What of the
Defending the Truth
Excerpt from a panel presented on Friday, April 29, 2005, at the BYU Women's Conference
Well, thank you. I was a young mother, just barely 30 years old with three little boys, when a knock came at our door one evening. I opened the door to find our stake president standing on the doorstep. He said, "Susan, I don't have time to come in. I just want to inform you that your husband's going to be called as my counselor in the stake presidency." My heart started to beat, and my mind started to race as I thought of the distance that was involved with this calling. The stake center was an hour and 45 minutes from our home, and many of the branches were three or four hours away. I felt overwhelmed and concerned. I just wondered how on earth I could support my husband in this calling.
But I did support him, though not always enthusiastically. I just found myself viewing my support of him as an extreme sacrifice on my part. I focused on all the things that I was having to give up: personal time with him, family time with our children. I was enduring, but not cheerfully. I finally decided that some changes needed to be made, that I needed a change of both mind and heart. As I pleaded with the Lord, as I studied, as I pondered, as I prayed, gradually I came to know and understand the difference between sacrifice and consecration. Sacrifice, sisters, is what we give up to build the kingdom of God. Consecration is what we give. It's dedicating one's self to a holy purpose--one's self and one's family.
And once I understood that better, I was able to support him more effectively. I also learned about the Savior's Atonement during that time. The Atonement of Jesus Christ doesn't just redeem us from sin, but there is a strengthening power, an enabling power, that blesses us and helps us to do things that in and of ourselves we are not able to do. I testify that I have been the recipient of that enabling grace and power, not only back then but especially the last six months, as again I've had feelings of being overwhelmed and wondering how I could effectively support my husband in his new and sacred calling. But that grace has been there, and your prayers have been with me. I thank all of you for your prayers for my husband, for me, and for my family. Thank you.
Sister Parkin: I remember one other story--you talked about your preacher that talked on the radio, and his wife was your friend. What did you do there? Because I think it's a great story.
Sister Bednar: This was the most courageous thing I think I've ever done in my whole life. I was acquainted with a wonderful woman whose husband was a preacher. And it was a Sunday morning--every Sunday morning he hosted a radio broadcast and then would take call-in questions from his listening audience. I listened intently one morning as the subject matter was Mormonism versus Christianity.
Sister Parkin: Interesting talk.
Sister Bednar: I took copious notes, and it was evident from his presentation that he knew very little about the Prophet Joseph Smith, he'd never read the Book of Mormon, and had never had the missionary discussions. Well, anyone who listened to the program that day was misinformed and misled. I felt troubled about the situation, so during the week I pondered and prayed about it, and I finally felt prompted to make a telephone call and ask if I could come and see him at his home. Well . . .
Sister Parkin: That took some courage.
Sister Bednar: Needless to say, he was very apologetic when I arrived at his home, but we had a wonderful discussion. I told him, I said, "I just feel that as a gospel scholar, you owe yourself and your listening audience and congregation the courtesy of being better informed about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints." Well, our visit was cordial and friendly, and before I left I felt prompted to bear my testimony. I'll never forget the question that he asked me after I bore that testimony. He said, "Susan, if what you are telling me is true, it is the greatest and most important thing one could ever come to know, isn't it?" And I said, "Yes. It is true, and it is the most important thing one can ever know."