When Conference Weekend Includes a Tragedy

 

I had a wonderful weekend. Best in a while, actually. I was so richly fed spiritually from every single talk at General Conference. My thoughts were elevated, my heart was full, and I was on a spiritual high. Then I woke up this morning to the horrible news of the shooting in Las Vegas.

It’s like I got a little taste of heaven but Satan wanted to remind me that he exists and ruin my day before it even started. Well I’m here to say: not today, Satan!

In these times of hardship -which seem to be happening every other week these days- it is common to see statuses like “Pray for [insert location of most recent devastation here]” or people changing their profile pictures temporarily. These are nice gestures, and I will be the first one to tell you that prayer works. But prayer works better when WE do, too.

It was said just yesterday that love without service is a lot like faith without works: it’s dead. Prayers and thoughts for the victims of the Las Vegas shooting or those drowning and starving in Puerto Rico are a nice sentiment, but not enough. So what can we do? Well, we learned a lot about that this weekend as well.

Those that are geographically close enough to go to the rescue can learn from President Henry B. Eyring’s talk and do just that. There are many places needing help recovering from hurricanes at the moment. Las Vegas is in desperate need of as many blood donations as they can muster to help the 500 people injured last night. If you can go, do.

Those that are far away and have the means to do so, donations are always welcome. This can come in the form of paying your tithing and being more generous with your fast offerings than you usually are, but it can also mean donating money and supplies to other organizations that are working tirelessly to save lives and reunite families.

Hurricanes are largely unpreventable, but shootings like the one in Vegas can definitely be avoided in the future. We need to do what is necessary to stop these things from happening instead of just cleaning up after they do. At this point when I hear about shootings, I’m no longer sad, I’m just incredibly angry. How do we KEEP letting this happen? How can we help individuals feel loved and understood without it getting to the point where they feel the need to kill?

This is obviously not an exhaustive list of things to do. But if I took away any message from this weekend, it is that there is always something I can do to make the world a better place. It starts with us centering our lives on Christ. Then, we do what He would do: go to the poor, the downtrodden, the lonely, those in most need.

Don’t just pray to God that He will fix all the ills of the world. Like Sister Bonnie L. Oscarson counseled us on Saturday morning, ask Him what He needs you to do today and who and how you can help. And then courageously follow whatever He needs you to do or be.

“Get on your knees and pray, then get on your feet and work.”- President Gordon B. Hinckley

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