We had a great Thanksgiving weekend up in Edmonton, it was full of family and friends and an appreciation for the roles each of us plays in our families.
I'll post a few pix later, but for now I wanted to talk about the "conversation" that's happened since Elder Packer's wonderful conference talk last weekend,"Cleansing the Inner Vessel" (you can find it on lds.org). There have been protest letters against this wonderful man, for his willingness to take a stand on a tough social and political issue. His talk/sermon last Sunday was for all of us, not just one specific group of people. It was not anti-gay and it was certainly not a "hate crime". He spoke of our Heavenly Father and His purpose in creating us, His children, male and female. Elder Packer spoke of our roles as parents, to lead our children in righteousness, to be their lighthouse in the storm of this world. He spoke about the evils of the world and the confusing messages that are out there. He spoke of our Savior and His great love for each of us, of the Atonement and the ability that it gives us to repent and be clean of our sins and return to live with our Heavenly Father. Elder Packer, as a special witness of Jesus Christ, spoke of Him and His gospel. It was beautiful. It was pure and simple. It is too often misunderstood.
I am SO thankful for the blessing it is to have modern day prophets and apostles, that our Heavenly Father has provided counsel and guidance for us in our day. That we can have the blessings of knowing Him through those special witnesses that are here, in our midst today. I have a deep respect and love for Elder Packer. I know that what he said might not be popular with the rest of the world, but so often things that are right aren't. I am in awe of the strength and faith that he has in the gospel of Jesus Christ. As I listened and as I've re-read this talk, I have been reminded of the Apostle Paul who, in Romans 1:16 wrote, "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth..."
I can wholeheartedly echo that sentiment, I am not ashamed, have never been ashamed and will never be ashamed of what I believe. I am thankful everyday that I have been so fortunate to have the gospel of Jesus Christ in my life from the get-go. I am thankful for the family and the community that I have been raised in, that have allowed me to grow and to foster a love for my Savior and His teachings. I am so fortunate and couldn't be more thankful for the blessings I have because of it.