Last night I went to a little fireside where Sister Elaine Dalton (former General President of the Young Woman's program) was the speaker.
First, I went by myself. Which is fine. I do a lot of things by myself, and I actually like it. But I have found that when I am determined to be by myself, that things don't always work out that way. I always sit towards the front and center of church. I have always done this, and I don't know if that's because that is where we sat when we were growing up, or more, because I like to be front and center so I don't get distracted by other things, which I inevitably do if there's too much to look at. Also, it maybe seems less obvious if I'm towards the front, because almost always, someone will sit down next to me. Which, two someones did. Perfectly friendly girls that made the 20 minutes of earliness pass away quickly (yes, you read that right: I was 20 min early) and offered me a piece of gum.
This is not the first time that I have not had to sit by myself because someone has decided to be friendly and welcoming. I wish that I could be the same way.
I have full pages of notes that I think I will blog about later, but there were two things that I wanted to note about Sister Dalton's talk.
1 - I think a lot of us (as members of the church, as people in society, etc.) think that because The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is primarily run by older men, that they are out of touch or unaware, or too old to understand the things that younger members of the church are facing. I know I've thought it a time or two. But listening to Sister Dalton talk about the things that she was trying to implement amongst the Young Women of the church, I had the impression that our leaders are very aware. They know the troubles we are facing. They understand the pressures and the demands that society and life place on us. They know, and they trust that we can overcome it. They do not counsel obedience because they are sticks in the mud, square, and ignorant. They tell us to be obedient because we need to be obedient. Because blessings and strength come from being obedient.
2 - This fireside was part of a series that my stake had been doing for the Relief Society that they called, "Healthy U". I wanted to go to the workshops, initially, because they sounded interesting, but with family reunions and not attending my ward for a month, I didn't get to any of them. But because we were focusing on our health, Sister Dalton talked a lot about our bodies. She talked about lots of things, and again, I'd like to come back and write down my thoughts about all of it, but one of the things that she said really stuck with me.
She was talking about how we are all made uniquely, and that we were given the very bodies we needed in order to accomplish the things that we were sent on earth to do. If God didn't want us to be different, He would have made us the same. This goes against a lot of criticisms that I hear against the church. There are people who think that we are sheep - taught to do and say and think only one way. But that isn't doctrine. We are all given different skills, talents, and bodies, in order to accomplish different things, to experience different things, and feel and think differently.
Along that line of thinking, she encouraged us not to hate our bodies and not to wish for a different body... That's hard for me to do, as I would much rather have the type of body that was "a skinny 78 lb., 5'8" girl" (as she kept referring to herself) instead of a...oh, I was probably last 78 lbs in 3rd grade, type.