When I arrived at BYU-Hawaii, I instantly fell in love with the people, the campus, the Polynesian Cultural Center, the beach, everything. Within the first week, I found an offer I couldn’t resist: a car for $150. I didn’t care that half of the hood was missing due to corrosion or that the doors flew open when I took a quick right or that the back seat landed in the front when I hit the brakes. What I did care about was that it gave me mobility and, as long as I put water back in to the radiator every 30 minutes, I was able to enjoy the beauty of the island as much as I wanted.
My friends and I created memories in that car that would last a lifetime. We let it take us wherever we wanted to go.
I recall one day close to sunset, driving along the beach admiring the beauty. I truly was in awe at how amazingly breathtaking it was. I couldn’t believe I was actually living in Hawaii. As I was enjoying my drive, I said to myself, "The day that I drive along this beach and do not appreciate its beauty or take this scenery for granted, I need to go home." I meant it too, I never wanted my eyes to become blind to all the palm trees, beautiful flowers and beaches, nor did I want to become deaf to the sounds of the waves.
Living in Utah reminds me of my experience in Hawaii. We are blessed to be surrounded by leaders of the church. A few weeks ago my friends enjoyed a women’s conference with Deseret Book CEO Sheri Dew as the speaker. The following Saturday our stake heard from the third-great-grandson of Hyrum Smith, brother to the Prophet Joseph Smith. The next Saturday I attended another women’s conference where Sister Wendy Watson Nelson, wife of Elder Russell M. Nelson, spoke. One of my Sunday School students went on a date with one of the apostle's grandsons, and joined the general authority and his wife for ice cream after. The stories are endless. Utah is full of opportunities to learn from and associate with leaders in the LDS Church.
The flip side is that there is a tendency to take the beauty or association of such leadership for granted because it has become so familiar.
I realize that it is human nature to take for granted what we are so easily blessed with. Even the Savior experienced such disregard as he was surrounded by many who would not believe him. As he said, “A prophet is not without honor, save in his own country, and in his own house” (see Matthew 13:5).
This coming week there will be members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints flying in from all over the world for general conference, just to sit in the same room as the prophet or to walk on Temple Square to feel of the Spirit. The members coming here are a blessing to the rest of us, to remind us of how fortunate we are to have a living prophet and apostles.
The sights and sounds of the gospel are beautiful, inspiring and uplifting. The media gives us the mobility to enjoy it firsthand. Depending upon us, this conference can spiritually take us wherever we want to go.
Our familiarity of the gospel or its leaders does not diminish their value.
May we enjoy the beauty and the sounds of such an occasion and give honor to a prophet "in his own country, in his own house."