Father attends general conference for sons, but is the one who benefits

By Scott Brown

For the Deseret News

Published: Tuesday, April 2 2013 5:00 a.m. MDT

"Envy is a mistake that just keeps on giving. Obviously we suffer a little when some misfortune befalls us, but envy requires us to suffer all good fortune that befalls everyone we know! What a bright prospect that is, downing another quart of pickle juice every time anyone around you has a happy moment! To say nothing of the chagrin in the end, when we find that God really is both just and merciful, giving to all who stand with him 'all that he hath,' as the scripture says. So lesson No. 1 from the Lord's vineyard: coveting, pouting or tearing others down does not elevate your standing, nor does demeaning someone else improve your self-image. So be kind, and be grateful that God is kind. It is a happy way to live."

I looked down at my list. "Envy." Check. I felt grateful for such a direct answer to one of my questions. I determined to stop storing and drinking pickle juice.

A few moments passed. I wondered if I might get direction on my primary question: a longing to feel accepted and loved by my Father in Heaven and his Son no matter my failings. Then Elder Holland said:

"I do not know who in this vast audience today may need to hear the message of forgiveness inherent in this parable, but however late you think you are, however many chances you think you have missed, however many mistakes you feel you have made or talents you think you don't have, or however far from home and family and God you feel you have traveled, I testify that you have not traveled beyond the reach of divine love. It is not possible for you to sink lower than the infinite light of Christ's Atonement shines."

I felt very grateful for two direct answers to my personal challenges, including specific counsel to the "who in this vast audience," e.g. me, who needed to hear the message of divine love. And, yes, the priesthood session was everything I was hoping it would be for my boys and for me.

Scott practices bankruptcy law with Lewis and Roca LLP in Phoenix.

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