General Relief Society Meeting: President Dieter F. Uchtdorf
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There is something inspiring and sublime about the little forget-me-not flower, said President Dieter F. Uchtdorf during the Church's General Relief Society Meeting on Sept. 24.
"I hope it will be a symbol of the little things that make your lives joyful and sweet," he said.
Speaking to a capacity congregation in the Conference Center in downtown Salt Lake City, President Uchtdorf — second counselor in the First Presidency — used the forget-me-not flower, which has five petals, as a metaphor to illustrate five things he would like the women in the Church to remember.
"Never forget that you must be patient and compassionate with yourselves, that some sacrifices are better than others, that you need not wait for a golden ticket to be happy. Please never forget that the 'why' of the gospel of Jesus Christ will inspire and uplift you. And never forget that your Heavenly Father knows, loves and cherishes you."
In addition to President Uchtdorf, Sister Julie B. Beck, Relief Society general president, and her counselors, Sister Silvia H. Allred and Sister Barbara Thompson, spoke. President Thomas S. Monson and President Henry B. Eyring, first counselor in the First Presidency, also attended the meeting, which was broadcast to LDS meetinghouses across the globe.
During his remarks, President Uchtdorf asked Latter-day Saint women worldwide to not forget five things:
First, forget not to be patient with yourself. "I want to tell you something and I hope you will take it the right way. God is fully aware that you and I are not perfect," he said. "Let me add: God is fully aware that the people you think are perfect are not."
President Uchtdorf said people often spend time and energy comparing themselves to others — usually comparing their weaknesses to others' strengths.
"This drives us to create expectations for ourselves that are impossible to meet. As a result, we never celebrate our good efforts, because they seem to be less than what someone else does. …
"Dear sisters, many of you are endlessly compassionate and patient with the weaknesses of others. Please remember also to be compassionate and patient with yourself."
Second, forget not the difference between a good sacrifice and a foolish sacrifice. "An acceptable sacrifice is when we give up something good for something of far greater worth," said President Uchtdorf.
There are so many good things to do, he continued, noting that a person cannot do them all.
"Our Heavenly Father is most pleased when we sacrifice something good for something far greater, in an eternal perspective. Sometimes, that may even mean nurturing small but beautiful forget-me-not flowers instead of a large garden of exotic blooms."
Third, forget not to be happy now. Recalling the children's story “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” President Uchtdorf said people were looking for a golden ticket in a candy bar. Unfortunately, the candy bar itself became an utter disappointment if it did not contain a gold ticket, he explained.
"So many people today are waiting for their own golden ticket — the ticket that they believe holds the key to the happiness they have always dreamed about. For some, the golden ticket may be a perfect marriage; for others, a magazine-cover home; or perhaps, freedom from stress and worry. There is nothing wrong with righteous yearnings."
The problem, he added, comes when a person puts their happiness on hold as they wait for some future event — or gold ticket — to appear.
"The happiest people I know are not those who find their golden ticket; they are those who, while in the pursuit of worthy goals, discover and treasure the beauty and sweetness of the everyday moments."
Fourth, forget not the 'why' of the gospel. Sometimes, he said, Church members focus on what the Lord wants them to do and how to do it, but forget the why.
"My dear sisters, the gospel of Jesus Christ is not an obligation; it is a pathway, marked by our loving Father, leading to happiness and peace in this life and glory and inexpressible fulfillment in the life to come."
He said the gospel is a light that penetrates mortality and illuminates the way.
"While understanding the ‘what' and the ‘how’ of the gospel is necessary, the eternal fire and majesty of the gospel springs from the ‘why.’ When we understand why our Heavenly Father has given us this pattern for living, when we remember why we committed to making it a foundational part of our lives, the gospel ceases to become a burden and, instead, becomes a joy and a delight. It becomes precious and sweet."
Fifth, forget not that the Lord loves you. President Uchtdorf said as a child, when he looked at little forget-me-nots, he sometimes felt like that flower — small and insignificant. "I wondered if I would be forgotten by my family or by my Heavenly Father."
To the worldwide audience of Relief Society sisters, President Uchtdorf added, "You are not forgotten, sister, wherever you are and whatever the circumstances.
"No matter how dark your days may seem, no matter how insignificant you may feel, no matter how overshadowed you think you may be, your Heavenly Father has not forgotten you. In fact, He loves you, with an infinite love. …
"The love of God and the power of the restored gospel are redemptive and saving. If you will only allow His divine love into your life, it can dress any wound, heal any hurt, and soften any sorrow.
"My dear Relief Society sisters, you are closer to heaven than you suppose. You are destined for more than you can possibly imagine. Continue to increase in faith and personal righteousness. Accept the restored gospel of Jesus Christ as your way of life. Cherish the gift of activity in this great and true Church. Treasure the gift of service in the blessed organization of Relief Society. Continue to strengthen homes and families. Continue to seek out and help others who need your and the Lord's help."