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3 lessons BYU faculty and staff taught at Women's Conference 2019

It’s impossible to get to every class at BYU Women's Conference, but here are a few inspiring highlights from BYU faculty members:

1. Love and help others.

Reassuring and Showing Others the Way Back to the Fold
Michael Goodman

Every one of us struggles. Though we might know the principles of the gospel, we can’t live the gospel alone. We can enlist the help of others. Goodman shared five ways to help others back into the fold:

1. See as missionaries see.
2. Create safe places.
3. Don’t fear questions.
4. Help them find answers.
5. Recognize that we need each other’s help.

"Every one of us has a backstory,” said Goodman. “We are all struggling. We each have wounds. We are all prodigals."

Answering Sincere Questions about the Gospel of Jesus Christ
J. Spencer Fluhman, Liz Darger

It's natural to want to help and respond quickly with testimony and scripture when someone asks a hard question about faith or the Church, but it's often better to pause, consider why the questioner is asking the question (curiosity? pain? confusion?) and give an answer that is less consumed with meeting our own needs and more focused on the questioner.

Darger shared a few helpful tips when answering sincere questions. 1) Build a relationship with the questioner, 2) Ask them about their own beliefs, 3) Don't be afraid to say "I don't know," 4) Distinguish between doctrine and culture, 5) Be willing to express the incredibleness of it all, 6) Use personal experience to testify of truth, 7) Don't be afraid to admit when something doesn't completely make sense to you either, 8) Use accessible language.

"Love for the questioner opens up the channels of revelation. Your best answer likely won't consist of highly intellectual or spiritual content. It will be in the genuine care expressed to the other person and the sharing of our own experiences,” said Fluhman.

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Understanding the LGBTQ and SSA Community
Blake Fisher

In order to better understand our LGBTQ brothers and sisters, Fisher said we need to love them as individual people instead of creating an outcome-based response. If we listen with love and ask questions, we will truly show them that we love them and that we have their best interest in mind.

If we put our efforts into looking for the light in them, that light expands.

Pray, Ponder, and Counsel Together
Diane Strong-Krause

When we work together and counsel in unity, we can receive revelation together. Counseling requires courage, said Strong-Krause. It can take form in many ways, both formal and informal. "In order for our counsel and councils to be effective we need to cultivate a family culture of growth," she said.

She share four ways families can cultivate that culture of growth as they counsel together:

1. Counsel out of love.
2. Listen to others and to the Holy Ghost.
3. Strive for wholeness rather than perfection.
4. Add a bit of flexibility to the process.


2. Take care of yourself.

You are Enough!
Dianne Nielsen

Nielsen shared four ideas intended to help individuals remember their worth and find happiness.
1. Our worth is always with us, and it is unconditional.
2. Our differences one from another should spark joy.
3. We must build on our strengths more than we build on our weaknesses.
4. We must trust the process set in stone by our Divine Parents.

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Overcoming Substance Abuse through the Strength of the Savior
David Erekson

Erekson spoke about loving and supporting family members struggling with substance abuse. Support in those situations can be difficult and it involves balancing truths: we must balance emotional control with emotional support, wanting to help with allowing for agency and self sacrifice with self-care. From Christ, we can learn how to balance these needs and how to be compassionate to ourselves and others.

"Self-care is not selfish. Taking care of yourself is protecting your well-being and happiness, particularly in times of distress....If you want to serve others, there are things you need to do for yourself," said Erekson.

Anger Is Not an Expression of Strength
Ben Ogles

Ogles shared that all emotions, including anger, serve important and useful roles. He shared four steps for the healthy expression of anger.

1. Assess the accuracy of our judgment that leads to the anger.
2. Become aware of and notice any underlying expectations and emotions.
3. Know what you really want in the relationship and situation.
4. Express your feelings.

“When we become aware of and express our feelings in healthy, appropriate, and bridled ways, we can use our powerful emotions to help improve our relationships and to preserve our own emotional and mental health,” he said.

"Cast Not Away Therefore Your Confidence"
Rickelle Richards

Everyone experiences wounds of the soul as part of this mortal experience. Although adversity is part of God’s plan for us, He has not left us without aid. Through the Atonement of Jesus Christ we are given power to overcome and endure, even as the challenge remains.

When we remember Him, feelings of hope and truth replace feelings of fear and doubt. We can experience joy because we know what it feels like to experience the opposite.

“Jesus Christ gave us the perfect example of how to face adversity….He showed us that even in our weakest hours, temptations can be overcome,” said Richards.

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3. Draw close to God.

The Light of the Holy Ghost, Our Constant Companion
Carolyn Billings

Billings taught that hearing is the actual perceiving of a sound, but listening is choosing to give that sound your attention. While we discuss learning to hear the Holy Ghost, we should also learn how to listen to the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost will speak to you in your language, using words you are familiar with.

“Every good thought you have is communication from the Holy Ghost, until proven otherwise,” said Billings.

"Yea, and as Often as My People Repent Will I Forgive Them"
Susan Mullen

God knows us and cheers for us when we succeed but doesn’t put us down when we fail. Mullen compared our relationship with our Father to that of a parent playing baseball with their child. Heavenly Father throws “pitches” of revelation to us, and even though we miss more often than we connect with those pitches, he cheers when we connect with the revelations he sends.

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He Did Speak Peace and Give Assurance to Our Souls
Mary Williams

When Mary was a young girl, she had terrible stomach aches that would keep her up at night. Her mother would rub her stomach and stay with her until she fell asleep. After so many of these late night experiences, Mary knew her mother would always come when she called out and be the source of relieving her pain.

“I had assurance in my mother because I knew she would always come when I called for her, I knew she loved me perfectly, and I knew she would stay with me until my pain was gone. Is that not the assurance the Savior give us?”

Establishing a Christ-Centered Home through Gospel Teaching
Tyler Griffin

Since the introduction of Come Follow Me, many parents have wondered how they can make their homes the center of learning when they are already stretched thin in other areas of their lives. Griffin offered several principles that can help.

1. Gaining a true sense of our own identity will prepare us for the tasks ahead.
2. Daughters of God share an equal partnership and responsibility with the sons of God in the home. Both are needed in the work of creating, nurturing, leading, and teaching.
3. You have a divine mission to fulfill that is unique to you.
4. Love, not guilt, is the greatest motivator when creating a Christ-centered home.
5. You are exactly what your children and family need. You are enough.
6. Less is often more. Magnify often means simplify.
7. When people know the underlying purpose for doing something, they are more likely to do it for the right reasons.
8. Mistakes are a fact of life. We will each fail, but we should not lose enthusiasm.

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