A message to women: Ways to help find a pathway to peace

By Alan Hall

For the Deseret News

Published: Tuesday, Aug. 13 2013 5:00 a.m. MDT

Taking care of and pruning our own personal gardens can help make way for peace, Alan Hall shared in a message to women of the Roy North Utah Stake.

Laura Seitz, Deseret News

Finding and securing the blessing of greater inner peace in our lives isn't an impossible task.

I view women of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints all as nearly perfect saints, beloved women endowed with a divine nature. However, I also recognize, as many women do too, that each of us might have weaknesses and shortcomings that need our personal attention. After all, we are all mortal beings striving to improve ourselves in every way.

Many years ago, as a young man, I became the president and general manager of Ballet West, a well-known professional dance company in Salt Lake City. As you can imagine, I was not hired by the trustees because I could dance (which I clearly cannot), but to successfully manage the business side of the enterprise. As to my knowledge of ballet, I was clueless.

Given that I had no experience with ballet other than one time when my mother took me to see the Nutcracker ballet, my colleague and knowledgeable ballet aficionado Priscilla Stevens saw my need and took me under her professional wing.

One day, she invited my wife, Jeanne, and I to accompany her on a trip to New York to witness ballet at its finest and to help me better understand how to run Ballet West.

With stars in our eyes, we flew to New York City in the spring of 1980 for an experience of a lifetime. Most notable was our chance to see American Ballet Theatre perform Swan Lake. With two tickets in hand and dressed in our finest suit and gown, we entered the most magnificent auditorium I had ever seen to witness the opening night performance of ballet’s most famous production. As the curtain rose on the first scene, there on the stage stood ballet’s most renowned artist, none other than Mikhail Baryshnikov. As he appeared, the crowd roared its approval and the electricity in the air was palpable. Never in my life had I experienced such beauty and majesty.

As if the performance wasn’t enough of a treat, our hostess invited us backstage afterwards to personally meet Baryshnikov. Once the performance ended, we approached the backstage door where a large burly guard stood sentinel, only allowing those with the proper pass to enter. As we waited, I noticed an elegantly dressed patron standing near the backstage door who also desired to meet Baryshnikov, but lacked the pass to do so. However, this refined lady wasn’t just any woman. At the time, she was the most famous woman on earth.

Noting her dilemma, I suggested to Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis that she could join our party backstage using our passes. “That would be fine,” she replied. So there we were, standing next to the most famous, perfect woman on earth! She was absolutely gorgeous with her beautiful black chiffon dress, perfect makeup, and coiffured hair. In time, the door opened and the guard let us enter the backstage area where Baryshnikov waited to meet us.

As we walked along, Jackie moved quickly, moving a few steps ahead of us. I suddenly felt a nudge on my shoulder and heard Jeanne quietly say, “Look at her legs!” “What?” I whispered. “Look at her right leg. She has a run in her nylons, Alan!” Sure enough, there in plain sight was a long tear in her sheer black nylons. Oh my goodness, there stood the most perfect, beautiful woman on earth with a run in her nylons. What do you know? She, like the rest of us, must be mortal after all.

So you see, my beloved sisters, even the very best among us have tiny flaws. We are just like she is: nearly perfect, but from time to time with a run in our nylons.

How do we, as spiritual beings, having an imperfect mortal experience filled with trials and challenges, secure peace in a troubled world?

Here is another personal story that will shed some light on this subject. It’s the story of the flower garden.

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