Sunday, October 18, 2009

Spiritual Sunday..conference, death and finally a testimony.

Today was Regional Stake Conference for my worship service. And for those who don't know what I am talking about, we don't go eat steak, although that would make it a little more enticing. I like mine medium well....but I digress already. And this is a looooong post. Stay with me folks, while it may seem that I am rambling whilst medicated, I am clear as a bell on this one.
If you're interested in understanding more of the terms and such that I am going to be using today,You can learn more here........

As a member of this church:we meet twice a year as a Stake (group of wards in a regional area), and one of those times it is regional with many stakes in a designated geographical area.
Gosh, that seems like a lot of explaining.

Anyhoo, today was the one with 109 stakes from around the SL valley. all participating in the same meeting. Some were actually in the conference center, while the rest of us watched from a satellite broadcast at our Stake buildings.

NGL - Usually Stake Conference is kinda of a "pass" Sunday. I go fairly regularly, but I don't feel too bad if I just need to sleep and rest that particular Sunday.
This week, I really felt like I wanted to go. I made arrangements for C to come hang out with Sissy, sent Splenda over early to get soft seats in the chapel, and for some reason felt excited about attending. Weird, I know.

The first hour of the session was clearly devoted to inspiring us to attend the temple more often and become more of a temple worshiping people. I felt duly chastised since my temple attendance isn't the greatest. I formulated a plan that includes weekly attendance with Splenda. (I'll fill him in on that matter later.)

The last hour was 20 minutes of Elder Robert D Hales (an apostle) who not only bore a strong testimony, but taught some great principles that I needed to hear. The last 40 minutes was President Monsen's time. President Monsen is the man we see as not only the President of our church. But we view him as a prophet, seer and revelator. Some ask, why? I'll try to explain but I'm not going into all the specific doctrinal aspects, let me just tell you what I think.

I am a Christian. I believe in Jesus Christ. I believe Jesus Christ atoned for all mankind's sins and by making and receiving special ordinances and covenants, I can return to God with my family intact because of His atoning sacrifice. Of course, I must continually repent of my sins and keep trying to do the best I can.

Since I believe in Christ, and the New Testament explains his going's on while He lived including the organization of His church, it only makes sense to me that His same church would be in existence today. All his Apostles were killed off, so His Priesthood was lost. It makes sense to me that it would have to be restored and since there were prophets in old times (Noah, Moses), we would have prophets now, in the restored same gospel of Jesus Christ.
But now, I have gotten off topic. Again.

Let me tell you about President Thomas S. Monson

Many years ago, and for a very long time, President Monsen worked with Splenda's dad in the church publications department. I'll refer to Splenda's dad as RBC for the rest of the post. They became friends. RBC was a talkative type and would catch President Monsen's ear whenever possible. They became good enough friends that at one point, when one of Splenda's siblings was ill, President Monsen gave that child a blessing. Suffice it to say, he was beloved in Splenda's family.

When Splenda's dad suddenly became ill and the outlook was grim, Splenda's older brother called President Monsen's office and left a message requesting that RBC's name be put on the Apostles special prayer roll. He was assured it would. He also informed President Monsen's secretary of the severity of RBC's illness and asked that it be passed on to him.

Some days went by and we knew that Splenda's dad was not going to survive. It was now time for all the children to gather and to say their last goodbyes. Goodbyes that were whispered quietly into his ear as he lay motionless in a drug induced coma. Since we were assured he could still hear, that is how we would talk to him. It was a special time I will never forget.

Splenda's mom made the difficult choice to remove life support and let him pass. She chose June 27th. It's her birthday. Why that date you ask? Because it was also Joseph Smith's birthday and RBC always liked to make the connection. He loved the prophet Joseph and loved that his wife shared his birthday. Of course it made sense for June 27th.

As everyone gathered and was given instructions as to what would take place, the children were all led to a family waiting room. Grandma Joy stayed with RBC. Soft music was playing in his room. The siblings were all quietly talking, crying, and trying to process what was happening in another room.

I couldn't sit there any longer. I felt this overpowering need to sing. Sing hymns. And to sing in RBC's room with him. Not here in a cold family waiting room. I whispered to my SIL with whom I have sung before. I told her my feelings and though she was a little surprised at first, agreed to come back to his room and sing.

We entered to see his sweet wife stroking his face and rubbing his hands. A nurse was present to monitor all vitals and the machines were rolling. We could watch his heart beat and literally his body slow down.

We began to sing "I am a child of God". As we proceeded, Grandma Joy joined in. RBC's two daughters wandered in and joined. Splenda kept hovering in and out of the room. Wanting to be in there, but dreading the sound of a flat line.

Once done with that song, we moved onto "How great Thou Art" SIL and I had sung that in sacrament meeting in her ward, so we didn't need books for that one. We continued with different hymns or primary songs that we knew the words to.

At one point, another nurse entered the room to say there was a call for RBC, and could someone from the family please come and take it. SIL stepped out of the room and went to the nurses station to take the call.

The rest of us just waited quietly, no singing right now. Just the sounds of the machines and monitors. Even the nurse who watched everything was silent.

SIL came running into the room and got right down into RBC's ear. "Dad", she said, "President Monsen just called and wanted you to know that he is thinking of you and loves you."

In amazement, the rest of us watched as the monitor that displayed his heart rate, suddenly took a spike upwards. He had HEARD her and he was HAPPY!. His friend had called, expressed his love, and he knew it! His heart rate stayed up high for several minutes longer as we stood in awe. Then slowly, it descended again.

