loved! Combining the Lord’s Living Prophet, the Family, and Testimonies, large and small—what better way to teach what is important.
After a closing prayer we were all eager to get to the dessert that Aunt Madge had ready for us. All family gatherings need to have food, don’t you think?
I sure miss Uncle Stan and Aunt Madge.