Down here in the McAllen, TX stake, we just got split (now there’s a McAllen West stake, too). So we got Dallin H. Oaks, and Apostle of the Church, to visit and give a talk (brief one, as it turns out). It was very spiritual and highly enjoyable. Here are my personal highlights:
1. “Many of you suffer significant disadvantages because of your immigrant status. The Leaders of the Church are aware of this, and pray for you…” It was nice to hear the leaders of a church whose members are sometimes-just-a-bit-uncomfortably-conservative acknowledge a very non-Republican sentiment: the fact that illegal immigrants are humans. Elder Oaks went on to quote a story from the Book of Mormon in which an oppressed group of people prayed really hard, but were not (immediately) rescued from their oppression; instead, they were given the strength to bear their burdens. He also talked a little about his forbears and the general legacy of this church as a church largely of immigrants. He reminded people here that others have gone through similar difficulties, but that their children would benefit from their sacrifices.
2. He jokingly noted the visibly cheerful faces of the just-released former Stake Presidency and said that the Gospel was obviously working. Men are that they might have joy, and these guys obviously looked joyful. Heh heh. Is the subtext here, “Church service: Because it feels so good when you stop”?
3. The best part was when he said, “Young men and young women, you are the future of the Church. Don’t be stupid.” :D He then clarified some details of this admonition, like choosing friends wisely, avoiding physically and spiritually dangerous habits, and (interestingly) not getting tattoos.
It was a fun meeting. Sadly, it didn’t result in me going back to the Edinburg chapel, which is a brief walk from my house. Sigh. 15-minute drive, or 35-minute bike ride.