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Miranda H. Lotz: General conference gives the chance to unite

Published: Sunday, Aug. 2 2015 5:34 p.m. MDT

Lines form outside the Conference Center before the 181st Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Saturday, April 2, 2011. (Scott G Winterton, Deseret News) Lines form outside the Conference Center before the 181st Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Saturday, April 2, 2011. (Scott G Winterton, Deseret News)

My husband and I stood in line at the door waiting our turn to enter the enormous Conference Center. Although we had both been inside before, it was always thrilling to enter, especially since we had moved out of state. As I looked around I saw a man whom I thought I recognized.

“Greg, that looks just like Brother Manortey! Could that possibly be him?” I asked my husband. Brother and Sister Manortey were our Ghanaian neighbors while we attended BYU. Christiana, the wife, had been a stalwart visiting teacher to me. I was not hesitant to admit that a great part of my ability to finish my bachelor’s degree came because she had watched our baby, Mason, while I attended classes my senior year.

It had been a few years since we graduated from BYU; I didn’t expect to see Christiana ever again. Greg had joined the Air Force and we already had been stationed in California and Montana. The chances of us crossing paths seemed slim. Yet, as I scanned the crowd looking for my friend, I saw a flash of color and pattern next to ebony skin. “Greg! There she is!”

I tried to politely work my way to where Christiana was entering the Conference Center, but my sense of urgency probably was distressing to those in front of me. I had to catch her. “Christiana! Christiana! Sister Manortey!”

She turned, and as she saw me she smiled. I edged through the crowd to embrace her. As she pulled away she asked, “Where’s Mason?” How sweet that she remembered the little boy she had served so much. Love and gratitude seemed to pour into me. I explained that we hadn’t brought him because he wasn’t yet old enough.

I felt so thankful to see her. Here was a sister of my heart brought together by the Church of Jesus Christ. She had served me and loved my son as her own, and I was able to see her again because of the worldwide gathering that takes place at general conference.

I reflected on that cherished memory during the latest general conference when, living a hundred miles away from our ward, I sat with my family in our home and watched via satellite. And I felt that same deep love and gratitude to be a part of it.

Among all of the sermons, the scriptures and the songs there is a feeling of unity that gathering for general conference offers. Whether we are in the Conference Center surrounded by other saints or in the quiet solitude of our homes, when we turn our hearts to God’s messengers we feel his love for us and know that we are a part of the Kingdom of God.

Miranda H. Lotz is a military wife, mother of four, and book lover who currently lives in Colorado Springs.

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