Women's Conference: Overcoming adversity

The path returning to Heavenly Father isn't a "yellow brick road." It's a work effort, said Janette C. Hales, Young Women general president.

Moderating a Women's Conference panel on "Adversity: Growing Up and Over," Pres. Hales related to the audience how her husband, Robert H. Hales, died of cancer in 1988. "I remember during that period being very sustained even though it was an emotionally devastating time for me."She recalled that about a month later she filed to run for the state legislature. She ended up serving in the Utah State House of Representatives. She said, "I seemed to have an instinctive knowledge that I had to act, that I had to do something to keep myself going."

Panelist Virginia H. Pearce, first counselor in the Young Women general presidency, related that when she was 24 years old, the mother of four, and with her husband in medical school, she felt exhausted. She said, "I had tried all the techniques that had worked for me in the past - to get

up early, to work harder, to get more organized, to make more lists, to read more books - all the things that all

my life I had been taught brought success."

The more she tried, she added, the more angry and frustrated she felt. "Gradually my prayers began to change. I began to ask Heavenly Father to change me so that I could live happily in my new life. It took time. When I asked to have the Lord change me, then it began to work."

Patricia P. Pinegar, second counselor to Sister Hales, shared the experience of the death of her 17-year-old son, Cory, as the result of a car accident in 1986. At the time, his father, Ed Pinegar, was presiding over the England London South Mission. Cory had returned to Provo, Utah, to finish high school.

She said what sustained her was that "all throughout my life, I had turned to the scriptures, and I believe that somehow I built some kind of reservoir that was able to take me through these challenges."

Carolyn J. Rasmus, administrative assistant to the Young Women general presidency, explained that after she joined the Church while a graduate student at BYU, she began to doubt her decision because of the comments and feelings of family and friends.

She pointed out that reading the scriptures and praying daily "are the things that brought about my `up and over' experience when I was still a baby in the Church."

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