Hawaii Women’s Conference 2012
Rachel Romney | University Relations | 16 July 2012
The Hawaii Women’s Conference, hosted by BYU–Hawaii’s Educational Outreach, was held June 15-16 and featured keynote speakers Julie B. Beck, Ardeth G. Kapp , and Margret S. Wheelwright. The purpose of the conference is to uplift, enlighten, and unite the sisters of the Church. Over 400 women were in attendance at the conference and came from across the islands of Hawaii, U.S. Mainland, and Canada.
On Friday, June 15, Sister Julie B. Beck, former General Relief Society President, opened the conference introducing the theme “In the Strength of the Lord, thou canst do all things” (Alma 20:4). She shared a personal experience telling of a time where she was very sick for a decade and was unable to do much of anything. She constantly apologized to her children for her inability to do the things she wished she could for them. However, her daughter who came to her bed side every day told her what a blessing it was for each of them since they were able to spend time with her daily. In the face of her illness, she was still called to be the General Relief Society President and accepted her calling willingly.
Speaking at the evening general session on June 15, Sister Margaret Wheelwright, first lady of BYU–Hawaii, spoke on the importance of having hope, faith, and good cheer in womanhood. “The reason to be cheerful is knowing that our Savior is with us. He has overcome the world. He is in our midst. He has not forsaken us. He will lead us along,” said Wheelwright. “The universal symbol of good cheer is a smile. The smile can cross every border.”
Wheelwright counseled one key for living a more positive life is through obedience, gratitude and service. “When I think of gratitude,” she said, “I always think of King Benjamin’s sermon that, 'when we are in the service of our fellow beings, we are only in the service of God'.” She quoted Ralph Waldo Emerson saying, “It is one of the most beautiful compensations of the life that no one can sincerely try to help another without helping himself.” Sister Wheelwright closed by encouraging all to follow the advice of Eliza Snow and “smile at the rage of the tempest, and ride fearlessly and triumphantly across the boisterous ocean of circumstance.”
Saturday morning, June 16, Sister Ardeth G. Kapp counseled attendees on “The Influence of Righteous Women.” Sister Kapp introduced her talk with a question: “What is the meaning, the power and the purpose of influence?” She continued, “This powerful gift is not tangible, nor is it measurable. But it is influential. The influence of righteous women can be amazing, spectacular, inspiring, humbling and truly powerful in a multitude of different ways depending on the time and season and preparation of one’s life.”
Sister Kapp gave personal examples of righteous women and the noble influence they had on those around them. “Today, more than any other time in history, the world needs women who know the Lord and know themselves, women who will take a stand. It is no wonder Satan tries to deceive, confuse and distract women in any way possible. Women, particularly mothers, are at the very heart of the great plan of happiness. The battle between right and wrong, between good and evil, is real and increasing.”
Sister Beck closed the conference with a message on being “Sure and steadfast, always abounding in good works.” She spoke on overcoming adversity through the power of priesthood, ordinances and covenants. “Ponder as you take the sacrament and go to the temple how the power of God is working in your life. Your will alone isn’t enough to change you without God’s power.” Beck continued by addressing the life Christ lived while He was on earth, He was able to perform miracles, calm storms, walk on water, heal the blind, cast out devils, and heal. Christ “stood out in stark relief to the wickedness of the times," Beck said, because of who He is and the priesthood He holds.
“Pay attention when you are in the temple,” she stated. “Think about what we have been given...If we have participated in these ordinances, then that power is in us. Think about the godly power that comes into our lives through baptism. Our sins are remitted, and through repentance and the atonement of Christ, people can start anew and overcome their challenges and weaknesses; we can change. We can renew that [baptismal] covenant every week.” Sister Beck closed with the following promise: “Heavenly Father sent us here with a plan. It is a robust mortal experience; not pale and wimpy. Sometimes I think the Lord is hastening his work and working us over. We are having experiences that force us to our knees and then we feel Him. These robust experiences help us.”