The rest of this particular story is to sacred to share, but let me testify that there is "another side" and that at times, the veil is very, very thin. The Spirit World is real. Of this I know.

Why do I tell this story? What does this have to do with anything that the post was originally about? Stake Conference, remember M-Cat, you were talking about Stake Conference........

Let me tie it all together with yet another story.......
A couple of years after Splenda's Dad passed, I happened to be in the same building, in the same room, about 10 feet away from President Monsen who was just sitting in a chair minding his own business. I desperately wanted to talk to him, but knew that since I was in a work capacity, that if I approached him, I could be immediately fired. I battled internally for about, oh, two seconds.

I walked up to him, extended my hand and introduced myself as the DIL of RBC. I asked him if he remembered RBC. A broad smile came to his face and he told me that of course he did. He invited me to sit down. I asked him if he remembered the day he called the hospital when RBC was passing. He did. I related to him what had happened in the room that day and shared my thankfulness for his timely call and the effect it had not only on RBC but the rest of us in the room. I told him how grateful I was that he had taken the time out of his busy schedule, and that he would call at that exact time.

He turned to me and looked me square in the eyes. He said, "I have learned over the years to never pass on inspiration. When the Spirit tells me to do something. I.Do.It."

He was then called away, but before he left, he shook my hand again, and I thanked him for his time with me that day and his words of wisdom. It was a sweet and awesome experience.

Fast forward several years. President Gordon B Hinckly, whom I LOVED like a grandpa, just as many members of our church did, passed away, and according to the process God has put in place, President Monsen became the president of the church and our living prophet.

Was it easy for me to accept this instantly? After my special experiences and everything? I have to say no. Sure, I accepted him as the president and prophet. I had no problem with it. I just hadn't felt the Spirit WITNESS it to me.

Today in Regional Stake Conference, my witness came. As he spoke, I thought back on RBC's life, about his working with Pres. Monsen, I thought of how proud and excited he would be to know that his friend was now the prophet! I thought back on that day, June 27th so many years ago, and that special phone call, and what it did for RBC, and remembered how I felt. Suddenly, it came. I looked back up to the big projection screen and looked into his eyes, just like I did before and I can now say, I. KNOW.

As our 6th article of faith states: "We believe in the same organization that existed in the primitive church, namely apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, evangelists and so forth."

As I stated above, logically it makes sense that there would be a prophet in the world today just as there were in Moses' time.

But today, I can say, I not just believe, but I KNOW. President Monsen is God's living prophet today. The Lord speaks to him just as he did to Moses. And, if I listen and obey, I too can know what the Lord has to say. Not just to me, quietly in a busy hall in an office, but for the whole world.

I have to say that in tumultuous times such as these, I am grateful for a living prophet.


Jewls said...

Love this post! I love Pres. Monson. Oh...and you might want to fix a paragraph at the top, stake conference is 2x's a year, not month :) Happy Sunday!

Pedaling said...

i stuck with you- A.D.D. and all.
great post
wonderful testimony and easy to understand....
the gospel is simple, and true.

DeNae said...

Melissa, in the short time we've known each other I've always sensed this side of you. Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful testimony and those sacred experiences.

You're wonderful, sister!

CountessLaurie said...

Thanks for sharing!!

dubb and dawni said...

wow that gave me chills, thanks for that special experience!

Nancy said...

That was beautiful!

Plain Jame said...

Loved it. Every last word - hung on. Thanks for sharing your "elevator moment - but not really" minute that was life changing. I know it wasn't for me, but I think it was. :)

Plain Jame said...

Meaning, I know that you telling your story about Pres. Monson wasn't just for me.. but I like to tell myself when something hits me between the eyes.... yeah, it was for me.

Denise @ Sunflowers, Chocolate and Little Boys said...

M-Cat, this was a very touching post. Thank you for sharing this wonderful story.

tammy said...

I've heard President Monson talk about that before, about never passing on inspiration. I think that's what makes him so great. If he feels prompted, he just does. What a great lesson we could learn from. I know so many times when a thought pops into my head, I sometimes question it and wonder if it's really a prompting or just my crazy head telling me to do something.

I'm so glad you shared this story and your testimony. I read every word. This was the perfect ending to a good day for me.

Loralee and the gang... said...

It's so awesome to know that such a slightly irreverant, goofy, and kinda out-there chick like you still is so so close to the Spirit. That we can really be ourselves and still be spiritual, too. I have been struggling with my current position as a BW, thinking that who I am is not the perfect model of what everyone in the ward expects.
Thank you for being you, and for sharing this special story.
I will go and blow my nose now.

Jenny said...

My heart has been touched, Thank-you for sharing your experince.

Motherboard said...

What a fantastic post! It brought tears to my eyes! I really needed to read this today! Thanks girlie-Q!

wendy said...

Ok, I am reading this, tears falling down my face and not a kleenex in sight. I'll just blow my nose in my t-shirt. (you can do that in the country ya know)
Oh that was so lovely and I truly felt your testimony Melissa as I read this.
How wonderful WONDERFUL to have a living prophet on this earth.
thanks for sharing that with us.

Cherie said...

I also have a Testimony that President Monson is our Prophet. It didn't come to me instantly either but I Know now too and what a sweet knowledge that is.
Thanks you for sharing such a personal story - it really is beautiful - full of love and hope.
Wonderful post.

SO said...

Thank you for this beautiful post and testimony of a living prophet. Beautifully written and expressed.